Is bp dying a slow death?
Part of my routine each morning is to go through and check the wp and bp trac to see what changes have been made that I need to be aware of. With wp 3.0, this has become very important for me, and has actually taught me a lot about wp. It also helps to know when major changes are made between beta’s and rc’s that will affect what I am building. (I hope to one day get my coding ability to the point where I can actually contribute instead of just leaching)
I’ve just noticed over the past number of weeks that there is really no activity going on with the bp trac. Yeah, there are a few minor changesets, but that’s about it. It seems to me that Andy has completely fallen off the planet. None of us in the regular community have heard anything from him in what seems forever. Even the bpdev site is very quiet, and I didn’t see much of anything mentioned for the dev chats. (I wish I could attend, but for me at least, they fall at the worst possible time each week)
This thread is in no way meant to be a rant, and I don’t want it to go that direction. I’m simply asking if bp is pretty much being abandoned by automatic. At the very least, after watching the furious action over the past few months on wp 3.0 in the trac, it has become very apparent that bp does not carry anywhere near the weight with automatic. Of course that is to be expected. It’s just after watching so many video’s of Matt talking about bp, one would think that automatic would at least assign some resources to bp.
Am I way off base with this observation?
I believe in BP. It’s not going to disappear until FaceBook does.
I remember a few years ago when I belonged to an online forum of table top gamers. Our groups were kept active by community leaders who were yearly actually elected by the community. I think this was helpful because:
1. Tunnel Ends: The leaders knew that they only had to commit a year at a time to the project and therefore weren’t “committing-their-time-and-resources-for-eternity”. Since there was a specific end-to-the-tunnel if they so chose they were more likely to finish strong.
2. Ego: Face it, people have egos and enjoy being flattered. Being elected to lead by a group says a lot. Most of us here on BP are guys, just like the table-top gaming group… and guys like being competitive.
3. Meritocracy: Hey, if you want to stay a leader, then do your job… or else get voted out.
4. Open: This could be my personal opinion, but doesn’t electing leaders just feel more “Open”?
Proposal: Hold a 2 week nomination period where BP.org users can nominate members to be 6-month “temporary core developers” (or TCD). Then hold elections for another 2 weeks to choose 5 or so TCDs. After the 6 month stint we would hold nominations again.
Pros: All the stuff that I mentioned above, plus I’m sure there’s other stuff that I can’t think of currently.
Cons: Would there be some degree of upheaval if developer leaders changed every 6 months? Some other downsides?
I think the main point is being missed here. As much as I love them and their work, Andy and jjj can’t do this all by themselves. So guys, I would ask you to wrap your arms around whomever you deem best suited to help you lead this community. We all know who those people are. They are more then capable. But I can tell you from 1st hand knowledge that those very important set of Lieutenants goes very much ignored. Emails go un-responded and forum posts are dying on the vine. THAT’s why the community is floundering. Jeff Sayre, Ray, et all should know what the plan is. They should know why private messaging was turned off. They should know what the vision is for the new bp.org and therefore should be helping steer the community. BUT everyone is left blowing in the wind. So it’s not a matter of “everything is fine” Someone please lead the community. Leadership can even take the form of “I am too busy, , I need you to take charge for me.
I’d echo those comments Mike, but it’s also slightly imposing to ask or even expect DJPaul/Jeff/r-a-y/ to take on board the leadership of things – as much as I would love them to, and would hope they would (I have expressed surprise that as Mods the team appear to have very little useful power and need more @andy take these guys on board to help run the site please, grant them as much access as is possible). What is undeniable though is something needs to be done, agreeing on the detail therein open to minor debate, but much has been expressed. First order of the day ought to be to finish this site of properly, it simply can’t stay like this and remain a credible example of a BP powered site it also needs to function in a manner that we developers need from a community dev forum.
@hnla That’s exactly my point. I am not suggesting they take it on on their own accord – they need to be asked and guided in an engaged manner by the official leadership. If asked, I’d take on the responsibility with vigor. Instead, everything drifts. It should never be a one man show and no one is expecting that of @andy. Tragically, all this talent you guys have is left wasted on the sidelines (if this thread alone isn’t evidence enough) We’re all doing this because we care and are ready and willing to roll sleeves up and get to business once the right things are done. I’d point out that the chorus of voices you hear here comes from a group of folks almost entirely over 40. We’ve been around the block and understand what needs to be done. We’re not a bunch of bitching & whining teenage code monkeys. (Well maybe Sayre is)
@mikepratt Well, I built my first website in 1994… shortly after Netscape 0.9 beta was released… but I’m still a whining code monkey some days
oops @andy could you please forward all recent @mentions to @apeatling
@mikepratt It is surprising the amount of talent available , and that all appear to have been around the block a few times on a sidenote and to add a little levity to the thread Jeff Sayre wrote a interesting little post on his blog on ageism and a project he was recruiting for.
