EP432 – Solutions to the Active Growth Problem

October 14, 2022

This week on WPwatercooler we will continue our discussion with John James Jacoby and Matt Cromwell from EP23 of Dev Branch about the WordPress plugin repo’s Active Install Growth Chart. In this episode we will be discussing the removal of the active growth chart from the WordPress plugin repository. The panel discusses the reasons for the removal, the communication surrounding the decision, and the potential impact on plugin developers. The discussion touches on issues of data ownership and transparency in decision-making. It is mentioned that the decision to remove the chart was made in a private Slack channel, and that there was no public argument or explanation provided for the removal. Some participants expressed frustration with the lack of transparency and the one-way nature of the decision-making process.


Episode Transcription

[00:00:00] Se Reed: Three

[00:00:04] Jason Tucker: This is episode number 432 Solutions to Active Growth Problem. I’m Jason Tucker. You can find me @JasonTucker on the Twitters.

[00:00:23] Se Reed: on, I’m Sé Reed for now anyway, until you know it’s taken

[00:00:28] Jason Cosper: And you on the who it is this. Jason Cosper, AKA Fat Mullenweg, back at it again on the world’s most influential WordPress podcast.

[00:00:36] Jason Tucker: Speaking of that podcast, go to Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Audible, Spotify, wherever it is that you listen and come hang out with say over in Discord. Go to discord over

[00:00:45] Se Reed: I’m better. Dis discolored especially. Tell us your thoughts. Uh, so hey, so today we are continuing last week’s exciting episode about, uh, well, it’s actually Dev Branch’s episode was last week, but we’re continuing the topic today, uh, of the active growth problem focusing on. Solutions, Uh, because we, we don’t want to turn this into just a, here’s all the things that are problematic, cuz there’s lots and the show’s only half an hour.

[00:01:19] Se Reed: So we are going instead try to focus on how we can change those things in the future or what things we need to work on for that. Keep it. Not like positive, but like, you know, not, uh, but, um, we’ve got special guests here that were with us last week. This have, do you introduce yourselves?

[00:01:44] Matt Cromwell: Matt and I do donations and stuff and try to be nice and WordPress, um, and I’m.

[00:01:52] Se Reed: We could ask person to be

[00:01:55] JJJ: John Jacoby, JJ Twitter, GitHub. I’m a buddy. Press, vb. Press currently at automotive, uh, five for the future. Uh, work on our research and development team, uh, dot org person. Um, happy to be here,

[00:02:11] Se Reed: And our, uh, extra special guest today. Uh, is Otto here, up there, Otto, you wanna introduce yourself?

[00:02:20] Otto: uh, am Otto. I do auto things and I hang around and auto it up.

[00:02:29] Matt Cromwell: like one of those, like he’s like the Madonna of WordPress. He gets away with the one name thing, you know, Seal Sting, Madonna Auto.

[00:02:40] Se Reed: It makes sense. Uh, but I also just wanna point out that Otto, you are a full-time volunteer on the wordpress.org project and probably hold the most keys to the back of the org website itself. Is that correct?

[00:02:55] Otto: for, I work for Audrey Capital, and my entire life is contributing to wordpress.org or the WordPress software in some.

[00:03:05] Se Reed: Yeah. So, you know, so we were talking on the pre-show about this, and Otto, uh, put a little, uh, uh, wrench in the mix by giving us some information that, uh, well, he hasn’t given us the information yet, but he’s going to by telling us that he had information to tell us. So rather than be a good podcast and like you listen to the whole.

[00:03:28] Se Reed: To find out the secret answer at the end like we did last week, we’re just put that right up on front and say, uh, take it away. Auto tell us, tell us what you’re.

[00:03:43] Otto: All right, so thing is I, I think we need to understand the reason for the active gross chart missing. Or being removed. Uh, everybody seems to have been speculating about it. Everybody seems to have been upset about it.

[00:04:00] Se Reed: It’s a thing.

[00:04:01] Otto: yeah, that’s the thing.

[00:04:02] Se Reed: It’s been a thing

[00:04:04] Otto: The reason is really quite simple. It was removed because by and large, nobody was using it before you.

[00:04:13] Otto: Now, before you say anything, let me clarify that Nobody was using the chart itself. By and large, the chart was not useful cause the majority, and it didn’t really fit the purpose we had for it. Um, we had in mind when we implemented and it’d been there a while, It’d been there like five years, I believe so.

[00:04:38] Se Reed: years, That’s like 25 years in tech time. I.

[00:04:42] Otto: Right. Um, on the hold, the active growth chart was intended to show just that active growth or decline of a plugin for. On a weekly basis

[00:04:54] Se Reed: And the intention of that was more for users, Correct. Who are evaluating a plug-in?

[00:04:59] Otto: either use both actually users and developers, uh, people wanted that feedback on whether plugin’s growing, whether it’s shrinking, et cetera. And that’s valuable information for developers have it’s valuable information users to know. Um, but it really wasn’t working as that, especially because was the.

