Better leave at the top of your game…

Wherein the author enumerates much meaningless data and uses them as springboard for some slightly more topical meandering…

  • 1,059 WordPress plugins currently sit on wp-plugins.net. Not bad for a project that was half-shunned by the official WP pubah(s) from the very beginning. Kinda getting worried by the amount of bandwidth this is eating off my quota right now (read: somewhere in the 200% vicinity). But we’ll cross that bridge when it starts falling.
  • 11,232 SK2 downloads for the year 2006 so far. There again, not bad for a plugin that doesn’t happen to be the one packaged by default in WordPress 2.0.
  • 968 comments (mostly Trackbacks and Pingbacks, as I closed comments on this page a while back) on SK2’s homepage. Can’t help but notice an uncannily high percentage of posts from Germany. Is SK2 like, the David Hasselhoff of anti-spam plugins?

As you can tell, despite being on cruise-control mode, the Deliverables Department of UnknownGenius Corp. is doing nicely. As for where it’s heading, I suppose I may use the occasion to offer a quick update:

The short answer is that it is going nowhere.

The longer answer is that, ultimately, I will be phasing out all WordPress development (and most web coding, actually) from my activities.

For those who care about the Why, I will try to provide some elements without delving too deep into the multiple layers of frustration and unrelated motives for my general disinterest toward WordPress at the moment:

Recently, Skippy summed-up quite nicely the building frustration in the WP community. Mine has been growing along a similar path and, after voicing my concerns a few times last year, I eventually decided to save me the time and energy and silently started shifting out most of my WP-related activities. Like Skippy, I take issues with the way WP development is “managed”, I also have serious concerns about the increased melting of public open-source code with semi-private interests, as reflected by the blatantly commercial marketing strategies of recent releases. Don’t get me wrong: I am not one of those open-source zealots who considers it a crime for software authors to make a dime off their work, I just do not like the way it’s done here.

On a wider scale, I guess I am getting tired of the whole “Web 2.0” micro-bubble, the underwhelmingly banal concepts it rests on and the mix of greed and naive enthusiasm that propels it. I was there the first time around, and believe me: little else of durable value was invented during that era beside the Skyy & Red Bull cocktail. Oh, I’m sure a few people will manage to make some cash this time too, and I certainly wish them all the success they deserve. But I see little reason contributing my time graciously to help selling Automattic to Yahoo or some other acquisition-hungry greying Bay Area corporation, which is what developing for WordPress increasingly felt like, as of late.

Please do not panic (and do not listen to the well-meaning people that might be inclined to tell you otherwise): I am not dropping Spam Karma nor wp-plugins.net any time soon. I will keep doing as I have over the past few months: maintain and improve as mandatory, without any sort of long term planning (in the positive or the negative) as long as things remain stable. If push comes to shove and I really have to make a decision, I will at the very least ensure that the legacy of these projects is maintained, and you will long be blogging on neuro-quantic interfaces before you have to worry about alternative ways to ward comment spam off your blog. If anything, I have no intention to stop my blogging, and WP remains, at the moment, the best option for my needs, so you can find reassurance in my own necessities.

As for other tentative projects of the past (WPPM, minor WP plugins etc.), I am saddened to say that the chances of resuscitation are inching closer to zero with each passing day. I have toyed with miscellaneous new ideas (including starting the new blogging platform of my dreams from scratch), but decided that, in the end, this wasn’t the direction I wanted to take with my time. Sure, I have to refrain an impulse to start coding, each time I pass the now-defunct one-click install FAQ, but really, it’s all for the best. Of course, if some generous benefactor shows up with $3,000 in cash and asks to see the most kick-ass WPPM 2 s/he’s ever seen, I won’t be difficult to convince (I’m a fairly venal ilk of genius these days), barring that unlikely event, we shall say new coding adventures will be kept for brighter days and a very distant hypothetical future.

21 comments

  1. Well, I do hope you don’t give up hope on WordPress. I discovered it about six months ago now and can’t get enough of blog tweaking. I’m not a programmer and know only enough about PHP, HTML, CSS, and MySQL to make me dangerous — just to myself, I’m glad to say. To me, WordPress is an excellent content management system with so much potential for customization and interesting presentation of information. I switched two Web sites to WordPress (so far), am co-authoring a beginner/intermediate book about WordPress, and spend a ton of time learning about the software and what it can do.

    I don’t see the commercialism that you do, but that’s probably because I’m accustomed to that kind of environment — I write primarily about commercial software products like Word, Excel, and Mac OS. I do see other minor problems at wordpress.org — disorganized and somewhat unreliable support comes to mind — but what can we expect for free software? I think that it’s amazing that there’s as much support as there is — not only among the WP development team, but developers like you who create add-on products to meet specific needs not fulfilled by the software itself.