Just a note to say hi, and if BuddyPress dies, that would be sad because it does have quite a bit of potential.
I’m developing a project around it for a small school at the moment, and its the perfect thing to allow parents to communicate with each other, while teachers can post homework assignments.
I think the system has potential for lots and lots of educational instiutions, and there should maybe be some thought amongst the team about spinning it off in that direction since another WordPress tech, WordPress MU… has been geared to those places, and this would perhaps attract even more developers to the project.
Also, if people need to work to eat, maybe we can do a kick-starter fund to get some paid people working on it to keep it going, I’d happily donate some cash.
@jeffsayre , you and many others here have been spot on about the BuddyPress leadership as-is. I particularly liked the notion of ‘proactive communication’ (and the lack thereof) so much that I felt compelled to repeat it.
@paulhastings0 about electing leaders, I just don’t think this is a good idea. There’s just too much to factor in when core development needs and relationships come into play. I’d argue that thanks to the combined user friendliness of WP&BP, this community consists in large of low-tech pseudo-developers such as myself, who are able to build websites and great communities with BuddyPress, but wouldn’t find our way home if we ventured far into any given .php file.
Sure, if it came to a vote I’d think about who in this community I find admirable, productive, dedicated and so on, and I’d put my vote in. But what is my vote worth in such a big matter anyways, when what it really comes down to, besides the obvious qualities of a community hero, is the prospective developer/manager’s ability to communicate and work on the same wavelength as is established in the core team already.
I don’t fear for BuddyPress; I see a very bright future for it and anyone who takes the leap to invest (freely interpreted). This has been an important discussion none the less, and as if the lesson learned was not clear as day already, I intend to spell it out:
BuddyPress development needs an extra layer of transparency. Front-line fighters of the community should be trusted to tap into the ‘inner loop’. As people who’s ‘been around the block’ (see, only mature people would refer to themselves in such a manner) they can be expected to handle sensitive information with care, knowing what to share and when to share it. Whenever the foremost figures of a community are absent, members immediately start looking for whoever is next in line, a search ideally concluded with “oh, silly me, naturally it’s that nice person who’s presence I took notice of from the start”.
In line with the topic @anointed started a week++ ago, methinks that BP is facing a big mountain made of different WP/MU versions and making it work for all. In that line, might I suggest that Automattic allow @apeatling to concentrate on BuddyPress and be more informative about the direction of BuddyPress – less surprises the better
At this time, with BP 18.104.22.168, there are at least 11 configurations of WP/MU versions to make pretty with:
1. WP 3.0 (Single site)
2. WP 3.0 (Multisite – Subdomain)
3. WP 3.0 (Multisite – Subdirectory)
4. WP 2.9.2
5. WP 2.9.2 upgraded to WP 3.0 (Single Site)
6. WP 2.9.2 upgraded to WP 3.0 (Multisite – Subdomain)
7. WP 2.9.2 upgraded to WP 3.0 (Multisite – Subdirectory)
8. WPMU 2.9.2 Subdomain
9. WPMU 2.9.2 Subdirectory
10. WPMU 2.9.2 Subdomain upgraded to WP 3.0 (Multisite auto)
11. WPMU 2.9.2 Subdirectory upgraded to WP 3.0 (Multisite auto)
a. Add Server/OS to the mix – Windows, Linux, shared hosting vs VPS hosting, etc.
b. Add configuration where BP is installed in subsite other than main site
c. Add single WP configs (per wp.org forums) where WP is in directory and index.php in root – have to tell them whether that config will work with BP at all or not.
d. Media uploads – WP 2.9.2 and new WP 3.0 (main site) installations upload media to wp-contents/uploads folder while WPMU 2.9.2 and WP 3.0 (subsites) installations upload media to wp-contents/blogs.dir folder. Member and Group Avatar uploads – same as above (a) but in respective /avatars/ and /group-avatars/ folders.
e. Many plugin and theme developers would rather wait for BP 1.3 where components will be rendered as Pages so that time won’t be wasted on plugin or theme development which will be considered “obsolete” in a few weeks or so, pretty much like what happened to plugins and themes from BP 1.1.3 to BP 1.2
e. I’m sure many would be able to add some more here, etc. etc. etc.
