New: Now with Web Archive links, so you can click through to those mostly dead links. Also see: WordPress vs Hot Nacho : Conserved Comments for all comments on the original version of this article.
Well, let’s get this out. I am just done with a 49 hour work project and very positively exhausted. I’ll respond to the emails later, but here’s some response, in case you’re looking for a brief word on it.
[[ Clarification: I believe, Andy’s writing was fair, to-the-point and, if anything, can only be accused of letting Matt off too lightly. Yes, I was (and still am) rather exhausted, when I wrote this, and I should have made this clearer ]]
Let’s get the first response over with – please, please, please stop calling it “Spamming”. Regardless of how you stand towards the deeper issue at hand, diluting a word by mixing pretty much everything into the basket of spamming is not a good idea. Yes, the postings were made to improve the Google rank of someone else, yes there was a financial transaction involved, and yes, the postings were not topical to the wider sense of the site, but it’s not spam. Spam involves other, involuntary, carriers. No comment boxes were contaminated, no mailboxes, no Usenet forums, and certainly no one spent a single byte of extra bandwidth (with the exception of the links from WordPress.Org) on it. It’s not spam.
[[ And now, before you take offense at me saying this is not SPAM, read this. On a side-note, I respect Tim and his take on this a lot, but the notion that “if this is not spam, what is?” makes me wonder if people haven’t been around during Usenet and eMail. ]]
But that’s not the issue, is it? No one accuses Ben of spamming cuban cigars. And rightly so. The issue is, that Matt didn’t talk about it.
First, let me make something clear – unlike suggested by Andrew, I am not being paid by Matt. We’re not even close to be there, both in questions of how WordPress Foundation will be structured, and how we’ll sustain the work we’re planning on doing. Secondly, unlike suggested in the comments, wordpress.org is not associated or affiliated with the work the Foundation will do. True, most of the things we’re planning involves WordPress, the software, in one way or another, but it doesn’t change the status of wordpress.org or WordPress as free (in all three meanings of the word) code.
Now, what is it? Seeing I am not Matt, and Matt’s being in Europe right now makes it hard to actually get a real conversation going, I’ll give my $0.02. WordPress development is expensive. Start with a server and hosting, add Ping-O-Matic’s needs (PoM is the default for most WordPress and Drupal installs, today, and a large number of MovableType blogs) go on to figure that some of the developers have dedicated a seizable amount of their time to this effort, and you see where money might be needed.
It might not occur to Kottke, but maybe Matt felt that without some financial assistance, WordPress could not be sustained as a free project (in every meaning of the word), and realized that donations won’t cut it.
Do I think it was the best way to approach this? Nope. Would I have suggested a few different means to secure the infrastructure? Yes. The Foundation is one of those suggestions, and I am glad we’re slowly getting somewhere with it. But it’s neither spamming, nor is it deserving of some of the comments I’ve read on waxy.org.
Whow, that was one of those entries I’d better written after sleeping some. But I wanted to get it out – flame me, please, if I am too far off.
Another update: I am not sure where people get the idea, that this is in any way affiliated with the — still to be formed — WordPress Foundation slash WordPress, Inc. It is not. As we have repeatedly stated, WordPress Foundation and WordPress.Org are completely disjoint.