Tag Archives: cult of matt

the cult of matt mullenweig. a long running chronicle of his often intentional malice towards the wordpress community.

This is the last time, I swear

There’s no reason I should still be posting about wordpress.com. I guess I’m just annoyed that I ever thought it was a good place to blog/journal/post. The exclusion of anyone who’s not a child or a christian has reached a fever pitch. They’ve just released the following guidelines ((taken to their logical extreme, with commentary)):

  • No inappropriate titles. Do we suppose this means that if you’re posting about the really hot sex you had last night, you should make sure the title is “fluffy kittens for everyone”?
  • No profanity or nudity. This means that my cuss-like-a-sailor-because-it-makes-people-respond-not-just-think-about-it tactic is definitely outlawed. I hate to think what it means for ICHC.
  • No extraneous categories. I’m sure my 2.0 category was causing serious consternation. let alone “cult-of-matt”. In fact, only the officially sanctioned categories are allowed. Anything else and you’ll be relegated to the dustbin, because then you won’t drive traffic to our ad-laden tag pages.
  • And really, you should only post to one category at a time. nevermind that wordpress.com categories can’t be used as categories, since the links lead out of your blog. if you use categories as tags (meta information), you’re definately going to be banned

Basically, if you’re not an aspiring member of the web 2.0 a-list-aspiring echo chamber, you’re not welcome on wordpress.com. fantastic. glad i left. now I’m off to find the 11 most relevant tags for this post.



it bewilders me that this image is present on the header of Small Potato‘s recently added theme. Small Potato is a decent guy, and after it was pointed out that using the cover of a movie as a header image wasn’t exactly following the letter of copyright law, he announced that people should change it, and modified the theme to remove it. The theme is beautiful in its own right, without the header. How, then, did it sneak past the wordpress.com admins’ notice that the image shouldn’t be installed here?

you might think that they were distracted or confused by the recent license change at wpdesigner, (despite neo-sapien having always been GPL), except that as i mentioned, the theme isn’t available with that header anymore. given that matt doesn’t really understand the concept of relicensing, or why the GPL is such a pain in the ass for designers, i guess i shouldn’t be surprised.

then again, maybe i’m wrong. maybe matt did fork over some cash to Dreamworks to license their IP for all of us here on wordpress.com. personally, i’d think the money could be spent on something better, (like a lawyer) but i’m just a user.

I have no idea what that gesture means

DSC 0371
Originally uploaded by John Keegan.

but it’s fun to see scott and matt making nice. i find it disturbing that even with the recent stupidity surrounding wordpress, when someone asks me how to set up a website ASAP, the first word out of my mouth is still “wordpress” (followed swiftly by “fantastico”). it might have something to do with not being able to find a suitable importer for drupal, or habari staunchly refusing to install, but more likely it’s because despite not being as open as i’d like, wordpress is still really good at what it does.

but love is not what you’re thinking of.

I’m still not really getting how matt can use the word ‘love’, and pull stunts like this. I’m sure it’ll be passed off as a simple misunderstanding, but when you do it this many times in a row, it’s patently obvious that it isn’t accidental. perhaps if he answered emails, he might have less trouble with people having to post his mistakes in public.

right on time, mr. lessig posts a beta of a CC-license generator that includes some helpful microformats: a rel="cc:attributionURL" property="cc:attributionName", which will remove more of the plausibility from matt’s denials.

Trust and the pink ghetto

The Napoleon-Clarke Law:

Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice

Paul Ciszek

It’s amazing to me how much wordpress.com has grown. what used to be the realm of a few geeks in need of akismet keys has turned into a real competitor to livejournal and typepad. Along with that come users who aren’t as forgiving of glitches, because they’re not just geeking out, they’re writing down their lives. Which means i’m finding out about “the cult of matt” from The Pink Ghetto, which isn’t something i read for geek news.

For instance, i’m willing to accept that apparent contradictions between stated policy and specific blogs that exist around wordpress.com is the effect of there being more blogs than the members of automattic can actively police. I’ve found this by reporting blogs, despite fundamentally disagreeing with the mature/non-commercial policy. Since making certain of this, i’ve attempted to warn users before they get nastygrams from mark.

most users aren’t this forgiving. They see their blog getting blown out of the global tag pages, while other blogs that depart farther from the ToS are allowed to stay. Naturally, this only matters because the global tag pages drive such good traffic. The automattic defence is that nowhere in the terms of service do they claim to provide blog owners with a workable tag search engine. (this causes most people consternation when they find out their categories don’t link to their own content). Nonetheless, they provide this search engine for most people. Intentional or not, it is a slight to not provide that engine to everyone. Especially the ones who want it.

It seems especially malicious, when the global tags and top blogs are built from the ashes of blogs of the day(.com), which allowed users to self regulate, via the NSFW tag. if you used it, your post was only listed in the mature section. As much as there’s a precedent for keeping the christians children from accidentally stumbling upon porn, there’s a tendancy to misinterpret all sexual information as porn. which is what automattic seems to be doing.

2 Solutions:

  1. mark shouldn’t be choosing which blogs are actually mature or commercial. that job belongs to a lawyer. that lawyer should be actively policing. the global tag pages are reasonably good at crosslinking blogs. it’s not hard to find the ones that violate the ToS.
    Then mark can continue giving real support, and have the all-important disconnect with the policy makers that will allow him to be his friendly self. and have a few fewer expletives and insults hurled at him.
  2. increase the ability to self-regulate: letting users use the NSFW tag to kick themselves out of the ‘all-ages’ tag pages means people won’t be as shocked when they get ‘de-listed’. allowing users to put up an under 18 warning, that stores a cookie (so new readers always see it, and regular readers never see it) would keep people from being offended when the click the ‘next blog’ link.

there’s a whole lot more thought that needs to go into this. sex in the public square is taking it on, but automattic needs to do more than drop by to leave their one comment that pretends they’re listening. this is way more important than adding kewl new video features.

venus flytrap indeed.

matt thinks he loves theme designers. it’s baffling to me, then, why he feels the need to keep changing the titles and descriptions of their themes, once they’re installed on wordpress.com.

the 281(3) incident (where he renamed it twenty-eight thirteen, despite it being a 3-column version of 281, which was named after paul’s mustang) was amusing, although i’m mystified as to why they’ve removed it. perhaps because it’s licensed as non-commercial, which wordpress certainly isn’t. but then, it’s built on top of GPL themes, so technically it can’t be non-commercial.

the best, though, is fauna. sometime recently, they changed the description to: “A beautiful two-column theme with a gigantic flower header.”  now, if you read joen’s description, it says “A living Organism characterized by voluntary movement.”  Flowers don’t move voluntarily.  someone’s forgotten their biology. I also wonder why, if you’re going to change anything about the theme you wouldn’t add widgets.  or, you know, updated it.