Matt Mullenweg To Be In Charge Of The 2012 Default Theme

It was announced yesterday that Matt Mullenweg will be the one to oversee the development of Twenty Twelve, the new default theme for WordPress 3.4. Here is a list of things that the WordPress core team would like to see make it into Twenty Twelve:

  • single post/permalink view with post formats is needed
  • variable height header image
  • mobile version
  • default to static front page (will need a function in core to auto-choose)
  • editor styles the same as front end.
  • avoid clever things that aren’t super-useful (like ephemera widget)
  • start with 2011 as base for code (or 2010, which has gotten more updates and had more eyes on it)
  • no featured image in header
  • by default – no header image

If anything, it looks like Twenty Twelve will be simpler than Twenty Eleven. I wonder if the theme will be blue with rounded corners, just for old times sake?


24 responses to “Matt Mullenweg To Be In Charge Of The 2012 Default Theme”

  1. I think the code of twenty ten + eleven is much too compicated. It becomes harder to change the looks. WP was nice in the old days of version 1.5. or 2.3. Just blogging without permalinks of tags. It worked! But it’s all right Ma, I can make it :-)

  2. “If anything, it looks like Twenty Twelve will be simpler than Twenty Eleven. I wonder if the theme will be blue with rounded corners, just for old times sake?”

    I hope not… simple white please.

  3. It’s not so much that those things will likely be included as that those are the things the core team said we wanted. All the notes I’m posting from the meetup are just discussion notes, not hard and fast plans.

  4. Interesting that Matt would take on the design of the new theme. It would be nice if they could build in some additional design features at the same time – besides primary focusing on header images/size/etc.

    Looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.

  5. I miss more image and background options on the theme.

    May be, full random image in the background or set full background image for each page.
    One thing that most of the themes include is a Slider, twentytwelve could have an option for this and used un a page template, I´m not so fan of a particular custom post type just for the slider, is more interesting if the option can be choose the post to show in the slider and use the featured image on it, or select from media, directly in the image, if shows on the slider or not.


  6. @Jane Wells – I just hope that your boss know what he’s doing. I want to see who will be brave enough to criticise his work. Do you remember the capital_P_dangit()? Some core developers were against it, but they couldn’t use their free speech, otherwise who knows what could happen.

  7. @Castle – Matt also oversaw the design of Twenty Ten and Twenty Eleven. The default theme is always his baby. Core developers are always able to use “their free speech,” and the core team that met this week has no trouble arguing with each other or with Matt.

  8. @Castle

    Fear not; there are plenty of people who are willing to be critical when necessary. Some of us *ahem* have just had to learn how to be smarter/wiser with regard to target, venue, and timing of such criticism.:)

    Also, as I’ve learned: #patcheswelcome. If during development (i.e. before the beta) you see something that could be improved with Twenty Twelve, create a patch, and submit it to Trac. Criticism accompanied by a contributed patch to fix the issue is generally much more well-received.

    I have suggestions for Twenty Twelve, and that’s exactly what I intend to do!

  9. Right on!

    Wish list:
    * More modularity using locate_template
    * Blueprint/Foundation/Bootstrap-style framework using SMACSS (.com) conventions
    * More separation of concerns; reduce inline js and css, drive html with locate_template, etc.

    WordPress just gets more and more exciting to work on. That’s so cool.

  10. @Chip Bennett

    Fear not; there are plenty of people who are willing to be critical when necessary.

    True, but we’ve a tendency to be vilified for it. [One of the Core Team] recently gave a presentation and his opening slide was “Never listen to the Vocal Minority – even if they’re right”.

  11. @Kevinjohn Gallagher

    “Never listen to the Vocal Minority – even if they’re right.”

    I would love to hear the context for that statement, because I can’t really fathom what acceptable context there could possibly be. To ignore a correct perspective simply because it comes from the “minority”? Yeah, I’ll never agree with that mindset.

  12. @Chip Bennett

    I would love to hear the context for that statement

    At a WordPress un-conference in the second half of this year, [one of the Core Team] opened their presentation with a slide on who they were, and their second slide was on what makes the WordPress community great. That second slide had 4 boxes in it, one of the boxes was “Vocal Minority”, and the quote was:

    “Never listen to the Vocal Minority – even if they’re right.”

    For me the whole conversation was a real eye opener.

    Sitting next to Mike Little (WordPress co-creator from Stockport, England) and one of the someone wearing a “WordPress: Made in Texas” T-Shirt (so not cool it’s unreal), as this core team member dismissed any issues from the last year as simply people looking for things to moan about (capital P, bbpress, backpress); it finally sunk in. We’re not a community of people with different opinions anymore, we’re very much in an us and them mentality.The funny thing, the lack of that mentality is what attracted me to WordPress in the first place.

