How Not to Communicate Grievances with WordPress

A few days ago, I offered advice on how non-developers can contribute to and influence core WordPress development. Communicating online is hard but where and how you communicate affects the likelihood of making an impact.

CMS Critic is a site I’ve read for years as it routinely publishes articles on a variety of content management systems, including WordPress.

In late October, Kaya Ismail published an article that describes how WordPress needs to improve itself in six ways. What could have been a great article, is instead a great example of how not to communicate grievances you have with WordPress.

Twenty Sixteen Developers Are Lazy

Many people, including myself have an opinion of the Twenty Sixteen theme in WordPress 4.4. Ismail thinks the developers behind the theme are lazy.

I totally understand that WordPress doesn’t need to compete with the massive library of third-party themes available out there, but that doesn’t mean that they should lead with a default theme as bad as that. It’s nothing short of lazy.

Tammie Lister, Takashi Irie, and others continue to work hard on Twenty Sixteen to prepare it for the WordPress 4.4 release in December. They are far from lazy people making Ismail’s opinion more of an insult. He doesn’t provide any examples or ideas on what should be in a default theme.

The WordPress Plugin Directory

According to Ismail, the WordPress plugin directory is filled with large chunks of trash in addition to great plugins. While some plugins in the directory could be coded better, his explanation falls short of describing a solution.

Many plugins simply don’t work, while many more are poorly put together, which in turn makes WordPress as a platform harder to use. Quality control needs to improve.

He doesn’t link to plugins that are broken, provide any code samples, or show where quality control is lacking. His statement is an assumption that’s not backed by evidence.

Those who oversee the plugin directory don’t test every submitted plugin to make sure it works with WordPress. Among other things, their job is to make sure plugin submissions don’t have security issues. If the moderators performed quality control on every plugin, the submission queue would likely have a substantial backlog.

Instead of writing baseless assumptions, Ismail should monitor the Make WordPress Plugins site to stay on top of what’s going on with the plugin directory and submit feedback where necessary. If a broken plugin is discovered, he should create a forum thread within the plugin’s support area.

This way, his feedback is seen by those who directly control the WordPress plugin directory. The simple act of reporting a broken plugin to the developer is a major step towards being part of the solution and not the problem.

Admin Menu Clutter

I agree with Ismail’s opinion that the WordPress admin menus can become cluttered if the right plugins are activated. At least in this case, he suggests an alternative.

I’d like to see WordPress group third-party menu options together, in a way that’s a little more organized and less intrusive. Perhaps this can be done by giving them a sub-section within the menu which can be collapsed. The solution itself is up to them, but the problem is evident.

There are guidelines for when plugin developers should create top-level or sub-level menu items but they’re not followed as well as they could be. Without strictly enforcing these guidelines, it’s out of WordPress’ hands. The complaint is aimed in the wrong direction and should point towards third-party developers, not WordPress itself.

If you want more control in how items are displayed in the admin menu, I recommend using the Menu Humility plugin by Mark Jaquith.

Akismet is Not Enough

According to Ismail, comment spam is a major issue with WordPress sites and Akismet doesn’t do enough to stop it.

Akismet, a spam comment filter, now comes with every WordPress install – which is a good thing. But the free version doesn’t do enough for me, as comments still pile up in the back end. If you ask me, WordPress needs to find another way to turn the unrelenting tide of spam.

To clarify, Akismet has been bundled with WordPress since version 2.0 and there’s no difference between the free and commercial versions in how Akismet protects sites. He doesn’t provide any suggestions on what WordPress could do to thwart spam but says it has to do something.

What are members of the WordPress core team supposed to do with this kind of feedback? It’s not helpful, doesn’t provide any ideas, and is easy to discard.

Updates are Hard

Depending on your webhost’s configuration, updating themes, plugins, and WordPress is as simple as clicking a button. For the more adventurous, you can configure them to happen automatically. For Ismail, the update process is difficult.

Updating a plugin may cause conflicts between it and another plugin. Updating a theme can erase your modifications (unless you use a child theme), whereas updating WordPress itself can render a variety of your plugins redundant until their developers apply a patch. Confused yet? You should be.

He makes a few good points but editing a theme instead of a child theme is like editing WordPress core files which should almost never happen. It’s true that there is a slight risk of things breaking after an update but it’s more of an anomaly than a common occurrence.

Ismail suggests that WordPress look into preserving theme changes across the board and to provide alerts if  plugins interfere with each other. I like these suggestions and my hope is that one day, WordPress will be able to create a snapshot during the update process to provide assurance that the site won’t break after an update is applied.

WordPress Hack-a-thon

Ismail’s last point is how WordPress can improve its security.

I think we can all agree that WordPress needs to beef itself up (by shoring up its admin login page, for example), but I call for it to go a step further and start offering better protection, even if it comes at a small price.

Third party solutions exist, sure. But why should I have to patch together several security plugins, each with their own confusing settings, just to secure my website? Many WordPress users have become accustom to handling their own security in this way; but I think WordPress needs to take on more responsibility.

He wants WordPress to go a step further and offer better protection but doesn’t say what that protection is. He also doesn’t explain where, how, or why WordPress should take on more responsibility to make sites more secure.

Be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

Ismail concludes his article by saying it’s time for WordPress to innovate. He also says, “The onus isn’t on me to provide the solution, it’s upon WordPress. And it’s about time they started coming up with innovative solutions for their long-standing issues.”

The article is another example of how CMS Critic chooses not to be part of the solution. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but airing grievances which sound more like demands and telling core developers to start innovating is not a recipe for results.

This quote from WordPress core developer, Mark Jaquith, eloquently describes how important communication skills are in an open source project.

The number one skill you need for just about any job, but specifically working on open source, is communication skills. You need to have clarity, consistency, compassion, relatability, a little bit of a thick skin and a decent sense of humor.

The onus may not be on Ismail or any of us to come up with solutions, but he and others can help discover and be part of solutions by taking an active role in giving constructive feedback in the right place. WordPress has its fair share of issues but there are plenty of opportunities for people to step up and contribute to make the software better.

97 Comments


  1. Jeff! You have made some excellent points in this post. Couldn’t agree more.

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  2. Good post, and great Mark Jaquith quote! May I know where you took it from?

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      1. Jeff, somebody just entered a post in this thread from the past, it caused the digest to be resent to me, and for me to re-read it all again; to get the context.

        I’d just like to say this …

        I am shocked at what I wrote back then ~ the unnecessary attacks and for venting my frustration at almost anyone and everyone.

        Especially the comments I made about you.

        When I first re-read it I honestly didn’t recognize the words as my own.

        I apologize sincerely abjectly to you Jeff, for my contribution to this thread ~ and others ~ and to the unnecessary rancor I may have caused.

        I was in a bad place back then and I let it spill over into my online life with views and opinions which were at best, unnecessary and unhelpful grandstanding, and at worst, just plain wrong. And, on occasions, quite unkind.

        I am not that person Jeff, and I don’t want you or anyone to think I am.

        Please accept my apologies this bad behaviour.

        I will try not to ever let it happen again.

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    1. I don’t know if I’d go as far as to call them trolls. That’s an insult and we already have enough of those flying around these days.

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  3. I am not sure, if journalist have to always provide solution too. I think some criticism is valuable too.
    If user give a feedback to developer that something does not work well, its valuable too.

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    1. Constructive criticism is valuable but the type of criticism routinely published on CMS Critic about WordPress is unfounded and not backed by data and experiences.

      What if I were using a plugin you created and simply told you that it doesn’t work without providing any additional information? What can you as a developer do with that feedback to solve the problem? I’m guessing next to nothing.

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      1. If WordPress attacks masses and plugin/theme’s marketing tell to potential users that everything is easy, just click click click, hosting companies provide one click installation … Entry barrier is low. Just today I read post in support forum, about database connection error

        The host, tells me the likely problem is that username and password information in my wp-config.php file is incorrect. But I don’t have a clue about how to fix this.

        What kind of feedback, solution do you expect from him? Its probably even hard to explain him what is ftp and how to reach that file.
        Even if he write “it does not work” tomorrow about some plugin it would be hard to blame him for this.

        So if WP or developer target users without technical skills, then they can not expect engineering from them ;)

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  4. Jeff, this is a great post. Open-source and the nature of the internet inviting everyone to comment is good, but doesn’t teach how to do it right. It’s a hard battle, but posts like that help.

