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WordPress.org briefly introduced 1-click plugin previews this week. If you found yourself looking at the plugin page on the world’s largest directory this week you could enter the official WordPress playground to explore what the plugin had to offer.

The first problem? Well, it didn’t work. This sent authors scrambling to understand why their plugins weren’t working or more generally making the case for why this lead to a worse experience overall for the end user.

The root of the issue, however, was that none of these changes were communicated to authors. No deadline, no opt-out — nothing.

The changes have been reverted, and while I think this is a great idea — I mean, who would’n’t want to try before you buy? — it needs much more thought, planning, and communication next time. Catch Eric Karkovack’s latest post on Why Plugin & Theme demos are so hard.

Plugin authors: we’re really seeing whose playground this really is these days aren’t we?

Ollie without onboarding

Ollie, the theme I covered in last week’s monologue, is now available in the repo but looking a little thinner than when it started.

The block theme that made a controversial splash won’t offer its “innovative” onboarding experience for users. That feature will come in a plugin in the near future.

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Open source and AI

Meta is trying to shake up the AI world, specifically OpenAI and Google, with its open source Llama model.

“Open source drives innovation because it enables many more developers to build with new technology,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.

This open source “debate” has spurred, apparently, a lot of debate in the VC world. Here’s a recent episode of the This Week in Startups where in the first 5 minutes you can get some insight into what a billionaire investor thinks about it. Bill Gurley and Sunny Madra talk open-source vs. proprietary AI | E1825

Open Source and AI is worth mentioning because Jetpack uses OpenAI, which isn’t open source at all. I’m really curious to see what Mullenweg decides to do with the AI features in Jetpack and WordPress.com as he refines that product.

Going all-in on a closed sourced product like that, after alerting us all to learn AI deeply recently would be…weird.

Matt Mullenweg on the Silicon Slopes

Speaking of Matt Mullenweg, he recently appeared on a short interview at the Silicon Slopes Summit.

He talks to a media personality about open source, Automattic, and remote work. I wanted to play a few clips that you might find interesting. The value of Automattic, the value of the WordPress ecosystem, and how he sees his role (at least to an outsider) in the community.

“ Automatic’s close to 2,000 people. The business has been very, very successful, valued at over seven billion dollars.”

Matt Mullenweg

WordPress started very much just as a personal volunteer project. And it was really just about blogging, kind of that personal journaling. Over the years though, really in concert with the community.

You know, I’m just a figurehead, really. All the good stuff from WordPress comes from the tens of thousands of volunteers around the world.

Matt Mullenweg

One cool thing is the WordPress ecosystem, which is over 10 billion a year of revenue going through it now is a lot of the companies look just like automatic and that they’re often distributed, they do open source and everything.

Matt Mullenweg

Block Visibility Plugin

I spent some time looking at Nick Diego’s Block Visibility plugin this week.

That’s it for today’s episode, don’t forget to share share share this episode with others and jump on the mailing list 👇

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