[00:05:23] Otto: The data that it provided was a percentage based data, and it was a very weak percentage based data. So by and large, the majority of use of that data was people scraping the data and using it to work backwards to the exact quote, exact numbers

[00:05:43] Se Reed: So that that’s. He concluded at the end of last week’s episode, so I think that’s fairly accurate with what we, where we got to after 45 minutes. last week.

[00:05:52] Otto: that that was entirely the problem was that people were largely using it to get those numbers. Now, that’s not itself bad, but a, the reverse math didn’t work. It was wrong for a number of reasons, mainly because we were doing such a way obfuscating the data in such a way that it made that number wrong.

[00:06:18] Otto: Second, Actually, it’s kind of funny. It actually always gave numbers a bit too high, so it was giving people the wrong impression. Uh, third, it really, people trusted it as an active number, as a number of active cells to the point where, to the point where they, they relied on it to make decisions and things like that. It’s not, it was not a good idea. People and female studio was an exact number,

[00:06:52] Se Reed: How does, but I, and I failed to see like, so what we talked about last week, right? Was that, you know, the. Part makes sense that people were pulling that data and, you know, gaming system or whatever they might be doing with that, as we were talking about last week. But it seems to me that making a call like, well, it really wasn’t that useful or, you know, uh, you know, there’s not much you can do with that data.

[00:07:16] Se Reed: I mean, data has meaning to who it has meaning to, Right. It’s kinda like beauty, like that , you know, like some things are beautiful to some people and some, some data is meaningful to some people and it’s not. I, I mean that may be true that the data was useless, but that doesn’t, to me speak to a reason to remove it

[00:07:35] Otto: Well, um, the decision to remove it was actually made long time ago. Um, it wasn’t like just a few weeks. We’re talking months ago, uh, all the way back to May when we, that discussion was being had

[00:07:50] Se Reed: Can you tell me real quick where that discussion was happening?

[00:07:54] Otto: uh, private channels, uh, dms on, Yeah, DMS on Slack. Um, I was, I was in on that discuss. However, I didn’t participate in that discussion cuz at the time I was in the icu. So

[00:08:10] Se Reed: I mean, you know, if you’re dedicated

[00:08:12] Otto: I, I by and large had other

[00:08:14] Se Reed: drama, drama,

[00:08:16] Otto: Um, anyway,

[00:08:17] Se Reed: we’re glad you’re, we’re glad you’re,

[00:08:20] Matt Cromwell: That’s the important part.

[00:08:21] Se Reed: all jokes. We’re.

[00:08:23] Otto: I, after I read through all that discussion and we worked, they worked on it for a long, Uh, Scott and, uh, several people tried various things before removing it. They adjusted the values, they adjusted numbers. They, they went through a ridiculous amount of iteration and in the end, none of it worked. It, people were still using it even though it was giving ’em basically garbage. Um, so finally removing it was the only thing to do. We did have a plan for replacing. We just didn’t have a plan for replacing it immediately. Um, nevertheless, giving them active install count numbers that are wrong is more harmful, we felt to both users and developers interests than simply not giving ’em at all. So that’s why I was removed straight.

[00:09:23] Matt Cromwell: But there’s still an active install number that’s still there on the plugin all the time. That actually matches, generally speaking, what was on the chart. So I, I. Like, it doesn’t quite add up what you’re saying.

[00:09:37] Otto: it, it’s difficult to explain,

[00:09:40] Matt Cromwell: if the number is harmful, then we gotta pull it wherever it exists.

[00:09:44] Otto: number, number wasn’t harmful. The fact that people relied on its accuracy was, and that what, from the beginning, Ever since we had presented an active install count number, we have always, uh, rounded off, like, you know, the 10, 20, 30, things like that. The amount we rounded off to is, uh, first significant digit.

[00:10:08] Otto: It’s arbitrary. Um, it, it’s useful for a new plugin developer to get a number that helps. To help. They develop the number to develop the plugin to get feedback and growth and things of that nature. So more having it more accurate when it’s small number and then less accurate as time goes on, helps everyone.

[00:10:35] Otto: It may help make sense because stock count number, if I was to tell you that your plugin was 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, you assume that to be accurate. It’s not, We base the activist stock count numbers off of update data, and that’s not really accurate. The fluctuation in a given that plugin from day to day is huge for no reason.

[00:11:08] Se Reed: let me ask a question real quick. So what you’re saying is that this was not necessarily a security issue, or was it Not at

[00:11:15] Otto: It was not a security.

[00:11:17] Se Reed: was not a

[00:11:17] Otto: private. It

[00:11:18] Se Reed: So if it was

[00:11:19] JJJ: I mean,

[00:11:20] Otto: Not a privacy issue,

[00:11:21] Se Reed: so, if it was not a security issue and not a privacy issue,

[00:11:24] Otto: Nope.

