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Not So Thankless After All

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August 15th, 2009
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WordPress Plugins

Back in early July, I asked the question is WordPress a thankless community? Not surprisingly, this post struck a chord with both developers and end users. The point of the article was to raise awareness that there are a number of people who give to the WordPress community and it seemed as though a large portion of the community was not stopping to at least say thank you for the contributions. In the article, I present a few different methods for showing appreciation or for giving back but too many people in the comments focused on the monetary aspect of the situation which is not what I had in mind.

In this post, I’m going to highlight a number of different ideas, comments, and blog posts that came out of the discussion.

First, we have Matt Mullenweg who shares his thoughts on the idea that WordPress is a thankless community. This was a question and answer session at WordCamp Montreal where someone in the audience must have been reading WeblogToolsCollection.com. Who ever asked Matt this question, thank you! The question was asked at 33:40.

Donnacha of WordSkill published a comment that I thought captured the essence of what I was trying to get across.

Yeah, a dollar – that’s a days pay for some people in this world.

One of the key points of the Open Source movement, and it is something that is a risk of being lost in this mad rush towards commercializing the WordPress eco-system, we are meant to be working together to lift up all humanity, not just privileged Westerners.

IF A PLUGIN IS WORTH A DOLLAR, surely we should be sending hundreds to the folks who contributed to the WordPress core?

… but they would laugh, possibly even be insulted, because their efforts are about something much bigger than grubbing a few lousy tips.

Thank plugin authors, link to them, credit them, try to be helpful on their forums, install WordPress for a neighbor. If they request donations, sure, buy them a beer, but don’t forget that this project used to be about something higher, and certainly don’t criticize other users who either cannot or don’t want to donate

We had a number of people write about this particular subject on their own blogs and I’d like to highlight a few posts that I think make for a great read.

Code Is Poetry
Scribu turns the tables and thanks his users
Extending thanks outside of WordPress
Thanks to all the developers, you rock!
Academic Sandbox looks at this issue from a generational point of view

I have one more link that features an idea that I have really gotten behind called Donate Friday. DonateFriday exists to socially show some love to plugin or theme authors every Friday. The way it works is you choose a theme or plugin author to donate to, place their name and a link to their plugin or theme in the tweet, and then add in the #donatefriday hashtag so that it can be tracked. I’ve participated in this event twice and it’s a cool way to not only show some love, but to spread the word of plugins you take value in. If you want to see it in action, check out the hashtag search on Twitter.

Last but not least, I wanted to point you in the direction of a Codex article which discusses how to contribute to WordPress because much of the same material can be applied to theme and plugin authors. But the most interesting part of this page is the section describing the donation of money which is what I’ll leave you with to ponder.

The WordPress Community exists because everyone takes part in some way, by giving their time, energy, and sometimes even money, because they believe in the valuable services WordPress provides. We invite you to join the community in whatever way you feel is appropriate, and giving money to WordPress Theme and Plugin authors and developers who give so freely of their creativity and expertise by offering their services for free to all WordPress users is a good place to start.

If you use a WordPress Theme or Plugin and your WordPress blog depends upon it, contact the author and find out how you can give back and support their continued efforts. It takes a lot of time and energy to create and then support their Themes and Plugins, keeping them updated as WordPress changes and bugs are found. Many take donations or appreciate it when you blog about their Plugin or Theme. Others offer their Plugins and Themes as experiential portfolios – you play with it, you like it, you hire them. Most clearly indicate how they appreciate compensation for their hard work – give back to WordPress by giving back to them.

The more the WordPress Community supports the programmers, developers, testers, and challengers, the stronger and better WordPress becomes. Sometimes that means donating money, sometimes it means saying thank you.

Just remember, every contribution counts, no matter what it looks like. It takes every one of us to make WordPress better.

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  1. Darren (16 comments.) says:

    Great followup article Jeff. At the very least your article and the spin-off from it is causing people to think more about expressing appreciation for so much of what we tend to take for granted.

    • Darren (16 comments.) says:

      Just in case Matt or someone who can affect things is reads this article…it’d be a great idea to list the tweets with the #donatefriday tag on the wordpress.org/extend/plugins or wordpress.org/extend/themes page…

  2. JLeuze (12 comments.) says:

    Yeah, I hope even more end users gain a greater appreciation for all of the hard work that developers and other contributors put into WordPress and other Open Source projects.

    They need a little more love, and besides, the more coffee you buy them, the faster they can pump out those updates!

  3. Pete says:

    I’m in the process of setting up a small business that will use as much open source software as possible. Part of the business plan is to donate a percentage of my profits to the developers at the end of each year. It just seems the right thing to do.

  4. Mike says:

    Thanks to all the developers, theme authors and all the other people that contribute to WordPress.

  5. Rajesh (35 comments.) says:

    Very nice post Jeff….Yes we cannot expect the world to be perfect…and are both thankful and thankless people here…

    a few donate in appreciation and a few link back or write reviews on the plugins or themes…

    and there a few thankless people who even remove the link to the theme author’s page on a free theme they enjoy…

    and there a few others who don’t even know how to remove those links, but ask for help in forums on how to remove those links…

    but it is those thankful people who make us the developers to continue to churn out themes and plugins…We the developers should continue to contribute as long as there is a thankful community…

  6. Rose (2 comments.) says:

    I have to say we are MOST GRATEFUL to WordPress. It is the most professional platform around. Flexible, sturdy… amazing…

    ‘Thank you’ folks at WordPress, and also ‘Thank you’ to all free plugin providers for providing such a digital lollipot of options and features for our blog.



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