    That said, I think some of what he had to say has some merit, even if he was more click-batey than constructive. For example:

    Many plugins simply don’t work, while many more are poorly put together, which in turn makes WordPress as a platform harder to use. Quality control needs to improve.

    I couldn’t agree more with this. Yes, WordPress doesn’t endorse all 250 bajillion plugins in the repo, but I can see how it would seem that way to the end-user. A full VIP-style code review on everyone isn’t possible.

    But if you could give the works/ doesn’t work feedback from inside the WordPress dashboard, that would help create usable data on what plugins work or needed work.

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    1. If it doesn’t work, people will not use it, therefor you will never learn anything from that especially since “doesn’t work” can mean doesn’t meet my expectations, something that doesn’t have anything to do directly with the quality of the plugin.

      Even if the wordpress.org team would have checked that none of the plugins generate PHP notices and all of them confront to WP standard it will still not help the user to know if the plugin will actually work for him in the way he needs without coliding with other plugins/themes.

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    2. Quality control is not a sustainable method. Education is the best weapon we have to combat the problem of poorly written plugins.

      Mark makes some great points with regards to the Works/Doesn’t Work data. Getting the feedback from within the backend of WordPress might help increase the amount of data developers have to work with, but would that data solve the overall problem?

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      1. There is no way we can expect full code review of everything, nor does it make any sense. But the current situation isn’t good for us all.

        I think that if there was more data on works/doesn’t work, it could help inform user better at the very least and potentially write a script to alert a human that a plugin might not be working. WordPress.org among many other things is a analytics collection tool. This is a good way that collection could be used for all of our benefit.

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    3. As a dev I’d like the idea of getting more feedback and making it easier for users to give feedback is great, that is motivating.

      If that feedback becomes an instant judgment of the plugin that is shown publicly on the repo, I think it can create negative reinforcement that actually deters people from sharing their code.

      Most users can’t or don’t have the time to assess quality.

      Take the review system, when people submit a low rating it could be for a whole range of issues that are not the fault of the developer:
      – user had the wrong expectations (plugin did not do X)
      – user encountered buggy behavior (reason undetermined, could be plugin conflict)
      – user views a bug as indicator of plugin quality (but even the best quality plugins have bugs)
      – missing feature is considered a bug
      – user attempted to use plugin for something it wasn’t fit for

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  5. Great article, thanks so much. It reminds me of how I should be in all areas of my life.

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  6. Thanks Jeff for furthering your series on open source contributions. It’s valuable to make the distinction between proactive communication and blank stare criticism and you’ve shown some good examples.

    I don’t get much time these days to go bug ticket fishing, but I see the tickets on a couple of projects I follow. From what I read occasionly, I hope your message grows. I’ve submitted bugs to Apache, PHP, WordPress, and plugins here and there over almost 20 years now. Every project has a different attitude, but good communities with positive methods continue to succeed while negative projects rot fast.

    Keep it up!

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  7. It always amuses me when people who don’t contribute to WordPress at all jump up to criticize it, whether from an accessibility standpoint or otherwise. It’s like people have nothing better to do than to tell a bunch of unpaid volunteers how things ought to be done.

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    1. Just notice, there are paid contributors too. Quality criticism helps, not hurts.

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    2. It’s not the criticism that’s the issue and good criticism can be a form of contributing, even as an outsider. I think the issue is whether it’s based on a good understanding of the platform and it’s standing in the rest of the web.

      All of the points Kaya raises are not really damning of WordPress specifically. They are just highlighting pain points that are shared with all projects that have a lot of people contributing and have a long history. What platform has figured out how to handle updates in a nice way that isn’t a small closed platform with a unified team? What platform that welcomes thousands of developers meets arbitrarily high standards set across the board. What popular platform is immune to security threats and exploits?

      I don’t think all of the issues he points out can’t outright be solved without fundamentally changing what WordPress is, there are only areas where some progress can be made. It’s like wanting something to be cheap, high quality and fast when you can only pick two.

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    3. actually…it is our jobs to tell those unpaid volunteers. How do they pick which features to pick for next version, if those unpaid volunteers are not happy then there are at least 50,000 people around the world willing to do it.

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  8. I saw the original article when it was posted on /r/WordPress and I ignored it just like the other 1001 click-bait article posted there begging for attention.

    I don’t feed trolls.

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  9. GREAT POST JEFF. As a contributor to WP I don’t really appreciate the bashing. It’s easy to complain, maybe this guy should get involved and fix what he doesn’t like from the inside.

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  10. Why should I bother to give a full explanation?

    It is not bashing what is in the article. That article is just pointing out issues with WordPress. Why should the author say how to fix things?

    There are plugin/theme authors who will attack anyone who critcises their plugin/theme. so why would I bother writing a full explanation?

    Some explanations are obvious…the plugins directory sucks with all the old garbage in it…OBVIOUS solution: get rid of the older plugins.

    I have been saying this since almost the begining..plugins should be checked for security AND if it works with current version of WordPress. Just like the quantity of plugins on WP.org…there are a lot more people around the world who would love to check plugins if the current plugin testers can’t or won’t do it.

    How can we improve WordPress and it’s community if we are all kissing each others’s rear ends?

    Why should I even bother to do more than rate a plugin/theme a 1* when I get from the author to F— off and be grateful for a free plugin/theme or that I have no right to demand any features on the plugin/theme?

    Am I asking too much for a plugin/theme to work with current version of WordPress and the author TO BE THANKFUL that I am telling him/her/it about issues with his/her plugin/theme, insteadd of just deactivate+delete+get a new plugin/theme? Of course not.

    OH so many authors can’t handle an ounce of any kind of criticism.

    A plugin screwed my site so badly, I had to start all over again, fresh install of WP, with the theme and the other plugins outside this plugin that screwed me. After I wrote to the author about the issue, he told me to go F a goat.

    For the record, I won’t go F a goat. I am too lazy to go to go to the nearest petting zoo.

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    1. So basically you blame the plugin author for the fact that you haven’t followed basic deployment procedure of testing things on a staging site first, or just having a good backup policy.

      People that think that any piece of software will work in every setting should just stop smoking the good stuff. People that expect that people (plugin authors) that they didn’t pay, and usually didn’t care to say a good word to, will lose a minute of free time to make them happy are just delusional.

      The plugins in the repository have no guaranty of working (actually wordpress also don’t). If you want a guaranty pay someone (the plugin author ?) to have a support contract.

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      1. Assorootry, as we say in Japan.

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  11. Jeff.. You have hit the nail right on the forehead.
    If we take the WordPress plugins directory for an example (some of the very well maintained plugins), you will see one thing in common… some folks will install a plugin, if it works great. But if it does not, they will just write a stupid negative review and give the lowest possible rating. They don’t even raise the issues that they face on the support forums. I mean… so many developers work out of passion and develop plugins for wordpress, then they make it freely available to all, and it is really mean on the part of these people to walk out by posting a negative review, without even giving an idea to the developer as to what their issues were…

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  12. 1. I completely disagree with Point #1. Minimalist flat performance oriented design is what is most popular these days.

    2. I completely disagree with Point #2. The point of allowing anyone to create a plugin is so they can learn and grow and participate in general.

    3. I completely disagree with Point #3. Doing something like that will cause major unnecessary confusion and complications and frankly is simply just a terrible idea.

    4. I completely disagree with Point #4. That is what anti-spam plugins are for and additional/extended/expanded spam control should not be a responsibility that falls on the WP Core.

    5. I completely disagree with Point #5. Everything that was stated is completely the opposite of reality so there isn’t any point in negating disreality statements since they are completely false/wrong.

    6. I completely disagree with Point #6. That is what security plugins are for and additional/extended/expanded security control should not be a responsibility that falls on the WP Core.

    Summary: I get opinions like this from time to time about my plugin. I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that some people really think they know what is going on and they are the most difficult of people to deal with and tolerate because they honestly really think they know something. ;)

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  13. Additional important note: As a Developer it is important to look at everything from the perspective of a User, which can be challenging to do since you basically have to forget everything that you know and try to look at things like you do not understand anything or are seeing something for the first time. ie is it easy to figure out or difficult to figure out. Is the flow logical or not logical, etc etc etc. So if a User is not attempting to look at things from the perspective of a Developer then their opinion is lacking the “big picture” perspective. Or in other words, is a tunnel vision perspective.

