stuck in a rut

grey sans-serif text, check.

kewl rounded corners, check.

tabs, check.

accents in green, check.

big blue header, check.

I haven’t been this bored since 2.1 was released.

I wondered why Alex hadn’t bothered linking to the actual theme page, but then I found that Small Potato was complaining of burnout on said page :

Ever since the beginning of my self-challenge, the quality of my themes is declining. My brain is dehydrating. The creative juice is not there

Yes. Not exactly going to sell the ‘shiny’ ‘new’ theme to the sheep, is it?

Meh, I should quit waiting for the vaporware upgrade and return to porting pink stuff to Sandbox, so that people can have a choice of aesthetics even if they do have to pay for the privilege.

9 Comments »

  1. vaporware upgrade

    no kidding. every reasonable thing that andy/matt could have been waiting for has come and gone.

    it’s a shame for SP to bear the brunt of your rant. he obviously produces high quality themes (when he’s not burnt out), in a variety of aesthetics, and yet the name ‘digg’ makes this one absurdly popular. I can’t help thinking that either mtt+co are missing some metric for evaluating popularity, or that wordpress.com is much more homogeneous that you and I would believe it to be.

  2. I can’t find the exact link right now, but apparently Chaotic Soul is the most popular in terms of numbers and Contempt in terms of traffic. Contempt is about as bland as you can get without being offensive, so, yeah. BBHs are evidently popular with the masses, so let’s just chuck more at them. What this reasoning ignores is a) the masses may be perfectly content with their existing BBH themes, thank you very much and b) some of your users may be sick to the back teeth of all these identikit themes and would love to see something slightly different. Who knows, it might even widen the aesthetic horizons of the sheep.

    Also, of course, homogeneity is self-reinforcing; if the majority of blogs people see on wordpress.com look very similar and talk about the same set of Automattic-approved topics, that’s going to discourage people who aren’t so into those things from blogging here. Impersonal, generic themes are another way of engineering impersonal, generic content. Automattic don’t want us waffling about things like life. The ads are so much harder to target that way.

  3. engtech said

    What really strikes me after over a year on the service is how handicapped it is because of the inability to add plugins or themes. I understand the technical reasons behind it… but still.

    I’m on blogspot ( http://idt-labs.blogspot.com ) and tumblr ( http://engtech.tumblr.com ) and they both have colour selectors so you can at least adjust the colours in your theme.

  4. Kissing Bandit said

    It could also be because Small Potato realized he was duped into re-licensing his themes as GPL.

    I also left a response on his blog regarding his theme licensing (make sure to read his response, too).

    -KB

  5. I think I’ve had just about enough of small potato’s alter ego (if he has that is), I don’t know why but the way he is so paranoid about the look of the blog that frequently he changes it really irks me.

    Although I have to admit his themes are quite good his latest ones are beginning to go downhill, perhaps the reason is he makes themes as if they were on some production line, what do you expect? you run out of ideas and you become clueless in the end.

    Would be nice if he made his designs off sandbox though.

  6. small potato’s last theme (wrath) is indeed based off sandbox. i believe he’s said that going forward he’ll use sandbox.

    @kissing bandit –
    there’s a lot of confusion over what one can and can’t enforce as far as the GPL. Your comment on WPD.com isn’t wholly correct. If you claim copyright as well as licensing it GPL (something wordpress doesn’t do), the copyright notice can’t be removed. You also get substantial legal council from the FSF, as I understand it (I’ve never used it).

  7. skippy said

    @sunburnkamel: the only way that the FSF can meaningfully help any specific project is if that project transfers copyright from the original author(s) to the FSF. In that way, the FSF is then the copyright holder, and can bring all their resources to bear on any action. Without that, the best they can do is offer moral support, and maybe file an amicus brief in any legal action that occurs.

  8. drmiketemp said

    They do answer emailed questions though on occasion if your project is big enough and/ or if the question is of interest. The designer of phpNuke had an ongoing concern a few years back that they clarifed. (And then most endusers ignored.)

  9. Kissing Bandit said

    If you claim copyright as well as licensing it GPL (something wordpress doesn’t do), the copyright notice can’t be removed…

    And as I understand it, Small Potato never claimed copyright once he decided to release his themes under GPL. In fact, he’s said that people can remove the copyright (i.e. credit link) if they so choose because it was being licensed under GPL.

    Although it may be true that you can claim copyright with GPL and, legally, it shouldn’t be removed, SP shot himself in the foot in that regard. (Quite possibly because of the confusion surrounding GPL in the first place.)

    -KB

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