Tom McFarlin to Launch Marketplace for Blogging Plugins, Finds New Maintainer for Plugins

Daily blogger and plugin author Tom McFarlin has found a new maintainer for five of his plugins. Within two days of putting the plugins up for adoption, McFarlin announced that Philip Arthur Moore will be taking over Category Sticky Post, Comment Tweets, Single Post Message, Tag Sticky Post, and Tipsy Social Icons. Moore, who is currently working as CTO at Professional Themes, has inherited roughly 10,000 users overnight in the transfer of maintainership. plugin adoption stories are few and far between. The most common scenario for an orphaned plugin is to languish in the directory until it disappears from search results (with the exception of exact matches) after two years of no updates. In McFarlin’s case, he was looking to tie up some loose ends before shifting Pressware’s focus to launching Blogging Plugins, a marketplace for extensions that streamline WordPress for regular bloggers.

“Last year, I had a few false starts when trying to launch what was originally called Pressware Plugins,” McFarlin said. “Fast-forward a few months and we’re going to focus on something called Blogging Plugins. We already have two free plugins available, though there’s an entire set of plugins, marketplace, and more coming.”

Moore’s adoption of the plugins, which includes the first plugin McFarlin ever wrote, allows Pressware to move forward with its 2017 objectives. McFarlin said he selected Moore based on the quality of his open source projects and reputation in the WordPress community.

“For those of you who aren’t familiar with Philip’s side projects, you may be familiar with Subtitles,” McFarlin said. “It’s a plugin that falls right in line with my personal ethos of how things should work with WordPress: You activate it, it’s ready to go, and it feels native within the application.”

The adopt-me tag is used on to indicate plugins where the author is looking for a new maintainer. With just two pages of listings, it’s not yet widely used. Most developers find it easier to fork an open source plugin and has recently made it easier than ever for authors to close a plugin by simply emailing the plugin team.

However, not all orphaned plugins are ready for end of life measures. Circumstances change in plugin authors’ lives, but the strength of the user base is one of the primary indicators of a project that could thrive in new hands. The built-in user base is also one of the main advantages of adopting a plugin as opposed to forking it.

Developer and ZDNet columnist David Gewirtz discovered the full weight of adopting a plugin’s users when he took on 10 plugins from the adopt-me section of the directory. Gewirtz, who inherited approximately 50,000 users, said the experience helped him reconnect with real users.

“The value I’ve gained as a columnist, advisor, and educator that has come from interacting with users from so many nations with so many different skill sets and missions has been off the charts,” Gewirtz said. “I thought I’d keep my programming chops up, and I’ve certainly done that. But I never expected I’d gain a much broader perspective that I’d be able to apply to all of the areas of my professional life and meet so many cool people.”

Adoption is arguably the healthiest outcome for any orphaned project – not just for the sake of reducing plugin abandonment but also for continuing support for users. Many of them blindly depend on plugins with no understanding of how they work.

Once a plugin is downloaded and installed on users’ sites, it gains a life of its own. Adoption strengthens a project’s history by proving it can weather storms that might otherwise cause the plugin to become obsolete and wipe out the user base.

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  1. Thank you for the coverage – as the article states, I couldn’t be happier with who ended up with the plugins. I’m also looking forward to the rest of 2017!


    1. Best of luck with it all, Tom. I can’t wait to see Blogging Plugins take off this year.


  2. I’ve been tempted to adopt a plugin as a way to learn how it works and see what I can add to it. Most people I have met via WordPress are great and I might even get help from some if I asked. But, there are enough who are aggressively negative that I decided not to set myself up for them. I can always work on the plugin code in secret and just use whatever it becomes myself. Glad to see people who know more adopting plugins. There have been some really great ideas which are just gathering dust bunnies in the 2 year + group.


    1. Most people I have met via WordPress are great and I might even get help from some if I asked. But, there are enough who are aggressively negative that I decided not to set myself up for them. I can always work on the plugin code in secret and just use whatever it becomes myself.

      This. We really need to address this as a community. The more I reflect on it, the more I think a lot of the negativity and entitlement in the WordPress community is a problem with expectations.

      Users don’t understand the GPL. They don’t understand that plugins are created and given away for free – out of kindness and a willingness to share for the common good. They just know they have a website that they pay money for and something on it is broken.. And now they’ve stumbled across a forum that has to do with something on their website, so fix it already!

      There are users that are just downright mean, trolling, or blackmailing for reviews as well. But I keep dwelling on the expectations issue and wondering if there is a way can better educate people.

      Because, at the end of the day, the negativity is stifling progress, such as you and I both hoarding code so we don’t have to deal with being treated poorly.


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