who’s your daddy?

the obligatory forum thread, handled by the mods with their customary impartiality and levelheadedness.

One thing that only seems to be mentioned by the other developers is that wordpress.org is Matt’s personal fiefdom and they clearly don’t get any say in how it’s run (and I don’t get the impression they particularly want one either). They’re trying to make a distinction between wordpress (a community effort) and wordpress.org (Matt). I am not at all sure that anyone believes in this distinction, least of all Matt.

One thing I don’t see mentioned much either is why he resorted to these methods rather than having a wikipedia-style donation drive. It’s fairly evident to me that encouraging donations would also encourage people to think they have a stake in the project which they don’t actually have. So much of the anger when MT changed their licensing terms came from donators — I gave you money and you screwed me. If people give you money you’re beholden to them. I gave you money and you’re taking forever to come up with a new release. I gave you money and you still don’t have that great new feature I asked you for. I gave you money and you’re hosting spam articles on your site. Handing the financial side over to the community sounds lovely in theory, but in practice is a very poor fit with the legendary cliqueishness of the development team. If you want to be told what to do, you’re working for The Man and getting remunerated accordingly, not coding open source stuff.

Is it better to take the money from search engine scammers and be beholden to them instead? Possibly. I mean, all they want from you is your pagerank. It’s not requiring you to give up control of your baby. The fanboys will forgive you whichever way you screw them, sensible people will realise that you are not the software (if we’re bothered by the sale of our pagerank to con artists, removing the link or adding ‘nofollow’ to it takes care of that in approximately five seconds) and who really cares about the rest?

People keep saying Matt’s made a mistake. It would be a mistake if he cared about public relations (which he doesn’t, really — that’s been illustrated multiple times), and it would be a mistake if he cared about defrauding Google (which he doesn’t, or he’d not have put the articles up in the first place). From his point of view — wanting to establish once and for all that WordPress is his baby and nothing very much to do with anyone else — it’s not a mistake at all. Hey, he got the cash all by himself, without relying on the charity or approval of a third party.

And the reason he didn’t tell anyone what he was doing — not the other developers, not the fanboys, not the general mass of indifferent users — was not because he was ashamed, but because he didn’t think it was any of their business. If you don’t get that by now, you don’t get WordPress.

1 Comment »

  1. [...] apparently bringing up Spamgate constitutes a ‘personal attack’. Whatever. I don’t think you can argue it’s [...]

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