    Oh and excellent post as usual Jeff. :) It is a question that is always on my mind these days. ie How do I handle negative opinions? Do I say something about negative opinions, do I ignore them, do I negate them, do I debate them. ;)

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  14. Ok one last comment from me. I decided to look around the cmscritic website. The cmscritic website is packed full of ridiculous claims and bad information – to put it frankly I found lots of crap. I assume the primary goal of the site is to be controversial in order to get visitors – Troll Baiting Site. Hopefully most people can clearly see that and do not believe anything they read on that site. Ugh.

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  15. Jeff,
    Great points. Certainly diplomacy, participation, and constructive thoughts are best.

    Still, I don’t mind hearing harsh opinions from outside our comfy WordPress bubble. Admittedly, I would take it harder if I were being directly criticized. But I think it’s valuable to get the outside view. I’ve used lots of CMS systems, some for years, so I like the wide view, even if it’s a bit nasty.

    Kaya is looking at all kinds of systems, so those opinions will tend to be shooting from the hip, so I take that into account. No one has time to carefully track all the issues of every CMS system.

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  16. His critique is definitely lacking helpful suggestions and good solutions. Complaining is easy (and in some cases it feels like that’s all you can do, because it seems no one is listening).

    It’s much harder to think up a real solution, and then to commit the time to understanding the codebase enough to implement the solution (or at least help it along).

    Thanks for the link to the “Menu Humility” plugin, btw. I have several plugins that insist on fighting for space at the top of the admin bar. It’s nice to have them where they belong at the bottom.

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  17. Maybe he’s just like the rest of us who are sick and tired of being ignored when we point out blindingly obvious solutions to the problems with the whole management and presentation of the repository, for example.

    And I know why we are all ignored.

    Because almost all programmers are code divas ~ not code divers. They don’t want to do revision, repair and re-purposing. They want to be ‘out there’ doing exiting stuff, and getting accolades from their peers.

    They don’t care for plaudits and gratitude from end users it seems.

    If only someone would come up with a plugin called “Developer Humility” we might get somewhere.

    But failing that, we will no doubt be told how this and that is still not possible, which means you cannot even list the plugins in “the suppository” which are compatible with your version of WordPress.

    OK, if we can get a man on the moon, now give me a genuine reason why that can’t be done ~ other than the one I have mentioned.

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    1. I doubt you or other people are being ignored by Developers. What is more likely is the majority of folks want X and others want Y and Z. If 90% of the folks are happy with X then it would be a dumb move to change things to Y and Z. Unfortunately, just like everything else in the world it is a numbers game. You shoot for majority appeal and accept that you are not going to satisfy everyone since that is impossible to do that with anything. Bottom line – Why change something when 90% of the people are happy with it.

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    2. Terence is that based on conversations you’ve had with actual contributors or do you draw that conclusion from something else? I don’t think it represents those that contribute to WordPress at all. There were 246 listed contributors to the 4.3 release alone and that group is always shifting in composition. Contributors are users to, it is users that are making WordPress.

      It’s also a myth that individual contributors dictate what features they can work on, it really depends on the focus of each release and priorities that are set. Those are set by lots of people not any single code diva gets to do as it pleases as you put it. There are years-old tickets that core devs have submitted themselves and would love to work on but can’t because there are so many priorities to manage. Actually this is one reason why the next release is so awesome because things like term meta and the JSON api have been years in the making. If core devs were so self-absorbed some of this stuff would have been in WordPress a long time ago (at the expense of platform stability and other priorities).

      The areas that are worked on are a representation of the momentum these areas have and the number of people willing to fork over their time to make it happen. Any release can see a chosen area getting attention if the people show up for it.

      I don’t agree with every feature or decision that is made but I really don’t believe those that are contributing have a closed mind or tunnel vision. I think if you really follow how some of these contributors go to work, you wouldn’t come to those conclusions. The amount of thought that goes in to most of the decisions is impressive (but doesn’t guarantee perfect results). I’ve followed the evolution of the JSON REST API and all the work that has gone into making widgets customizer ready and I come away from that with a feeling of awe.

      To me, faulting the contributors is the same as faulting the user base and it just doesn’t make sense to approach the platform that way. Every user can help shape WordPress into the platform they want it to be. The problem as some people put it makes it sound like there is a fixed group of makers that are servants to the community but act like selfish divas (especially to those that want a product to suit their unique needs). To me it’s users all the way down, shaping a platform.

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      1. Peter,

        Its my 68th birthday this week.

        And I have worked with developers for too many years now to believe that the idealised world-view of WordPress development, to which you refer, is the reality.

        From my experience its just not possible to take ego out of the equation.

        So however you explain the machinations of which development sees the light of day, and which doesn’t, once thing is for sure.

        Behind the development you see, whether you or I think it a good idea or no, is at least one committed developer.

        So kid yourself on if you like, but the fundamental reason why so much that needs doing doesn’t get done, is “hubris”, in one form or another.

        Its just the way they are.

        The way we all are.

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      2. Sure hubris and ego is not uncommon among developers. I just don’t think it’s the driving cause of the pain points people bring up. What I see is people disagreeing with decisions/direction/priorities and concluding that they are not being listened to and then concluding that the developers are doing things beyond the interest of the userbase because of whatever negative attributes they ascribe to contributors..

        There is a certain amount of hubris involved in assuming as a user that certain decisions should or shouldn’t have been made!

        I also don’t think I have a radically idealized world view of how things work, to me it’s rather pragmatic. It’s an imperfect process because we have a lot of people involved, a huge userbase, a big piece of software, lots of competing demands all operating on a limited time line. There’s no way that isn’t going to create friction.

        If it’s possible to have all of the benefits of running the most popular platform without the complications than come with it, I’d like to know how this can be done.

        What does the perfect update mechanism work that keeps sites in aggregate secure and up to date but doesn’t break things? What rapidly developing platform has got this down perfectly?

        How does one manage perfectly what features should make it in and what features should move out without upsetting some portion of users? Is that even possible?

        How would significantly tightening repo quality standards work without discouraging and shutting out new developers and theme authors from trying, learning and innovating?

        Some people want enterprise grade quality from projects made by small developers that are sharing their work for free. And even enterprise grade plugins can’t hope to work with every single configuration out there, because every WordPress environment is different – no amount of testing is going to get it right every single time.

        Why does it fall on WP.org, a community driven site to provide businesses with ‘no-fail’ enterprise-grade plugins and themes, for free. Where does the notion come from that there should be an army of people out there working to make that possible, testing things tirelessly before daring to put their work out there in the hopes it doesn’t inconvenience a business owner if things don’t work on their unique site as the user had hoped?

        To me it’s better to have the right expectations. If you are going to take advantage of plugins created by the community that person is wise to accept the possible downsides. This means you might have to try out a few plugins and you might run into some issues. The fact that all those projects are readily available to be applied to anyone’s website is still an overwhelming net benefit and community feat.

        If you’re a power user running multiple sites, whatever your slights are, issues that bother you are bound to feel magnified. But there’s no parallel universe where WordPress is done the ‘right’ way because all the developers are better ego-less servants to the community and no issues crop up. That’s an idealized universe, it’s not even possible – a fantasy – without fundamentally changing what WordPress is, or how humans work, or how the web works.

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      3. Well said, Peter. I agree with everything.

        Except one thing ~ “servants to the community”.

        In an ideal world, they are “of service to the community”. And that’s quite a different thing.

        But, let’s just for a moment suspend reality, and say your worldview is correct; it still doesn’t explain why ~ probably the greatest resource possessed by the community ~ is unable to provide a simple filter to show you the only the plugins which have been certified by the developer to work with the current version.

        Don’t you think that’s perverse?

        I think it is, obviously, but I won’t labor that point any further.

        I will just content myself with being ignored for another year, and leave the developers in peace to go on doing interesting stuff.

        I just wish one or two of them were willing to be “of service to the community” enough to say, it’s broke, and I am the man/woman to fix it!

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      4. But, let’s just for a moment suspend reality, and say your worldview is correct; it still doesn’t explain why ~ probably the greatest resource possessed by the community ~ is unable to provide a simple filter to show you the only the plugins which have been certified by the developer to work with the current version.

        https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/29439 is the only ticket I’ve seen on this. That’s for the filter in WP admin, no tickets on https://meta.trac.wordpress.org/ for the repository itself (feel free to create one)

        I think it didn’t get much traction because most of the plugins written for an older version still work perfectly fine in newer releases due to WordPress’ strong commitment to backwards compatibility.

        On the other hand, even if the plugin author marked it as compatible with the current version, it could still be incompatible with a particular install, since each environment is different and testing every possible configuration is not feasible. So the version filter might be not that helpful in the long run.

