[wp-hackers] Community Views on Now and the Future

John Ha khanh at netspace.net.au
Thu Mar 9 10:22:10 GMT 2006

My sentiments exactly - even though I'm a plugin developer. It seems I have to be very careful of what I say. I don't think there is anything wrong with an inner circle of developers, but maybe a little less ego and more openess to suggestions and ideas would be a good thing. Even a little friendliness to those that have less of a clue, instead of waiting to jump down their throat at the first opportunity would also be nice. When people do open their mouths, it's because they give a damn.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Jefte Puente 
  To: wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com 
  Sent: Thursday, 9 March 2006 2:01 AM
  Subject: Re: [wp-hackers] Community Views on Now and the Future

  **GASP!** Someone is actually vocalizing how I feel! I was starting to feel
  alone, and without any voice - being a non-programmer.

  "...not interacting enough with people outside of the
  teeny coding community. There's a sense that they're not likely to know
  what they want, and that their ideas are probably not particularly

  How true. End users can never have any valid insights on the package... how
  could they? They aren't as smart as coders. Coders are always the best
  testers for software - not the clueless end user. Sigh...

  "one chief, many indians"

  "Folks seem terrified that they're going to say or do something that Matt
  disagrees with."

  I concur wholeheartedly. If one is not part of the "inner circle" of Matt's
  friends, commentary is unwanted and swiftly rejected. If one cannot code PHP
  or any other language, one is instructed to learn to program - and do it
  oneself. Not a very welcoming attitude, and far different from the other
  open source communities I have been a part of.

  Cult of personality runs thick through the WP community. Personally, I have
  withdrawn from the community because of it. A pity...


  On 3/8/06, Rich Bowen <rbowen at rcbowen.com> wrote:
  > Robert Deaton wrote:
  > > Dear all hackers and lurkers (I know you're out there),
  > >
  > > With the growing frequency of topics that are frustrated with the way
  > > WordPress is currently moving, especially this post from the forums
  > > list (
  > http://comox.textdrive.com/pipermail/wp-forums/2006-March/001532.html
  > > ), I'm growing curious as to how the hackers community as a whole
  > > feels, so I'd like to throw up a little survey, and find out what some
  > > people honestly think.
  > Coming upon this thread somewhat late, and seeing that it's got a
  > boatload of responses, I'm going to reply to your survey before I read
  > the whole thread. You know, to be unbiased and stuff. :-)
  > > - How do you think the Development model of WordPress is now? What are
  > > its strongpoints? What are its flaws? What do you think should be
  > > changed and what should be left the same?
  > The strong point is that the code is good, mostly, and that good
  > thinking has gone into the modular/plugin nature of its design.
  > Flaws? Well, I find that the community to be deeply frustrating. The
  > "one chief, many indians" nature of the community leads to a bit of a
  > monoculture with regard to decisions. Folks seem terrified that they're
  > going to say or do something that Matt disagrees with. Whether he is
  > entirely responsible for that state of affairs, I really can't say,
  > having only been around for about a year.
  > I see repeatedly good ideas surface, with people tentatively supporting
  > them, while actively supporting them on IRC, but then back off when Matt
  > suggests that he's not behind it. That sort of single-personality
  > management leads to a lack of new ideas, and, perhaps as concerningly,
  > leads eventually to a project where nobody wants to contribute anymore,
  > because they're sure that new ideas are unwelcome.
  > Perhaps I'm overstating. I can only speak from my own observations, and
  > from what I hear in the remarks of other folks.
  > > - What are your views on project's leadership? Are they steering us in
  > > the right direction, or are we going downhill? Is community feedback
  > > weighted enough with personal views of the developers? Are we
  > > interacting with people outside the coding community enough to get a
  > > fair view of what could be the best for everyone?
  > No, we're absolutely not interacting enough with people outside of the
  > teeny coding community. There's a sense that they're not likely to know
  > what they want, and that their ideas are probably not particularly
  > valuable.
  > This isn't to say that the leadership doesn't have good ideas. They
  > certainly seem to. But they also tend to disregard ideas from external
  > sources, with a really bad case of Not Invented Here.
  > > - Do we get too little, just the right amount, or too much feedback
  > > from the developers on things discussed on this list and elsewhere? Do
  > > you think this has a positive or negative impact on the project as a
  > > whole?
  > What I see, as outlined above, is that the feedback from the developers
  > tends to shut down interesting conversations. I'll pick on the recent
  > inline docs conversation, because it's interesting to me. There was
  > overwhelming response and support for the idea. Then The Developers
  > pitched in their $0.02, saying, to summarize, that it's not a good idea.
  > And folks seem unwilling to disagree, because, as they are more willing
  > to say offline, there's really no point. If The Developers disagree,
  > then there's little value in continuing the conversation.
  > I've been involved in the Apache Software Foundation since almost the
  > beginning. We have a simple principle. It is stated thus:
  > Community > Code
  > ie, the Community is more valuable than the Code. The code can be
  > rewritten. The community is our only real asset. If you piss off the
  > community, eventually you have no more code.
  > This certainly isn't the only model. The FSF tends to see the world the
  > other way around, and it seems to work ok for them. But it's not nearly
  > as much fun. The ASF has much better parties.
  > --
  > Rich Bowen
  > rbowen at rcbowen.com
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