weird frankenstein baby

The stuffing of the .com forums with paid staff who know zip about the site continues; here’s another. At least she has a blog on wordpress.com (with three whole posts!), which is more than can be said for the last one. She gets to be a Key Master too, which officially makes her more important than Mark, who is only a Member nowadays. (I do not pretend to understand anything about how forum rankings work anymore. They seem to be allocated entirely at random).

And they’re still advertising, so yeah, once there are a couple more in place they’ll actually be able to provide support on weekends and maybe stage a similar takeover of the .org forums. (Personally I think it more likely that the .org forums will be shut down entirely — anyone else notice that Matt’s name on the SXSW speaker list links to wordpress.com rather than .org?)

Of course, it may still take two paid support staff to deal with the kind of really basic CSS query that I was previously handling for free but clearly there’s enough VC money floating around now that efficiency is no longer a concern.

If you have half an hour to kill now you’re not volunteering anymore, Kubrick Guy is delivering a lengthy bitchslapping to the Dashboard over here. Now I understand why I started this blog. It is because as soon as you log in to WordPress, it’s all about WordPress, rather than about you. WordPress doesn’t understand that it’s just a tool you use for blogging. WordPress thinks you are blogging in order to use WordPress (and if you’re a fanboy, this is exactly what’s going on.) Blogging about WordPress is a natural development prompted by the immense egotism of the software.

I would say ‘who cares, the stupid Dashboard’s days are numbered anyway’, if I had any faith at all that 2.5’s implementation would be what Happy Cog actually designed rather than another weird Frankenstein baby made up of Matt’s code and their colours. Unfortunately, we’ll never be shown what they actually designed, so we won’t be able to make comparisions.

34 Comments »

  1. Judging by her non-Wordpress.com blog’s most recent post, she’s one of the storied Happiness Engineers.

    And not to nitpick, but isn’t it considered poor form for a designer to remove another designer’s credits from their theme’s footer? Her source code says she’s using Blue Moon 1.0, and though she’s obviously done some heavy revision, there’s a lot of Blue Moon left. (Links below)

    I’m asking for serious, because I’ve been doing the same kind of revision (from the same designer no less) and if it’s kosher, I’ll yank the credit too.

    Her blog: http://www.mariannemasculino.com/
    Blue Moon 1.0: http://themes.wordpress.net/columns/2-columns/479/blue-moon-10/

  2. drmike said

    All those folks and they still can’t deal with spam scripts doing posts.

    It is nice to see someone else though recognize that Matt and crew do not spend all that time in the forums they say they do. Have you looked at the mu forums lately? Looks like the last of the volunteers over there have taken off and lots of unanswered threads.

  3. Kissing Bandit said

    Matt, it depends on the designer — read over the release terms of the theme or drop the designer an e-mail.

    In most cases, however, it’s not kosher and kind of rude when you think about it. Just sayin’.

    -KB

  4. Kissing Bandit said

    In reference to TGA’s post, definitely makes me wonder why Matt’s name just wasn’t linked to Automattic. I’m beginning to think Matt et al are slowly trying to phase out WP.org software altogether. Wouldn’t be too surprised if we see it popping up under a different name elsewhere.

    Re: Happiness Engineers. ROFL. Seriously. One would think they’d need to meet some minimum criteria before being added to the payroll, but I guess one would be wrong.

    -KB

  5. If your alterations are major then it’s probably desirable not to leave the credit intact. (I actually used to get annoyed when people did that, because there would be these horrific mods floating around and people would think I was responsible for them. Not that your mod is in any way horrific, but yeah, either way I never wanted credit for stuff I hadn’t done.) What I would do in that case is amend the link to something like ‘theme by me, based on [theme] by [designer]’. If you’re adapting someone else’s design it’s polite to acknowledge their role even if the licence doesn’t require it, rather than attempt to pass it off as entirely your own work.

    Of course, since she claims to be a ‘designer’ she probably doesn’t want to admit in public that it’s not all hers. And since removal of designer links is strenuously encouraged by Automattic, she should fit right in.

    (As for the ‘spam’ forum posts, how do you know they’re not paying for article placement on a high-PR domain?😉 )

  6. I was kind of asking facetiously. I just think it’s odd for a designer to obscure another designer’s credit. Of course, I assume there’s no malice or offense intended. I agree with TGA that it’s probably a good idea to take the credit off when it stops looking anything like the original.