So when BP 1.3 rolls out and it requires WP 3.0, there’ll only be six configurations left from above list as per a thread I read not to expect WP 3.1 anytime soon. Add to that the major changes in how BP renders components as Pages which mixes with “regular” WordPress Pages, BuddyPress has become a test of endurance that requires a lot of willing developers to go through the angst of getting a BP site just as one wants it for specific installation. Otherwise, Elgg or Drupal or phpFox et al would have been installed in the first place. Just my 2 cents.
at the Automattic-website it actually says that BP is an Open-Source-project:
“…….We also contribute to a number of non-profit and Open Source projects, here are a few:…..”
As a very new member to this community, I don’t have much to add to this discussion. That said, I will nevertheless add my two cents. At 38, I’ve been around the block and seen my fair share of good teams and dysfunctional ones. As some have stated, leadership takes on many forms and there are different methods for leading (by decree, by consensus, etc., etc.). In my experience, two of the most important traits a leader can have is: 1. Knowing how to delegate 2. Knowing when to ask for help.
I join others in putting up my hand to let the core developers know that I believe in this project and am willing to help in anyway that I can. I refuse to be a leach and benefit from the hard work of others without somehow contributing myself. For now, the easiest way for me to contribute as a noob is to offer feedback/feature requests and to post solutions to problems (mostly self-created) that I encounter.
Lastly, regarding this site, I will add to the chorus that I find the site slightly confusing
Open source projects don’t work by elections — they work as meritocracies. How do you think both AndyP and JJJ got involved? If you want to be involved, then get involved! The only thing stopping you is you. (That’s how I got involved with b2, just making myself useful helping out wherever possible, learning to code as I went.)
Thanks for posting here; it’s appreciated. The election idea was just a suggestion someone had, and it never/wasn’t intended to address the main crux of the thread, which is around communication, project leadership and where BuddyPress goes from here.
Ditto what Paul said, the meat and bones of this thread is not really centered around how to elect leaders, Matt part of the issue is to do with your statement “If you want to get involved, get involved” TBH that is possibly a rather trite statement, many of us here are trying to be ‘Involved’ and finding it hard? there is much feedback of genuine worth from community members that ‘have been around the block a few times’ I myself have been around the block many many times and have much experience of projects and how they can flounder so certain things ring alarm bells with me, and I voice concerns along the way in the hope of drawing attention to and possibly correcting issues, too often though posts simply go unanswered or we go round in circles talking endlessly.
I think that the fact that many of are wiling to persevere with the project and with discussions like this point to the fact that we do consider BP a viable project and one worth sticking with (the thread title is a little on the extreme side and could do with being changed ) If I thought BP was a lost cause I would have simply moved on and not be expending time and energy on threads such as this.
For those of you that want to directly influence the future of BuddyPress, http://trac.buddypress.org. Make it your friend. Learn it. Love it. Live it. Give it a hug everyday and patch a bug.
The Trac is where you can post code snippets, or giant mega patches of code that you think should be integrated into BuddyPress. You can see the timeline of when people have done what, and see the outstanding bugs that need squashing before we can safely release the next version. The more bugs you fix, the more code you contribute, the more you are directly involved not only in the community, but directly in the future of the platform as a whole.
As incentive to help out, if your goal is to be a developer and make a career out of BuddyPress, consider walking into a meeting with a possible client, and when they ask what your level of involvement is with WordPress or BuddyPress, and you can respond with “I make it,” your chances of securing that client are pretty good. In order to help make BuddyPress, you have to actually help us make it, and you do that via the Trac. I can say this, because that’s how I did it with both WordPress and BuddyPress, and I’m down to help you guys do it too.
There are plenty of people that are highly active in the Trac that aren’t so much so in the forums, and vice versa. Since we moved BuddyPress.org over to 1.2, both Andy and myself have been busy with our own assignments that yes, do involve BuddyPress, but also involve other neat things like the WordPress.com “Like” feature and planning some neat things for a WordCamp.org redesign.
