There has been a lot of talk recently about WordPress (.org and .com), Automattic, WordCamp, and the GNU Public License. Hopefully without beating a dead horse, I can offer some constructive suggestions to the community so that the playing field at least appears level.
My site gets an average of 30 visitors a day, so all this may just resonate like a single coffee bean in a tin can…
A hard-line for a hard-liner
Matt Mullenweg takes a hard-line on the GPL. To remain true to his vision, Automattic relinquished the WordPress name to the WordPress Foundation. I like to think this was the moment when he let go, but there are signs that he still has a very firm grasp on the WordPress community. With or without giving up the name as an act of goodwill, the WordPress community has become bigger than Automattic or Matt. I think it’s time for the community to additionally take the hard-line, and make some changes to WordPress core and WordPress.org.
So here’s my simple list of changes:
- Provide transparency into the WordPress Foundation
- Decouple Akismet from WordPress core
- Remove links to ma.tt and WordPress.com from all WordPress.org sites
Unlike the changes that Collis graciously is making to Envato, my proposed changes could be accomplished by one person in one day.
A Transparent WordPress Foundation
It’s obvious that the community is eager to find out more about the makeup of the WordPress Foundation. Besides publicizing it’s membership, I’d additionally like to know how (or if) they vote on issues. Does everyone get a single vote or is it based on “shares” where Matt owns 51%? How does someone become a member of the foundation? I think it would be easier for the community to swallow decisions if we know where they were coming from.
Remove Akismet from WordPress core
I agree with Mark Jaquith when he suggested at PressNomics that Akismet should be uncoupled from WordPress core. There is first a technical issue: Akismet is already a stand-alone plugin and there could be the case where someone upgrades WordPress and at the same time accidentally downgrades Akismet because they’re on a slower WordPress upgrade cycle. Then there’s the fact that Akismet is useless without the service that Automattic provides for blocking spam. Yes, it’s technically free if you choose not to donate an amount when you activate it, but I clearly remember there being a frowny face 🙁 at one time when you pushed the slider to $0 – effectively guilting you into paying for the service.
Remove unrelated links from WordPress.org footers
WordPress.com and ma.tt links should be removed from all WordPress.org sites. By giving up the WordPress name Matt has sent the community off into the wild, sent us afloat, but now WordPress.org is a cruise liner and Matt is left on a dinghy. As such, I don’t see a reason to advertise WordPress.com or ma.tt on WordPress.org.
Why not have my blog listed in the footer? Oh yeah, it only gets 30 visitors a day…