    As for Ma.tt’s credit showing as .com instead of .org, it doesn’t really surprise me. That’s where the good press is coming from right now. It’s one of the nice things about having several different companies under the umbrella; you can choose which one you want to put forward as the public face. It’s a smart PR move.

  7. timethief said

    The question that arises is: How come with all these new “staff” being paid to answer forum questions we do not see evidence of their availability vis a vis answering forum questions on weekends, particularly, in the evenings? I assumed the enhanced “‘work force” would result in support re-opening on weekends. I guess not … .

  8. PJ said

    I just love her blog’s tagline: why yes, i am made of awesome

    Indeed.

  9. Kissing Bandit said

    I agree with TGA that it’s probably a good idea to take the credit off when it stops looking anything like the original.

    True, but it’s still quite polite to acknowledge the work the designer put into coding the theme which is no small feat depending on the theme’s intricacy.

    No credit at all, even if the theme does look different, is kind of like a slap in the designer’s face and may be part of the reason WP theme designers are either a) putting out crappier themes, b) putting out themes less frequently or c) putting out more “premium” themes.

    Of course, I’m sure plenty of theme designers wouldn’t want to have their name attached to anything hideous and would make the occasional exception should that be the case.

    “Enhanced workforce.” ROFL. That’s a good one timethief.

    -KB

  10. timethief said

    Read this. It’s a cry for help and it also contains a good domain renewal idea. The current set-up for renewals doesn’t seem to be user friendly. I assume the enhanced workforce would be all over this but … http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=12024&replies=8#post-165769

  11. How come with all these new “staff” being paid to answer forum questions we do not see evidence of their availability vis a vis answering forum questions on weekends, particularly, in the evenings?

    Maybe they’re all fielding support tickets because people have finally figured out they can’t get tech support on the forums? [shrugs]

  12. drmike said

    The current set-up for renewals doesn’t seem to be user friendly.

    The current setup for renewals is broken and Automattic is not replying to support requests about it.

    Thanks guys. So much for my two domains.

  13. timethief said

    Well, there seem to be widespread problems with disappearing css customization today http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=22160&replies=15
    And, yet again, there don’t appear to be any of the paid individuals in the enhanced workforce in evidence on the forum.

  14. drmike said

    Looks like a reply was made within 33 minutes from the first post/report, the problem found 15 minutes after that, and fixed 5 minutes after that. Gotta admit that I think that’s pretty good.

  15. timethief said

    I agree that it was a speedy detection and fix. At the time I posted no staff were posting to the forum.

  16. Thumbz said

    From a user interface standpoint, wordpress gets a low score – both .com and .org. Coders in most cases are lousy UI designers because they think like coders, not necessarily like users.

  17. timethief said

    OMG! I do believe that you will have to be fitted for a tinfoil hat. O’ Wank …

  18. Kissing Bandit said

    Have you had a look at the new 2.5 interface? I will admit it’s moving in a better direction than before, but it would still get a low score from a user perspective; at least they give you the ability to change which feeds are flowing through the Dashboard instead of requiring Planet WordPress (without hacking).

    -KB

  19. timethief said

    @KB
    Pardon a non-geek for saying so but where the heck are the geeks who advocate for user usability? That’s incorrect terminology but I do believe you know what I mean. Of all the folks in IT I would have expected that the open source community would put accessibility and intuitive navigation or, whatever the correct terminology is, at the forefront. Why is this not the case?

  20. Kissing Bandit said

    Timethief, they exist. Unfortunately, they’ve all been overruled by what I call The Core Collective” (Matt and about 3-5 other people). All changes must be run past The Collective and if the collective thinks the change or feature is irrelevant (regardless of whether or not it would increase usability), it gets nixed; that’s just how it is.

    The only thing that could sway their decision is a vast outcry from the community at large — an outcry so loud that it can’t silenced or spun in a favourable light (eh hem, default links).

    -KB

  21. Kissing Bandit said

    P.S. Pardon all my grammatical errors, I’m running on sleepy.