Truth be told, if /anyone/ is concerned about where I am or what I’m doing in regards to BuddyPress or the future of the project, there are at least 10 methods to contact me directly and I am totally happy and not annoyed by anything that has to do with BuddyPress. Drop me a line, let’s chat http://en.gravatar.com/johnjamesjacoby
To answer a few of the questions/comments/statements in this topic: Private Messages are turned off because spam bots have started targeting BuddyPress installations and we were getting hit pretty hard after we upgraded the site. Raise your hand if you got a PM from someone claiming to love you enough to help you with male enhancement. Regarding my absence in the forums, I’ve really just taken on too many clients and haven’t had the time to look backwards at support AND forwards at development at the same time. It won’t always be that way, but it has been lately and I like it about as much as you all seem to too. I love being in the forums and helping people out, and I’m sad I haven’t been able too recently.
Andy is the figure head of BuddyPress and serves as the guiding light of the project similar to how Matt does for WordPress and bbPress, but there is no shortage of capable people in the BuddyPress community that could take this project by the horns and make it their own at any point. I know I’m not Andy, but if I can pretend to be to help anyone when he’s not around, ping me.
Along the lines of what @matt said, I love using @nacin as an example. He stormed into the WordPress Trac and started contributing code and patching bugs. Some were great, and some were rubbish, but he learned as he contributed and within 1 calendar year he has merited his way into being a core committer for WordPress, and contributed something insane; like 60% or more of the commits on the WP3.0 branch are his doing or somehow as a result of his hard work and commitment to the project. While there is only one @nacin, there is plenty of room for any one of you to be very @nacin like.
By the way, if there is an election and I’m voted out, I’m not leaving without a fight. You’ll have to chase me out of town with torches and pitchforks.
I’ve earlier only lent support to other noobs like me at BP.org and bought services from BP-developers. I haven’t had much to do with BP.org lately since my install of BP works pretty well. I drop by once in a while to see if there’s something new to have a look at. I don’t think that BP will die but the launch of 1.2 at BP.org was probably not a step in the right direction. A website as small as mine works fantastic with 1.2. Heavy websites like BP.org probably don’t.
I’m also confused by the design of BP.org and think that the first step to the evolution of BP.org (apart from the trac, I’m not a coder, sorry) is to revise it. If that isn’t mended, people like Jeff Sayre won’t support as much (if I understand your comments correctly). I’m not sure if BP.org has to look like a community. Perhaps a rollback to the old forums will be a better choice for now.
@jjj it’s not simply about fixing bugs though.
Commitment is also a difficult subject and I’m in total sympathy with your plight vis a vis work commitments, I would love nothing more than to be able to devote 100% of my time to really getting to grips with BP but it aint going to happen, I have a tonne of commitments and have to try and maintain a business and earn a living at coding, BP is not something that I do as a service it does not earn me money, thus sadly cannot command a disproportionate amount of my working time, thus my personal route to BP zen mastery will be, by necessity, a slow one
Regardless of commitment ability there are still many of us that can return good advice and feedback based on prior experience and general knowledge and it’s there that we need to see the community firm up and genuine dialogue start to happen (Yes I note your point about Trac as a focal point for a lot of that)
As for comments such as “other neat things”, and “WordCamp.org redesign.” not sure how to respond to that other than – not really interested, likely will never get to one and am more concerned with BP right at this moment but as I said in an earlier comment I get the fact that Andy doesn’t have the luxury of total devotion to BP and I level no criticism for the fact that he has to deal with other Automattic projects as well.
@johnjamesjacoby see, that reply of yours right there, that could’ve been a blogpost I for one wouldn’t know where to start finding out all about your extra influx of clients, assignments, WordCamp involvement and WordPress work. Even if you are a transparent character on the world wide web, I only have time to check up on, and be active in, BuddyPress.org every so often. Thanks for all the answers, I’m pretty much content.
Good points both of you. I for one will make a better effort to peek around the forums more in the coming days. There are plans and ideas to “fix” BuddyPress.org to bring back the functionality you’re used to, so bear with it for now and know that things will improve.
@johnjamesjacoby what you say is true and is useful for members of the BuddyPress community to learn from, but, again:
The main issue in this thread is around communication, project leadership and where BuddyPress goes from here. Not how to contribute; that’s a side issue, albeit an important one.
I’ve thought long and hard about how to address this thread after seeing the conversation so far. I’ll do the best I can.
