My Apologies To The WordPress Foundation

First off, I want to offer my sincere apologies to the WordPress Foundation. In a previous article, I incorrectly labeled the foundation as harming WordCamps. My main gripe was with the fact that some WordCamp organizers were being denied the ability to have high sponsorship caps and thus, it sometimes adversely affected the event either in terms of it’s size or type of venue they could hold the event in. As time has gone by, I’ve learned that the biggest mistake I made was contributing the organizing and running of WordCamps to the WordPress Foundation which is incorrect. WordCamp Central is the group responsible for all things WordCamp related while the WordPress Foundation oversees the use of the WordPress and WordCamp trademarks. Unfortunately in the original discussion, WordCamp Central and the WordPress Foundation were used interchangeably which muddied the conversation.

Perhaps I should have known better, but even though I’ve been apart of the WordPress community for two years, the project has grown far beyond just being publishing software. There is the foundation, WordCamp Central, Automattic,, various Automattic owned services,, etc. It’s hard to place blame or hold anyone accountable when you have no idea who that person is or what project or group they belong to. It’s frustrating for me but I wonder if many people simply don’t care, just as long as WordPress remains awesome, easy to use publishing software? I’ve often felt that there should be some sort of WordPress White Pages so that the public can know who is responsible for what within the WordPress project. But since so many individuals mingle with various parts, that project would soon be a waste of time.

P.S. There is hope for things to change for the better.


15 responses to “My Apologies To The WordPress Foundation”

  1. I’m incredibly surprised to hear that Matt is only hearing about this and other WPC issues now, given that they were raised in 2010 after Jane gave her now infamous rant at the end of WordCampUK.

    Given that an organisation with Mike Little (WordPress co-founder), Peter Westwood (WordPress Core Developer who works for Automattic) and Paul Gibbs (Buddypress core developer) on its 6 person committee has had SO many problems in the last 18 months with WPC the they actually LEFT the draconian and NorthAmerican centric rules of the WPC this year… I think it shows something else is wrong if this is the first Matt has heard of it.

  2. @Steve Bank – Wow Steve! I didn’t think it was possible to get so many things wrong in once sentence:
    * Paul Gibbs is not on the WPUK committee.
    * There are eight people on the committee.
    * We have not had any problems with WPC, other than being asked (almost 2 years ago) to change the name of our annual event from WordCamp UK to WordCamp cityname UK.
    * This year is the FIRST year we have actively engaged with WordCamp Central and we are hosting our site on their setup for the first time –

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong!

  3. I provided cash and in-kind sponsorships to a couple WordCamps that happened in Shanghai and Beijing a few years ago that Matt attended (jetlagged). The organizers failed to adhere to their side of the agreement my company laid out with them in a big way, and I permanently revoked any future sponsorships between my company and WordCamps. The money amount was small, and it goes to a good cause, but the organization was crass, unprofessional, and in the end not a good advertisement for the WordPress movement.

    So I do think there should be more oversight, training, or responsibility from WP-at-large in organizing and maintaining WordCamps. Some appear to be done very well, but others are not so great.

    @Jeffro: don’t orphan your previous thoughts and suggestions. You did make good points.

  4. Your confusion was totally understandable. I’m a WordCamp organizer, and I’m super confused! I see that there’s an attempt to create a differentiation between WordCamp Central and the WordPress Foundation, but from a practical, organizational point of view, they really seem to be one and the same. I actually don’t know where the divide is. The Foundation sets rules that WC Central must implement, but then the Foundation isn’t responsible for these rules and dissatisfaction it may cause organizers? And aren’t they pretty much the same people working in both bodies, one day representing Central, the next the Foundation? And don’t WordCamps going through Central need the Foundation to be involved in all the financial aspects?

    In short, still confused.

  5. Nothing is more good rather than admitting it.. congrats for realizing your mistake and admitting it..

  6. It’s hard to place blame or hold anyone accountable when you have no idea who that person is or what project or group they belong to.

    You hit the nail on the head. I don’t quite see why you should have to apologise for their lack of transparency. If the wordpress foundation doesn’t want to take the blame for things it hasn’t done, perhaps it should be a little clearer about what its remit actually is, because right now its (admittedly dusty) website is still full of stuff about funding wordcamps. You can see how people might get confused by that.

  7. @that girl again – I’m not sure how the Foundation home page could be any clearer

    The point of the foundation is to ensure free access, in perpetuity, to the software projects we support.

    As part of this mission, the Foundation will be responsible for protecting the WordPress, WordCamp, and related trademarks. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the WordPress Foundation will also pursue a charter to educate the public about WordPress and related open source software.

    Emphasis mine.

  8. @Mike Little

    …while the on news page it talks about how “we hope to find a way to enable more WordCamps to have the Foundation handle the finances in a way that is efficient and hassle-free”.

    When the Foundation talks about handling WordCamp finances, it’s unsurprising that people may not find it entirely clear which organisation is responsible for decisions on issues like sponsorship caps.

  9. @Geraldine – I was responding to the point

    perhaps it should be a little clearer about what its remit actually is,

    Perhaps, I should have been clearer.

    However, a couple of paragraphs in one blog post hardly makes the site “full of stuff about funding wordcamps.”

  10. After reading this and the other thread: I’ve always been amazed how instantly defensive WordPress people (of whatever flavour/level, organisers or people who work on the platforms, all the way upto the top) can be. It’s like before listening, they jump in and start shouting or responding.

    For sponsors and punters like me alike, it’s really not a good look, especially blaming the messenger when it’s obvious there are real issues that need to be addressed? I’m not surprised for various reasons, but saddened….:-(

  11. Even if Jane was posting all the Wordcamp-related stuff on the wrong blog, it’s still there and still creates an apparently false impression that the WordPress foundation is/was involved in financing Wordcamps. How are we supposed to know that this isn’t the case any more, if it ever was? ESP?


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