  22. Yeah, I had a play yesterday with that demo install being pimped on wp-hackers (before people started redirecting it to their own sites :roll:). Apart from the colour scheme it’s really disappointing. Why is everything shoved over to the left? Why are those feeds still there? If your user hasn’t mastered the art of subscribing to feeds it’s a fairly safe bet they’re not quite geeky enough to care about your latest video interview or what server setup you’re using on wordpress.com. They should be beyond such amateurish traffic-grabbing exercises by now.

    I’m still more impressed with the Habari interface, which finally made me see the point of Ajax. In WordPress, post options fold up because they think it’s a cool effect. In Habari, they fold up to keep them out of the way unless you need them. It’s a subtle distinction, but an important one.

  23. timethief said

    How close has habari come to creating a user interface that a non-geek like me could cotton to using?

  24. skippy said

    You can see a brief comparison of the Habari posting interface versus the WordPress posting interface in Michael’s recent screencast:
    http://binarybonsai.com/archives/2008/02/12/interface-screencast-2-the-wordpress-23-write-page/

  25. timethief said

    Thanks skippy.

    TGA writes above that Automattic is still advertising for more Happiness Engineers and the thought occurred to me that maybe they are specifically looking for staff who will work in the evenings and on weekends.

    It would appear that Sam Bauers who previously created the little icons on the forum for “resolved” etc. that he put up for test purposes and then removed had been up to a lot more than that. Apparently some users can volunteer to become guinea pigs to “beta” the new nav bar being developed.

    I’ve reverted the change that caused issues in IE6. Going forward the changes will be re-introduced, but obviously with better testing on that browser. I’ve compiled a list of people who reported a problem here and I will contact you to see if you want to test the new implementation when it is re-introduced.

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=22284&page=2#post-166840

  26. timethief said

    Well a blogger with a nav bar problem sent me this link to show me how my blog appeared in his browser. Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words http://www.alphysics.com/Images/blog.jpg

  27. Richard said

    Whoa! That one was even more borked than the ones I saw. Juan said it all here.

    And don’t forget the fact that the TinyMCE editor is terminal.

  28. timethief said

    (1) terminal but still around {she narrows her eyes and snarls}

    (2) Domain problem – what domain problem? http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=20725&replies=6

    (3) Some FAQ pages say to click on the Feedback link on the top right of the page, but there is no such link. Hopefully, the Happiness Engineers have this on their “to-do” list and will be getting to it soon.

  29. Richard said

    Yes, but they will have to run changing “feedback” to “support” by the “core-collective.”

  30. options said

    Unfortunately, they’ve all been overruled by what I call “The Core Collective.”

    ^^

    KB, you too made my day — that “Core Collective” was a very good one indeed!😉

  31. moeffju said

    The theme author’s site says:

    These free WordPress themes are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License. This means that you are free to use and modify them for any purpose, but you must include the provided link back to this website.

    So… bad happiness engineer, bad!

  32. Sadly, such disregard for the author’s wishes doesn’t surprise me at all. These people like to try and pass off their opposition to giving credit where it’s due as a principled stance in favour of open source. Actually, it just makes them look rude, ungrateful and deceitful. None of which are qualities I would look for when hiring support staff, but then I’m not Matt.

  33. drmike said

    Actually, it just makes them look rude, ungrateful and deceitful.

    But, of course, no one sees that as it would take away from the “glow” that is Matt since he can do no wrong.

    And if the author complained about the missing credit, five bucks says that Automattic would just remove the theme in question.

  34. Oh, these days they’re refusing to even think about installing any themes on wordpress.com that require a linkback. They claim this is because they find CC licences too hard to understand (in spite of the fact that they are considerably less complex than GPL). The aversion to crediting them is really just an ego thing — it’s a refusal to acknowledge that the .org community also contributes to the success of .com.Usefully, it also pretty much lets them off considering any theme requests whatsoever. It’s fairly safe to say that any future themes on wordpress.com will either be premium ones or designed in-house.

    I actually think that’s a good thing. Automattic are nightmare end-users — they hack stuff about ineptly, refuse to install updates and strip you of credit while blaming you for all the bugs, all the while making money off your work and not paying you a penny. At least the designers in the fabled theme marketplace should be able to maintain a limited degree of control over their themes and get a cut of the profits.

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