Gary Pendergast Praises ClassicPress, Extends Invitation for Collaboration

Gutenberg and WordPress core contributor Gary Pendergast has weighed in with this thoughts on ClassicPress, a fork of WordPress created by Scott Bowler. Pendergast praises the fork and extended an open invitation to Bowler to collaborate in the future.

As a member of the WordPress core team, I certainly hold no ill-feelings towards them, and I hope they’ll be open to working with us in the future. I hope we’ll be able to learn from their work, to improve WordPress for everyone.

Ultimately, we all share the same goal: creating a free and open web, for everyone to enjoy. While ClassicPress has styled itself as a protest against Gutenberg for now, I hope they’ll find their voice for something, instead of just against something.

Gary Pendergast

In the comments of the article, Pendergast received harsh criticism for writing blog posts instead of working on Gutenberg’s 1K plus issues on GitHub. In an example of showing grace, Pendergast responds to the person’s question of whether or not Gutenberg’s development team is correctly prioritizing their time.

“Personally, I believe we’re doing a reasonable job, though we could probably lean a little more towards blogging than we are now,” he said. “There’s been valid criticism that the Gutenberg team has been less communicative than it could be, which we’re working to address.”

Additionally, Pendergast compared the number of open issues in other projects and dismissed it as a measurement of software quality or readiness.

Personally, I miss reading blog posts about WordPress from core developers. Many of the people on the Planet WordPress feed no longer work on the project or write about WordPress.

I always enjoyed when they shared their deep knowledge of the software or explained why they decided to lead the project in a certain direction. Pendergast’s post is a breath of fresh air and something I’d like to see more often from other core contributors.

26 Comments


  1. Pendergast’s post is a breath of fresh air and something I’d like to see more often from other core contributors.

    Thanks to both of you, excellent reading.
    I recently enjoyed debating with Gary on a FB group about GB and, although our point of views were diametrically opposite, it was a pleasure having someone like him on the other side. Wishing more people like him populate this debate, especially in the plugin’s reviews…

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  2. I don’t personally think a fork is the answer but this is great from Pendergast, the true spirit of OSS, free software and an open, free web needs more advocacy.

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  3. While ClassicPress has styled itself as a protest against Gutenberg for now, I hope they’ll find their voice for something, instead of just against something.

    100% agree. If ClassicPress exists just as a means of keeping sites GB-free, it won’t last. If, however, Scott and others can work out a core philosophy to get behind, then ClassicPress has a chance of being what many of us are looking for.

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      1. The first law of unintended concequences states that, “Once the genie is out of the bottle its hard to put him back in again”

        :-)

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  4. Gary’s was one of the most refreshing and positive posts I have read in a long time, the spirit of which, coupled with ClassicPress (or whatever it ends up as) may well give the community a way forward, as opposed to Gutenberg just giving WordPress.com a way forward.

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  5. @Jeff Chandler
    Your mention of the “Planet WordPress feed” is the first I am hearing of such. I looked at it, it was 80% WPTavern posts, 15% Ma.tt and 5% HeroPress. This is an observation, not a criticism.

    Do you know any of the powers-that-be who controls the curation of that feed? Wouldn’t it be a great idea to get some more WP dev focused blogs on that list, such as ibenic.com, carlalexander.ca, pippinplugin.com, etc, added to that list?

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  6. I wonder why Planet WordPress is still online, because the Tavern already covers the entire WordPress environment.

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  7. “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”! Yeah guess which others businesses had this philosophy?….. Kodak, Nokia, Blackberry, Blockbuster, Borders, Myspace etc… Innovate or die, that’s what Gutenberg is all about.

    Im not saying im a fan… way too many bugs at the moment but im sure it will be good when its released.

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    1. So an outdated, insecure, relatively poor performing PHP version can be supported ad nauseum, because it might break somebody’s site, not to, but when it comes to editors, whether we like it or not, whether the replacement is a crock or not, whether it breaks sites or not, and even if it screws up anyone’s business, or not, now all of a sudden its a question of “innovate or die”? That’s just about the lamest excuse yet.

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      1. Realistically, you’re putting the cart before the horse here.

        Just because WordPress still supports 5.2 doesn’t mean that no action has been taken. We have worked with hosts for years to up the ante and to bring everything up to speed, regardless of the minimum version supported.

        Not everything is done through code, and definitely not through browbeating them by holding users hostage, like some want to do. You may think it’s okay to leave some of the little people in the dust to achieve change. I do not, and I’m proud of the efforts of the team over the years to reduce the number of old php versions in the stats. They did great work by merely talking to hosting services, and that should be commended.

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      2. Otto, yes I agree with you, but as you well know, PHP is not the focus of the question. The question is; how come its OK to force Gutenberg down everyone’s throats, when its not OK to do it with PHP 7.x?

