The WordPress Planet is Pants – and here’s how to improve it

Since back in the day I’ve had a keen interest in the WordPress Planet, sure sometimes it’s been a bit snarky, but at the end of the day I am genuinely interested in good WP news coming through the pipes into my various dashboards.

And of course, from a business perspective I could hardly be more interested… man I’d love to have WPMU.org in there, since the early days it’s been the holy grail of ‘writing about WordPress’ publishing.

But let’s be honest, these days it’s a waste of space, an afterthought, a void and a vacuum, it’s tumbleweed across a deserted dashboard… in short, it’s pants.

And I think, especially with 10 years coming up, it’s about time it was sorted out.

Specifically, let’s:

  1. Remove the pointless, non-updated, irrelevant & repetitive stuff (see below for the complete teardown)
  2. Add in some of the massive amounts of good stuff out there (see below that)
  3. Not let people ‘buy their way’ into it
  4. Actually make it work.

So, without further ado…

So, what is the WordPress Planet… and why should I care?

Well, that’s easy, it’s this aggregation of ‘blogs talking about WordPress’, which goes into the dashboard of every WordPress site as ‘Other WordPress News’ [headlines only]

The WP Plate as it appears on the Dashboard today, riveting huh

Historically this has been the place where people are supposed to go to to get their WP news, resources, information and increasingly tutorials.

Along with occasional controversy.

It’s included in something stupid like 60,000,000 WordPress sites, by default.

And what’s the policy for inclusion, well it’s pretty simple

This is an aggregation of blogs talking about WordPress from around the world. If you think your blog should be part of this send an email to Matt.

It’s Matt’s list, that’s taken care of that then.

And it’s been stagnant, or worse, pretty much since it’s inception, specifically because of…

Who is on the Planet… should they be?

Here’s the complete list, with my thoughts attached, would be interested in others, I’m by no means the expert in this.

Essentially my criteria is whether these feeds are adding value to a WordPress user by being in there, or not, along with a dash of whether  they are updated and/or any good.

Also, I’m going to take the position that commercial entities shouldn’t be there.

Results:

Keep = 10
Remove = 20

Ooo, controversial, so why no WP Tavern or WLTC?

As I mentioned above, both are now folded / retired / rebirthed and both now owned by unknowns, or maybe the same unknown!

And in the ultra-competitive space of WordPress publishing (we’re all doing this for a reason, let’s not kid anyone, advertising, WPMU DEV, other revenue streams, our egos…) both are gaining a massive commercial and competitive advantage over other sites in the space.

Surely that shouldn’t be for sale? It just doesn’t seem right.

Buying up a site shouldn’t guarantee you entry into the WordPress Planet, if anything it should get that site kicked out until it can prove that the new posts and alike are gonna be of as decent a standard as before!

And I mean, wannabee Valleywag WP Candy was included and then taken out again (for being basically pants too, I think). So it’s not like these things aren’t done and considered. I wonder when and/or why the chap upstairs removed them.

I’d say that until WLTC demonstrates if it’s going to get back on its feet and start doing good WP stuff, then it shouldn’t be included.

And that WP Tavern should probably also be put on probation, at least until we know who is behind it and what their motives are… as well as asking whether it’s covering or offering the kind of stuff we are after.

And who should replace them?

Because there are a lot of excellent sites about WordPress out there, and not in the Planet, that are far, far better.

Obviously WPMU would provide a completely non commercial feed if asked, but we’re not going to be, so that being said I reckon that, we should see:

  • WP Daily – John’s transparent enough and doing a good enough job to warrant inclusion
  • WP Mail – A web version of this should absolutely be included, it’s the best aggregation (alongside WP Daily’s) of what’s going on
  • Smashing Mag WP Section – Great, detailed, quality, in-depth articles, why on earth not?
  • WP Tuts + – Clearly Envato are back in the good books, having 1% GPL products is enough, yay, why not give ‘em a slot

And also…

In my opinion these sites all offer fantastic, regular, fairly unbiased and mostly non commercial useful news, information and resources about WordPress… why not make that the criteria and shake up the Planet a bit.

How does that sound? Got any other suggestions, leave ‘em in the comments.

And while we’re at it…

How can we make The Planet actually work?

Well, howabout we stop thinking about it as an afterthought.

With as many people using WordPress as there are currently are, why can’t Matt / Automattic / The WP Foundation / The Community actually get it right on WordPress.org and in WP dashboards the world over.

Let’s start with removing the fluff and bringing in the good.

