5 Comments

  1. Greg Smithhisler

    Great post-a worthy addition to the conversaion. You might want to add Chris Lema’s recent post at http://chrislema.com/contribute-to-wordpress/ to your list of “Related Material”

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  2. Justin Tadlock

    I didn’t really understand how this one idea proposed by Matt sparked so much controversy. Matt proposed a rule of thumb, which is a principle that is not necessarily intended to be accurate for everyone. Many people focused on the how they could give or not give their 5%. It seems to me that the point of his post wasn’t that everyone go out and give 5% of their dollars, manpower, and/or time back to the project.

    The point is to contribute what you can. If you can only contribute 0.01%, then contribute your 0.01%. If you can contribute 10%, great.

    Contributing source code to core is awesome, but that’s only a small part of what makes WordPress what it is. There are countless avenues for contribution. Even my cousin, who can’t even manage to learn basic HTML, has brought in new users for WordPress. His only involvement with the project is running a 200-visitor/month blog. He loves it so much though that he’s contributed back by bringing new people in.

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    • Kenji Suarez

      Correct!

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    • Vladimir Prelovac

      I think everyone accepts that what Matt proposed makes sense. What sparked controversy for most people was summed up by Ben

      “Automattic must be recognized for the significant resources they have provided to date, although even Matt acknowledges in his blog post that at 277 people, Automattic has less than 14 people (5%) dedicated to the WordPress Open Source Project.

      Automattic’s contribution may be waning (even if only in percentage terms as the rest of the non-open source part of the business expands), and Matt is rallying others to step up to fill the void/expand the edges. But with that comes the discussion on how that broadened contribution extends into the leadership of the overall direction of WordPress itself.”

      For me it was a rather harsh notion of what contribution was that is not taking into account the diversity in the community about which I wrote more here :

      https://managewp.com/community-diversity-leadership

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  3. I prefer anonymity these days

    The idea put across is that if you’re doing OK, 5% is a target to aim for. It suggests though that less is struggling along. Yet of all the open source projects I work with, WP comes across as the most needy. Apache, Linux, Debian, MySQL, WPSEO, W3TC, Varnish, and many others are all projects on which our and many other businesses are built upon.

    And none of those make me feel bad for not using them, or for not submitting the inevitably ignored patches. I could, I suppose, hire a German to sit there creating German translations of everything and they’d definitely go in (unless somebody else beat us to it), or a support assistant to run through the support forums, but that’s largely a thankless task for a business which is morally obligated to its shareholders to make a return.

    In many ways I’d prefer it if there was something in the middle, between free and the super expensive VIP services or partnerships offered by Automattic. Our business relies on MS Office, and for that we pay an annual license fee. It’s a small payment, really, and less than 0.1% of our turnover, let alone 5%, and it feels like a nice straightforward relationship. MS don’t make us feel guilty for using their software, and they appear to be doing quite nicely on the back of it.

    It’s fine to give things away. Really, it is, but if that’s not on the back of a sustainable business model then we have a problem. I’m not proposing a solution here, just a feeling. A sense of unease at the way the statement was formed and what it hints for the future. If not enough money and time is being invested into WP then the clients and users won’t, by and large, dig deep, but will move onto a platform that *does* invest more, even if it’s paid for.

    It’s an interesting business problem, and one that takes a smarter brain than mine, but I feel that WP needs either a true and openly accountable foundation behind it, or it needs a business behind it which has a model that funds its ongoing development.

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