the fundamental goodness of humanity

Dear Matt,

Since this would never make it past moderation on this post I am putting it somewhere that people other than you and I will actually have an opportunity to read it. I agree that Monotone looks all kinds of cool and clever, and people have only been asking for a photoblog theme for about two years so it is timely too. However, don’t you think it is a little bit tacky that we have to view CSS in order to find out who actually made the thing? I’ve already seen blog posts crediting it to Automattic. OK, I’m aware that more than one shoutout in a week might destroy your hard-won reputation for hating on designers, but really, would it hurt that much to mention the actual designer somewhere visible? If you don’t ‘fess up on the wordpress.com announcement post I’m going to have to blow your cover. Oh wait. I just did. And don’t think about messing with style.css. I made screenshots.

love, that girl again

P.S.: leaving your car unlocked is not a touching expression of your faith in the fundamental goodness of humanity. It’s just dumb.

33 Comments »

  1. Ben M said

    I wonder how Monotone will look with ads. Not too much extra space for such things. But if they are integrated as well as the possibly related posts, I don’t have very high hopes for its success.

  2. Kissing Bandit said

    Chances are they’ll just slap a set of ads before the picture and a set of ads after the picture — targeted based on the photo’s description, of course.

    TGA, your PS rocked. It’s something along the lines of the comment I left on the entry, but oddly, that comment was not approved.

    -KB

  3. The ‘optimism tax’ post actually really annoyed me because it makes the standard Matt assumption that everyone is in a financial position to open-source everything and shrug it off when they get burned. I know being blind to privilege is an important part of being privileged (the way white people never have to think about race), but it still winds me up.

    Also, I should really have picked up on the fact that the concept was stolen from Shelley Powers, also of course without acknowledgement.

    (Why don’t ma.tt comments have visible permalinks anymore?)

  4. Kissing Bandit said

    “…it makes the standard Matt assumption that everyone is in a financial position…

    Funny you should mention that because I had thought about commenting on his assumption that everyone can afford to “scale” their WordPress installations because caching is so passe.

    Armchair Scaling Experts
    random($foo): Internet Asshattery, Armchair Scaling Experts Edition. If you’re not the largest site using a given piece of software or framework and you’re having more trouble than someone who is, you’re doing it wrong.

    With WordPress specifically, there are hundreds of sites I can point to that scale just fine to meaningful traffic levels with no caching, plugins, or anything. If your server is tuned for serving static files instead of dynamic requests, then a plugin to make WP output static files is a fine band-aid, but only if you don’t have the access or expertise to properly configure things in the first place. (In which case you should consider alternative hosting, help, or a hosted service like WordPress.com.) But people like to think that (1) they’re bigger or more special than anyone else or (2) that the 5-6 layers that sit under WordPress have nothing to do with its performance.

    I don’t expect everyone to know about this, it’s very much a learning-by-doing thing and everyone’s situation is different. But at least operate with the assumption that if there’s someone bigger running without troubles that they (or sufficient Googling) might be able to help you out.

    See also: the shockingly ignorant comments (over 200 at this writing) on this post. There are some smart people in there, but they’re drowned out by “wind0z sux!” and “that’s what you get for using (PHP|MySQL|WP|IIS|RDBMS)…”

    Here’s a WordPress blog doing just fine:
    (Screenshot of, I assume, his own blog stats.)

    Matt Mullenweg – http://ma.tt/2008/04/armchair-scaling-experts/

    For some unknown reason, probably because more than a few people pointed out that not everyone on the planet can afford to scale their WordPress installations like the ones who aren’t doing it wrong, the post was yanked. (I’m terribly sorry for posting it here TGA, feel free to delete it if you find it in appropriate — simply wanted to preserve the pompousness for posterity and thought this would be a great place to do it.)

    So, there you have it. If you’re running on WordPress and your shared hosting provider sends you an angry e-mail because your blog keeps crashing it (even with your minuscule amounts of traffic), you’re doing something wrong; WordPress is in no way to blame because there are larger blogs (who probably also have a larger budget and more dedicated tech support) scaling it with no problems.

    Frankly, all Matt had to do say was that caching is one of their Google Summer of Code projects and he would have come off looking far less unsympathetic to bloggers on a budget.

    -KB

  5. Ben M said

    (Why don’t ma.tt comments have visible permalinks anymore?)

    I just noticed that myself today – I was going to link to one of his comments, but saw that I couldn’t do that anymore. Must have happened with the recent spring/1970s theme. Guess this makes us repeat his comments with blockquotes, instead of giving him links back to his site.