        If a plugin is clearly outdated or broken, it’s usually obvious from the rating or the “hasn’t been updated in over 2 years” notice. Some plugins with that notice may still work fine though, especially those with just a few lines of code.

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      5. Sergey, if you look to trac ~ to find out what the world wants ~ you will simply find the ideas and egos of other devs.

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  18. Hmm for me with coding it is simply just “time” and nothing else that prevents me from getting everything done when I want to get it done. For me personally, I estimate how much time I think a particular new coding task will take and then multiply by 3 times and that usually is fairly close to the actual completion time (ie appears to be a 3 day job on the surface then multiply x3 = 9 day job) and then of course you have the Dev bugtesting and Live bugtesting phases to complete and help text and messaging creation. If you are smart you work on high priority tasks first so that you can bail on any lower priority tasks, which is the norm on every software version release that I have ever done. Ie at least one thing is going to get bumped on every version release. Usually more like 3-4 things.

    It was not too long ago that Shiny Updates knocked my socks off, but yeah just like a new car, the newness fades with time. Shiny Updates, Post Revisions and the Theme Customizer are totally freakin AWESOME! If anyone says differently then they are just BS’ing themselves. ;)

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  19. If Terry Bradshaw reports his opinion of Greg Hardy, Terry’s not responsible for changing Hardy’s actions is he? When a Sucuri finds a vulnerability, are they then required to serve up the solution?

    Of course neither of these scenarios are valid. However…. There is merit to these articles. And it’s past time that people get over themselves.

    Yes, I love WordPress and WooCommerce. I love providing big scale solutions that put food on the table for a thousands of families. But…. There needs to be an end to this mentality of:

    “Your opinion is not valid unless you’re a contributor”

    “Your perspective is only quantified if you yourself can come up with the solution”

    “Thy voice is now null b/c you are not ___(justification)____ Muwahahaha”

    “We’re sorry to inform you, but you must be fully versed in php, jquery, css, and java before you can ever make a comment on the experience”

    When it’s said that bluntly, it starts to make a bit more sense doesn’t it?

    Here, let me let someone else (who writes much better, and whose voice is much bigger) give you his opinion:
    btw: Best Line?

    What if the real risk is that your plugin functions but doesn’t get traction because users feel like it’s too complicated? What if the real challenge is that you’ve created a technically competent solution that has no empathy for its intended user?

    Chris Lema’s full article is here.

    A patient who has the wrong toe cut off isn’t simply wrong because they are not a doctor.

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    1. Personally I think it is a case by case thing based on the individual and of course whatever the particular situation is. One thing that will definitely shut down all communications is rudeness or disrepect. If someone is being rude or disrepectful to you in any aspect of your life then you do not have to tolerate that crap. I have respectfully contacted other plugin authors about something that needed attention and they immediately got defensive. I have respectfully contacted other plugin authors and I got thanked for pointing out something that needed attention. So from my experience it is simply based on the individual on a case by case basis. When someone is rude or disrespectful to me directly I give them a chance to focus on the point by not reacting to their attack and instead try to get things back on track, but if they continue to be an ass then I will not continue to waste any more of my time on that person.

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  20. but editing a theme instead of a child theme is like editing WordPress core files which should almost never happen

    I can give you a few million examples: anything based off Genesis. It takes the parent theme, which means all it’s themes are child themes. This leaves you no choice but to customise the child themes directly given you can’t child a child theme. This then renders them un-updateable without a developer (and $$$) to merge updates into the new version.

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  21. While I agree with much of the post as a general concept, I have to say that I think it also reflects a certain gap between end users and developers.

    Not everyone is in the position to both articulate a problem and come up with a suitable patch to handle it. Many wordpress installs are run by people who were pretty much challenged by the “one click install”. They are not technical, perhaps in another generation they would have had a flashing clock VCR. But they are a big enough percentage of the users to be meaningful. So having a way for them to note problems, to express complaints, etc… it’s all good.

    Sadly, the first place most of them go is the wordpress support forums, likely with the mistaken view that it’s actually support. it’s more like “friends helping friends”. Most of their complaints will dead end here, and they will either move away from wordpress if they can’t figure out their issues, or just accept whatever shortcomings they see and make the best of it, perhaps never truly satisfied. There certainly needs to be stronger engagement with these people, they are a core use demographic.

    Making people feel welcome and making them feel that their concerns are valid is very important. Talking down to them or denigrating them in public is never going to work out. Their questions may be stupid, their attitudes may suck, but they are the very users the product was originally intended for. Let’s not forget it.

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  22. I think we’ve all been guilty of ‘criticism’ like this before now – I know I have! But you’re right, Jeff. Even if 1% of people give this a read and change the way they communicate, that’ll be a start.

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  23. Hi Jeff, thanks for sharing the honest opinion especially about “Twenty Sixteen” theme, though the theme is good, it is not up to the mark. It feels like it is an updated version of Twenty Twelve theme. After seeing the most popular Twenty Fifteen theme, wordpress lovers had expected an elegant theme.

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  24. I don’t think anyone involved with WordPress can post “How Not to Communicate Grievances with WordPress” and keep a straight face.

    This is a two way street. My history with communicating with most WordPress.org developers is they do not honor the “code” of open source and most lack any skill at tactfully responding to criticism.

    When I matured in the world of open source development, developers contributed by sending critical emails, phone calls, chats, diff’s, branches, etc.. explaining bugs and offering solutions. Every time I tweeted or emailed a WordPress developer, if I was lucky I got a “contact this person” response. Most cases I was never responded to, and in some, told I was wrong repeatedly even after presenting solid test cases that said otherwise.

    I’ve found there’s a big difference between folks that are involved with “core” (wordpress.org). and those who just work on their own plugins or themes. Those with their own initiatives are much more receptive to cooperation, collaborating with development, sharing bugs, etc… Open source is alive and well among the themes and plugins outside of wordpress.org.

    Here’s what is different with WordPress than with other open source projects:

    * Developers do not communicate with the users very well or at all
    * There’s a reluctance to acknowledge bugs
    * Politics are strong in WordPress, I’ve seen people treat me a certain way because they want to protect their turf

    I think these fundamental problems need to be addressed first before criticizing others for being critics.

    The experiences I had with WordPress devs got worse and worse from 2005-2010. Finally in 2010 one last spat with someone who was acting all high and mighty about “they are WordPress, and that it’s not a bug”, I decided I would never get involved in core development. Many others make this same decision because of this culture. A lot of talented developers lost because of the culture.

    I frown when I see a post like this. How are WordPress developers trained in dealing with users? How are they educated to foster open source and to encourage contributors to join? What customer service skills are covered? How are volunteers who work in WP booths trained on how to interact with someone who comes to the booth? What is the penalty when someone from wordpress.org is rude to someone?

    I’m being critical in order for my comment to maybe make an difference. I will say though the past couple of years has been better, but as recent as NAB/MNX 2015 I saw a couple bad apples at the WordPress booth who had something better to do on their laptop then talk to someone, which is why many first impressions of WordPress turns into bad ones.

    As far as the last critical review from October 26th, they are right, WordPress is getting bloated. How about taking features that are in WordPress and convert them into plugins? Put them in the plugins folder in the distro, but let the user decide to enable/disable them. New features are now developed as plugins that are merged, simply remove the merge part and then everyone would be happy.

    In a perfect world in my opinion, there would be a mature version of WordPress and the plugins (a default package of plugins) would be the focus of development.

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    1. +1.

      It is just hard to communicate with core developers as it seems like their first instinct is to dismiss whatever you say. I decided on a strategy of avoiding opening tickets unless it is very obvious that I am right, and even then open them only if I need the issue to be solved.

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    2. When I matured in the world of open source development, developers contributed by sending critical emails, phone calls, chats, diff’s, branches, etc.. explaining bugs and offering solutions. Every time I tweeted or emailed a WordPress developer, if I was lucky I got a “contact this person” response. Most cases I was never responded to, and in some, told I was wrong repeatedly even after presenting solid test cases that said otherwise.

      If you have a bug report or a feature request, trying to contact individual contributors might not be the best way to present it, as some of them get a lot of email and cannot always reply or even see the message in a timely manner.

      Using the right channels (Trac, Slack channel, make/core blog) generally works better.

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  25. Some top-of-mind thoughts:

    Many people see WordPress as a product. They offer feedback the same way they do about other products in their lives: emotionally, openly, wherever they think it’ll be heard. (e.g. at local meetups, in blogs, or on social media and forums.)