[00:11:25] Se Reed: Not a privacy issue, just an incorrect data issue. Yes.

[00:11:29] Otto: just, uh, it was giving bad information and leading people to assume things that were fundamentally not true.

[00:11:38] Se Reed: I mean, I mean, I would like to say a big, who cares to that, but I understand that like if the data is being put out there as and is accurate, inaccurate, that is okay. That’s one thing. So why, if it’s not a security issue and it’s not a privacy issue, was this handled in the private chat and not in, Why was this handled

[00:11:57] Matt Cromwell: I mean, not only, not only that, but only. Not only that, the only communication that happened was the PR that was INS Demerged, um, that said, we are removing this because it’s not obvious getting the data good enough. Um, and that was the messaging. It wasn’t that this data isn’t good data, it wasn’t, it, it was highly suggestive that it is security related.

[00:12:24] Matt Cromwell: Like everything about the way that this was communicated. Was not at all. What you’re saying is the reasoning and

[00:12:30] Otto: I, I don’t disagree about communication. Um, obviously,

[00:12:35] Se Reed: do you have an opinion on that that you could share with?

[00:12:38] Otto: obviously the wasn’t hand or well, um, I, I didn’t

[00:12:43] Se Reed: We all agree on that point? Yes.

[00:12:46] Otto: I didn’t participate in any of that. I just saying, you’re right. Absolutely, you’re right. It was painted poorly and we didn’t really think that large amount. Okay. Truthfully,

[00:13:02] Se Reed: anyone was using.

[00:13:04] Otto: I’m, I was surprised. They may notice in the first.

[00:13:09] Se Reed: So, okay, so communication was off, Expectations were off again. And you disagree. I mean, you agree with the fact that the communication was handled incorrectly, so, but can you speak at all to why, if this was not a security or privacy issue, was this not handled in the meta slack channel? Or as a ticket that gets posted and then dealt with it.

[00:13:30] Se Reed: I mean, it happened very instantaneously. So the action itself that was taken with no lead up, no conversation, no, you know, agenda item in a meeting that barely anyone pays attention to, but not even that made it seem like such a bigger deal than it apparently was. What could be the reason for that? Like I, I literally cannot fathom a reason for that.

[00:13:52] Se Reed: So can

[00:13:53] Otto: I, I didn’t start that conversation. I didn’t participate in it. I only read it after the fact, so,

[00:14:00] Se Reed: so who am I DMing next?

[00:14:02] Matt Cromwell: Yeah,

[00:14:02] Se Reed: Sorry,

[00:14:04] Otto: you can, you can straight up talk to Matt about that because the truth is, he, he, he brought it up. He brought up in a conversation. We had the discussion about it eventually, after many attempts it was remote and when nobody on that side saw it as quite the big deal that everybody.

[00:14:29] Se Reed: So once, once the big deal had been revealed, and I am not at Gal, going to ask you to comment Orine on Matt’s response because that’s his own world. But in terms of official mechan responses, Was there any particular reason that this information that you’re giving to us now, which seems fairly benign, was not shared?

[00:14:54] Otto: Um,

[00:14:55] Se Reed: Like it’s literally like two weeks later and we are on the WPwatercooler

[00:14:58] Otto: We

[00:14:59] Se Reed: Matt pointed, that Crowell pointed out a minute ago, this is definitely, I mean, I think it’s the best avenue communications and revelations in WordPress, but I might postulate the official MEChA could. A more appropriate place for this information.

[00:15:16] Se Reed: Just

[00:15:16] Otto: By and by and large, I would’ve thought it wasn’t a secret is my point. Um,

[00:15:25] Se Reed: but it was in secret chat.

[00:15:28] Otto: No,

[00:15:28] Matt Cromwell: Oh, there was, there was a thousand opportunities for this messaging to come out there. There was lots, and lots and lots of opportunities for this to come out. A as of day one, as of like

[00:15:40] Se Reed: Yeah, after, after the, the change happened and the response happened, and look, I don’t want to make this a auto you owe as an explanation for everything that happened. It’s really important to me. That’s not turned into that for anybody. I am really only asking if you can shed any more light on why you, you weren’t there in, when the, the back to back was initiated.

[00:16:01] Se Reed: So, so what you’re saying essentially is that you cannot necessarily speak to why it was treated as something that would be more of a security issue, Right? You, you, you don’t necessarily aren’t able to speak.

[00:16:13] Otto: I, I don’t, I don’t, I saw it and when I saw it, I knew the reason for it. Removal when? When? When Scott pushed the removal. Pull requests or whatever. I, I saw why, and he said, because it was not obfuscated enough. Um, to me that just gave me the answer. So I didn’t take anything of it. It, I knew it was obfuscated enough, so I was surprised that other people didn’t know what that meant.