  6. By ‘consider alternative hosting’ I think he means ‘head to wordpress.org/hosting and sign up with one of our affiliates’ or ‘pay us hundreds of dollars for the VIP package on wordpress.com’😉

    Matt doesn’t care about people on cheap hosts because he thinks they should either stop being so cheap (in Matt’s world, you can always find the money for better hosting by the simple expedient of buying fewer lattes) or suck it up and join the ad-funded masses on wordpress.com.

  7. Sam Bauers said

    As far as I’m aware, the Monotone theme was designed and created by Matt Mullenweg and Noel Jackson. They collaborated on the design and functionality. I imagine it was their choice not to credit themselves visibly in the design.

  8. Oh, right, you want me to break out the screenshot. It’s OK, it’s not that big:

    Or of course there’s the SVN copy:

    http://svn.automattic.com/wpcom-themes/monotone/style.css

    Now, I know Matt’s not familiar with the protocols of issuing themes (when Prologue was released it wasn’t even in zip format), but if there’s more than one author it’s standard practice to credit them both in style.css. If only one author is named it is reasonable to assume that only one author was involved.

    Most developers wouldn’t expect a visible credit on a custom job; links are what you get instead of payment. That’s not the issue. It just seems a bit strange to give somebody else sole credit in the theme itself while not acknowledging their role in public. It’s a good thing that Automattic have stopped leeching off the .org theme community and are using some of their funds to hire professional designers: it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There wasn’t any fanboy fallout from commissioning Happy Cog and I don’t imagine there will be any from this either.

    (Coming up with a concept and issuing step-by-step instructions doesn’t make you the designer, btw. It makes you the client from hell.)

  9. It’s even stranger considering Noel says he did it and doesn’t even mention Matt.

    You would have thought that if Noel had help with the theme, he would have mentioned it.

    Hmm, must have slipped his mind.

  10. Poor guy. Maybe the ‘collaboration’ was so traumatic they both had to blot out the experience for the sake of their sanity?

    (You know how Noel says in that comment he developed it for Automattic? I’m going to bet that if he does get a namecheck in the announcement post, he’ll have developed it with Automattic. Or, rather, they will have developed it with him. Still, at least he got the paycheck, which is more than any of the other theme designers for wordpress.com have had.)

  11. Kissing Bandit said

    Well, are we certain he got a paycheck? For all we know, Automattic could have convinced him to do it for free because it would be a great opportunity for his business since the theme would be available to the hundreds of thousands of WP.com users — in fact, he should probably pay Automattic for such a wonderful opportunity for the exposure. Of course, I’m just speculating.

    Hmmm, now that I think of it, I wonder what ever happened to the Theme Marketplace.

    -KB

  12. Matt said

    regarding alternate hosting, am I the only one seeing this ad at the top of my wordpress.com dashboard?

    “WordPress tip: Be the master of your own domain – make this blog your-personalized-blog.com for just $15 per year.”

    Kudos on the Seinfeld reference, but would getting this upgrade qualify as buying total control, as suggested by the word “master”?

    (And everybody get out of Dr. Mike’s way. He’s about to explode.)

  13. options said

    would getting this upgrade qualify as buying total control [on domain]?

    negative:
    * no way to embed your own Meta tags — hence no luck with ‘Google Apps for Domain’, no control of caching by SE;

    * no way for your own robots.txt — ditto on caching/archiving control.

  14. options said

    also, there ain’t such a simple but pretty important thing as a mere custom favicon even on a ‘mastered’ domain.

    of course, there’s no a least sense to “Send a request to staff” just because it will never happen for the apparent reasons.

    more than two years of the total ignore prove that pretty well.

  15. It’s WordPress for Dummies all over again. On the front cover of the book it’s Lisa Sabin-Wilson. When I got an email from Lisa, it was her book. Front cover of the book, it’s her’s. On, wp assist, it’s her’s.

    Every place else? Matt gets his name tacked on as a co author.

    Heck, it’s WordPress all over again. How often does Mike Little get any credit for being one of the founding fathers?

  16. Kissing Bandit said

    would getting this upgrade qualify as buying total control [on domain]?

    And forget about getting email@youraddress.com unless you’re using Google Apps. (Not an entirely big deal if you don’t care about e-mail, are already using Gmail, or don’t mind setting up a Google Apps account).

