Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Many of the plugin authors I have spoken with throughout the community tell me that very rarely do they ever get a donation let alone a Thank You for releasing their work to the public. Based on the plugin authors feedback, end users demand more features, demand better support, and in the end, have this feeling of entitlement even if the plugin is available without a price tag. The reality is, that for a freely available plugin, you’re not entitled to anything. I don’t know about you, but I certainly would not like to be part of a community that is known as thankless.
Before I list a few ways of curbing this attitude, I must say that not EVERYONE in the community acts in the ways I described above. I know many of us have donated to plugin authors, have written reviews of plugins to give them exposure, have said thank you, etc. This post is not geared towards you but towards those who seemingly want to have their cake and eat it too.
Saying Thanks – I believe saying thank you is underrated these days. Saying thanks can go a long way in making a plugin author feel good about themselves for their contribution to the community.
Donate – It’s pretty clear to me by now through asking plugin authors and other posts on the subject that there is no way to pay the bills through donations alone. However, donations are often seen as one part of the income generating strategy so whatever comes through is seen as a benefit. I’ve donated over $100.00 so far in my time spent with WordPress which I know is small compared to what these plugins have enabled my sites to achieve but I’m astonished at the amount of people who have not donated any cash at all.
Exposure – What plugin author does not like exposure? This can be done any number of ways such as a written review, a podcast dedicated to plugins, links to new plugin releases as WeblogToolsCollection.com is known for and overall, just spreading the word about the plugins you enjoy using.
Contribute Back – To support a plugin authors initial contribution to the community, we as end users can return the favor by beta testing new versions, submitting bug reports, helping out with translations, and helping to provide support.
At this stage of the game, I think it’s unfair to provide a blanket statement covering the entire WordPress community as thankless. However, I know many plugin authors who are holding back from releasing their work to the community because they know they will be inundated with support, demands, etc, all for no price.
I think we sometimes have to sit back and remember that WordPress is a piece of great software but it doesn’t have every feature under the sun, that is where plugins come in. These plugins are generally patches, feature enhancements, or ways of providing functionality that are better than the core offering. Plugins are one of the thriving aspects of WordPress that bring people to the platform because if you can’t do something with WordPress, there is at least 1-3 plugins that will. I would really hate to see plugin authors jump ship from the platform simply because of the way the community treats them.
The WordPress platform and its end users have nothing to gain from having this happen so please, lets all do our part to show plugin authors the same love we show for WordPress.
*note* If you know of any other ways to help the situation, I’m all ears.