    But the roadmap for WordPress isn’t influenced this way. And that makes sense, because this is OSS and that’s how OSS works. It’s not run like a business that’s accountable to customers because it’s not a business that’s accountable to customers.

    So the feedback is largely ignored or played down. Response is “educate yourself”. Learn to contribute. Be the change you want to see.

    But that’s not going to work for the majority of users who see WordPress as a product. Their motivation is to have their opinions heard and acknowledged. And I think we could do a better job of facilitating that, especially as usage grows.

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    1. Andy, with 25% of the internet running wordpress, usage has already grown. OSS or not, that big of a share of the web creates some responsibility to be a little more responsive.

      The problem I think for WordPress now is not how a given feature works, but rather the collective concepts of what is getting added to core. WordPress is quickly becoming bloatware, and there is absolutely no clear mechanism to have an adult discussion about it, because the core developers don’t want to hear about it – they seem intent on adding every possible feature as core rather than as plug ins.

      “It’s not run like a business that’s accountable to customers because it’s not a business that’s accountable to customers.”

      It’s high time that changed. Even as OSS, you need to remember that the vast majority (nearly all) of the end users are NOT going to be software gurus with the time or desire to fight the political and coding battles to end up in a position to influence core development. Yet they have needs and desires for wordpress. Their efforts in words (if not code) generally fall on deaf ears if the points don’t match the narrow goalset and ruleset that the core developers at sticking too, no matter what.

      WordPress is potentially near it’s peak. From here, it’s a question of how you maintain the user base and grow it. Adding bloat is generally not the way to do it.

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      1. Even as OSS, you need to remember that the vast majority (nearly all) of the end users are NOT going to be software gurus with the time or desire to fight the political and coding battles to end up in a position to influence core development.

        Agreed. :)

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    2. @Andy M. – I think you nailed it spot on. Very well said. What is interesting is that if you compare WordPress to say Microsoft or Google. You can post questions and comments for Microsoft and Google related questions in the appropriate places, but you can expect a very long wait to hear from someone who works at Microsoft or Google and more likely you are going to get a response from another regular person if you are lucky. I once posted an issue with automated email headers (proof of concept with every technical detail posted to prove the case) being rejected as spam by hotmail for my particular web host on the Microsoft site. I did get a response from someone at Microsoft after a long wait. After 2 years the problem was resolved. I did not expect to ever get that issue resolved and developed a non-email based system instead. The reason I contacted Microsoft was for their benefit and not my benefit. ie at bare minimum Microsoft would have all the technical details of a verified/confirmed issue/problem.

      So anyway back to the point. It seems like a large number of folks believe that WordPress itself (the WP team) is somehow directly responsible for helping each person personally. I guess the solution would be for WP to make it more clear that support is a community effort that is – the community supporting the community and not WP directly supporting the WP user base. Obviously it is great when a WP Team member can take the time to answer personal community questions, but it should not be considered as “what is to be expected”.

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      1. Obviously it is great when a WP Team member can take the time to answer personal community questions, but it should not be considered as “what is to be expected”.

        Agree. And I think the feedback needs to be categorized appropriately. There’s a difference between break/fix and UX issues/feedback (note: experience as a whole, not just layout or design). More could be done to support the latter.

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      2. Yep, I completely agree with you. I can only imagine how massive the amount of feedback must be that WordPress gets from Users about the WordPress Core itself. ie If I received millions of feedback ideas, suggestions, etc. I think I would just post a sign up on my door – “Gone Fishing”, otherwise I would never get any work completed. :)

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      3. This is probably not an accurate point. While users will not go on slack or open tickets, user based feedback is given by the moderators of wordpress.org, from wordpress.com and probably other hosting companies that have any wordpress dedicated support.

        IMO the disconnect happens at the SMB level. Small businesses that use wordpress but the wordpress.org forums are too noob oriented for them while they don’t have the time to engage in slack or trac.

        WordPress had grown from being a blogging platform into a CMS, but the voice of people that actually use it as a CMS is rarely heard. Think, so many years since wordpress started and you still need a plugin for basic SEO setting for which the standards haven’t changed in years, and there isn’t even one SMB that will not want to do some sort of SEO, but the chances of getting the SEO tags into core are zero.

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    3. @Andy

      Interesting analogy! So I’m trying to think of a mass market product where users have more influence or are able to be heard more than in the WordPress ecosystem. What are the examples? Because maybe we can learn from those projects.

      The amount of people feeding back – beginners and power users – is staggering and lots of people are noticing what is said. That’s why a huge number of plugins are created and themes are made. If you count the feedback that is given to developers and theme authors and not just that what is posted on .org or on blog posts elsewhere which is just the tip of the iceberg the amount of listening that takes place is immense.

      With as large of userbase as there is, how do we differentiate between noticing a real issue with listening and just a concentration of critical feedback that is part and parcel with having a large platform? And how do we differentiate from criticisms that may be very valid in isolation but have solutions that just can’t be satisfied for a variety of reasons and the kinds of things that are really mission critical for the platform at large?

      Also do we end up with a better platform if user complaints dictate the development agenda, especially given that for every user that wants x, there is a user that would complain about x?

      I still think the contributors who’ve shaped the releases are pretty good at listening. Look at how the shortcode api proposal was changed for example from one proposal to the next. And I can’t think of that many decisions that were unforgivably bad, maybe some that were unfortunate for a minority of users and others that didn’t pan out (post formats). I think the biggest issue with the contributors vs users is not listening, I think it’s undercommunication from contributors to users, not enough public relations for the general userbase.

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      1. Peter, I think part of the problem here is that it’s easy to get lost in the details without considering the larger reality. When you focus too closely, you tend not to be able to put it all together. With all respect to the core devs, I think they have gotten a little too close to parts of WP, and are having a failure at looking at the bigger picture. It’s a common problem of OSS, people are too worried about painting their seat in the row boat to care about the massive water leak happening next to them.

        In my mind, WP has a couple of very basic problems that relate to how things operate on development level. One of them is the lack of stable, secure, supported versions outside of the current version. Everything is forced to the current version no matter what. Plug in and theme creators are pretty much forced to upgrade at every turn, meaning that (as an example) if you have a site that works perfectly on 3.7, and you don’t need the new “features”, you still have to upgrade. There is no stable release to work with – and even if you think you have a stable and secure version, you can’t stay there because any update to fix a plug in or theme will cause problems, as they are keyed to the current version and not your stable version.

        The second issue to me is one of how many more things are being included into core. One of the great things about plugins is that they allow people to have a WP installation that matches their needs. It also allows for development of alternatives to plug ins that can advance the whole WP experience. When things get added to core (such as Emojis), two things happen: Everyone’s install has it no matter what (even if they don’t need it) and you discourage others from creating a better solution, because they would have to not only have a better plug in, but overcome the momentum of something that is in core.

        It’s why to me a Yoast SEO plug in is a million times better than having it merged into core. Tomorrow someone named Yoffee may come along with a superior SEO product. Since we haven’t selected and integrated a “best of breed” into core, the marketplace and not the core developers will choose the winner – and there may be more than one winner. A core inclusion basically sets one winner and all but locks out everyone else.

        For what it’s worth, I think of plugins (and themes) as church, and core as State. The separation between the two is very important, giving space to developers to do what they do, while the core team provides the solid, secure platform to allow it to happen. When you mix the two, you tend to get more and more security issues common to all wordpress installs, which in turn makes the product weaker and riskier to use.

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  26. Another approach since there is definitely a growing need (supply and demand) for personal support beyond the average support is to beef up the WordPress Job posting board or creating a new concept of paid support, but that goes against the whole free concept with WordPress. There is probably a way of doing something that without taking away from the “WP free concept”. ie maybe a 3rd party service that is not directly affiliated with WP itself. Food for thought.

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  27. Had you paid attention you’d notice that Kaya’s own site actually runs on WordPress and providing criticism is actually a way of contributing. We’ve given more than enough back to WordPress at CMS Critic through our awards and many other methods. In fact it’s often recommended when suitable.

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    1. I don’t care if his site runs on WordPress, it doesn’t change the way I feel about his post.

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      1. No, what you do care about is attacking people for saying something negative about your favourite tool. This article was just your way of repurposing our content for your own gain so you could stir up a hornets nest of fanboys. There’s no value here other than a bunch of false accusations about how we “don’t contribute”. How many awards has WordPress won during our CMS Awards? Have you every looked into that? Yep, we must hate it and always approach it with a negative tone.

