boring stuff for no pay

Yeah, ok, we get that Matt Thomas doesn’t need any notice whatsoever to do WordPress design projects, but has it crossed your mind that this may be because it is his JOB?

Anyway, the way I read it, the issue with the has-patch marathon was not so much that people had no notice, it was that wp-hackers didn’t get a heads-up before the rest of the world thus making it uncomfortably clear exactly how unimportant they are. It’s partly this perception of their own irrelevance, of course, which necessitates these events in the first place; if your experience of submitting patches is that they get ignored or dismissed then you don’t have much incentive to keep doing it. It’s all very well to say they don’t need a deadline to contribute, but, hello, we’re talking about geeks here. They appreciate structure and measurable goals, not to mention reassurance that their efforts will actually be noticed.

I cannot shake the suspicion that this drive to get designers involved with the development process is an attempt to divert them from theme production. (We have enough troublesome theme developers already; the last thing Automattic wants is to encourage them.) Also, if boring things such as tweaking the user interface can be outsourced to students working for nothing, that frees up the inhouse design team to work on fun stuff like themes. .com users are always bitching about not having enough themes; why hire outsiders to produce them when you already have designers on the payroll?

The flaw in this plan? Well, I sort of wonder whether doing boring stuff for no pay is going to be quite as appealing to the community as doing fun stuff for no pay. We’ll see.

6 Comments »

  1. Jane Wells said

    Hi there. I hate to disappoint you, but this has nothing to do with wanting students to do boring stuff. It’s a response to all the emails I get from designers who want to contribute to the app and get the same kind of cred as contributing developers get in the community when their code makes it into core. It has nothing to do with distracting people from theme design; that just doesn’t even make sense. More themes to choose from is a good thing, and I don’t know anyone in Automattic who would dispute that. The main point you’re completely missing is that to designers, tweaking the design *is* the fun stuff, not writing PHP. There’s more than one kind of contributor in this community, and these design projects are an attempt to give the non-developers more opportunities to be involved.

  2. I know designers would much rather screw around with the dashboard header than make a theme, that’s why we have thousands of plugins and stylesheets to customise the appearance of the admin pages and only about a dozen themes… oh, wait.

    As for ‘cred’, I don’t even remember who won the icon contest now — isn’t that awful? Graphic designers who want to contribute to WP are far more likely to get the recognition they want if they make a GPL icon set aimed at third-party theme developers; it might not have the official stamp of approval, but they’d get a hell of a lot more linkbacks. If they seriously believe there are armies of coders in the community contributing to core code and getting kudos for it, they obviously haven’t been around WP for very long. They certainly haven’t been reading wp-hackers😉

  3. KB said

    totally missing the wank. there seems to be a flurry of wank-worthy news lately…has wordpress/automattic officially fallen off your radar? (if that’s the case, it’s a sad day for wordpress/automattic; you give them the best free business/public relations advice available.)

  4. It’s just the same wank over and over, though, isn’t it? Lorelle fails to understand an announcement made at WordCamp — nothing new there. Matt can’t think of any killer new features to justify 3.0 so he’s going to bloat it up with MU code and pretend that people are finally getting the multiblogging functionality they’ve been asking for since, oh, 0.72 or thereabouts… more bloat, more screwing with the interface, woo. Another premium theme designer switches to GPL; well, their stuff’s obviously getting pirated, they might as well embrace the fact and get some publicity/affiliate linkage from wordpress.org while they’re at it.

    It’s not officially off my radar, but I’m unofficially bored with it all.

    • I have to admit that while I really don’t understand the need to merge the two platforms into one, if they’re going to do it, why not just merge wp into wpmu and be done with it? That’s where things are already. That’s what’s happened in the past. If they’re so gungho about it, would someone notice that it’s already occurring, already done and let’s move on. Really sounds like Matt was looking for a talking point and once again no one noticed the fallacy behind it.

      Oh and don’t forget that “Boohoo for censorship but don’t ask me how I feel about it” article. Or how wordpress.com is appearing in spam filters.

      Hope you are well.

  5. KB said

    I can see your point.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s