[00:16:41] Otto: So, as to why I wouldn’t handle went well, I assume that we all, I just sort of thought it was obvious. Um,

[00:16:52] Se Reed: Developers never have that problem. Mm-hmm.

[00:16:55] JJJ: Did you guys talk about this in an Audrey channel? You and Scott and Matt, or not you, but I mean, did they talk about it in an Audrey

[00:17:03] Otto: no, it was just Dems, it was just, uh, it was just a group DM

[00:17:08] Matt Cromwell: Mm-hmm.

[00:17:09] Se Reed: A DM in, uh, WordPress. Make slide. Just curious.

[00:17:14] Otto: Slack, Yeah.

[00:17:15] JJJ: Because I agreed that the, the commit message to me was obvious too, but that was because I already knew what auto knew, like the, the, the obfuscation was being. Reverse engineered in a way that was not useful or helpful, and that’s been known for a long time. So when I saw the commit message, I thought the same thing.

[00:17:37] Otto: In any

[00:17:38] Se Reed: real quick, can we, Oh, sorry. Go.

[00:17:41] JJJ: well, the, the, the thing about it being or not being a security issue is interesting to me because the, looking at the code myself, there were security issues with that endpoint just. Anything else. Now, someone’s definition of a security issue, meaning, uh, my sql I or uh, or a data breach or something being removed is different.

[00:18:06] JJJ: And that’s not what I implied and that’s not what I meant, and that’s not what I commented on, but that is what people ran with. And so the. data being scraped is one problem. The data returning different values depending on, uh, what aired out is another problem and the, uh, abuse of it and it being, uh, Uh, open as an undocumented endpoint is a third problem.

[00:18:32] JJJ: And so it’s, it’s not, not a security issue, uh, but it wasn’t necessarily removed directly because of some data breach or security issue that was happening. Right. So those are, those are the speculations that people ran with. Those

[00:18:48] Matt Cromwell: Yeah, I think that like the core of of folks’, um, concern is that the motivations behind removal were not security, were not that the data was junk, but more business motivations.

[00:19:03] JJJ: But that was, there’s clearly that is absurd. That shit. I am, uh,

[00:19:10] Se Reed: not on the.

[00:19:10] JJJ: I, I, I, I strongly

[00:19:13] Otto: motivations,

[00:19:14] JJJ: dislike that approach to any of this stuff. I, I do like, it doesn’t,

[00:19:19] Matt Cromwell: you should address that.

[00:19:21] JJJ: I, I’m going, I, I, Well, it just, it, uh, Here’s, here’s my, here’s my hot take on that. Uh, whole thing is, um, when it, when it went down, and I, I, this is a DM I sent to Matt, but is something that like we need to as a community to find, uh, what.

[00:19:44] JJJ: The difference is between the ownership of the data or the responsibility and the obligation that, uh, whoever the owners of that data are, uh, to keep that data open. Because as it is right now, I will say, in my opinion, the owner of this data is not the community, currently the owner of that data. Matt, because Matt pays for the majority of hosting on wordpress.org, Matt donates all of his time and all of that money and effort to

[00:20:16] Se Reed: Not,

[00:20:17] JJJ: what is their onward press.org.

[00:20:19] JJJ: So not Crowell, right? So, so until

[00:20:22] Matt Cromwell: do my best,

[00:20:23] JJJ: is, until there is something bigger or different that happens in regards to paying for hosting charges or donating, hosting for wordpress.org or determining what all of that stuff. Means to everyone. Currently today, none of us own that data. I do not own that data.

[00:20:43] JJJ: It’s not my data to decide what happens to it. So eventually, maybe we should get to that point. And other projects like Droople have, have donated hosting by Soandso. They’ve, they’ve already made decisions on who owns that data or what the responsibility is to it, Cetera, Cetera, cetera. We need to do that, But that has not happened.

[00:21:02] JJJ: And so today, if someone is going to be the good shepherd of that data, it is Matt, and maybe it should be the rest of us and maybe, uh, altruistically. Uh, it is my data to allow to be shared, to turn on for my plugins, and hopefully, you know, we all have opinions on what exactly that looks like, but for right now, the way that it is, uh, this is, this is like me trying, it’s like, uh, like, uh, when the community gets an open arms about tearing down the building in the middle of the square or whatever, like yeah, it’s pretty, and it’s historic and it’s a thing that is 150 years old that everyone loves and has memories of.

[00:21:40] JJJ: But it’s not my building. I don’t. Someone owns that building in that property, I can have an opinion on whether or not they should tear it down or they should rebuild it, or they should put a parking lot in or like, we’re allowed to have those opinions, but someone else owns that building in that property and that parcel, if they wanna tear it down, they own it.

[00:21:58] JJJ: They get to decide what they do to that thing that they own. Until I own it, I don’t have, I don’t get to decide.

[00:22:06] Se Reed: I’m

[00:22:06] Matt Cromwell: Yes, true. Hold on, like super clear though, in terms of.org ownership, um, it is technically the foundation.

