fjord fraud

Say hello to our new four-column theme. You’ll notice that Matt has neglected to link to the designer or a download page. This is either because a) he wishes to take all the credit for himself (see also, the Garland mess) or b) said theme in its original form is spattered with sponsor links to Hostseeq, a crappy pay-per-click advertising site, as may be seen here.

(Oddly, this embedded spam, which end user is going to have to delve into sidebar.php to eliminate, is only on the themes.wordpress.net version. The zip on the author’s own site is free of it. So if, by any chance, you were wanting it for your .org site, I suggest you get it here.)

On a side note, three sidebars are major overkill unless you’re planning to give people the option to fill one of them with ads imminently.

Just saying.

20 Comments »

  1. adam said

    yeah, what is up with that link? does it link to fauna for everyone, or just me?

    if you try to fill up your sidebar with mapkits, songspots, vodpods, and want some room left over for your own links, 4 columns could be pretty handy.

  2. Root said

    Well for doodads WP is the place to be. It could be cool to put some of the admin goodness on the frontpage. Sorry about the imbroglio earlier Wank. I am now flame free.

  3. Pissed Off Joe said

    Here’s a gripe about WordPress plugins:

    http://handelaar.org/blog/2007/02/my-loathing-for-wordpress-is-now-without-end

  4. Collin said

    I think 3 sidebars is a little excessive for any blog unless (as mentioned) they want lots of advertising. And, oh my god, how thin is the main content area? It just looks like another sidebar.

    Next up, have you looked at the theme descriptions on the author’s sites? Apparently the themes are all “elegant”. I don’t like how the theme is fixed for 1024×768 screen size either. It forces the reader to have their browser at full screen – I have 1440×900 widescreen so it’s not a problem but what about those on 1024? And what about those on 800×600 – yes, they are out there!

    @Adam: Filling up the sidebars with mapkits, songspots, vodpods, links, banners and all the other stuff available will make the blog so slow to load that the potential reader will be off looking at porn before the page is ready!

  5. Matt said

    Not that wank is usually known for its accurate commentary, but you’re really stretching here. I’ve done enough in my life that I have no need or desire to take credit for anybody’s theme.

    There was a credit link in Fjords, it just went to Fauna instead. There was also a perfect credit link and name in the presentation page. Does that suggest to you a grand conspiracy, or a copy and paste error? Hmmm.

  6. adam said

    i’m just curious, matt –

    what’s with the copying and pasting? do you guys really take the themes apart that much? i’d always assumed that you were copying and pasting the specialized wp.com code into the themes. but what you’re saying suggests that you’ve got your specialized wp.com core templates, and you’re copying new themes onto that structure?

    am i way out in left field?

  7. Matt said

    There is a long “theme checklist” that is gone through before a theme is launched. (Though we’re human and mistakes still get made.) It includes adding support for widgets, avatars, custom headers, we generally redo the HEAD section, the footer, change styling to handle oversized objects properly, review all echoed content for XSS problems, audit any configuration options (since they never sanitize values), remove or rewrite any custom queries, normalize comments on pages, and image borders. Themes are also constantly bugfixed based on feedback.

  8. engtech said

    He’s not joking about constant bug-fixing. It’s amazing how much stuff that can go wrong in a theme. Even if they theme author fixes something, bringing those changes back into the wordpress.com version is a lot of work because of all the changes that have to happen to make it homogeneous with wp (snap-preview, sidebars, customized headers, avatars…)

  9. Which just goes to prove what I have always said: there is zero point in themers trying to develop with wordpress.com in mind, as your theme is going to have to be rewritten for MU anyway. Also, now I know how many checks a theme has to go through, I am better able to understand how something like ‘make sure it works in IE 6’ might slip off the list.

    I still don’t see any credits or links in the news blog post, but at least engtech has provided the curious with a preview link now😉 And I’m glad to see that the presentation panel now credits the original designers for Garland (and nobody, not even me, is demanding you give a link to Steven Wittens. That would just be masochism.)

  10. Matt said

    The Freshy/IE6 issue was a core bug with how it dealt with certain types of content in the main column and sidebar, if you downloaded the theme you’d have the same problem. My test blog didn’t exhibit the prob and neither did the download site, so it was missed, but MT responded to the feedback very quickly and now we have something more robust than the original.

  11. Root said

    Matt a big company full of slick dudes like Auttomaggic should not need to ask anybody why a theme borks in IE. It should be ingrained in your consciousness.

  12. and now we have something more robust than the original.

    I take it you’ve passed on your fixes to the theme author so that .org users can benefit as well?

  13. Matt said

    All the theme code is public, and if the author contacted me I’d be happy to walk him through the changes.

  14. adam said

    not everyone checks
    http://svn.automattic.com/wpcom-themes/

    and if you really expected that they did, that would mean you released garland before drupal was released.

    the last similar example of this i can think of was the safari/webkit/konqueror flap. if you’re making changes and not even at least notifying the project administrator, it doesn’t count.

  15. Matt said

    They don’t need to, it’s all client-viewable CSS changes anyone can see in their browser. SVN provides a better interface, but in my experience very few theme designers understand SVN. Most open source projects have normalized ways of sending in feedback and patches, such as a bug tracker and public repository, where with most themes there’s not even a clear way to contact the author in most cases, so I’m not sure if the comparison you make is a fair one. Even when those tools are there in projects like Debian and WordPress there is usually a dedicated person going between the two, for every project. Once we launch wpcom-themes (it’s not live or promoted yet) then I think the situation will be better.

  16. if the author contacted me I’d be happy to walk him through the changes.

    Personally, I always thought it made more sense for users who found or patched a bug in one of my themes to come to me with the information, rather than me go to them and ask whether there was anything they could help me with.

    I’m not sure where wordpress would be now if everyone who patched it said ‘if Matt contacted me, I’d be happy to walk him through the changes’ or posted the code on their blogs (‘hey, it’s public, anyone can see and apply it!’), rather than being proactive and submitting it to the developers so that the community as a whole could benefit from them. But then, I suppose .org users have been wanting .com-exclusive stuff like stats and Garland for long enough now to know they can’t expect to benefit from what happens here.

  17. Matt said

    Sure they can, it just takes time to do right. But it’ll be worth the wait. Remember though that we have a very small team, and are handling things that teams 2-10x our size our doing. However things are a little extra tight time-wise right now, which is why we’re hiring.

  18. Root said

    Hiring Matt? I am sending my CV🙂

  19. Andrea_R said

    “there is zero point in themers trying to develop with wordpress.com in mind, as your theme is going to have to be rewritten for MU anyway.”

    Can I just add that half of Matt’s list of checkpoints for a theme is wp.com specific, not MU specific? Other people running MU sites aren’t that exhaustive, partly because they don’t need to be. wp.com =\= wpmu

    And indeed, if I was going to snag a wp.com theme and run it on my MU site, I’d have to give it a go-over anyway. This applies to pretty much every theme from anywhere I’ve tried – even a new theme on a regular WP blog needs a bit of a going over, I’ve found – taking from as little as 15 minutes, to an almost do-over. In which case, you’d better love that theme.

    But I do agree – writing a theme with wp.com in mind is kinda pointless. Writing a theme that an admin can drop right into MU without having to add too many things (and all these would be customizations that are site-specific) is a better place to go. All kinds of people are over in the MU forums looking for quick bundles of themes they can drop in and enable.

  20. Matt said

    http://automattic.com/jobs/

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