Ever since I was given the opportunity to work on BuddyPress full time I’ve put every ounce of energy I have into the project. It has gone from nothing – literally fifteen lines of code to something that powers a number of large sites and a whole array of smaller ones. The community has sprung up since then and has grown fast, but it would not exist first without something that people enjoy using and want to discuss.
That has always been my number one priority, build something that people want to use. Without that we have nothing and all the work around the project is in vain. I am not a trained project manager, but up until now I’ve done my best to help the community flourish and feel part of the process.
Now, yes, I haven’t been working as much on BuddyPress for the past three months – anyone using Trac will notice that. I’m no longer spending all my time developing the next version of BuddyPress. I’m working on some features for WordPress.com, helping out with other tasks around WordPress along with continuing to develop the project. The hope is that some of the features I work on for WordPress.com can merge there way back into BuddyPress in future versions or as separate plugins.
The issue we have, and the whole reason behind this thread is that I’m still far too large of a percentage of BuddyPress as a whole. When I slow down or have other priorities the whole project suffers. It should not be like this, the community should not look to me as the final word or the only bringer of direction or progression. If I’m not around for a while BuddyPress should continue to flourish and move forward. JJJ is doing his best to help balance this, but he is only one guy, and a busy one.
To quote a past line from a certain Mr Mullenweg “the best way to dig a hole is to grab a shovel and start digging”. Discussion is great, but to see any change we need action. If you want a new feature or something changed, write a patch. Submit it to Trac, keep consistently writing patches, answering tickets and fixing bugs. I guarantee you will end up with commit access. Right now we have only 10% of tickets with patches, that’s not even close to enough.
If you hate the new site (I agree it’s a mess) then design some mockups, write some HTML wireframes, tell me how much it sucks and your plans to change it. Start a community discussion, but with the goal of a plan of action. I am more than willing to provide access to people who want to get stuck in, but endless forgotten lists of what needs to be improved will not change things.
If you want to write posts for the BuddyPress blog then start writing them, they will be published. If you want to have your say on the direction of the project as a whole then show up and ask your questions at the BuddyPress meetings bi-weekly (there has been a serious lack of questions lately, why?).
Action, action, action. There are many people in the community doing a great job, but if we’re going to reduce the dependency on the core devs then we need more people to step up and start digging.
@apeatling Andy regards commit access I would have thought that you already have at least four guys here that seem to have a pretty deep understanding of the code base involved would it not be a start and indeed lighten the burden on yourself and JJJ if they were to have commit access right away?
<quote Andy >ask your questions at the BuddyPress meetings bi-weekly (there has been a serious lack of questions lately, why?)<quote>
That might be due to the holding of these meetings not being that clearly mentioned? Might just be me being dense but where I was aware of them I wasn’t sure really where to go to participate (yes course I could have asked )
So part of the site should perhaps be used to announce these and perhaps provide a brief transcript or bullet points of the talks – recently came across Paul Gibbs’s blog where he did provide a transcript of one.
I don’t think any of us hate this site it just needs finishing and I’m sure you’ll agree it was upgraded, some work appeared to go on while the site was live then it was left in a half finished state? The site is vital to the project it’s it’s home and central focus but I doubt anyone would argue against that.
I do not want to speak for Jeff, but I recognized from his posts on this Forum that he knows a lot about Privacy-stuff.
I guess Jeffs Privacy-Features could have been build into the Core-Code already and would have added value to BP.
Let him allow to build his basic-features into the Core-Code and give him the chance to make some money on top of that by providing a plugin which gives “Advanced Privacy Features”.
The same goes for the Events-Plugin which probably only would have needed a bit of support from the Core-guys to get it properly running ?
No Plugin and Core-Code will be 100% perfect from the beginning, but with building this stuff into the Core-Code (with having the ability to activate / deactivate those features in the backend) and therefore having the benefit that many BP-webmasters will have the chance to test those features and providing lots of feedback and for coders providing patches on each of those features in order to improve it.
I guess that is what this article says (read it again !):
Just apply “continuous deployment” to BuddyPress.
Currently there are many coders working on their own Plugins and are the “Gatekeepers” of their own little walled garden, but think about “Crowd-Sourcing”:
Why not providing a TRAC-tool, which gives all the talented coders on this Forum the chance to commonly work TOGETHER on a specific BP-feature (e.g. Privacy, Front-End-Blog-Posting, Events, etc.) ?
Step out of your own tunnel-vision and take the bigger-world-view and EVERYBODY will benefit.
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