[00:22:17] Se Reed: which is chaired by Matt

[00:22:18] Matt Cromwell: So, which has to be said because that is a nonprofit organization that has an executive director that has a board, and technically they own it. So if you wanna talk about ownership, let’s talk about ownership. And when we say that Matt owns all that data, why.

[00:22:37] Se Reed: Is it, you know, is it really

[00:22:39] JJJ: Are you, are you seriously asking why or are you just

[00:22:42] Se Reed: like why? Yes.

[00:22:43] JJJ: a

[00:22:44] Matt Cromwell: no, I’m, I’m asking like, making that an, the answer to that question much more explicit, starts to move us towards the right answer to the problem.

[00:22:52] JJJ: Okay. Right. Cause I mean, it, it, we, I think it’s easy to recognize why Matt versus why, uh, not any one of us. Right. I think that that’s, that should be pretty evident. But,

[00:23:02] Se Reed: think the real problem with all of this comes in because, This. This does speak to a bigger issue, right? This isn’t just about the active growth chart, and we’re all fooling ourselves if we think that it is, which none of us do. So let’s just go ahead and say that that’s not what’s happening here, right?

[00:23:18] Se Reed: Everyone is really kind of up in arms about exactly what you just talked about, right? Is the.

[00:23:23] Matt Cromwell: a plug-in owner, I have 25 other data points that I can lean on. I’m not as bothered about the lack of a. Chart, which as Otto said, truthfully, the chart, the physical visual chart itself is not so instrumental to the way I operate things. But it’s the,

[00:23:42] Otto: yourself.

[00:23:42] Matt Cromwell: act of removing it without conversation whatsoever.

[00:23:46] Matt Cromwell: And, and what does that mean for the long run of data about plugins on.org and the viability of their, of us continuing to have them? That’s the real question. It’s a, it’s an indicator of, of a, of a underlying problem that, um, isn’t getting better.

[00:24:04] Jason Tucker: wanted to pull in real quick from, from the, uh, the comments here that we’ve been getting, um, regarding the Post or rather the. At Pods left on, um, that, on that track ticket, there was a lot of those types of, um, comments that were on there. And can us speak into that just a little bit? I, I’d be remiss if we didn’t even mention it.

[00:24:26] Se Reed: I mean, I think that what Pods is talking about on that particular post or that particular comment is in essence the same thing about what we literally were just talking about. So what John was saying and what Matt was saying is that, you know, the. We are all part of this open source project that we all have kind of bought into the idea that this is a community, this is a community owned thing, and when something comes up and shows us, no, that’s not actually the case.

[00:24:54] Se Reed: And this one person who does control the situation and can pull, you know, something out if they want to. Um, That I like what Matt was saying, makes people feel like they’re being hoodwinked, like they’re being sold something that isn’t what it really is.

[00:25:11] JJJ: So then

[00:25:12] Se Reed: and promote this community, we promote participating and the, the, the, the line of WordPress is not, you know, come do this free work that may or may not matter.

[00:25:24] Se Reed: Right. It’s come be a part of this community and I think that really matters in terms of. People’s willingness to extend trust to even the meta team, like the fact that people see conspiracy here, whether or not there’s a conspiracy that, you know, automatic is gonna have the data and no one else is gonna have the data.

[00:25:45] Se Reed: The fact is the conspiracy did not just, you know, pop in because of this issue. This is a long running issue. And so when something like this happens, it is basically can be viewed as evidence. how the community is viewed and how the community is considered. I think that’s really what we’re up, we or we as community are upset about here.

[00:26:08] JJJ: I, I get what you’re saying, but I, I think that it is, uh, it is, uh, indicative of like the problem or bigger worldly problems when the. The conspiracy is the default instead

[00:26:27] Otto: before, uh,

[00:26:28] JJJ: being a good, uh, like the decision being for a good reason, not a bad reason. If, if, if our default is.

[00:26:36] Otto: I’ve got something to

[00:26:37] Jason Tucker: Please.

[00:26:38] Se Reed: you’re gonna talk about the solutions, right? You’ve got a.

[00:26:41] Otto: Yeah. I see we only got like four minutes left, so I just wanted to say what, what we’re gonna do about it. We’ve been reading the uh, the ticket reading, everything. What’s gonna happen is, That the active install count instead of being rounded to the nearest digit is gonna be changed. Um, the, I don’t know the exact break points cutoffs, but example show individual up to 50, then round to nearest 10 until thousand and nearest, a hundred until 10,000, for example.

[00:27:18] Otto: So that we are making it active in star count. Much more fine grained that has been in the. So in that sense, yes, we’re giving you the data. It’s not gonna be exact numbers, but it’s gonna be much better than it has before. We’re still working on doing that.

[00:27:34] Jason Cosper: Not

[00:27:34] Otto: second thing,

[00:27:35] Jason Cosper: more exact.