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      3. Realistically, you’re giving me an answer which seeks to put words in my mouth, debates a question I didn’t ask you and ends up by bigging up your fellow accomplices. All great fun of course, but not very helpful.

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      4. @otto

        That argument would make much more sense, if there werent deep-seated security flaws in WordPress, caused by continued support of php 5.2.

        Support of 5.2 is the reason that WordPress doesn’t support real bound and prepared MySQL queries, and instead relies on sql_escape() and wpdb->prepare().

        The entire 4.8.3 fiasco was caused by this decision, and these functions continue to be fundamentally insecure on all versions of PHP, just waiting for someone to work out a properly-structured exploit.

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      5. @Terence Milbourn

        To be fully honest, I don’t understand your replies here. You seem to be assuming unsaid things and I don’t fully grasp your views.

        How does a new editor relate to PHP versions, considering that it doesn’t require them? It seems unrelated and arbitrary. I’m happy to discuss actual things, but not imaginary ones.

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      6. In all my years on this planet, I don’t think I have ever heard or read a straightforward honest answer prefaced by the words “To be honest”.

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    2. That’s a bit of a strawman argument. There are loads of examples where not changing for change sake has meant that products continue to do well. In a word: tools. Think Word, Gmail, Excel. Yes, the UI might get prettier and there may be tweaks to improve efficiency, but the fundamentals remain the same.

      WordPress is a publishing tool. It’s not broken and there are plugins to add additional functionality.

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  8. Wow yesterday I posted a critical, but polite review on the Gutenberg plugin page describing how many clicks it took me just to make a blockquote. There were no dev attacks or anything too rude in my review and now it’s deleted and I can’t view other reviews too! How strange is this feeling? Very. So strange it scares me for the future of WP and how they’ll just shut everyone up who doesn’t like what they’re doing.

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    1. No, you didn’t. We don’t “delete” things, we archive them. So I can see what was removed, and why, and the comments by the moderator that removed it.

      So, if you did post a review that was removed, it was not using the name of “Ray”.

      If you feel that you were unfairly moderated, then by all means let me know. My email is otto at wordpress.org.

      When the question if “who moderates the moderators?” is ever asked, then the answer is me. I do that. That’s my job.

      So yes, if you were unfairly moderated or blocked, then I can fix it and change the system to prevent it in the future. But, that rarely happens. Our moderators are damn good at what they do, and they don’t put up with nonsense. This isn’t them removing contrary opinions, it’s them removing spammy behavior and toxic abuse. That happens a lot more often than it should.

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      1. I’m sorry to say Otto, but you’re being a bit of a cheeky aren’t you. It’s awfully easy making out every reviewer to be horrible people doing awful things, but watching numerous responses you’ve made (as well as one you’ve made in private to me), you seem quite content to subtly troll people by stressing things people didn’t say or mean while being allergic to seeing things from other people’s shoes.

        Here you’re making a big point about not deleting things, but archiving posts and denying them a means to edit or view replies is tantamount to a full removal. The distinction is irrelevant to the person who made the submission. In another review I watched you take apart a review while vehemently denying you were critiquing his points while acting surprised. Perfectly civilised reviews have been taken down. My review got taken down for being highly critical and long-winded and I offered to put in a short review instead and I was summarily dismissed as if I had committed high crimes.

        I respect that a lot of the negative reviews on Gutenberg require moderation and this is a thankless job, but I don’t think its right to bully people with their attempts to express themselves. Inviting people to email you when its highly unlikely that you’re going to sympathize feels disingenuous to me, considering the way you put words into people’s mouths here and elsewhere.

        If you are taking feedback on board, maybe the mod team might consider a different way to dealing with reviews that don’t meet the guidelines. Instead of ‘archiving them’ and shoeing people off, put them in moderation and instruct the reviewer how their review doesn’t comply and allow them to edit it accordingly with consistency. Given the volume of reviews that have required moderation and your prolific activity, maybe its not all users fault. Maybe the review page itself could be redesigned to encourage better reviews.

        It’s not healthy to treat large numbers of people as malicious actors and such treatment only furthers division, which we can all agree we can do with less of. WP is certainly not helped by making people feel like their voices don’t count or are unwanted.

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      2. Peter, you wrote a 2200 word manifesto. In the shorter version you attempted to write later, you titled the review “A steaming pile of”…

        Sorry, but if you’re going to act out that sort of toxic, then you’re going to be called out on it. In this case, you pretty literally shat on the 2nd try there.

        Let me give you an example of the kind of person that the mods are dealing with here.

        Couple weeks ago, I got an email from an aggrieved reviewer. He basically asked “Can you explain this?” In this case “this” was his account being flagged. I looked into it, as I always do, and he was flagged because he wrote a response in somebody’s unrelated thread of “Gee, a year and still no one bothered to answer this. Wow.” Note that he was just flagged for review. Nothing else. Not blocked, not banned, just marked as somebody to be watched in case he went off on a tear. Which, of course, he proceeded to do moments later.