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      2. This is silly Mike, an opinion piece on your site is getting a contrary opinion here is considered an attack? CMSCritic has had favourable coverage here in the past, see https://wptavern.com/time-to-move-on-from-the-is-wordpress-a-cms-debate, praising Kaya. If you have strong opinions expect strong opinions in return.

        As far as repurposing content, I don’t know. This is coming from the same site that alleged there was an exodus going on away from WordPress, signalled by Mashable’s move to a custom cms (which apparently meant so much). This same article was written to promote ProcessWire. I don’t know, but to me it sounds a tad hypocritical to paint the coverage here for own gain, only because you happen to not like it.

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      3. This is about as untrue as CMS Critic consistently trashing WordPress lol. I’m not a fanboy, I hope people use the right tool for the job and not shoehorn WordPress into use cases it’s not designed for. I won’t get upset if someone chooses one CMS over another. There’s a reason or two CMS Critic migrated to ProcessWire though I think the issues you cited in the post will eventually be issues for the ProcessWire team if it continues to grow in popularity.

        I didn’t say you don’t contribute, I used his article as an example of how people can provide better feedback than simply saying “WordPress needs to fix this, I don’t know how but it needs fixed now.” As for the awards, JD Power awarded WordPress as best CMS in its class. Ok, just kidding about that but really, who cares how many awards WordPress has won. I’ve written about awards WordPress has won in the past but I don’t see them as a big deal anymore.

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      4. @Mike Johnston – OMFG – pot calling the kettle black. Seriously??? Dude your tone of voice is flat out offensive and rude. Jeez. Guess that is just the type of person you are then.

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  28. From a pure end user perspective that doesn’t know a darn thing about coding beyond Basic, Pascal, Fortran, Cobol. Yah, I am that bloody old I am.

    Haven’t designed a website from the ground up since html was the new cool kid on the block and was uploading files via ftp on my new state of the art 28.8 KB modem; so I would like to say this.

    I can see problems. Problems are easy to spot. From a pure end user position that doesn’t have any of the skills of those on the developer level and I can see where there are crossovers in that, a pure user of a product with the functionality, complexity of WordPress and all those nifty plugins, widgets, themes amounts to about this, if they have none of the skills.

    We can see problems on about the same level as if the developer level people were giving us the controls to a rocket ship and said, all you need to do is push this red button and launch.

    And you end up with several possibilities. Things can run smoothly and the ship launches fine and goes off and does what its supposed to do the vast majority of times if your a little careful on which of those red buttons you push. Most of those red buttons are pretty safe if we look at the button carefully before we push. Or we can have some problems that hopefully we can find the support somewhere on the solutions, or at least successfully abort the launch. Or it blows up part way there and the debris lands on our house destroying it. So it has the potential, although usually quite safe with a little care of being capable of up to destroying everything if we are not and possibly even destroying everything no matter how careful we are. Not much, but its there.

    Problems are easy. It blew up on the launch pad when I hit the red button, or blew up mid air with the debris destroying my house. Its sort of working but its really not auto docking with my space station like I think its supposed to and working with the rest of it correctly.

    What was I doing at the time or now? Umm, I pushing that red button, cleaning up the ruble at my house. Checking to see if it docked correctly at the space station and things are functioning right. Reloading my backup copy of my space station.

    Personally I would like to thank all of those that do develop and support whatever their motivations are for doing it. How much it does and generally how well and easily on the user end is rather amazing that this many people working together on something can make it do as much as it can and in the vast majority of times, that well.

    But by the same token I have not been near the leading edge of anything like this where I was seriously under the hood knowledgeable about it in its time in close to 20 years on some things and 40 years on others. So if I sing praises without competency myself or call you incompetent, it amounts to about the same thing. I really don’t know what I am talking about regarding your actual level of competency. The least I can do is say very nice job when its very right most of the time, if I am a little careful on the buttons I push, and not be a rude ass about it when its not fine, since I really don’t know.

    Now, I am very pleased from a position of not knowing as to the result I see the vast majority of times. If one thing could be managed and I don’t know if it even could be or how it could be, it would come down to this. Make it so I don’t break into a cold sweet on those times I see a more then very minor WordPress update has been release, or those times I see the words your Theme has a new update release.

    Everything else I think I can handle easily enough, but the nail biting and changing into dry shirts on those couple of things there are is a bit taxing. Get rid of that somehow and I won’t be just seriously pleased, I will be ecstatic.

    Beyond that, thank you for all that it is and does.

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  29. “For whatever reason, the site generally publishes negative things about the WordPress project.”

    The link you posted, there’s only one article in that list that is remotely negative about the WordPress project. In the first five pages of articles using the WordPress tag, there’s maybe four articles that could be considered negative, if you have extremely thin skin. Let’s take a quick look at the other three:

    -Imperva Report: WordPress Is The “Most Attacked” CMS

    It is a fact.

    -WordPress Plugins that Drive me Nuts

    The author admits it sounds a bit whiny, but then goes on to say that’s why the average, non-techie end user should have someone managing their WordPress installs for them.

    -WordPress: Jack of All Trades, Master of None?

    Admittedly a clickbait title, but the author decisively answers that question with a “NO”, WordPress is a master of many trades so to speak. Kaya Ismail in this post even heaps praise on WordPress, calling it the “blogging daddy”, “a stellar blogging platform”, and “its mastery of the blog cannot yet be denied”.

    Even the other CMS Critic article you linked to, “WordPress 4.4 Beta: Bare Bones?”, is just criticism. All he is saying is that he is underwhelmed with the theme, but he does say it is a beta, invites his visitors to try the beta, and links to the official beta release post. What about this says Kaya Ismail is part of the problem?

    Honestly, if you think any of this is negative, you need to grow thicker skin, and resist the urge of decrying a blog for writing one or two pieces that you don’t agree with and aren’t even that negative about WordPress.

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    1. Has nothing to do with agreeing or not agreeing with something. If I see bullshit/crap then I call bullshit/crap and nothing more complicated than that. The post/article is simply crap.

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  30. Hi Jeff,

    I came here to defend my article, but Bob seems to have beaten me to it! Bob, thank you for taking the time to investigate CMS Critic’s stance on WordPress, which as you proved, is positive, if anything.

    Jeff, it’s also worth noting that you mentioned another one of my (positive) WordPress articles just over a year ago, which you seemed to like:

    https://wptavern.com/time-to-move-on-from-the-is-wordpress-a-cms-debate

    Furthermore, Mike Johnston (Founder of CMS Critic) has pointed out how WordPress is an award-winner as far as we are concerned. The platform holds a highly respectable status on CMS Critic, and for good reason.

    So, your comment:

    “[CMS Critic] generally publishes negative things about the WordPress project.”

    is simply untrue. I hope you will do the right thing and re-word / remove that statement.

    As for the other issues you raised, I will respond in due course.

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    1. I can admit when I’m wrong and in this instance, I’m wrong about CMS Critic consistently publishing stories that trash WordPress. I’ve removed that line from the post.

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      1. Hey man, I don’t have a beef with criticizing WordPress, it’s healthy and needed. I just think overall, your criticism could have had a little more impact had it detailed more of the problems you have or experience with the software and explain how you’ve tried to help or be part of the solution. I don’t expect you or anyone else to know what the solution is or how to get there, but I admire anyone who documents what they’ve done to try.

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    2. Good to hear this is going on so I assume that Kaya will also fix that ridiculous post/article.

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  31. Kind of stunned at this, though I shouldn’t be.

    First of all, the title of this piece is all wrong. The article on CMS Critic is… an article on CMS critic. It is not a way to “communicate with WordPress”, nor does it try to be, or ever claim it is.

    Given’s CMS Critic’s high standing in the CMS world (which is far beyond the reach of just WP, or even OSS or PHP based systems), and the fact they interviewed Matt earlier in the year – probably means they can reach out if they really wanted. Instead it was just an article, with an opinion.

    Given that the article is an opinion piece, it’s just insane to complain that it doesn’t give detailed feedback about how to change the things that the article has an opinion on. Especially because… that is not the point of an opinion piece!!

    I know this is hard to believe, but when someone’s JOB is to write about the CMS market, they are not secretly hoping to make contact with the inner-sanctum of WP. They’re just doing their job. There is no hidden motive with which to criticise.

