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WPTavern and The Great Wizard of Oz

Is it just me or am I the only one who’s completely miffed by the strange display of secrecy (anonymity?) behind the mysterious employer that owns-and-yet-does-not-operate WPTavern?

Jeffro has been incredibly coy about it all, although he’s mentioned in a recent blog post comment reply that his “boss” will soon share some more of these details:

I know we have the interview questions but my boss will be the one publishing a post here on WPTavern.com at some point in the near future that will explain a bunch of things.

(The “interview questions” are ones that I gave Jeffro a while ago, January 29th to be exact, that asked questions regarding the “owner” of the site. Oh, and another thing – does the idea of this “boss” feel so odd and weird to you? Maybe that’s just me.)

Many of us in the community have been waiting patiently despite growing attempts at WPTavern (globally) now asking for the community to continue to support the site and contribute content. Ryan Hellyer voiced my opinion better than I could when he replied:

I am weary of submitting posts to a website owned by someone mysterious though. If I’m helping support someone’s project, I kinda like to know who they are. I was happy to write guest posts for you in the past because I like you, but now I don’t know who it is I’d be supporting.

And this is the fundamental question that must be answered, especially in an open source community that we all know and love.

It’s just been such a confusing ride, hasn’t it? WPTavern has been in an on-off-on-off mode for quite some time with Jeffro and the “rest” of the community taking a step back, then being revived, and then taking a step back again and now apparently back to life yet again. There have been public announcements that departure would be “official” like this tweet:

But this hasn’t been the first time that questions like mine have been voiced – when the site was originally acquired for an “unknown” sum of money, the comments were rife with theories about who the buyer was and where the site was headed. More than a few even thought that Matt Mullenweg had purchased the site (which I thought was ridiculous).

Naturally, beyond just theory there have been a handful of conspiracy theories (oh, doesn’t everyone love those?!) such as Jeffro simply shutting down the site and reporting that it was sold:

Maybe no one bought the site and rather than keep explaining to folks that it is for sale, Jeff decided to just close it down.

If Jeffro really did shut down the site and he is in fact the real “owner” then that would be a massive ditch of a lie to dig oneself out of and would reduce any credibility that Jeffro had within the community to shreds. I can’t imagine that this would be the case but a cursory Google query will show you other similar thoughts.

For the record, I support Jeffro and his effort to revive WPTavern – that’s why I sent him those interview questions in the first place and even asked to be “connected” to the owner to figure out some way we could honor the great content and community that was built. I still haven’t received a response from said owner but perhaps maybe in time I will.

Who the heck knows at this point, right? I just wish the great Wizard of Oz in the land of WPTavern would come out of hiding and share with us what we’ve all been dying to hear – that there’s no place like home and Jeffro’s going to take us there with a click of his heel and great content to boot.

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