Before I start off on this, let me make it incredibly clear that WordPress is offering a free service by hosting my blogs… database tables, in all honesty that’s pretty much the only thing on a technological standpoint save the DNS entry to point fullphaser1 as a subdomain between this blog and the one right next door. So I’d like to first thank my host before I make fun of them. But, with that over and done with, let the harassment of WordPress policy commence.
For those who don’t know, I can never resist the opportunity to make myself a complete asshole on the internet, and WordPress is always proud to announce the new themes that they will allow their free users to make use of. There is this cute little yellow bar that sits at the top of the WordPress.com admin panel to let you know someone else has tweeked some CSS and HTML and made a cute new theme for wordpress users. WordPress than by what I can only describe as red tape infused decides which of these themes that are submitted to them they would like to allow their free users to make use of because allowing them to tamper with the actual theme [meaning getting at the PHP that builds the site] is probably a bad idea, and I can’t really blame them for that. Anyway, I was sitting there reading about their newest them on the market, some kind of oddly and inappropriate name for what was clearly just WordPress’s default theme with the column switched around a bit and everything was a disappointing shade of navy blue. Being the smug web developer I think I am, I decided to comment that the design was a bit dull and uninspired [because it was], and posted it to the comments section.
Well, there is post moderation, and I’m guessing my post didn’t meet the requirements [don’t be an asshat], because instead going back to find my post flourishing among the other sheeple in the herd praising this minimalistic blue template, I was quite distressed to see that mine was not only no longer in moderation, it was simply not there. I was all kinds of butthurt over this, and was hoping that maybe it was some kind of database error, surely wordpress wasn’t so taken back by my cynical and sarcastic nature that they wouldn’t publish my comment? But no even further still, I got an email a few days letter from the guy who actually posted the original link to the template. I’m not sure if he was the one who created the skin / template, but I got the impression that he was all kinds of offended by my statement.
Here’s ze email.
> I wonder, because as I watch that delightful little yellow bar with “We’ve made a new skin”, what do you guys have with your coffee? Because while I understand the motive for doing so, you guys sometimes come off more bland than an egg white wallpaper. I mean I know the general idea is to make a theme that applies to a wide audience, but I know you guys have a bit more flair than that, the PHP backend for WordPress’s codebase says that pretty clearly.
> Ever one day get bored and think “We should push out a theme that reminds me of an eggplant”?
What’s funny is for your comment we get 3 or 4 times the amount of feedback that says the opposite: “Thanks for the many great themes, keep them coming.”
So no, we are never bored. 12+ million users keep us on our toes. 🙂
Maybe you missed it, but we are trying to launch many themes so that everyone can find a perfect one:
http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/the-theme-team/ under goal #2.
> Oh on the constructive side, you guys might want to place the menu to side on a slightly darker background to pull it off the back, as it stands it’s just kind of… without any real shape. get bold and put a gradient in there so you can feel all web 2.0.
Thanks for the feedback!
90% of these themes are not designed by Automattic, they come from the open source community: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/. What we do is make sure it works correctly with WordPress.com and then launch it for everyone to use, not just self-hosted WordPress users.
We love improving the themes on WordPress.com and we’ll be launching many more in the coming year.
Theme Wrangler | Automattic | WordPress.com
Now, I admit I didn’t look to hard for my comment, so it may have actually been approved, but I got the feeling that this was one of those nice personal responses where they remind you not to make fun of their theme artist because it might hurt their feelings. While I don’t pretend to make themes for Worpdress, I’ve made them for phpBB, Proboards, SMF, and even Joomla. Of those, you probably only want to see the SMF and Proboards ones because those are the only 2 that I put any time into. But, I also am someone who is sarcastic by nature, so if you were to tell me “That nature’s grace skin you did for proboards? Yeah it looks like a toddler put that together”, I’d probably still publish your comment because I don’t mind it, and it’s still an opinion.
But don’t go getting all serious on me about how you think you’re anything more than blogging software. I realize that now that you have beat every blog software save google’s own blogger you feel like you have to act all professional in front of the users making use of your software, but the truth is that no one cares. SMF doesn’t take itself to seriously, rummaging through the codebase long enough will help you realize that, and I don’t remember WordPress’s code base being all that serious either, in fact you guys are the ones who included smileys in the comments.
So I don’t know who is running the free team, but there is no need to get defensive about having a minimalist theme being called bland. I’d say go smoke a bowl because I figure that’s how wordpress came into being anyway, but you guys might not want to get your wordpress shirts dirty [I saw one when walking through downtown, I do hope it was one of your employees, and you don’t actually have a fan base who thinks it’s a bright idea to wear your logo around]. It’s not that I have anything against your logo, it’s just that in the end it’s blogging software, good blogging software, but blogging software all the same. Let us get no delusions of grander about where we planted our roots.