And then let’s let (or pay, in $s or links) Christian and Bianca curate it – and make it a proper big deal… not just an item in the dashboard (although we can keep that) but a weekly notification in the WP backend (easily turned off) that says…

Let’s celebrate the wonderful World of WordPress news, let’s not hide, it’s a huge strength.

And last, but not least, let’s make an editorial code for the setup and a board to enforce it, something like:

  • Strictly non commercial work, not promoting any one product (products must be reviewed)
  • Fair and unbiased
  • No affiliate stuff ever, whatsoever, under any circumstances
  • No advertising within posts (only on your own site)

And anything else you can think of.

It’s not rocket science, it’s just making some effort and doing it properly.

What say you?

Comments (24)

  1. I think if you remove all of the irrelevance, the echo will be deafening. Besides, some may just be taking some time off and might come back stronger than ever ……….. not!

  2. I frequent a number of the sites mentioned, I’d love to see them included.

    I’d say WPMU as well, but of course I would be bias there. WP Tuts is one of my favourite, I’ve used tuts+ for years now!

    Them in my dashboard would be great! :)

  3. the 1st thing I do after a fresh wp install is minimise those irrelevant dashboard widgets. It would however be a different story if I had latest wp articles from envato & smashing there.

  4. WPMU providing a non-commercial feed would be solid. There are so many amazing tips on this site, many of which helped me even get started a couple years back (stops for a moment to look up at the ceiling, as if it helps memories glow more brightly).

    Of course, I too am quite bias here. :)

    … and Tuts+? Fantastic even if it is Envato. WP Beginner should have been in there a long time ago too.

  5. Seems pretty exclusionary by defining the list in such a manner. Why not aggregate a large list of said WP blogs and add another “Setting” to the dashboard settings to filter out the blogs you do and don’t want. Simple check boxes would add/remove any of the blogs from the feed, and an optional “add your own” would let you add who you want.

    WordPress.org, or whomever, could conduct an open poll to get the top 20 requested sites to be included.

    Maybe this could be a plugin to be written by WPMU to hook into that news feed (is it even hookable?).

  6. I was thinking this very same thing just this past week. The Planet is completely pointless, outdated and full of content that is no longer applicable. In fact, I don’t think that I follow a single site that is part of it. Time for a big revamp and your suggestion of sites to include is a great start.

  7. I agree with your overall point, that the WordPress Planet contains a bunch of sites and information that probably shouldn’t be there. Ozh actually created his own planet feed http://planetwordpress.planetozh.com/ which is definitely an improvement over the official one but even that list needs to be trimmed down with other sites added.

    I think WPMU should create a new Dashboard widget, have a list of sites users can choose and then parse all their content into it. Then charge for the plugin :)

    So let’s look at what we know. WPTavern was sold to an unknown buyer. I continued to maintain the site for the new owner for a period of time. Once I decided to call it quits in the community, an offer was given to me and I accepted. I am now back at the reigns of WPTavern.com except this time, there are no display ads, no blatant advertising, and the WPTavern store link has been sent into private mode.

    Instead of focusing on the unknown, take a look at the type of content that has been published on WPTavern since my return. None of it indicates motives, advertising for any one company or service, or any other weird ass conspiracy. It’s just me, publishing content as I did in the past. Ok, so my newest stuff isn’t as great as it was 2 years ago but I’ve been away from the WordPress world for awhile and I’m just now getting back into the swing of things. I will improve on that facet of the site in time.

    John over at WPDaily.co is doing a great job, I’ve told him that personally. He has set the bar pretty high along with Brian Krogsgard at http://poststat.us/ I’ve got my work cut out for me but I’ve traveled down this road before.

    • You *have* stated some pretty big ambitions there too tho.

      I’m not averse to you being in there at all… just that I think that there should be a probationary period and we really should know to whom the links doth flow in terms of ownership & sponsorship, transparency is important yeh?

      For example, on the transparent front, I would never include Krogsgard in anything simply because of his role in the nasty, slanderous shitehole that was WP Candy (it’s still crap now, just benign)… and I’m not especially keen on peeps who supported, promoted or reblogged that stuff either ;)

  8. I don’t know if I should feel honored or ashamed that the screenshot of the newsfeed widget includes a interview with me. But I would have to fully agree the feed has been over cluttered with things that I don’t really find worth reading.

  9. Thanks for the mention of WPLift,
    For what its worth – I agree 100%. You would think a little more care and thought would go into something that appears on every installation of WordPress.

    Maybe a better way to go would be a public news submissions site like Poststatus that is curated and let people vote submissions up. That way everyone has a fair crack at appearing and only the best stuff makes it.

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