[wp-hackers] Putting the P in WordPress

Dan Phiffer dan at phiffer.org
Tue Jul 6 19:17:12 UTC 2010

Hi Hackers,

I'm only piling on because I've had a ticket closed on grounds I disagreed with. Process is the issue here -- this is part of a pattern that makes me feel less inclined to participate. The filter was a bad decision that hadn't been fully thought through, but it's the response to objections that has been worrying. Some of these justifications are just silly.

I'll just add this quotation from a book called Being Wrong...

"In our collective imagination, error is associated not just with shame and stupidity but also with ignorance, indolence, psychopathology, and moral degeneracy. This set of associations was nicely summed up by the Italian cognitive scientist Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, who noted that we err because of (among other things) “inattention, distraction, lack of interest, poor preparation, genuine stupidity, timidity, braggadocio, emotional imbalance, . . . ideological, racial, social or chauvinistic prejudices, as well as aggressive or prevaricatory instincts.” In this rather despairing view — and it is the common one — our errors are evidence of our gravest social, intellectual, and moral failings.

Of all the things we are wrong about, this idea of error might well top the list. It is our meta-mistake: we are wrong about what it means to be wrong. Far from being a sign of intellectual inferiority, the capacity to err is crucial to human cognition. Far from being a moral flaw, it is inextricable from some of our most humane and honorable qualities: empathy, optimism, imagination, conviction, and courage. And far from being a mark of indifference or intolerance, wrongness is a vital part of how we learn and change. Thanks to error, we can revise our understanding of ourselves and amend our ideas about the world."



On Jul 6, 2010, at 2:42 PM, Chip Bennett wrote:

> I don't see a great deal of *respect* being shown for the quite valid and 
> myriad concerns expressed by the community regarding this function being added 
> to core.
> Cutting-and-pasting an earlier email response I wrote but didn't go through 
> (on that note: does the wp-hackers mail list not accept GPG-signed emails?):
> I believe that the issue here involves equally the underlying impropriety of 
> the filter and your perceived attitude toward those who are asking for the 
> filter's removal.
> As for your justification for this function's inclusion in core: I find it 
> somewhat hypocritical with respect to the stated philosophy of WordPress to be 
> Free Software. May I remind you of this statement, which is part of GNU's 
> definition of free software:
> "The freedom to run the program means the freedom for any kind of person or 
> organization to use it on any kind of computer system, for any kind of overall 
> job and purpose, without being required to communicate about it with the 
> developer or any other specific entity. In this freedom, it is the user's 
> purpose that matters, not the developer's purpose; you as a user are free to 
> run the program for your purposes, and if you distribute it to someone else, 
> she is then free to run it for her purposes, but you are not entitled to 
> impose your purposes on her."
> Reiterating:
> "it is the user's purpose that matters, not the developer's purpose"
> By imposing on end users your purpose - regardless of how noble - of 
> correctly spelling "WordPress" you are violating the very freedoms you 
> espouse.
> (And no: this issue has nothing whatsoever to do with protection or violation 
> of trademark.)
> Saying that the imposition can be easily changed with a two-line plugin is 
> entirely irrelevant for the vast majority of users who do not have the 
> technical competence to write such a plugin. Adding a plugin to Extend is a 
> poor man's alternative to what is the only (technically and philosophically) 
> right course of action: if the function must be in core, expose a 
> configuration and set it to disabled by default.
> As for the function itself: I find it difficult to reconcile adding such a 
> frivolous function to core, given the general philosophy of keeping so much 
> out of core. As such, its inclusion appears to be incredibly pedantic.
> This function should have been written as a plugin from the very beginning. 
> Bundle it with core if you must (surely it is - at a minimum - more useful 
> than Hello Dolly, after all).
> But it is less the function itself, and more the attitude in response to those 
> calling for its change/removal, that concerns me - and that prompts me to 
> respond.
> Matt, it is your attitude - in turns arrogant, condescending, dismissive, and 
> snide - that is exacerbating the situation. You are the one who is 
> needlessly increasing the emotional appeal in this matter.
> Can I suggest that perhaps this issue is best discussed devoid of snide, 
> arrogant, and dismissive remarks (from all parties)?
> As for me: what concerns me most is the "slippery slope" consideration of the 
> core development team's response to community outcry regarding this function 
> being added to core. How does the decision to add this function to core (and 
> the response to the community) in any way indicative of concern or respect for 
> the needs, desires, and *freedoms* of the WordPress community?
> -- 
> Chip Bennett
> chip at chipbennett.net
> www.chipbennett.net
> On Tuesday 06 July 2010 12:39:33 pm Matt Mullenweg wrote:
>> On 7/6/2010 1:30 PM, eric at eamann.com wrote:
>>> Some time ago I wrote a patch in response to a user's request that we add
>>> Skype and Facebook and LinkedIn and other fields to the profile page ...
>>> it was rejected because "There's a filter there, which means a plugin
>>> can easily control all of this." (ticket #11367)  It makes sense that we
>>> not include additional (trivial) functionality like this into core ...
>>> it made sense there and it still makes sense now.
>> For what it's worth, I think it would be nice to modernize those fields,
>> and even go a step further to authenticate them where possible. I would
>> have said so if I had seen that ticket.
>>> It doesn't paint a pretty picture of the core teams' opinion of the rest
>>> of the community ...
>> One of the core tenets of Open Source development is that people can
>> disagree, strongly, but still respect each other.
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