[00:27:37] Otto: very much

[00:27:38] Se Reed: That’s vague.

[00:27:38] Otto: very, very

[00:27:39] Matt Cromwell: And that and that endpoint that people were scraping before, that’s still gonna remain gone.

[00:27:44] Otto: Yeah. But, uh, there is a. Graph we’re trying to figure out and we, we haven’t worked out exactly how to do yet, but something better to show new installs over time. new, new, We we’re debating talking about new domain names or something.

[00:28:07] Se Reed: Uh, uh, auto not to like, you know, bring a bunch of people to your party or anything, but where is this being discussed?

[00:28:13] Otto: We already discussed it last week.

[00:28:15] Se Reed: Where did you discuss it last week?

[00:28:17] Otto: Same, same channel. We discussed the first.

[00:28:20] Se Reed: So your private, your private channel.

[00:28:22] Otto: Yeah,

[00:28:23] Se Reed: Yeah. Does that seem. that not seem problematic to you? I, I mean, I know you’re not making the decision of how to have the conversation,

[00:28:33] Matt Cromwell: I think that it, it is indicative of, again, the conversation that’s been going on in, in that track ticket where it’s like, where Mullenweg seriously said, All right, everybody bring the rest of your arguments on that side of things where everyone was like, But we don’t yet know what we’re arguing about or for or against because nobody has been clear on exactly what your side of the argument is.

[00:28:56] Matt Cromwell: All we know is that you took stuff away and we don’t like it. . Um, and, and so now the conversation continues where it’s not a security issue, but we have to continue to have private conversations about how and when to bring it back. And again, not targeted at auto in any way whatsoever, who’s a wonderful human being, but like, that’s just odd.

[00:29:16] Matt Cromwell: It’s just odd and not help.

[00:29:19] Otto: realistically, I don’t see any other way for that conversation to happen. I can’t tell you why it was removed other than what I have. And having a conversation in a big breakdown debate doesn’t really change the fact that it’s getting removed because Matt said, Be it

[00:29:40] Se Reed: Okay, but what about the solutions? Why not have that conversation in the open? Obviously people care, obviously,

[00:29:48] Otto: a huge, There’s a huge sticker with 90 something responses in it. That was the conversation. That’s the conversation.

[00:29:54] Se Reed: but it’s not the conversation that’s

[00:29:56] Matt Cromwell: It was a,

[00:29:57] Se Reed: and then you’re having

[00:29:58] Matt Cromwell: an obvious convers conversation.

[00:30:00] Se Reed: the decision is happening over, um, you know, in a private Slack channel, which means that all of the people who are commenting, whether their input is actually being heard or not, they feel like their input is not being

[00:30:14] Matt Cromwell: people can give a lot more constructive feedback when they know the nature of the argument on the other side,

[00:30:19] Se Reed: and it doesn’t leave

[00:30:20] Matt Cromwell: the argument has not been made. The argument has not been made publicly on why it was taken down in a way that is actually actionable.

[00:30:29] Otto: You’re right there. There was no public conversation about it being taken down because we took it down there. There was no argument about taking it down. There was no argument to be had. It’s just taken down.

[00:30:43] Se Reed: Right. But in terms of solving the problem for what way we can put, give dev, uh, the community, whether they’re plugin devs or whoever they. The data that they’re requesting and that they’ve come to rely on or that they just want to have, why can that not be held? That should be a somewhat constructive conversation, right?

[00:31:03] Se Reed: So why can that conversation not be held openly?

[00:31:07] Otto: it was, it was, you had a track ticket with all those responses and I was a place to have that conversation. Everybody there, all their input was heard. We’ve

[00:31:15] Se Reed: but, but heard by home and then discussed where that a decision is that’s not, that’s, again, that’s just feedback. That’s a one way channel a discussion is, is

[00:31:24] Otto: a one way channel.

[00:31:25] Se Reed: A discussion is not a one way

[00:31:27] Matt Cromwell: There’s, there’s two reasons why that’s not constructive. One is because no argument was given publicly on why it was taken down, so nobody knows how to counter an argument that’s not made publicly. So it, you can’t have a conversation if you don’t know one whole half of what’s supposed to happen. The second reason why it’s problematic is Mullenweg also said on Twitter, if 10,000 people commented on that ticket, it wouldn’t change anything.

[00:31:54] Matt Cromwell: Um, so that makes it also really difficult to have a public conversation when the person who made the decision secretly has said, I really don’t care what you all say right now. Um,

[00:32:06] JJJ: that isn’t what Matt said, . That is how you. That is how

[00:32:10] Jason Cosper: It’s how a

[00:32:11] Se Reed: this is,

[00:32:12] JJJ: if you’re gonna choose to hear it that way, if people, And that is my whole problem, is if people are going to seek out an argument, you will find it. When I read Matt’s words and I hear what he says, because I know Matt, I don’t hear what you are hearing.

