All that is old is new again. I’ve been following in passing the debate over sponsored WordPress themes over the last week or so (Jacob Gower has a good summary, Matt Mullenweg’s post here) and I can’t help but shake my head. As Jacob notes the folks at WordPress and other sites are entitled to feature or not feature what they want, but why the jihad, and why now?
I’ve always had a world of respect and admiration of Matt Mullenweg, but I’m starting to question my past loyalty. Remember this is a guy who got done a couple of years back for running spam on WordPress.org, not just a little bit but a ton of it. I defended him at the time, and I don’t regret doing so, but attacking hard working people from doing sponsored WordPress templates that include one sponsored link in return for a free product? WTF?
Of course there seems to be an aloofness creeping in to WordPress these days as well. I contacted Matt not long after I started writing for TechCrunch with a question about a site being shut down/ removed from WordPress.com, the response I got was terse and down right rude. I sent another email off, thinking that perhaps he’d forgotten my past loyalties to him (being one of the very few people to publicly defend him…heck, even his mother and sister contacted me to thank me for supporting him during the spam crisis) and all I got back was a shit response again. Suffice to say I didn’t send him any more email requests. Really weird though that I’m able to talk to CEO’s of multi-million dollar startups without a problem and yet the only serious grief I’ve had in 3 months at TechCrunch was from Matt Mullenweg.
If it smells like Old Mena and it quacks like Old Mena….
But of course that’s being unfair to Mena. She and I have moved past those dark days of MovableType 3.0 and SixApart is back in the good books, with MT to be open sourced this year. We all get older, wiser…and of course we all make mistakes. (so apologies to Mena if you do take offense at the comparison, none is intended, it’s all about the past, not the present).
I really hope that WordPress and Matt Mullenweg don’t repeat the mistakes of Mena and SixApart in the past…but it’s starting to look that way. What next: WordPress development stops to focus of WordPress.com alone?
And while we’re at it: if we’re on a jihad against links, how about the WordPress team stop stuffing their own links into the standard install of WordPress. WordPress is open source after all, and if we’re all about not benefiting anyone, lets be serious about it. I never want to see a link to Matt Mullenweg’s blog again in WordPress unless it’s linked to the dictionary definition of hypocrite.