    1. 2016 theme

    It feels… sparce. Also, I completely understand the word “lazy” in this context. It’s not talking about the code, but more the thinking behind it. Why isn’t this an Angular theme, with a disconnected front-end, loading from the awesome new Restful API? Where’s the spark? Where’s the pushing the boundaries? Where’s the showing people the awesome?

    WP Themes used to show what could be done. 2016 ‘feels’ like meh, lets just copy some bits from Medium.

    Worse, it feels like something I could do.

    2. Plugin directory

    Or “Mos Eisley”.
    It needs a clean sweep.
    Coming back to build a WP site this week, and I’m stunned.
    So. Much. Crap.

    3. Menus

    Remember “Decisions not options”? ha, just kidding, here’s loads of menus, and notifications, oh wow the notifications. And of course the WP logo/link needs to be the first thing in an install, not the link to the actual website.

    The first 3 hours of PHP I’ve written in an easy 2 years has all been to remove things from the WP admin (including the forced news section – what client wants that??)

    4. Akismet / Spam

    Akismet, the free version, simply doesn’t stop enough. And what it does requires manual handling. Worse, and this is atrocious, in order to be able to moderate spam you also need to have access to edit posts. That’s insane!

    One of our big sites has a new article every day (twice a week 2 a day), with 1k-1.5k legitimate comments per article, and an easy 10k spam or doesn’t meet our CoC.

    Akismet fails so badly here. It doesn’t understand context.

    5. Updates

    There *are* too many updates. Plugins are way too big, so every time they update anything, the whole thing needs updated. Take Yoast as an example, it was updated 3 times in 4 days in July, 2 times in 3 days in August. 2 times in 2 days in June. 3 times in 2 days in April. and on it goes…

    And that’s just one plugin. We have a task in the office where the person who turns up last has to man the WP Updates for that day – because there are updates every day – and the person who clicks update has to fix it if something breaks.

    6. Security

    It’s too light touch. WP was fundamentally designed over 10 years ago. Huge improvements have been made, but in terms of login, account creation, password reset, ftp for updates etc – its the same old. The fact that every line of code is loaded every time any page is hit is crazy. it’s just asking for trouble.

    Moreover, WordPress has the reputation of “Windows” in terms of security. Doesn’t matter if that’s fair or not. All of our client SLAs state that not only will WP not be installed on any shared server, it isn’t allowed in the same Pub/Pri cloud environment as anything not WP.

    And until WP actually does something about that reality, or the perception, it’s always going to be viewed in that way.

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      1. Then you missed the point entirely brother.

        Try leaving the bubble once in a while, come enjoy the real world, it’s nice out here. People are sane. Happy. Friendly even. You can let go of this “everyone is out to get us” mentality.

        Outside of the wee sycophantic bubble you’ve created, WP is just a tool, and others opinion of it (and other CMS’) don’t matter at all.

        Seriously Jeff, I’ve known you a long time, as someone who has completed his first WP install in years this weekend, I was stunned to see you still writing this sort of crap. You’re better than this. Please dude, stop being the FoxNews of the WP community.

        Lets all buy the Frozen soundtrack, and skip to track 5…

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    1. There are all reasonable gripes to have but they are hilarious taken together:

      – “The platform doesn’t innovate fast enough, it’s not on the leading edge, look at twentysixteen, I could have made it!”, but “I hate it when stuff breaks!”

      – “The platform is too light on security!”, but “there are too many updates!”

      – “The plugin repository needs to be wiped”, but “we still want innovation, platform growth and for more people to get involved!”

      – “There are too many features that I don’t need on my site”, but “I want more SEO/security/debugging/anti-spam/custom-post-type/custom field ui features”

      – “The menus are bloated from all these plugins that I have installed!”, but “I want to use an extensive array of plugins on my site!”

      – “Backward compatibility holds the platform back!”, but “I want long term stability because every release makes me nervous for stuff that might break”

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    2. IIRC you know much better then this dribble indicates

      1. 2016

      since 2011 or was it 2012, default themes were just a default. pointing at 2016 and shouting meh is like discovering the sun rises at the east.
      OTOH 2013 had a bold design and no one used it.

      2. Plugin directory

      The aim of the plugin directory is to be index for plugins and ensure their availability by not trusting the developers to keep hosting them indefematly.. Have you tried to search for themes on themeforest? your complain is like saying the internet is pointless because it is full of junk.

      3. Menus

      Users are idiots and prefer the illussion of control that comes with having many options (illusion because to be able to actually be in control you need to invest the time to understand all of them).
      Core is very clean, the clutter is a thing that users infect on themselves they could simply used a more “to the point” plugins but they don’t so what is it that a web design person like you suggests.

      4. spam

      yes wordpress is not designed to handle big sites out of the box an spam/comment handling is just one issue, but probably no free CMS is designed for that.
      I never heard anyone saying that wordpress answers all possible specification. Big sites are a very small niche so actually there is no surprise they don’t get much love.

      5. updates

      You developed the site for millions and you could not find the budget to write your own small SEO plugin? You should blame yourself in your update situation (and therefor the clutter as well)

      I agree that plugins like yaost and jetpack should never be used in anything which is more then a simple blog, but if a pro like you install that shit for his clients then how will it ever change? Did you try to contact yaost to get him doing LTS releases? How will anything improve if pros continuing to encourage the junk plugin and ignore the good ones?

      BTW, every time I login to my server ubuntu notifies me there are updates to install, so should we just abandon ubuntu?

      6. Security “The fact that every line of code is loaded every time any page is hit”

      That is simply not true, and worse it is irrelevant as opcode caching was incorporated into latest PHP versions which means that the number of files “loaded” is irrelevant as in practice all the code reside in the memory of the server.

      “clients donn’t trust wordpress security”

      So again clients are idiots. There is a much bigger chance of security problems when one developer works alone than in a project which is used and its code is inspected by thousands of developers, some of them security experts.
      Most security issue wordpress had for a long time were a result of insecure hosting, theme or plugins.

      If you want a secure code which is up to government standards the problem is not wordpress core but your code and the fact that you didn’t properly audit the plugins you decided to use.

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      1. https://make.wordpress.org/core/2015/11/10/responsive-images-in-wordpress-4-4/#comment-28364

        This.

        It is really annoying to get from core developers the attitude of “we know better then you so trust us”.

        Allow me to replay that back to you:

        It is really annoying to get from WordPress fans the attitude of “we know better then you, and everyone who doesn’t love WordPress is wrong or an idiot”.

        I’m the guy that proposed make.wordpress.org and learn.wordpress.org at the first community summit.

        I’m sponsoring my local WordCamp next weekend. As I’ve done for the last 6 years.

        I don’t dislike WordPress, and I am not kicking it for the sake of it. But the attitude of it’s always someone else fault is far too prevalent. It’s either some other devs fault. Or it’s someone trying to use WP for too big a site. Or it’s the client. Or the end use is an idiot. etc etc.

        I’ve never seen someone just go – yeah, there are issues, thanks for pointing them out, we’ll work on them.

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      2. I know that you know better than to defend the stupid remarks of someone that thinks that akismet in wordpress is a new development.

        As for the rest, yes I know better then you and I am not ashamed of that.
        In the level of clients that you used to have (still have I hope) it is your job to explain to them the implications of every design decision you make in term of UX and cost of maintenance. If you have done that and they approved the plan than you were consenting adults and there is no need to blame anyone for anything. At his level wordpress is just another web development library with a default admin interface you can use or rewrite if you need something better.

        I wrote the code and admined a top 2k US Alexa site, and one of the things I have done is to strip out all the plugins they had before me (yoast was the exception as it is so bloated I was just too afraid to screw up the removal). I didn’t upgrade any fucking plugin or core before doing a QA and then running A/B test on the post upgrade compare to the pre upgrade.

        And as for you quote of me, I think it proves that I am not a hard core fan, so not sure where did you got that from. It is just a stupid code that can be used to do some work, nothing I get an orgasm from. (I am a fan of the mission but that is different than doing client work)

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  32. This whole diatribe is an exercise in futility.

    We have Jeff flouncing around like a ninny and telling everyone “they said bad things about [us]”, ~ whether they did or not is now irrelevant.

    My contribution was to call out you devs for being a bunch of “code divas”, which you then strenuously denied, but set about proving me right by contributing endless myopic and technobabble posts in equal measure.

    The only, I say ~ THE ONLY ~ voice in here, which carries any weight and deals with the issues, which we know ~ and you know too ~ are correct, is KJG.

    And all the rest of you just come off sounding like a bunch of fannies.

