As I start to write this, I am perfectly aware that I cannot win. If I shut up, words will be said about me, if I speak, same thing. But what the hell…….

Am I opposed to a book about WordPress ? No, not in the slightest.
Do I think a book will work ? No, not in the slightest.
If Larry had approached me privately and asked about using anything I had done, I would have been polite and discussed it with him.
If any member of the WP team – and by that I include any active contributors – and said “Mark, can I use your work ?” I’d have said yes straight away – with a promise of a cold Diet Coke should we ever meet.

Instead, in an entry I made previously, I questioned his ability to produce the work he proposed without stealing another’s work. In fact, one of the contributors to the thread has even gone so far as to intimate I stole too. His response was arrogant. He then scoured my website – and among other things found that I have, on the About page, three words “I am bipolar”. On that page, it also says that I am married, a father, a non-drinker, a non-meat eater and various other bits of info. Yet Larry chooses to illustrate my annoyance with the claim that it must be because I am bipolar, presumably to show just how high on the moral high ground he is.

I am not stupid enough to think that work on the net is never copied. Equally, I’m not stupid enough to think that people haven’t downloaded my guides in some form or another (there are a couple of very badly done PDF’s somewhere) but there is a difference between someone grabbing to help themself and someone who does it purely with their personal profit in mind.
So Larry has made me angry. Extremely angry.

So WHY am I angry ? Quite simply because on the evidence Larry presented, and going by his own words, he was out to take work done by others and make a profit himself. I’ll hit this one twice:

  1. I think I have credited people where appropriate in the work on my site. IF I have not that was an accidental oversight. But the oversight neither cost the original person, nor made a profit for me. The information was also accessible to all WP users at all times. I have no idea how many blogs I created and deleted for the screenshots – but I did it so that people could install and use WP better. Call me lazy even – I didn’t want questions cluttering the forums – but they worked. The number of people who have told me to put ads on my site is very very high. I figured that someone looking at a guide of mine was doing so because they were in need of help / confused / worried. The last thing they needed was ads to distract them.< \li>
  2. A book. On WordPress ? You will do a crap job (you are doing this ALL by yourself Larry ?), you will fleece those that do not need fleecing in the first place and those same people will come to the forums where we have to put right your outdated garbage. The ONLY winner there is you Larry – but then that is was and will be the sole point. If WP hackers – who are involved in this project way more than you – have trouble keeping up with codebase changes, how in hell do you think a book is going to help ? It will not. A sucker behind an editing desk might be taken in by your line of crap, but we still pick up the pieces. No Larry, not on. And if that means ranting now, fine, so be it.

I am not providing my time, energy and money for someone to saunter in and take the profit. To be very blunt, if anyone is to profit financially from the work on my site, it will be me. Not Larry Ayers. Not someone else. Me. And if I choose not to, if I elect that I am not going to make a profit, then by doing so I am putting myself inbetween you and the profit you seek. Right now a book on WordPress is not part of the solution. It would create problems for those that want to help.

But a book will happen, won’t it ? Yes, I’m sure it will – once WP has reached a maturity beyond the present. Will I mind when such a book comes out ? No. But I would like to think that some of the people that have been with WP the longest are involved in such a project – and no, I do not necessarily include myself in that. Would I help if asked ? Probably … does depend on who is asking though. I rate politeness.

Do not presume to know me, and do not assume, from seeing anything online about me that you know my motives and my reasoning. You do not. At all.

And are we so desperate for a book that we will say anything to anyone to get it ?
is it that the need for a book (“Look – there are the docs!”) means that contributions made by a range of people can be ignored ? (More on that later)

I do not want to charge penny one to see my work. The simple fact is that I am not sufficently hard-nosed / capitalistic / whatever to do that. My values just aren’t that way. That line in the header of my page isn’t there because I think it’s cute, or that it’ll make me look good / kooky / cool – it’s there because what Claire said embodies a huge amount for me. But I will not be screwed over. Maybe that’s idealistic, I don’t know, but it’s the way I am. And if that means I chuck the toys out of the pram, so be it. No-one’s perfect, least of all me.

But why shouldn’t I ? Why shouldn’t I say that access costs ?

