Blogging Pro started a WordPress Themes and Plugins Contest on June 23 with a deadline of June 30th. The goal of the contest was to 1) revitalize the WordPress creative community, and 2) feature the best new Themes and Plugins on Blogging Pro to help promote them.
Unfortunately, it was a flop. I found that blogHelper had an interesting perspective on the “WordPress Community Slowdown” and the contest, which brought up some good points, too, but let me sum this up in my own words first.
I adore Blogging Pro and love the great work David does for the WordPress Community. But timing is everything. Giving people 7 days to spread the word, then come up with creative stuff is a lot to ask. Especially when it comes at a time when schools are ending, vacations are starting, and getting any action out of any group is tough. In Europe, some towns become ghost towns during July and August as everyone heads out somewhere, and much of June is spent packing. In the United States, while gas prices are high, people are getting out and about and not staying inside next to their computers. I’ve been in too many airports recently, and they were packed to the gills and it wasn’t a holiday. WordPress relies heavily upon the young, high school and college age computer whizbangs who do a lot of the amazing creative work. Do you think that they are hanging around their computers right now? Maybe. Maybe not.
Seven days isn’t enough time, either way. Even in the fast moving Blogosphere.
blogHelper says this:
One: Some of the best WordPress plugins are the result of long term incremental development. It doesn’t always start “revolutionary”.
Two: A “really revolutionary” plugin isn’t necessary when you can combine multiple so-called “so-so” plugins together to achieve the same effect.
Three: How “revolutionary” individual plugins are depends on how you use it. You’d be surprised at how creativity can bring out the power of underrated plugins.
Four: Tiny “so-so” plugins ensure that we have something for every problem we face. We don’t always need “great” plugins – but we always need solutions to our problems.
Fifth: There is only need for so many “revolutionary” plugins. As history has proven itself, when there is a need, a solution will be developed to satiate it. Last but not least, the realm of “revolutionary” more often than not belongs to WordPress core developers. Expecting plugin developers to introduce new great features in WordPress is not only heavy handed, but it also deprives core coders of anything to think of (besides debugging, of course).
I tend to agree, though I believe the flop was more due to timing and another factor worthy of consideration. Poor presentation.
Titling any contest “slowdown” doesn’t help it. The entire first part of the announcement of the contest was a negative slant on the loss of energy, enthusiasm, and motivation within the WordPress Community. When I saw the title of the post come across my feed, starting with the following, what do you think I thought?
After what I consider to be a relatively unsuccessful series of theme contests, and the lackluster response to other people trying to strike up creativity in the WordPress community, I am a bit worried about the future of the WordPress theme and plugin communities.
Do you think I thought this was a contest announcement? Nope. I admit that I didn’t have time to read the whole thing as I saw it just before getting on a plane in Wisconsin, and it went on as a rant. I didn’t scroll down far enough to see the contest announcement.
Is the rant deserving. In a way, yes. In a way, no.
Yes, there has been a dramatic slowdown in production of WordPress Themes and Plugins. The reasons are very clear.
- The thrill of the newness is gone. Therefore, enthusiasm naturally wanes.
- A lot of the really “good stuff” has been done, and we need to encourage the authors to maintain and update their Themes and Plugins and not shame them into creating new when the old is good enough and just needs fixing.
- A lot of the early developers of the coolest Themes and Plugins are now working on the core programming code, having proved themselves as brilliant. They don’t have time to put into little stuff, until they really see a need.
- Is the lack of new WordPress Themes and Plugins a sign that WordPress is dying off? Nope. It’s building up faster than ever, just accumulating users rather than programmers (an expanding market versus a tapped market).
- There were several huge contests last year which overwhelmed the hosts. It’s a lot of work, and such large contests not only burn out the hosts, but the submitters and fans. We may all be still recovering from those.
- Free is good but it don’t pay the rent. Many do use WordPress Themes and Plugins to help promote their own talents and abilities, but after a while, they still have to pay the rent.
Still, without adequate presentation, marketing, and promotion, any contest will fail.
So if you are still reading this post, I challenge you to meet David’s challenge and come up with a WordPress Theme or Plugin and submit it to him. The WordPress Community always welcomes new ideas, concepts, and tools, contest or not. Take your time, use your brain, and see what you can come up with. Be sure and test it thoroughly, and follow all the rules for all WordPress Themes and Plugins for quality control and coding standards (check out the WordPress Codex for specifics). Also submit your WordPress Plugin to the WordPress Codex Plugins List, wp-plugins.net, and wp-plugins.org so everyone can find them. Submit your WordPress Themes to the Codex WordPress Theme List and WordPress Theme Viewer, along with other WordPress Theme submission sites listed on the WordPress Codex – Using Themes resources. This process takes time and 7 days isn’t enough to do it right.
David, while I adore you, this wasn’t a fair test of how the WordPress Community is doing. Amazing things are happening around the WordPress Community – I can barely keep up. Still, this is the slowdown time in the Northern Hemisphere. What you can’t obviously see is that WordPress is taking off like wildfire in non-English speaking countries and I expect that a lot of creative stuff will be coming out of there very soon, if it can break through the language barrier. And so many people are loving WordPress.com, they are starting to break away into their own independent sites so they can tweak and twist WordPress, developing their own Themes and Plugins in order to make things work. It just takes time as part of the natural cycle of things.
Also, we need to thank David and Blogging Pro for taking on such a contest. It takes a LOT of work to host a contest and write up a review of the results and winners. Thank you, David.
- Designing WordPress Themes for Public Release
- Developing Your Own WordPress Plugins
- Attention WordPress Theme Designers: Designing Themes for WordPressMU
- Designing Themes for WordPressMU – Fill In All The Details
- WordPress Theme Designers: Slapping You Upside the Head
- WordPress Design Details
- When the Burden of Support is Too Great
- How to Write a Simple WordPress Plugin
- WordPress Hooks – All of Them
- Designing a Theme to Include WordPress Widgets
- The Blog Widget Competition Begins
Site Search Tags: contest, wordpress, wordpress+contest, wordpress+themes, wordpress+plugins, plugins, themes, design, challenge, competition, slowdown, wordpress+community, write, author, develop
Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network