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Terminology – Apples to Oranges

  • John James Jacoby


    With the WordPress/WordPressMU merge not too far ahead, the core devs have tossed around the idea of shifting some of the terms that we’re used to using here on the BuddyPress and WordPressMU side of things, and this post is meant to both keep everyone in the loop, and act as a discussion about the possible change. I’ll preface this by saying that none of this is set in stone, and I’m putting it out here to keep everyone informed and keep you ahead of the curve.

    So… To a normal WordPress user, the term “blog” typically means the “blog-river,” or the index.php/category.php/archive.php/single.php pages that encompass the actual “blog” part of the site. Since lots of plugins build WordPress out and away from the blog by using pages or creating their own custom pages (BuddyPress is a good example), calling each new sub-domain/sub-directory instance a new “blog” doesn’t always work anymore, since each instance can have its own pages, plugins, users, settings, theme, etc…

    Also MU was never really “multi-user” since WordPress alone allowed for multiple users. With WordPress becoming less of a blogging tool and more of a publishing platform, the term “blog” has also become a little more specific than saying “multi-blog,” and calling each new instance a “blog” isn’t accurate anymore either.

    So what’s being proposed/tossed around/theorized is this…

    Blogs = Sites

    Sites/Domains = Networks

    I doubt this will change much of the way that BuddyPress works, or any of the list items, etc… Even still calls them “blogs” but when talking back and forth to each other, people from the “single” WordPress side that haven’t been working with multiple “sites” have a hard time grasping the idea and wrapping their heads around what exactly the word “blog” means in relation to each “site” or “network” of sites.

    Also, if you’re paying attention to the WordPress code merge and the WordPress trunk, you’ll notice lots of files starting with “ms-” rather than “wpmu-“. This is in preparation for the renaming of these files and possible renaming and deprecating of the mu functions going forward, to bring them closer in line with how WordPress functions are named and work.

    Long story short, things are going to start to change a little bit on the WordPress front, and we’re going to start to see a lot more “single blog” users needing support. Since we’re all here helping each other, I wanted to set this discussion up so we can get ourselves on the same page, and get ready for what’s about to change for us in the coming months.

    I also wanted to thank the countless dedicated volunteers that help moderate and keep an eye on the forums and are there helping others with their questions. You’re help and time is greatly appreciated.

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)

  • Bowe


    It’s funny because when I first found out about WPMU is was indeed wildy confused about what it meant exactly. Already familiar with single WordPress I installed WPMU because I wanted to use BuddyPress and thought it was some kind of special version of WordPress (not realizing the Network of blogs/sites kinda thing).

    After I got BuddyPress up and running and started a blog I got launched into another admin panel which suddently missed all kinds of menu options and had a different name.. “WTF is going on here” was my initial response..

    Until I realised that WPMU actually allowed me to setup multiple blogs from one panel and would allow me to create a network of sites!

    This name change is a good thing and much easier to grasp. It does make me think; should I call new blogs on my network “sites” or “blogs”.




    I would say that the average non-techie does not understand the word and the meaning of “Blog” anyway.

    I even met people who asked me what is the difference of a “homepage” to a website……think about this….

    Blogs = Websites



    Saw the thread about the “baptismal name” for the 3.0 version. My two cents for the branding of the new WP 3.0 – WordPress NW (for network and looks like new too :-) but that’s up to the top honchos so I’m not going to sweat it. But we have to bear in mind that WPMU was not only used for multiple blogs and multiple sites using Donncha’s Domain Mapping plugin only.

    I’ve also used WPMU as CMS for associations/organizations and the subblogs are used for mangement of either Departments or Sections areas including “Job sections” or “Prayer sections” – where each Admin/Editor is accountable for maintaining such, among other great things you can do with WPMU.

    Looking at some of the changes in the merge specially with deprecating WPMU functions I see that it would be easier to upgrade single WP installs to WP 3.0 (as should be the case) than it would be upgrading WPMU installs to WP 3.0. – specially the WPMU installs with many customizations in frontend and backend including plugins hooking in wpmu_ (ouch!), tell me it ain’t so :-)



    I imagine we will see a first group of WP powerusers who just didn’t want to mess with WPMU. They don’t mind playing with trunk of BP and WP at the same time.