    -KB

  17. Root said

    I wouldn’t touch any theme that Matt had anything to do with in a million years. He can now afford to buy in lavish designers for his own blog. But his entry in the design comp was the end of any pretence that he knows the first thing about interface design / development. The choice of Kubrick was the second. His desire to turn on innocent third parties to cover up his own ineptitude was a sign of something worse. He is a deeply creepy human being. And as he gets richer he gets worse.

  18. options said

    How often does Mike Little get any credit for being one of the founding fathers?

    afaik, he used to be credited on the default Google Happy blogroll. yes, not anymore there.

    however, he’s linked on the .org/about page along with b2\cafelog, because of which “we are [have to] giving our software away”.

    and b2\cafelog got purged from pediwikia long ago. so yeah, WP is everywhere.

  19. timethief said

    And the saga continues – alt and title tags on images http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=27119&replies=12

  20. noel said

    In response to the “with Automattic” comment.

    Yes, I developed it “with” Automattic. I’m a designer, I also run my own design studio, and Automattic was my client. I always work together with my clients to produce work. All projects require client interaction and brainstorming.

    Working with Matt and Automattic was a pleasure and all of the folks over there are fantastic, smart, open-minded people. I am not one to mince words.

  21. All projects require client interaction and brainstorming.

    What, no, really? I never knew that! I thought all designers just locked themselves away in a garret waiting for Inspiration to strike and had no interaction with clients whatsoever. Thank you so much for enlightening me.

    Less sarcastically, I’m glad the experience wasn’t as antagonistic as the initial failure to mention your contribution seemed to suggest.

  22. noel said

    Automattic has given me more credit than 99% of my clients, and I didn’t even ask for an once of it. I don’t do this work for fame, I do it for the joy of creation.

    Please, if you feel the need to include me in any of your future posts, contact me first to get the facts straight. Otherwise, please leave me out of the drama you seem to enjoy creating.

  23. Noel, maybe you need to be telling the folks over at jdwebdev.com that they need to get their story straight.

    I’ve worked with Automattic as well. Many of the people here have and I know at least for me the term “open minded” is a far stretch of what occurs over there. Closed minded, unwilling to help, arrogant, rude, liars and frauds is what I would call them.

    You may have just been one of the lucky ones.

    I have to admit that I find it rather surprising your tone towards Wank. Considering she went to bat to see that you got the credit for your work when Matt choose not to even mention your involvement. That’s typical for him.

  24. Wank, I got caught again either by moderation or Akismet.😦

  25. maybe you need to be telling the folks over at jdwebdev.com that they need to get their story straight.

    Well, informing them that he developed the design for Automattic isn’t 100% compatible with claiming he never asked for ‘an once’ [sic] of credit, but hey.

    I’m not surprised by Noel’s attitude at all. It would be very poor business sense to do anything but defend Matt to the hilt, especially since he’s hoping for further commissions. Can’t condemn him for that.

  26. Kissing Bandit said

    Keep trying Noel, eventually you’ll get better at spin.

    -KB

  27. options said

    By ‘consider alternative hosting’ I think he means ‘head to wordpress.org/hosting and sign up with one of our affiliates’ or ‘pay us hundreds of dollars for the VIP package on wordpress.com’ #

    all the same goes about .com’s disabilities.

    knack of to spin one’s weaknesses so that they turn up as the strongest points is a sign of a real Grand Master.

  28. options said

    Ben M wondered,

    I wonder how Monotone will look with ads. Not too much extra space for such things. #

    that’s how: Knowing How To Know

    it’s Flash, finally.

    Those b…usiness-churchmen must be holding some sort of a marketing event — ATM all the .com is covered by their banners. this is a ‘below the post’ one, there’s also a ‘sub-titled’: 468x60px, copy “what are you?”


    ads [non]display reasons are encrypted now.

  29. Oh. My. God.

    I knew the Scientologists had hit LJ (the ads were pulled over there after the community objected) but I didn’t think they’d stooped to Flash here yet.

    Do you have any other screenshots? I’m searching in IE at the moment but no Flash yet, just a wildly inappropriate text ad on a feminist blog.

  30. options said

    yes, plenty of.

    it was taken in safari pretending to be msie6 and not accepting/sending cookies from anyone (including those from that GA.js shit).

  31. Oh, ads for a dumb celebrity cult on a post about rape and incest. That’s appropriate.

  32. Ben M said

    Thanks, Options! Yeah, that doesn’t look good at all.

  33. P.S. to that P.S.: you’ve got to be kidding me.

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