[wp-hackers] Putting the P in WordPress

Matt Mullenweg m at mullenweg.com
Tue Jul 6 22:50:03 UTC 2010

On 7/6/2010 6:37 PM, Mitch Canter wrote:
> Just out of curiosity, what value would having a plugin to opt out (in
> either case) vs. an option in the menu give.  I would think that the
> server load the option generation would cause would be negligible, yet
> the latter being more user-friendly to someone not schooled in the art
> of / having no access to plugins.

The core philosophy of WordPress is fairly anti-option. In Open Source 
software, in particular, arguments can get so heated and personal that 
in an effort to put out the fire many projects solve disagreements with 

While this may stop the argument, it does so at the expense of the user. 
(And ultimately the software.) It puts a cognitive load on the user to 
make a decision about something every time they visit or update that 
screen, the more esoteric or trivial the option, the more likely it is 
to confuse and confound everyone who comes across it.

For a nightmare-inducing example of what happens when project leadership 
does not guard against this, study this screen from OpenOffice.org and 
realize there are 42 others just like it or worse in user-visible 
options panel:


(42? Can't be a coincidence. :))

Matt Mullenweg
http://ma.tt | http://wordpress.org | http://automattic.com

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