Recently I had a scurfufle with Matt Mullenweg, the benevolent dictator of WordPress the popular content management and blogging software that I use. I’ve been a WordPress user since day one of its release and so you know what I appreciate Matt a lot for what he’s done.

However, I have some issues with WordPress that are deep rooted in my beliefs in what I call False Democracies.  A true democracy takes into account the will of all people who  are apart of said democarcy.

When you look at our political climate in the United States the will of the people is largely ignored. The will of large corporate influencers is what sways our nation. It’s not a democracy its fascism who’s dressed up as a democracy.

American Politics is about money and a bait and switch. 

When I look on the web we see platforms such as WordPress being swayed by big money interests as well. The big money interest in my belief is Google. Let’s analyze one of the many projects that WordPress and Matt are supporting.

The Sandbox Theme, a framework from which all themes will be ‘encouraged’ to be built on. It’s GPL which Matt is especially fond of. Nothing wrong in theory but basically he’s made a blanket decision that was ‘voted on’ by the people and enforced by himself that only GPL themes would be allowed in ThemeViewer the popular place to find WordPress themes. And my guess is in the future 90% of the themes in ThemeViewer will be built on the’s sponsored Sandbox Theme
Now this switch was made under the guise of The Evil Sponsored Themes Movement. This is a typical political move. Blame One Party and then make a sweeping change to a system that has never had been an issue before. In fact many Creative Commons Licensed themes were removed from Themeviewer.

Politics should have never played an issue with WordPress, but because Matt Mullenweg is such a believer in GPL vs Creative Commons vs Unlicensed he’s forced the issue on ALL OF US who use WordPress and made a blanket decision based on his own political views.

This is what’s wrong with a False Democracy. And this was why I was so pissed off that I ranted and raved and hooted and hollered till even a company that I consulted was so ashamed that they basically pressured me to fall on my own sword.

In my belief the move to GPL is largely money based, and even more so based on the climate of web politics and Matt’s personal love of GPL. It was partially based on the old crappy Themeviewer but the real underlying issue that I can see is Matt’s love of GPL. I wish he would have come out and said this instead of making the issue about Sponsored Themes which while partially an issue the real issue is he has a beef with humanity that doesn’t fall in line with his political views. And pretty much made a sweeping change to his company and supposed democratic nonprofit organization known as .

I’m ready to move on past this issue but I wanted to lay it out there that this issue was not about Sponsored Themes, but it was about GPL. I know Matt well enough that I should have pointed this issue out sooner but I was stuck on the whole dictator masquarading as a democracy that I over reacted.

Matt, you should have made the issue about GPL instead of Sponsored Themes I think a lot of people would have offered better feedback. But oh well. It’s your dictatorship do with it what you will. And sorry for calling you a scumbag, and plenty of other four,five, and six letter words. I was out of line. I should have just called you a benevolent dictator. I’m not sorry for being pissed off. I’m sorry for letting myself get so worked up over it.

3 thoughts on “

  1. ironically, the sandbox does less to force gpl than you suggest. sure, anyone redistributing code from that theme has to fall under the GPL, but that’s true of any theme that would be bundled with wordpress.

    Bundling Sandbox allows you to create purely CSS themes that use Template: Sandbox in the opening comment. because the markup is so flexible, there’s no need to write PHP, which could be construed to “catch” GPL from wordpress. a purely CSS theme can be under any license it pleases.

  2. Matt, you should have made the issue about GPL instead of Sponsored Themes I think a lot of people would have offered better feedback.

    Matt didn’t want better feedback (he never really wants feedback, since he’s going to do exactly what he likes anyway); he wanted support. If he’d been honest about his goals from the beginning he’d have encountered a lot more opposition. There are a number of designers out there who abhor sponsored links but think stipulating a link back to the creator is fair play. Alienating them while he was still trying to get back under his control would have been a spectacular own goal.

    Also, to be fair to Matt, I don’t think he’s ever gone out of his way to promote the idea of WP as a ‘democracy’. That’s mostly come from other people who assume that’s the way open source works. If you look at how the project is actually run, I doubt the word ‘democracy’ would spring to anyone’s mind.

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