I don’t know who told you this was a good idea. There’s a reason WordPress still supports 5.2+, and that is because up to 5.3 is stable, and above that, stuff gets broken. Some of us have “upgraded” and had to roll back at risk of losing all of our sites. The “upgraded” php just didn’t work.
So if you’re dropping support then those of us who’ve “had enough” of unstable upgrades will just drop your plugins. There are some of us who still remember how to build pages from html. You might scare the newbie kids with this mess, but not everybody needs the new bells and whistles. We’re not trying to be the next Google or Yahoo. We just want to post about things that are interesting to us, and for the sites to actually show the words and photos.
Words and photos, conversation, and maybe some videos. That’s most of the internet. Unless your new fangled contraptions have some magical 100% effective cure for spam, we’re not giving a fuck.
Those of us bloggers and small businesses using WordPress are only doing so for one reason: ease of use. Those of us who are 40+ were mostly used to writing pages in html, possibly using WYSIWYG editors and using cgi and Java for interacting. The young ones often never learned any of this, and just got into WordPress being an easy way to blog. If having a WordPress powered site becomes more difficult than an old fashioned one, then guess what?
I’ll be happy to upgrade my version of php every time right on schedule if I never actually have to depend on it working.
All of these developers hemming and hawing about how everyone should upgrade need to put some thought and effort into making it actually possible to do so without breaking one’s site. They could volunteer to help people make the conversions, or hey not even volunteer. Since it’s supposedly so easy, they could charge a small fee to do it for people, or create some software and space where people could upload their site and it would spit out one that is tested and certainly compatible with the latest version of php. Wouldn’t that be nice?
As things are, the only feasable solution that I can think of since the kind of arrested development that leads many developers to forget the needs of the majority of users is incurable, is to split WordPress into various classes. Those with no skills are going to basically be on managed WordPress sites run by the smug developers who will have to regulate everything to make sure everything is always compatible with whatever they have installed. Those on self hosted sites should have the option of remaining backwards compatible. This means that if they want, they should be able to continue to run on 5.- and plugin developers who aren’t so smug can keep versions that work with them available until some gracious people develop a converter/sandbox.
New people should be warned in advance that their sites will basically expire every couple of years…that whenever a new version of php comes out, they will basically run the risk of having to rebuild their entire site in order to stay up to date. It simply may not be worth the headache. One may be better off just sticking with html.
As for me personally…I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet. I’ve put a lot of work into building some of my sites, and I am seriously wondering if all the bells and whistles are really worth it.