Nice work with the WordPress Planet, now let’s make it just about WordPress

It’s great to see WP Tavern and WP Candy added to the WordPress Planet – two excellent resources for WordPress news and information, and now you can get them both by just unsubscribing to their feeds and picking up the Planet RSS one.

Or by checking out your dashboard!

And of course we at WPMU.org were a little disappointed to be overlooked and miss out on all those millions of potential new readers, but we’ll grin ‘n bear it… after all we’re probably horribly biased towards our own stuff rather than the Tavern or Candy, that are in no way connected with premium WordPress suppliers ;)

But general snarkiness isn’t the actual point of this post, rather I have something very specific I wish to snark about, and that’s the crap that Matt drops into the planet feed on a regular basis.

Let’s start with the generally inoffensive stuff:

I mean yeh, you’ve grown a beard, nice job, but there’s a time to move on.

And I couldn’t be happier that you’ve found a WAN setup that suits your needs, but really, there’s no need to share [at least here!]

And that’s just great too, but aren’t some things better saved for Facebook?

But the really, really irksome, wince inducing, cringe-worthy stuff has to be his happy snaps, especially when they are utterly 100% unrelated to WordPress, like his recent jaunt in Paris.

Careful you don’t get any of that stuck in your beard fella!

Or (possibly from the same weary set) a variety of food and shooting yourself in the loo (didn’t going in there with an SLR look a bit dodgy ;)

And I’m sure it was the best meal of your life, but…

… frankly my dear I don’t give a shit :)

So, hands up I am being a little on the ahole side here, but there’s a reason for that – namely that the way that Matt uses (and always has used) what should ostensibly be a focused industry news feed to share what would be much better put onto his Facebook or left for a site which would a. be relevant [I dunno ‘Pictures of food and beard talk’?] and b. Something I don’t have to subscribe to.

And over the years the planet has been such a derelict place, and the wordpress.org community so miserly treated, that to be honest I don’t think what was in it mattered that much.

But now if we’re gonna be focusing back on that, perhaps for good reason, let’s take it seriously and stop the cult-of-personality spam, please!

23 Responses

  • New Recruit

    I agree it would be better to have Planet WordPress focus strictly on WordPress. There’s no call to be snide about saying so, however. Making personal attacks doesn’t increase WPMU DEV’s appearance of professionalism, and it’s only likely to create a defensive response.

    I definitely go to WordPress sites to read about WordPress, and to WordPress podcasts to hear about WordPress, so it irritates me if the author/host spends a lot of time talking about Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, current events, or other things that have nothing to do with WordPress. But I can always skip those posts or turn off those episodes.

    And it’s not actually a requirement to read the Planet feed. You can even replace it in your dashboard with something else if it offends you that badly.

  • New Recruit

    Oh, come on, a little snideness, especially when openly acknowledged, makes the world a whole lot funner – we can’t all be softly spoken sociopaths can we ;)

    Re: professionalism, if you judge what Incsub offers based on my opinion of Matt then I think it’s your judgment that needs to be called into question.

    And as regards a response, I don’t expect one, we’re studiously ignored by everyone with any connection to automattic… but you never know, maybe he’ll take a bit of this on board on the quiet like (every other author on the planet does just fine).

    Don’t understand how your last point relates to what I’m saying – whether or not I can unsubscribe from the planet feed would seem to be unrelated to what should be in it or not?

  • I somewhat totally agree. I would love a one stop shop to go get some great WordPress news, and being attached to the WordPress.org domain, even though it is a subdomain would suggest that it is WordPress related news.

    I really don’t care for Matt and his beards, or his food, or his world trips unless they are related to WordPress. If he can use the WordPress planet for his own personal blog, why can’t I do it?

    I can turn it off inside the Admin panel, but what if I want the Planet sites, just without Matt’s social activities, means I have to subscribe to each one individually.

  • I also realised that Matt has a WordPress.com blog (http://matt.wordpress.com) that is for his “not-wordpress” posts that aren’t WordPress related. So why does Ma.tt overlap with that?

    I guess I can’t control Matt, which is something some people have complained about before.

  • LOL. I still have the same feelings about that subject that I did two years ago. It just makes sense for those widgets to display WORDPRESS stuff, not photos of food or little entries of places you’ve traveled to. All of that stuff would be better placed on his Not WordPress blog.

    I like reading Matts posts on technology and certain subjects like that, especially the ones related to the project which is what he should use ma.tt for which is in the planet feed. At the very least, I’d like for him to create a WordPress category or use the WordPress tag and use the RSS feed for that to aggregate onto the planet and thus, the dashboard widgets.

    I’m not sure why that hasn’t been done already or why he has chosen to do things the way he wants to do them.

  • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    I’m disappointed in this post, disappointed enough to comment about it because I usually think so highly of this blog. This post’s pettiness and barely contained jealousy are beneath you and wpmu.org, and you did to us exactly what you accuse Matt of doing. Take it up with Matt, James, and leave us out of it.

