On Web Design Aside

I haven’t even written part two and I have an aside already. And I’m going to publish this before I even put my own commentary on it.

There has been a shitstorm around WordPress these last couple days. Here’s where it starts, Here’s where it ends as far as I’m concerned; here is a whole lot of stuff inbetween, some of it nasty etc etc.

What I will say in the meantime is I met Matt at SXSW, on one occasion holding him up in the free booze line at the Blogger party to talk about CMS, WordPress, SWIM, and primarily, monetization. He is a good soul. That ppl would flame him is just proof of what an odd place the interweb is.


Originally via Clay’s M2M post, to which Danah replies moderately PO’d (at Matt) like, and doesn’t like two defenses of Matt (one I already linked to).

Theyblinked responds by saying, “What we really need is a revenue model for social entrepreneurs,” and in one sentence says what I was probly going to take 4 paragraphs to say here when I got around to it.

IR is supposed to be (at least partially) about exactly that. Except IR is a socially entrepreneuristic venture (by, primarily, yours truly). As old as sin: chicken or egg? Sometimes it feels like we’re randomly harvesting DNA and when we get it shoved all together we’ll be happy if it’s a jackalope. Supposedly, this kind of work is one of my strengths. But it gets tiring, and expensive, and stressful, and will kill you sooner or later.

Of course, I still think it is worth it.

Point is, when academics who get paid to blog complain about the ethics of a situation that had essentially zero net effect on the public…I dunno…this isn’t Enron…this is the kind of situation myself and my ppl are far too familiar with: the back (interesting Freudian) bank account falling fast towards zero while we bust our ass to get software out the door or ideas off the fucking ground. Matt leveraged social capital (in the way of Google pagerank) that he earned, fair and square. We all do that, to one degree or another. Most of the time, we gain that social capital by inheriting it or through stupid luck…and then lord it over ppl as if…I have a song lyric that goes, “There are those with social success that they call being blessed.”

Bud Gibson said it well in the comments to Danah’s M2M post:

Who bears the cost of free and open source software? You assume a commons, and that is correct. Many take and few contribute, so the classic tragedy is set. Developers and maintainers bear the cost, and they have to have some way to monetize what they get in return. Strange ethics that constrains them in doing this without placing an onus on users to contribute actual cash. Such ethics would feel well at home in any witch trial.

I just wish ppl would stop acting as if Matt hasn’t/doesn’t bust his ass and wallet for WordPress. Yes he has reaped some rewards, but I’m pretty sure his job at CNET is not completely comprised of flying around the country and working on WordPress.

end of rantish update. damn that felt good this morning.]]