  13. @Kevinjohn Gallagher -I don’t understand why you keep saying [one of the core team] instead of naming names. Everyone on the core team speaks for him/herself and we all try to be careful about being clear about when we’re speaking from our own point of view vs when we are communicating an official project stance. From your mention of Mike Little, I’m guessing it was Peter Westwood? I’ll ask him to stop by here and comment on this, but here’s my opinion on vocal minority:

    Who is right is almost always a subjective matter. People being vocal, whether majority or minority, always think they are right. Engaging with the flamers distracts from getting things done. We have sometimes lost a week’s worth of productive time on core b/c the team spent a day responding to the latest community uproar. (Followed by later uproar when the release is late?) As Chip pointed out above, feedback and constructive criticism are welcome (more so if you are actually contributing to the project), but aggressive/name-calling/unprofessional flame wars are not. If this is just a hobby or social outlet for someone, it can be hard to remember that for others it’s their job (either paid or volunteer), and as such we try to keep things professional. If you wouldn’t say something to a co-worker in front of your boss at work, it probably won’t fly with us either. And if 30 people are giving feedback, even if it’s negative feedback, I can tell you that the 25 who are being polite and respectful in tone while they do it will be heard. The 5 who want to start a riot and use unprofessional language? Not so much.

  14. @Jane Wells – Out of curiosity, between now and the time in which you were hired by Automattic to work on WordPress, do you recall of anything that was added to core and then in a later release, removed based on negative feedback whether it was constructive criticism or not? I’ve tried to think of a feature or something but I can’t come up with anything.

  15. @Jeffro – The code editor (under Appearance). It was too buggy.

    That’s not the best question to ask, though. Removing things because some people don’t like something isn’t good leadership or product management. Making the right decisions about what to include is the goal.

  16. @Jeffro

    Morning Jeff,

    Indeed it was. I wasn’t trying to be obscure, its more that when using People’s names in posts some folks think it’s a personal attack (which this isn’t). Its the abstract point I was raising.

    When we spoke in early October, I said on your podcast that the biggest draw to WordPress has the humility of Matt/Core-Team, and its willingness to engage with it’s community. It was a young community, that was eager to help yet quick to point out issues. It wasn’t a conformist community of “yes men” (and/or ‘yes women’), and I truly felt that we bottomed out a greater number of issues because of this. It’s hard to believe the objectivity exists at the same level in a community that is getting WordPress tattoo’s.

  17. @Kevinjohn Gallagher – For the record, the WordPress tattoos kind of horrify me. I have tattoos myself, but the thought of branding myself with a logo isn’t my cup of tea. If I was Matt or Mike and it was representing my own creation I could maybe see it, but otherwise it does seem a little weird/culty, I’ll give you that.

  18. @Jane Wells

    Hi Jane,

    Always a pleasure to hear from you.
    I fully appreciate that that anyone expressing an opinion does so because they think that they are correct. I’m no different. The difference is that the tone coming from individuals employed by Matt (both at Automattic and Audrey) has changed quite considerably in the last 2 years.

    The comments made were that if you were part of and wanted to stay part of “the community” then you should ignore the “vocal minority” even if you think they’re right. I received a text from a member of a Government department during the presentation that said “Apparently I’m not allowed to talk to you anymore ;)”.

    With all due respect, as someone I genuinely like, I think it’s all too easy to suggest that many of us are at the aggressive/name-calling stage when simply stating out point of view. It’s been the go to defence for about 2 years now, regardless of any objectivity.

    Lets not forget that according to 1 core team member this link is the worst Flame War [they] have ever seen on the internet:

    Personally, I think it’s possibly the politest flame war ever on the internet. It’s the Hello Kitty of flame wars, and man I loves me some Hello Kitty.


    I don’t think I’m right all the time, heck i know I physically can’t be. But I’m also not automatically wrong every time my opinion differs from that of a core team member.

    It is inherently unfair and inaccurate to dismiss a statement to be 100% wrong or unhelpful simply due the source being part of what the core team describe as “the vocal minority”.

    Every community needs it’s Bill Hicks, it’s Johnny Cash, it’s Gordon Ramsey; otherwise we fall into the trap of only listening to the feedback we want to hear. I may not be liked, and I’m happy to admit I’m wrong some of, if not most of, the time. But the idea that I’m wrong 100% of the time because my opinion is different is a scary scary prospect.

  19. @Kevinjohn Gallagher – I’m sad that you misunderstood and misrepresent the content of my presentation which covered a lot more things that the discussion about the Vocal Minority.

