assorted cheap shots at lj

You want to provide asylum for lj-ers? That’s beautiful, but be prepared for:

  1. complaints that they only get two icons
  2. outrage at the censoring of porn artistic work with adult content from global tags
  3. I have to PAY to have more than 35 people on my flist???!!!!1111!!!
  4. why does my picture of a nipple get rated X on Gravatar?

I think the corporate culture at wordpress.com is probably an even worse fit for your average LJ-er than Six Apart’s was; arbitrary suspensions are an everyday occurence, not a cause for scandal, and there’s more pressure to keep things PG purely because there are so many kids. I’ve had a couple of people on my flist attempt the switch to wordpress.com already, but they find there’s no community here and get tempted back to livejournal. I don’t know why there’s no sense of community here, since most of the architecture is in place. It’s an organic thing. It either happens or it doesn’t. And of course there’s always been this underlying sense that wordpress.com is a stepping stone to when you get your own real wordpress blog, and it’s hard to make people passionate about a site that they’re just passing through on their way to somewhere better.

I don’t write anything like as much about wordpress as I used to because I don’t care about it anymore. I don’t care about the new interface that will be gone the way of all the others come 3.0. I don’t care what struggling little minnows Automattic swallow on their way up, or what empty promises they made to tempt investors. I see the same old wars being fought over the GPL and I might still find them interesting if they were still about freedom and authority, but they’re not. They’re about money.

9 Comments »

  1. Do you think there will be more of a community if and when they bring in Buddypress and it’s Group function?

    I was going to state that maybe the “community” aspect is missing because wp.com is a general all purpose site instead of a niche one but that probably would also describe LJ as well.

    And I finally see we have a “Notify me…” button for comments. About time. Our installs has that over a year ago and most over Mu installs probably have as well. Of course ours doesn’t make you comment first just to get the emails.🙂

  2. no said

    You must at least be happy that Matt is no longer top in the search rankings for ‘Matt’. http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=matt

  3. The biggest indicator that even the wordpress people figure that wp.com is just a stepping stone to a real blog is the way they pay absolutely no attention to the shoddy condition of some of the themes. The redoable lite theme needs so much work it’s laughable, yet when you point things out to them you get the brush-off to either contact the designer – who ignores you – or switch to your own domain and then of course you’re left with the nightmare of wading through CSS. Gee, sorry if I’ve whined about that before in this space. You’re all I have left.🙂

    Seriously though, your critical take on things is really valuable, even though I don’t get the insider’s insider stuff. Hope this isn’t your bye-bye post.

  4. Kissing Bandit said

    Funny enough, it’s one of his 25th birthday resolutions. (Ranking #1 for Matt on Google.)

    And TGA, I understand your sentiments exactly.

    I don’t write anything like as much about wordpress as I used to because I don’t care about it anymore. I don’t care about the new interface that will be gone the way of all the others come 3.0. I don’t care what struggling little minnows Automattic swallow on their way up, or what empty promises they made to tempt investors. I see the same old wars being fought over the GPL and I might still find them interesting if they were still about freedom and authority, but they’re not. They’re about money.

    I’m still a little sad to see wank dwindling, but as I find my interest and care in WP going the way of the dodo, I can understand how the same is true of others as well.

  5. Andrea said

    You forgot #5 – no friends-only entries. That’s the biggie for most people looking to jump LJ-ship.

  6. @drmike: I wonder whether BuddyPress won’t actually get something of a negative reaction from people who blog here because of the relative anonymity it offers. At the moment, profile pages are a pretty obscure feature, so some people are bound to think it’s possible to keep separate blogs on the same account without everyone knowing exactly how many blogs you have and what’s in them. I can easily imagine, for example, people trying to replicate the functionality of an LJ friends filter with a semi-secret extra blog, and there being all manner of drama when profiles blow their cover.

    Hopefully, before BuddyPress gets integrated with wp.com, Automattic will hire someone with some prior experience in running social networks and an understanding of the sensitive issues involved. We know they can handle the technical side, but they need to get a handle on privacy. And child protection, of course. Hosting all those kiddies is going to get a whole lot edgier once they all have public profiles.

    @Ian: I’m not surprised designers ignore complaints, since wordpress.com is usually using an obsolete version of the theme and the designer has about as much power to fix the bugs in it as you do. (Probably less, to be honest, since we can at least buy the CSS upgrade…)

  7. troyte said

    LJ’s pretty well dead in the water now so far as the European and US markets are concerned. The Russian members are cheerfully filling it with porn and weirdness, and it’ll scare away the blogging hipsters on WP.com

    Not that it matters – WordPress.com will continue to grow, while developers who’ve been fixated on the next big thing will realise they actually have to make a living. WordPress.org can’t get the theme submissions they used to because developing a new theme’s become too time-consuming and the control too arbitrary.

    WordPress as a platform has it’s possibilities so long as Matt doesn’t destroy it, while WP.com will continue as a first step for many but little more. Where they go from there is really dependent on what other options become readily available in time. I suspect there’s a big monetisation possibility for rivals that provide more features in a slicker, more sophisticated environment. It could be built by Microsoft in .net or by Apple in God knows what they use. But it’ll come. Content management isn’t that complicated a problem to solve. But it won’t be solved by hobby programmers or those dealing with the problems of supporting millions of users….

  8. LJ was basically doomed from the moment Six Apart bought it, since they were only interested in cannibalising it to build Vox and trying to sell ads on it. Once they’d got Vox running, failed to make the ads pay and reaped a lot of unexpected hassle, they just wanted it off their hands. And SUP have only ever been interested in the Russian users. I will miss Livejournal when its protracted death throes are finally over. RSS feeds have so far proved utterly incapable of duplicating the functionality of the friends list.

    Right now, wordpress.com’s prospects are brighter than wordpress.org’s, for a number of reasons: developers, as you say, are going to start switching to more enterprise-friendly platforms; open-source geeks are going to tire of the corporate feel and be attracted to projects still in the ‘hobby’ stage where they can play a role in development; and the average blogger is going to be disinclined to spend money on hosting when they can get a similar service for free. And wordpress.com is easier to monetise (as far as I can tell the only direct source of income on .org at the moment is the hosting affiliate links). But this place won’t last forever any more than livejournal.

  9. I know of at least one great blog (*cough*Habari;*cough* package that would welcome the hordes of disillusioned WordPress.org developers.

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