    NB: For geographical reasons, probably KJG will understand the meaning of that technical nomenclature better than most.

    I never realised until I read this stream of lunacy, and curmudgeonly techno-elitism, that WordPress was so rotten at the core.

    It makes my pathetic distress at the endless state of disrepair in the WordPress suppository, pale into insignificance.

    You guys need to go take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourselves ~ who’s purpose you are really serving?

    But there is someone who, so far, hasn’t shown up here ~ Mr. slopy shoulders ~ Matt Mullenweg.

    This Cancer, which lies at the heart of WordPress today, happened on his watch.

    And only he can cut it out, and put what’s left on Chemo.

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    1. It’s a beautiful thing that you agree with someone here.

      I like adding context so…

      KJG has been harping on WordPress for years, writing posts titled “WordPress has left the building” back in 2012 detailing the many necessary features WordPress was missing for his business and enterprise usecases. His feature list was not totally without merit, mind you. All the things he mentioned were nice to have if you are selling solutions to the kinds of big clients he had at the time. But it was also considered to be wholly unrealistic (trying to have all the benefits without the cons, quickly) and the needs he was trying to meet weren’t representative of the average user either.

      Unfortunately most of his features are still not in Core as WordPress has grown to 25% of the web today. Gallagher stated he had stopped referring businesses to WP users for the ill state WordPress was in so that growth probably must have come from somewhere else.

      If his feature list had become the top of the development agenda, there’s a good chance development would have gotten more bloated, more bogged down, all to appease the most sophisticated of business use cases. Implementing major advances can take years, see JSON api, tax meta etc. We’d have people screaming that the platform had gotten far too complex and that developer’s were not listening and just seeking to satisfy their own wants.

      But here we are in 2015 and he’s still around and so I’m guessing most other people here with complaints will stick around. Despite complaints people still keep coming back and WordPress does get better with each release (4.4 is looking amazing) and the contributor pool gets larger and larger, hell commercial WordPress services have gotten so much better too (and they all grow based on the degree to which they listen to user’s needs).

      But – you know, apparently, it’s okay to provide criticism but it is not okay to have that criticism critically evaluated or contested in return. That is why so many here feel fit to use disparaging language, while lamenting how contributors have too much of a thin skin.

      Nobody is saying WordPress is perfect, that’s not even the point. This is why there are so many contributors trying to make it better. Most of the progress is incremental and every small change invariably has drawn criticism. Unrealistic demands and unrealistic expectations leads to unfair criticism and draw away from the progress that is made.

      Is it that hard to ask that when a complaint is responded to, you take effort to consider the whole context rather than put an abritrary amount of people in boxes in order to feel better about yourself?

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      1. Peter, I think you miss one point however in all of this: Much of what is bloat today are things that really should be plugins and not pure “core” items. That isn’t to say that they shouldn’t created and maintained by the core group, but rather that the way they are presented and distributed should be similar to other plugins.

        Instead, we have a product with things like Emoji support as a “core” item rather than a plug in. It’s a cute feature, whatever, but is it really “CORE”?

        When you read through much of the complaint / gripe / features threads around here and other places, you will see that much is to do with core features that many consider shouldn’t be part of the core. The decisions made to make more and more things into core products is contributing massively to bloat, complexity, and yes, security issues. Expanding the mandatory code base always adds security issues. I don’t just emojis, but any security issue with them would become a problem for me. I would much rather they were a plug in I could activate or delete if I didn’t feel I need it.

        I think wordpress could progress much further if the core group worked on maintaining both a strong core and a strong group of high level plug ins to provide all the fancy features. Core should be the base, the foundation, and not the fancy painted trim on the windows.

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      2. I’m in total agreement regarding Emoji support. I think it was a mistake to ship it with core, but I could be proven wrong on that with usage. It’s coded nicely but I have no idea why it isn’t just a plugin and it annoys me that I have to install a plugin (thank you Ryan Hellyer) to disable it. At the same time if there is no room for mistakes or experimentation it would stifle development also.

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      3. Emoji had replaced the old ugly smilies, so in a way there was one feature in and one out. The problem with emoji is that the core team didn’t wait until chrome had a “native” support for them which made the JS code a requirement. Now that chrome has support for it I guess it will be hard to remove that JS out of pure inertia (and people will cry that emoji stopped working in IE8 if you remove it now).

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  33. A good general rule of thumb/practice is to fully research something if you do not already know what you are talking about before posting something publicy, otherwise you will end up looking like an idiot who thinks they know something. Referring to the original article that this post is discussing.

    Using a Pros and Cons format is helpful to show that you have done your homework and are not basing everything solely on your personal opinion.

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  34. There’s more to Emoji than meets the eye https://poststatus.com/the-trojan-emoji/

    Jeff, hence the problem. A needed and required core fix “hidden” for no real good reason. They should have coded the fixes, put them in the next version update of WP, and boom, problem solves – and no extra security risks from Emoji use.

    Emojis are a PERFECT plug in. They are absolutely not core material. This exposes the true issues of WP development right now. If you have a security problem, fix security. Don’t lump new features in with a security fix hoping nobody notices, because the hackers diff the code on every update and they know every weakness on old installations a moment later. Trying to hide it makes it look even more vunerable.

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  35. I’m on the fence about this one. While I’m the first to snap back at a “whiner”, they can’t be completely dismissed. Developers need to be cognizant that the vast majority of the populous doesn’t think like us. Most end users have no concept of programming. They don’t have a clue the amount of work it takes to produce a functioning error free app. These People want to get to where they want to go with the fasted way possible. They don’t and probably will never understand the the methods behind the application.

    IMO, Ismail is a “whiner” who probably doesn’t know how to write code proficiently enough to be an asset to the WordPress community. However as developers, we have to be more mature than Ismail and take an objective approach to his rants. Think of yourselves as football coaches or baseball managers learning to deal with a team of different personalities.

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    1. @wLc Designs – Very honest of you. ;) I think a lot of Devs probably feel/think very similarly to what you have stated above. For me personally if someone is being disrepectful just because that person is an ass then I will not tolerate that crap. If someone is being disrepectful because they are upset then I try to work with them to fix whatever is causing the problem and making them upset. Sometimes I cannot tell what the real intention of the person is so I make a judgement call and I have been wrong about some of them in the past.

      If someone has something negative to say then they can still be polite about how they say it. No need to be rude or disrepectful.

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  36. I would like to say something positive about WordPress.

    I use WordPress, many of my clients use WordPress, a lot of you reading this probably use or even develop WordPress. But in it’s simplicity of installation, and vast library of plugins, themes and other add-ons, it is quite simply a resource hog, isn’t it?

    I mean a simple one-post blog easily racks up the PHP memory usage and will still be quite slow in handling multiple visitors.

    And if you are hosting clients using WordPress, you cannot tell me that not one of them didn’t approach you about increasing their memory limit, or their site being incredibly slow after being hit with a moderate amount of traffic.

    WordPress, in all its glory… is a big old memory hog.

    But… despite all that, I like WordPress. It’s easy to use, update and modify. And I have to admit, I never liked the idea of Jetpack in the past, but I am absolutely warming to it as a way to get the bloat out of WordPress ~ make it slimmer, lighter and faster ~ and put it into a separate but equally controlled and compatible framework.

    And as Jetpack itself is now getting so much bigger, maybe there should be more than one Jetpack type module; in fact a whole series of Jetpack type modules, covering different aspects and grouping different function types.

    Makes sense to me, but what do I know.

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    1. I don’t see performance as big issue today. Quality server/hosting is cheap, caching solutions exist, image optimization too, HTTPS/2, PHP7 is coming … it was never so easy that any website, even CMS with database can almost fly.
      Regarding Jetpack … I am not fan of it, anyway I can understand why people use it … the same why so many users use bloated themes like Avada … Both tools are not the best solutions, but what is important, they are solutions, not just plugin, snippet, line of code. People/businesses need solutions, not plugins and themes. So sometimes even clunky solution is better than just “the best” plugin or theme.

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    2. DB Queries are expensive so let’s say you have a lot of plugins installed that are making a lot of DB Queries. Your site will require more memory and may not perform as well as you would like. You can build an exact identical HTML copy of a WordPress site visually and the performance/speed difference will be huge, but of course the HTML site will be static and not dynamic. If you create a DB for the HTML static site and then run all the same Queries you are running on your WordPress identical site copy then the speed/performance of both sites is going to be almost the same. All about the total number, frequency and type (lots of data processed vs just a little data processed) of DB Queries that are being run.

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