[00:32:31] JJJ: I hear a different version of it that is optimistic, that is looking for a solution that is listening, that is the shepherd of the owner of the foundation and all of the data that we’re looking here to try and come to a solution that will work for everyone because he’s right. If 10,000 people commented on it won’t change why it got removed and.

[00:32:52] JJJ: And, and what’s happening to go forward with it, that

[00:32:55] Matt Cromwell: When you say that in combination, you say it in combination with what I just said, that 10,000 people can argue their side, but it doesn’t matter because we haven’t actually heard his side. And that’s the thing, like if we don’t know what we’re arguing about, like how can we make an argument? So of course there’s speculation because the whole

[00:33:14] JJJ: I guess that’s, that’s the crux of the, of all of this is that people want to hear from that. They want, they want hear from

[00:33:21] Se Reed: I mean,

[00:33:21] JJJ: They, they wanna

[00:33:22] Matt Cromwell: Like I, I, I don’t,

[00:33:24] JJJ: nothing Otto or I or someone else can say

[00:33:27] Matt Cromwell: Yeah. I don’t know Matt, the way you know Matt, but I’ve, I’ve, I’ve had conversations with him too. I like him a lot. I, I believe in his vision. I’ve been a champion for forever. Like, every time that he has actually made a real clear argument, I’ve been like, I think I can get behind that. Right now it’s just been a big giant fumble. Um, and

[00:33:49] Otto: the problem here is you’re looking to have an

[00:33:51] Matt Cromwell: I would love to have some clarity because the conversation doesn’t stop when we all of a sudden have some sort of iteration of a active install growth chart back. That’s like step one of 20 steps towards actually serving the creator economy around the whole.org marketplace.

[00:34:07] Matt Cromwell: Like it’s just the first step in 20 steps that we wanna. We want a lot more out of this stuff and we’re getting less so.

[00:34:16] Otto: the thing was that you want, you want, you want what to bring it back. That ain’t happening. So there there’s no, there’s no, no, no selling on

[00:34:26] Se Reed: I think just like what we outlined at the beginning of this conversation is that we want, we, and I say we just speaking as the community, cause I’m not a plug-in developer, but what folks want is to be part of the solution and not feel that they are just having their efforts and their desires dictated to them.

[00:34:44] Se Reed: Dictated being the keyword, but people want to part. WordPress is portrayed as a participatory project, as a, as a thing, and when you’re not being heard, it’s frustrating. And when you’re not heard over and over and over again, it leads people to make conclusions that aren’t necessarily accurate, that are built on emotional responses to

[00:35:07] Otto: As I, As I

[00:35:08] Se Reed: this is why we have this problem.

[00:35:10] Otto: as I understand it, Matt went into that ticket and posted and asked for suggestions on what data people need. That’s literally what he wanted. He wanted people to suggest other data, data to be used, Data that we could find out, data we could create, show. Give them. You don’t wanna, you don’t wanna have an argument.

[00:35:33] Otto: You wanna present what you want, Present your ideas. We will sort through ’em, figure it out. Present a case.

[00:35:40] Se Reed: So

[00:35:40] Otto: always the way it’s gonna go.

[00:35:42] Se Reed: Can we, uh, and, and if there’s someone else that we need to talk to about this, that’s fine. Like if I need to make a track ticket or a, or something, uh, to make this request. But I understand that in private channels, the conversation is happening and reviewing the feedback. I am a firm believer that that should be happening in the public channels, not the private channels, but I wonder if it is possible to make a step towards inclusion within the community and, and healing this rift that possibly prior to making a decision about what to put back on or what, how to do it.

[00:36:18] Se Reed: That that be is a written out proposal that is posted. On the Meta Make channel, uh, make blog, and allowed to have community feedback that before the action happened.

[00:36:32] Matt Cromwell: I don’t even need it. I don’t even need them to, to do these things before decisions are made. I, I like if there a decision is made that’s in the best interest of the project, then make that a public thing and make a statement and say why, and say what the future of this decision is. But that’s not what is going on in any way.

[00:36:53] Matt Cromwell: Um,

[00:36:54] Se Reed: either way. I mean, I think it’d be better

[00:36:56] JJJ: it’s not what’s going on in any ways like unfair, because it is what happens like 99.9% of the time. So the hyperbole. Of saying it doesn’t happen is the problem that I keep bringing up is

[00:37:08] Matt Cromwell: I didn’t say it doesn’t happen. I said, That’s not what’s happening right now.

[00:37:13] Se Reed: We’re like, we like need to have therapy issues. We all have like slight trauma

[00:37:17] JJJ: and ultimately the problem is people don’t like it when Matt does something without community input.

