WordPress as a Commons

Especially or those with a more political or philosophical bent, this article from Lesley Sim on the idea of a “commons” over at Post Status is sure to be interesting. WordPress, she correctly names, has a complicated and complex story when one starts to peer into the details of the entities involved in it. When we overlay this complexity with the notion of it being a “commons” worthy of protection, a lot of good questions arise.

In summary, there’s quite a number of nervous but worthy questions about the mix of the three entities of the WordPress Foundation, WordPress.org, and Automattic. All are pretty clearly controlled by Matt Mullenweg, but after that it gets murky as to which is doing what in the name of “WordPress” and why. Headlines, even from inside the WordPress ecosystem, will sometimes gloss over the distinctions between them. (Lesley does a better job summarizing the details of these three, by the way.)

The article reads as more of a summary of the issues than a call to arms, but I especially appreciated her coverage of Elinor Ostrom’s findings on successful commons governance, as I was totally unaware of it. I encourage you to click through for that alone!


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