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.
- Remove the pointless, non-updated, irrelevant & repetitive stuff (see below for the complete teardown)
- Add in some of the massive amounts of good stuff out there (see below that)
- Not let people ‘buy their way’ into it
- 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]
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.
- Akismet – Commercial entity, so no
- Alex King – A mixture of commercial and personal WP GPL stuff, yes
- Andrew – Not updated for over 2 years, no point
- Andrew Nacin – One post in the last year, not really on WP, so nope
- Andy Skelton – Nothing on WP since 2011, drop
- BuddyPress – BuddyPress, obviously yes
- Dev Blog – Yes, duh
- Donncha – A couple of super cache updates, could just be done in plugin, so no
- Dougal Campbell – 8 relevant posts in the last 12 months is good enough for me, pass
- Gravatar – Hmmm, really, bit like Akismet, for WP accounts, so no
- Jane Wells – Name needs updating, 2 related posts in last year (one much better off on make.wordpress.org), so no
- Joseph – Another Automattician, couple of commercial posts but half a dozen decent relevant WP ones so yes
- Lloyd – Broken feed / site offline
- Lorelle on WP – Makes sense, plenty of news, yes
- Mark Jaquith – Half a dozen relevant ones, so yes
- Matt – Good when relevant, shouldn’t really be *everything*
- Mike Little – Two posts on WP birthdays and one WordCamp announcement in 12 months… naw
- Peter Westwood – Nothing since Jan 2012, begone
- Ping-O-Matic – This is a bit silly, remove
- WP Android (feed) – Unnecessary, surely, wouldn’t one feed, or the dev blog, do it?
- WP Blackberry (feed) – “”
- WP Nokia (feed) – “”
- WP Windows Phone 7 (feed) – “”
- WP iPhone (feed) – “”
- WPTavern (feed) – I’d say no, given their new ambitions and shady context (more on that below)
- Weblog Tools Collection (feed) – Just been sold to a new buyer, who knows if they are trustworthy, remove please (see below)
- WordPress.tv (feed) – Makes sense
- WordPress.tv Blog (feed) – Really, do we need it twice?
- bbPress (feed) – Of course
- mdawaffe (feed) – Half a dozen posts since 2005, dunno why this is even here, remove
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.
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
- WP Lift – Why not, they give it a good crack
- WP Beginner – Always good quality
- WP Mayor – Doing a good job
- Chris Lema – Bit more commercial, but worth it
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?