Let’s say I say that yes, you can see my work but it’ll cost you. What happens ?
First, the traffic on the forums rockets as people who cannot afford or have no means to pay come looking for answers. They’ll be the answers that many of us have repeated many many times.
Second, despite the fact that it is my work, that I put the time into making it, that I in many cases foresaw needs and prepared guides in advance (moving your blog is but one) I would be accused of profiteering from an Open Source project. This would be odd given the people who chimed in with a “Book ? Great idea Larry!”

Do I honestly think I over-reacted ? No, I don’t. I was surprised by the silence though … still am.

So what am I going to do now ?

Will I stay with WP ? Yes. I might rant but I ain’t stupid.
Will I update my guides ? Very probably – I still have several testblogs with various things happening on them.
Will I help out if you email me ? Sorry – no. Use the support forums.
Can you pay for help ? Certainly. Email me. I will be excellent value.

7 thoughts on “Firstly

  1. I was surprised by the silence though … still am.

    Not sure what you’re getting at here, mate. Regardless, you know I think you are a great guy and your hard work and contributions are greatly appreciated, as is your friendship.

    I’ll talk to you soon! 😀

  2. I just meant that here was a guy, doing what I thought he was (is) and there was so few people telling him otherwise.

    He will have taken that silence as everyone agreeing with him.

    There is a place for silence, and IMO, this was not it.
    Mind…….. watch this space .. 🙂

  3. Ah, I see. Well, I take the silence as people wanting to stay out of the middle of a situation, but that’s just my take on it. You and I both know how much work goes in to putting stuff together, and to have one person show up and suggest a book out of the blue might seem incredulous. My old grampa used to say to me “give ’em eight feet of rope to work with and see if they wind up hanging themselves.” That’s my perspective on this, I guess.

    Talk at ya later…

    Oh, BTW, have you been following any of the Six Nations’ Cup?

  4. Bi-polar or not, that has nothing to due with why you are so protective of those who come into the WP forums for the first time and their first posts mentions profiting off of Word Press. Larry Anders didnt make a first good impression on me. That would be like me going into Adobe Studios Offices and saying I am going to make a book to help other Photoshop users, even though I have never done anything to contribute to the Adobe support forums, have only used the software long enough to learn a few effects that are incomparable to those who have used it since the softwares beginning stages, but yet feel I need to profit from the help others have provided.

    I do not care how much work anyone does in 3 weeks to learn a new software program. The only way anyone could create a book of off it would be to use the work already done by someone else. And if that information is already out there, why bother. Anyone who is out to buy a tutorial book is going to look for #1- the cheapest #2- the easiest to follow #3 one with new information. Well, thats already on the net, provided mostly by you. So, wonder where Larry is digging up all this info he learned in 3 weeks?

    Anyway, bringing up the bi-polar was a cheap shot and really has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

    And I soon as I can get my husbands credit card, and figure out the currency I will be sure to donate to you

  5. I, too, was upset…however like Craig mentioned, my silence was me not wanting to get into the middle of anything. I didn’t want to speak for you or anybody else, especially since I don’t consider myself that much of a regular contributor (although I wish I was). If I was a moderator, that would’ve been a different story.

    I definitely did not like how he posted, especially for only being a member for three weeks. Sheesh.

    Much love for you, man…

  6. The only people such a hastily cobbled together work might appeal to are rank newbies. People who don’t want to do any research about the product, visit the forums, lurk, search out the information. The user such a book would help is the person who sits there, much like a baby bird in a nest, waiting for the mother bird to drop a worm into its mouth. Presumably, those people would purchase a book. (Although, it would make more sense that someone too lazy [am I being too harsh?] to seek out the abundance of readily available (and free) information, won’t be inclined to open his or her wallet to plunk down the cash for the book that purportedly contains all the answers.

    On another note, I was happy to see that there are now crystal clear instructions for migration to 1.5. I’ll catch up eventually, and this article will lead the way.

    Now, I’m pop back over to the WP Forum to ask a question about 1.5 templates. (But I know you will want to know what my question is, so here goes: I created several 1.5 templates several months ago around the time of the Root versus Michael debate. How much reworking will these need? Or should I just start from scratch. I’m itching to get back into doing some WP templates for everyone.



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