    Soon after though, we’ll see the pent up massess who want the functionality, but want no hiccups, plug and play. Support questions will likely shoot the moon. Hopefully that first group will be here to help.



    Blogs = Sites


    A site is: It’s a spot on the www.

    If WP(MU) creates and, they are NOT different sites; they’re blogs or profiles or sections or folders on the same site.

    Similarly “Sites/Domains = Networks”. They are not the same, even if the WP powers-that-be declare they are. A network is interconnected nodes. Sites/domains can be nodes on a network.

    Or am I missing something? I don’t get it…



    The thing that exites me the most about the merge is all the experienced WordPress developers being introduced to a whole new platform to work on and develop for. I can’t wait to stop having to ask the same question over and over again; Is is WPMU compatible? Never no more!

    @Peter: *deep sigh*

    Brajesh Singh



    My view is quiet different on this issue. I have already seen the chat log where it all was proposed and ms- prefix was associated.

    My point is calling Blogs in wp 3.0 as site, is completely incorrect(unless someone convinces me here).

    Let us concentrate on what WordPress Mu blogs offer out of the box, It is nothing more than the blog functionality(at the moment).

    Obviously you can customize the blogs and wordpress plugins/themes(and wordpress itself) has the capability that a blog can be converted as a Site.

    But again, Calling it as Multisite out of the box is a strong no no for me because of the obvious reasons.

    Let us consider the usage, How many sites out there are using wpmu as a Multi Site software. 2%-5%(that is my personal experience+expectation,actual data may be different).

    Yes, wordpress mu is mainly used for network of blogs(checkout the wpmu showcase) and one or 2 blogs on the network(most of the time, the main domain) act as the Site(or full featured site).

    So calling every blog out there as a site will be completely unjustifiable.



    IF Blogs = Sites

    AND Sites/Domains = Networks

    THEN Sites = Networks = Domains


    This is coopting words that already mean something else and then shuffling their meaning around. If you want to create a lot of confusion, this is the way to do it.

    If you want to bring more clarity, I’d make up some new words. Instead of ‘blogs’ you could say ‘webspaces’, or ‘spaces’ for short.

    I’m not sure what aspects of WP(MU) ‘Sites/Domains = Networks’ refers to, so I don’t know what to suggest there.

    @Bowe, I’m sorry basic logic makes your head hurt.



    I think what JJJ is getting at is this:

    Current -> New

    Blogs (within a single WPMU domain) -> Blog / website (no change)

    WPMU install on one domain -> Site

    WPMU on multiple domains (or a multi-site) -> Network

    I like this snippet from the IRC logs:

    [filosofo] ms-users.php?  is the official name going to be "multi-site"?
    [rboren] filosofo: That's the working name at least. MU is being dropped.
    [wpmuguru] yep, works for us / more appropriate
    [Jane_] we'll all just try really hard not to think of Microsoft or Multiple Sclerosis :)
    [rboren] Yeah, we talked about using msite for that reason.
    [filosofo] what about the "site" / "blog" terminological distinction? Is that changing too?
    [wpmuguru] could actually go with site-settings, site-functions
    [junsuijin] mi=multi-instance
    [rboren] We also have the "Network", which is what MU currently calls a site.
    [filosofo] currently there's get_site_option(), for example, which covers all "blogs" on mu
    [Jane_] yeah, i liked Network in place of site, since it's really a group of sites
    [Jane_] (as opposed to a site being a group of blogs, per current UI)



    There are two sides of the coin here

    – MultiSite does not apply when the owner of a single WP install chooses not to enable the multi-blog feature in WP 3.0 and many won’t. Some would prefer to keep their hosting plan as well. Can’t imagine WP 3.0 multiblog in Yahoo hosting like what I see in WP forums for instance.



    Blogs = Sites

    Blogs = Weblogs

    Blogs = Blogosphere

    There have been at least two nights of discussion in the WordPress and WordPress MU IRC dev channels about this. Tonight will be a third night of discussion, I’m sure, in the WordPress meeting.

    As the naming of WordPress features isn’t something that is to do with BuddyPress directly, I kindly suggest you visit the WP or WPMU forums — or IRC — and contribute to existing threads so that your comments will be seen by more people.

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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