[wp-hackers] Putting the P in WordPress

eric at eamann.com eric at eamann.com
Tue Jul 6 20:12:49 UTC 2010

Unfortunately, this is where the conversation begins to derail.  Let's try not
to make it a personal issue.  We're facing three core problems here (that I've
seen at least):
1) WordPress has added a feature that modifies post content without input or
oversight from end users, many of whom are not technically skilled enough to
program or install a work-around.  This is a question of perceived censorship
because the platform is now actively changing the words you originally wrote
without your permission. (Philosophically I see this as a large issue.)
2) Performance issues: Adding another filter slows down the processing engine.
 (In the short term this seems to be a minor issue.)
3) Standards and consistency: For a community member to submit code to core,
they must create a Trac ticket, submit a patch for discussion, possible tap a
core developer for feedback on IRC, and wait for several rounds of feedback
before it can be added (I'm talking feature additions, not bug fixes).  In this
case, though, a core developer submitted a change to core code without the same
levels of discussion.  (This presents a much larger issue.)
WordPress is a community project.  It's used by the community, supported by the
community, and (allegedly) developed by the community.  When the community is
required to submit to multiple layers of review, allowing core developers to
circumvent that system creates an environment of animosity (just read back
through this thread if you don't believe that).  We begin attacking one another
on a personal level rather than opening discussing the issues and trying to
build a stronger community.
The fact of the matter is that this filter is a somewhat trivial issue.  Did it
break a few sites?  Yes, but any problems can be quickly fixed by a competent
developer and many of us are willing to help community members overcome problems
like this for free.  Any upgrade can break a site, so this isn't a big surprise.
But did this patch follow the set standards for patch submission? ( see
http://codex.wordpress.org/User:HEngel/How_To_Become_A_WordPress_Developer or
http://codex.wordpress.org/Development_Planning)  No.  That's where I have the
biggest complaint.
The most resounding issue, though, is the lack of openness in discussions here
on the mailing list.  It doesn't matter who you are or how you're affiliated
with the WordPress project, you can have an opinion.  Further more, that opinion
can be wrong.  That's what makes working on a project like this productive - you
voice your opinion, discuss it with the community, and come to a conclusion
about the best way forward.  Your initial idea may or may not be the final
To forego this discussion before committing code, though, threatens to destroy
the process.  Community members who thought themselves your equal now feel left
at the side of the road.  Dismissing concerns out-of-hand only reinforces this
feeling and causes a minor issue (the entire patch was ~5 lines of code!) to
escalate to an emotional, major one (we've been debating this for how long?).
When new developers want to add a new feature to core, they're encouraged to
first build a plug-in and to see how popular it is with other users.  If it's a
major improvement, someone will suggest it be added to core.  In the case of
this particular patch, I can't see many people installing a plug-in to add just
this feature.  Still, engaging the community *before* adding the patch would
still let everyone know about the feature and gauge its popularity.
Had we polled even just this list before, I have no doubt many of us would have
jumped on board.  We didn't, and it's time to learn from that slight oversight
and move forward.
What non-core devs are seeing is a unilateral modification of code by core devs
without the approval process those same core devs require from the community.
 It has us up-in-arms about the patch, and struggling to grasp at an amicable
I'd like to suggest that we take a minute to cool down and think about what's
really at issue here.  Are we upset about a patch?  Are we upset about an
inconsistent commit process?  Are we upset about the dichotomy between core and
non-core developers?  Then, without insulting one another, injecting snide
remarks, or claiming that people can "vote with their feet" and leave a project
they love because of a ~5-line patch, let's figure out what we can learn through
this process and how we can avoid such a massive public backlash in the future.
For what it's worth, I'd like to see:
- This filter turned off (I'd rather write a plug-in to *add* a filter than
*remove* one)
- A clear, concise list of what steps *everyone* must follow when submitting a
patch to core
I don't know about everyone else, but I'd be more than happy with either or both
of those ... 

On July 6, 2010 at 7:40 PM Chip Bennett <chip at chipbennett.net> wrote:

> Oh, silly me!
> There already *is* such a plugin. It's been in the repository for almost three
> years:
> http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ozhs-correctly-spell-wordpress/
> It has a grand total of (wait for it...)
> So, Matt, tell us again: just how vital and popular is this core change?
> --
> Chip Bennett
> chip at chipbennett.net
> www.chipbennett.net
> On Tuesday 06 July 2010 1:34:09 pm Gavin Pearce wrote:
> > +1 :)
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: wp-hackers-bounces at lists.automattic.com
> > [mailto:wp-hackers-bounces at lists.automattic.com] On Behalf Of Chip
> > Bennett
> > Sent: 06 July 2010 19:29
> > To: wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
> > Subject: Re: [wp-hackers] Putting the P in WordPress
> >
> > How about moving the entire function itself into a plugin, and see how
> > many
> > downloads *it* gets?
> >
> > > On 7/6/2010 10:33 AM, Harry Metcalfe wrote:
> > > > I wrote a patch weeks ago to take it out. I'm really not trying to
> >
> > be
> >
> > > > difficult! I just think this filter is a terrible idea. And it's a
> > > > little sad to witness the total lack of interest from the core team.
> > > > This isn't how it's supposed to work, IMO.
> > >
> > > Maybe write and promote a plugin, and we can see how many downloads it
> > > gets?
> >
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