This post was written as part of Peeve Week 2: Internet.
I helped found a website called the Reader Appreciation Project. Seeing that the site was really young, I wanted to build links to the site as rapidly as possible. The best way I knew how was to write a WordPress plugin. I wrote a plugin that allows users to edit their comments, and the plugin turned out to be insanely popular. Links poured in, and eventually I had to turn off trackbacks since the links were so excessive.
Those first few weeks after the initial release were murder. As much as I wanted to ignore the bug and feature requests, I found that I simply couldn’t. My reputation as a plugin author was riding on how well I could support and maintain my plugin.
During Memorial Day weekend, I spent all four days working on an updated version. I re-wrote a lot of the code and added in several features that people wanted. The holiday weekend wasn’t enough and spent several more late nights during the week adding in a few more features and bug fixes. All the while, I’m trying to keep up with blogs, work, and bills.
I worked on this plugin to allow readers to edit their comment easily. This functionality didn’t exist before in an elegant form. It does now. And the features I added in were the features I thought were beneficial to the betterment of the plugin.
However, it seems that day after day I get a comment or e-mail saying, “Your plugin should do this” or “I would use your plugin but…”
The WordPress plugin is free. You can choose to use it as-is, or choose not to use it. I am doing my best to adhere to the users, but I simply can’t please everybody. I refuse to adhere to design by committee.
So Can You Complain When Something is Free?
Of course you can complain. People do all the time. People making 100k+ a year still complain about their day jobs. I see it almost every day. However, I refuse to be taken advantage of. When it comes to my plugin, I will listen to people. But I can’t support everybody’s wish and desire. It’s impossible. And my life doesn’t depend on someone using or not using my plugin. I use it. The people I originally created it for use it. That’s all that matters to me at this point.