        He went on to rant about free speech, called people “sniveling cowards”, and then sent me a wonderfully long ranty set of emails about Gutenberg (which was not at all related to any of his forum postings) and called me, quote, “a pathetic cowardly pussified corporate whore”. That one was pretty good, actually. I respect that. Despite not being “corporate” in the slightest, to me, that really shows off what he thinks, and I appreciate that kind of verbosity.

        Nevertheless, I didn’t ban the guy. Because what he emails me, hell, I get that twice a week and usually once for breakfast, but still, he emailed me about it instead of ranting on the forums about his personal problems.

        The view I have is that I don’t really care what you call me. I’m hard; I can take it. But our volunteer moderators do their damnest to keep that kind of crap off the forums, and when they are clearly doing their job by preventing rants and toxicity, then I will back them every single time. They’re not paid to do this, and they do *great* at it.

        If they do wrong, and they do (they’re human), then I correct them and move on. Everybody makes mistakes. I correct those mistakes, and let them know why and how to improve in the future. Somebody emailing me and being ranty means that something went wrong, so yes, I correct it. But what I think it correct and what the ranty person thinks is correct ain’t always the same. This is indeed a community, and if somebody is being a jerk, then they get shown the door. That’s how it is.

        Now, yes, sometimes I am sarcastic. My humor doesn’t always come through text. My bad, and I admit that it is something of a character flaw. But nevertheless, my goal is always the same: I try to help people. You can point to the time where I once gave somebody a bit of a hard time, but you can just as easily point to the time like 10 years ago where I was a complete dick to somebody. These are all me. I own them, and I have apologized when I was wrong or even just being too harsh. Text is not an emotive medium, and I’ve always had issues with it. Nevertheless, I own my mistakes. But my mistakes are not an excuse for others to act out, because again, we are human, and we are not perfect.

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      3. Otto, listen to what you’re saying here man. This isn’t moderation. This is censorship. And its so far away from the goal of democratising publishing, you really should ask yourself whether you can continue, if you’re going to be this heavy-handed.

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      4. @Otto, I obviously can’t comment on the nature of the correspondence you receive, because I haven’t seen it. But I did read Peter’s original review, and there is no way that it fits the definition of a “manifesto.”

        It was, in fact, a careful, step-by-step account of the problems that he found when trying to use Gutenberg and how, despite being a developer, he found that normal methods of debugging were essentially blocked by the architectural choices made by the GB team.

        I would argue that Peter’s was actually a model review — I certainly learned things from it — and the fact that it was “archived” makes it very clear that to me that the moderation process on the Gutenberg plugin is badly flawed.

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      5. @otto, I own my mistakes as well Otto. Unlike what you’re saying here, you have the order of my submissions flipped. You also misquoted me in your email.

        I wrote one review that was colorful, but was suddenly moderated weeks(?) after the fact. It was pulled with no communication to me, so I tried again. That turned out to be very long review and as far as I can tell there is no formal policy against length itself, but I was chastised for it, multiple times. Nevertheless, I don’t think the grounds for moderation itself were overly unreasonably, but I was definitely off-put by how it was communicated. I politely offered to put in a short review instead, you stonewalled. I didn’t badger you with insults like the example given here. The impression I get is that you are assuming the worst in people and that leads you, perhaps, to read and misread things as if these people had malice on their minds.

        Given that you do arbitrate comments, it’s important to be factually correct to be perceived as fair. If you invite people to email you under the guise that you’ll give a fair look at it and then proceed to make basic reading mistakes while mischaracterising words and putting words in people’s mouths, it makes your invitation for people to email you look disingenuous.

        Lots of people want to speak their minds on Gutenberg and want to be heard. Labeling it all as toxicity and horribleness does not help the Gutenberg transition. Given that the overarching theme around Gutenberg is about people’s concerns being disregarded, the perception that reviews are being taken down aggressively does not engender trust with those people.

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      6. Otto has done more damage to Gutenberg, and WP in general, with his comments, moderation and handling of reviews than the negative reviews themselves.

        His method is to systematically reply out of context with false arguments, trying to divert the discussion somewhere else.

        I already wrote here that his comments were arrogant, without mentioning any specific quotes.
        He then replies “Those aren’t things we said”. If you follow up in that mental trap, you end up discussing about something else.
        The sort of thing like the above: your comments were not “deleted” but “archived”.

        Those who read Gutenberg reviews (at least what is left online) and moderation replies will understand.

        Another interesting reading is about what happened to one of the most successful WP plugins that ended up being removed from the repo: WP Spamshield.
        The full story is here.

        Just search for “Otto” in there and you’ll get 90 hits.

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