  • New Recruit

    Are you saying that I am indulging in beard related narcissism??? How dare you!

    ‘Cos otherwise I think that a. this is about wordpress, and b. I didn’t even attempt to contain the jealousy ;)

    And clearly I am taking this up with Matt, and you don’t need to hang around if you don’t want to… go just read the planet or something :D

  • Site Builder, Child of Zeus

    James, I’m a mediator for a living and I’m pretty aghast that you would say something like that to a reader who didn’t agree with you. Is your idea that you only want readers who pat you on the back and let you know what a great guy you are? Ok, I’ll do that…pat, pat, pat. You’re a great guy who’s created some pretty great stuff that I love. You’re also, at this moment, acting like not such a great guy.

    Instead of figuratively smacking a loyal reader in the face and telling me to leave your house, you might do better to actually listen to what some of us are saying here. You can choose to reject feedback, but you don’t have to slap the giver of it. What a shame. Before, I just thought you were in a foul and jealous mood. Now I see you’re actually pretty angry and are striking out at everyone who doesn’t see it your way — which feeds your anger more, so it feels really good to you. Not to those of us on the other end of it.

    Peace, my friend. Life is short and you’re better than this post and your subsequent comments convey.

  • Wow, James. You kinda proved Tammy’s point with your responses to her. I get that there’s bad blood between y’all and Automattic because of your differences in opinion about business models or whatever. (I don’t pretend to know what started all the hostility.) Posts (and comments) like these seem to tell me that y’all are more interested in stirring up controversy than attempting to mend fences. The way you choose to attack people personally and belittle them makes it more difficult to take your points seriously and engage in any kind of worthwhile discussion.

    But I’m going to try anyway because the thing is you brought up a point worth discussing. I get that Matt often includes stuff that is off topic and that it seems egomaniacal to some WordPress developers.

    However I think the point can be made that from a community standpoint there is value in having a real person closely identified as a/the leader. Matt, being arguably the single most influential WP person out there, is an obvious choice for that role. So it doesn’t hurt for to share a little bit of his personal life with the greater WP community.

    Me, I tend to ignore much of his stuff that lands in that feed. Even so I can see the argument that having it there can be good for the WP community.

  • You do know that in Screen Options on the dashboard you can unselect “Other WordPress News” so you won’t see it? Or you can mouse over the title of the Other WordPress News widget, click Configure, and put in any RSS feed you like.

    Or…(I would do this if I had time, and maybe I will later) someone could easily create an RSS mash-up of WordPress-related feeds (with Yahoo Pipes or something) that could be entered there, and voila! We’ve got Other Other WordPress News!

  • New Recruit

    @miriam Simply “hiding” the feeds is not practical. Take a look at your options table in the database and see how cluttered it has become with these feeds being entered into the table. Now multiply that exponentially with a multisite install. Its a pretty big deal.

    With the 3.2 focus on a “lighter” WordPress I really, really hope this is addressed.

  • Flash Drive

    While I agree that you have a point. I find the tone and disrespect towards your readers pathetic. Seriously. If you’d written the post and then started a discussions about this issue in the comments, this would be a good post to start up a discussion with your readers and the WP community in general. But you decided to start to make fun of the people that actually buy your products and support your business model instead.

    I enjoy what WPMU offers, great fan of the tutorials and people writing them, but your attitude is just wrong. Meh

  • New Recruit

    @James: That’s just the thing. I DID read the first sentence, and was impressed with how gracious you were. And then… I read the rest of the post. Wherein you basically took a stick of dynamite and blew up all that goodwill. Well, not QUITE all – more like 75% of it. Because it’s not until the comments that you really seem intent on TOTAL demolition. If that was your goal, then congratulations, because you’ve pretty much achieved it. Particularly with your response to Tammy (who, unlike myself, took the time to reach out to you with a very thoughtfully crafted comment, only to get attacked).

    The real irony here is that most of us agree with your view that the Planet would be a lot more useful (and consequently a lot more used) with a lot less Matt and a lot more WordPress. Frankly, the addition of WP Tavern and WP Candy would appear to be an indication that even MATT agrees with your view. So all you’ve accomplished is ensuring that a lot of people who AGREE with you are no longer inclined to LIKE you very much. Seems like an unfortunate choice of business strategy to me, but maybe you are just one of those people who would rather be “right” than happy.

    James, your site is an excellent resource for WordPress multi-site information. It’s truly impressive, and I have tremendous respect for your opinions… about WordPress functionality. You’ve got a good thing going, and I would very much like to see it continue and grow – with you choosing to take the high road.

    That being said, we readers would do well to remember that this place is YOURS, and that you have every right to do whatever you wish with it. Accordingly, should you decide that allowing your attitude to blow the whole thing to smithereens is worth it, please know I fully respect that decision. Whichever path you choose, I wish you speedy success in achieving your goals.

  • James ,
    >And clearly I am taking this up with Matt, and you don’t need to hang around if you don’t want to… go just read the planet or something :D

    Why did n’t you send an email to Matt instead of posting a blog post in public?

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