    Anyway, I’m sad to read that someone is thinking of ending his relationship with WordPress just when I’m rejoicing in the beginning of my relationship with WordPress. Especially when that someone has done such a fine job of making WordPress a better product for all of us.

  2. Nothing else to add about my wordpress based frustration.
    I even plan to quit using wordpress and trying everything else around.

    I will just keep doing themes as long as people pay me for.

  3. I can’t say I’m very aware of what kind of a situation there is with WordPress development, therefore I won’t discuss your decision in any way.

    I just want to say thank you for all the work that’s been done so far. I’m quite sure the decision was not easy to take for you. Thanks Dave.

  4. wishing you all the best bro.
    I have grown quite mad at the whole mix up of Automattic and WordPress.I shudder ot think of Automattic and WordPress to be the next Six Apart and Movable Type.
    That being said, please do continue making spam karma 2 and wp-plugins.net. Those are wonderful projects helping thousands of people, including me.

  5. Yikes! I just found you and then read that you’re not happy with WordPress. I wanted to thank you for SpamKarma. I’m stunned that it is not part of the WordPress package. Good luck finding Japanese food in Paris. When my sister found “natto” in Atlanta, GA my mother said, “That’s odd, it’s such an unnecessary food.” Take care, good luck and I’m book marking your blog.

  6. Hey,

    Yeah I hear Dr. Dave! It pretty much sucks at the moment. I might join you soon.

    Thanks for all your hard work and I just hope you still feel it was worth all the bs that went along with it. 😉

    Take Care,

    Will

  7. well, you’re leaving a pretty fun product behind in wordpress, but I certainly can’t argue with your reasons for doing so. You’ve been really valuable to the community, and wherever you take that, a community will thrive. Spam Karma ftw.

  8. Haven’t followed your blog that much in the past but have started doing so recently.

    Followed this post from your Critical Vulnerability in WP post and was initially worried that you may actually stop SK2 dev.

    I totally agree on your point of SK2 being a better antispam plugin than the one packaged in WP. It and Bad Behavior are the first two plugins I install on any new WordPress install and will continue to do so, because of the control that I can get on the SPAM.

    Thanks for the fabulous job that you are doing!

  9. Oh, I am so relieved that you will not abandon SK2. I just gave the link to another blogger tonight who has been overrun with spam. Since I installed SK2, I literally only had to deal with one spam comment. The other 3,000+ were summarily dealt with without my participation. Now THAT is a plugin!!

    I’m so sorry about your feelings about WordPress. I am becoming turned off as well. I’m just a lowly user, but I’m already sore enough that I won’t go up to WP 2.0 and I’m slowly coming to terms with the idea that I might one day have to find another platform for my blog. When they sold out to Yahoo!, I puked. Yahoo! is the worst name on the web, as far as I’m concerned. I want nothing to do with them.

    Hope your talents will be appreciated elsewhere! WordPress’s loss.

  10. I’d also like to thank you for SK2- it’s way better than Akismet- and to let you know- your count on downloads is one thing- we download it- and then install it on something like 60 wp sites for our clients-
    Open Source development is a thankless job- considering I’m too stupid to write the code- I have to thank people like you everyday for giving me a tool that works as great as it does.
    Please don’t despair- I’ll never be Bill Gates- but if I was, I’d give you a nice chunk for your efforts.

  11. Sorry for the error in my trackback comment. I can’t believe I missed this: “Please do not panic (and do not listen to the well-meaning people that might be inclined to tell you otherwise): I am not dropping Spam Karma nor wp-plugins.net any time soon.” …What happens when you try to rush things.

  12. The problem with the bandwidth on wp-plugins.net is simple to fix.
    You need to use mod_gzip and turn the 600k page into 90k !

    It would also have the side effect of transmiting much faster, not only for dialup but for for broadband as well.

    Compressing via php is not an option for that kind of page size. Even with mod_gzip you’ll have to raise the upper size limit from the default in .htaccess
    mod_gzip_maximum_file_size 700000

    Heck if it was me, I’d even store the data in gzip ready format and just uncompress for the fewer users who don’t have browsers that support it.

  13. SK2 is incredibly efficient in eating all these spams and you deserve much appreciation. I, however, came into a problem. My WP database is becoming so large that it is getting difficult to back it up. I was wondering how I can reduce the size of the SK2 table specially sk2_spams and sk2_log. I should mention that I have deleted the logs and spams but the tables are still ~ 3 MB. Thanks in advance.

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