    For the record this was not on any of my slides:

    “Never listen to the Vocal Minority – even if they’re right”

    The discussion about the philosophies of the WordPress project was towards the end of my presentation, preceding the section on how you can contribute to the project.

    The point I was making about the Vocal Minority was not to “ignore them even if they are right” but it was a frank statement about the fact that what we as developers think is important, or even what the vocal minority of users think is important, isn’t always what is the most important thing. The point I wanted to make was that we should be thinking about the majority group of end users who make up our user base. I believe passionately that we need to listen to the voices that are hard to hear as well as those which are loud because otherwise we risk designing and developing for the minority.

  20. @Peter Westwood

    Hi Peter,

    Apologies for the slow reply, I’ve been enjoying Christmas with the family. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me :)

    At the risk of arguing semantics, I never once stated that “Never listen to the Vocal Minority – even if they’re right” was in your slides. I’ve stated that you did in fact say it. Was it a slip of the tongue, an ad-lib? A Freudian slip? I have no doubt it could have been, and certainly wouldn’t hold it against you if it was. But that is what you said.

    You also said:

    “The vocal minority should be ignored”

    I Tweeted this:!/kevinjohng/status/133545924894015489

    Apparently I am “the vocal minority that should be ignored”. Ha! Thinking of getting a T-shirt printed for the next event #WordUpWhitehall

    And you Re-Tweeted it Peter! Though I imagined you had a wry smile on your face while doing so, and that made me smile too.

    I didn’t want to make this a “He said / She said” scenario. I didn’t call you out on this, and nor did I use your name in my original post, as it has a tendency for people to feel like its a personal attack; which my original comment wasn’t – and hopefully neither will this be perceived in that way.

    The point I wanted to make was that we should be thinking about the majority group of end users who make up our user base

    I agree. I’m ok with being in the minority mate, thats fine. But Automattician’s have a tendency to say this, and then release a BETA without loading it on a Windows Machine; or release a function like capital_p_dangit(), or do something stupid like BackPress, or make a browser detect that doesn’t correctly detect browsers on Windows, or make a hover menu that requires a mouse to use because, fuck it, it’s only disabled people.

    From a personal viewpoint, I’ve never once argued FOR a particular feature or functionality to be added to WordPress. But I do think I’m in the minority because I call people on their crap, as I’m happy for people to do to me. Here’s an example from a recent WordPress event I attended:

    – Person X: I saw your discussion on [.org] regarding the hover menus in 3.3. You made some good points, but, y’know, I see both sides of the argument.
    – Me: Well, I’d actually love to know what your thoughts on that were.
    – Person X: Well you made some good points about usability, accessibility, and specifically about less-than-fully-abled people, but on the other hand there’s what the Core Devs think. I think its fairly balanced
    – Me: Well what do they think, what bit of their viewpoint do you agree with?
    – Person X: Well, they’re the core devs. I just agree with them.

    This “Person X”, currently writes for a rather well known WordPress website.

    Sometimes Peter mate, it’s not that the Vocal Minority are intentionally shouting loudest just to make a point. It’s that we’re shouting louder to try and be heard over the sycophantic rabble from the masses of unquestioning followers that WordPress has amassed.

    Since I’m already going to be bombarded with hate e-mails for disagreeing with a Core Dev (which does happen btw, to disagree with a Core Dev is considered sacrilege to some of WordPress’ devout followers) I figure now’s a good time to let you in on this little nugget. In our Office we no longer refer to Matt as Matt or the Community as the Community. Rather they go by Dune based names Matt’Dib (from Muad’Dib, a man who meant well, but who’s every word is taken as Gospel an it is heresy to question), and the Community is referred to “Freemen” (from Freman, a people who consider themselves free willed, as long as they unquestioningly do everything Matt’Dib commands them). Personally, I thought that was a little harsh when the names were used last year after the bbPress debacle. Right now mate, they seem very very fitting.

    I’ll say now, what I’ve been saying for the last 3 years. What originally brought me to WordPress originally was the humility shown by the Core Team/Matt. I look back at Capital_P_Dangit, bbPress2.0, backPress, etc and I ask myself, where did the humility go? When was the last time someone said “Sorry, we got that wrong”?

    I’m ok with being labelled a Jerk and thought of badly. But when people debate me on this stuff, I always ask, tell me where I’m wrong. I’m a human, i’m wrong all the time in life. But if you’re simply not wanting to listen to what I have to say because you don’t like me, then it’s not a community, it’s not Open, it’s just a bunch of people talking with people who they know agree with them (or won’t say anything if they don’t).

    “The vocal minority should be ignored” and “Never listen to the Vocal Minority – even if they’re right” are both very scary statements, outside of an Orwellian Novel that is.


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