[00:37:27] Se Reed: Well, this wasn’t even bad though. I mean, it was in the behind the scenes, but I mean, he didn’t make the commit. You know, It’s not like he

[00:37:33] JJJ: Look at all of the comments on the track ticket. All of the comments on the track ticket

[00:37:37] Se Reed: I know because he’s, you know, he has given responsibility for everything, even though he’s not, even the person that did the actual code or was part of, you know, was probably only the initiator of that conversation and not the figure or outer of the stuff.

[00:37:53] JJJ: there are.

[00:37:54] Se Reed: you know, it’s not fair, but it is what happens because that’s what happens when you’re the leader.

[00:37:58] Se Reed: But if you’re a leader that doesn’t lead, then everyone’s asking you to lead.

[00:38:02] Matt Cromwell: I mean, we have an executive director of the project, um, you know, and.

[00:38:08] JJJ: And there are 10 or more decisions a day about the way that wordpress.org works that happen in private channels that have nothing to do with the community because they are systems or hosting or infrastructure or data related. And stats, in my opinion, is right now. One of those things because it there, it isn’t a public repo, it isn’t a thing that lives anywhere in meta.

[00:38:35] JJJ: It isn’t a thing. People have access to stats just happens to be a functional piece of behind the scenes infrastructure that, uh, is useful for updates, uh, on to, for people updating to wordpress.org. And so it is not unreasonable to me that people that are responsible for maintaining and building stats would have conversations about stats in a non-public way.

[00:39:01] JJJ: Uh, whether or not the decision to remove

[00:39:04] Matt Cromwell: if you’re thinking about it only fairly from an architectural perspective, um, if you’re thinking about it from the fact of what the plug and directory actually is. For the WordPress project as a whole, stats absolutely are tied intrinsically to what it means to have a creator economy.

[00:39:23] Matt Cromwell: Like stats are part of what it means to have to be an author on org like.

[00:39:30] JJJ: I agree. And, and so the.

[00:39:32] Se Reed: bring this back real quick cause we are obviously going. And that’s not our mo right? These are very important issues that we wanna give, um, time to. But at the end of the day, we want to focus this on the solutions. So what you’re saying, Otto, is that the feedback is being listened to and discussed and it you are going to come up.

[00:39:50] Se Reed: You and some other of the meta folks are behind the scenes coming up with some solutions to provide that. So if we were to say to people, Go and put all your ideas and all your wants in that track ticket, they will indeed be heard.

[00:40:04] Otto: Oh yeah, we, we write

[00:40:06] Se Reed: So let’s just assume in good faith that that is an accurate statement.

[00:40:11] Se Reed: I, again, really am going to just request and I don’t, uh, that you or whomever else is working on it. When you make the decision for what Matt is saying here, or before you make the decision and you have a plan or a proposal, you know, put that on the make blog and let the community discuss it. And in, you know, even if you ignore all that feedback, It will allow people to feel as if they are not just be having the rug pulled out from under them, and that’s what

[00:40:42] Matt Cromwell: To, to what John was saying, like, that does happen so many times that does happen. So, so, so many times the meta, uh, blog is up there all the time and folks are posting there, they’re getting input, they’re getting feedback. I’m not trying to say that that doesn’t happen. That absolutely happens tons of time.

[00:40:57] Matt Cromwell: So especially when it has such a, when it, when it has such a direct impact on. The plug-in authors and there that doesn’t happen. That’s when like, everyone is like, this doesn’t make sense that where does this, how does this happen? How does it happen? That’s something that’s so intrinsic to what I do.

[00:41:17] Matt Cromwell: on.org is all of a sudden gone and, and there was no conversation when and any other time. There’s a bunch of stuff that nobody cares about at all that gets posted up there, um, for feedback. Um, so

[00:41:30] Se Reed: I mean, whatever happened in the past in terms of not communicating the decision, you know, that’s what happened. But I really think that there is a, there is a, there is a possibility here for. Um, healing within the community to demonstrate that good faith and to take the general process, which we have come to expect that decisions and reasoning or, you know, proposals are posted on the make blog or handled at a team meeting prior to implementation or at implementation and when something, um, you know, is not, does not follow that.

[00:42:08] Se Reed: Generally accepted track, no pun intended. Um, people have an emotional backlog of stuff, and that’s not fair to anyone, the meta team to, to Matt Mullenweg to WordPress project or anything. But it still exists. So let’s try to do what we can do to mitigate that. Let’s give good faith all over and focus on solutions of what we want in the future and not, you know, all the crap that we’re mad about from the last 10 years. Okay. Okay. I love you all. We’re we’re just

[00:42:47] Jason Tucker: We do. We do . All right, folks. So thank you very much for hanging out with us. We appreciate it. do. Here’s our outro. Go over to jp.com/subscribe to subscribe to this content. We’d appreciate it. We’re available on all the major places where you can listen to podcasts and you can watch us over on YouTube.

[00:43:08] Jason Tucker: Talk to y’all later. You have a good one. Bye-bye.

[00:43:10] Se Reed: You know, some of themselves, they just, they just do it.

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