Last June Dragan and I published our very first public WordPress plugin. It was pretty successul, still sells well, so if you need an author box WordPress plugin for your blog, please check it out. End of plug, I promise.
We had no idea what to expect, more than anything how much time we’d spend supporting the plugin. Turns out that even the little worry we had was there for no good reason. Of course, that doesn’t mean there were no support requests at all. However, huge majority of them were not caused by our plugin doing something wrong, but by it not being allowed to do something right instead.
What our plugin does is use
the_content filter to append or prepend the author box to posts. That’s WordPress’ way to do it and there’s nothing wrong with it. Still, the most common complaint we’ve had was that the author box was not showing. Why would that happen? For reasons unknown to me, some theme developers love owning
the_content filter and removing all functions previously attached to it. No, I don’t know why anyone would do that.
Another problem we’ve had is plugin’s CSS conflicting being overriden by theme’s style.css file. Of course things like this will happen, but if a theme developer thinks unordered list items inside his or her posts should use a certain arrow then using a selector as generic as
li is probably not the best way to do it. Another example would be adding floats to
.avatar selector. That class is added to all images added by
get_avatar function btw.
I won’t even begin ranting about themes not using
wp_footer or deregistering bundled jQuery without a good reason.
All these examples bring me to a point: What is the right thing to do in a situation like this? Is it ethical to point your finger at another developer and say they messed up? Get in touch with them and let them know? Should you even offer support when something like this happens? So far, we’ve been able to help every single customer that had any issues, no matter what caused it, but that’s about as scalable as a house of cards.
WordPress ecosystem consists of WordPress core, themes and plugins. Sadly, all it takes to make a building bad place to live is one neighbor constantly making noise. The other tennants know who that person is, but those walking by the building have no idea and probably don’t care, all they hear is noise. So, what is the right thing to do, if you’re living next to the noisy guy?
P.S. As WPExplorer pointed out in the comments, there’s the issue of users running outdated themes and plugins, or even WordPress. Not the point I was trying to, but still a very valid one and another reason why things might go wrong 🙂