There’s been some conversation about having a “better” planet and it’s been a great topic of conversation among blogs as well as in internal conversations here in our office.
For those that need a quick recap, the WordPress Planet is a feed that sources content from a number of blogs and sites and aggregates them into one central location here at http://planet.wordpress.org/. It’s an old and outdated place of aggregation as many of the sites and blogs are either defunct, rarely update, or do not post about WordPress anymore.
As James shared as he broke down the blogs and outlined their “effectiveness” there are only about 10 or so that should be kept based on their continued good-standing and about 20 that should be effectively removed.
The reason this is important is because it’s a feed of content that comes right into your WordPress dashboard – which means there are a lot of eyes on it and in an effort to be the best resource and one that creates value it should be better curated and managed.
The reasoning for updating it is sound and easily justifiable. Why not have a better and more updated feed? There’s nothing wrong with blogs coming and going and people losing interest in terms of blogging about WordPress exclusively, that’s just the way life is with online publishing.
But it should be better managed and taken care of since it’s a front-and-center resource for millions of bloggers. James Farmer goes on to share a few additions as well in his healthy overview and for the most part I agree with his additions.
A Solution Rises?
Oli, from WP Lift, has come up with one solution that has already gathered a bunch of steam as he’s created a new plugin called “A Better Planet” that takes some of James’ advice and chases the opportunity to have a better and more curated feed for people to use.
He introduced it last week sharing his thoughts as well as what he’s included and what not. He also went one step further by creating a one-page site that provides more context and some alternative ways to subscribe to the information as people see fit:
Subscribe via Twitter, RSS, and of course the plugin and you’re good to go. I like how it clearly outlines the intent and purpose as well as shares the feeds that are being used and leveraged for the plugin. My hope is that Oli continues to keep it tied in and curated well – it can be a tough job to stay on top of it all!
But is that enough…?
Uh. Wait, What?
Although it’s sad to see the WordPress planet field go to pot it’s clear who owns and curates it and unless Matt finds the time to update it himself it probably won’t be changing soon.
But that’s outside of our control and I lose no sleep there. I’m also supportive of Oli’s solution but I’m not going to be using that either, not because it’s a bad solution but because it’s not one that I will actually use.
You see, here’s my point: When was the last time I read any WP-related news from my admin dashboard?
Heck, when was the last time you actually took time to scan over the news in your dashboard? You see, one of the first things I do when I launch a new blog is to turn-off that widget in the front:
No one reads WP news from their own admin dashboard, right?
Ok, sure. I’m being dramatic. I know that’s not entirely true as I’m sure that there are some people who do, but anyone serious in this community who’s trying to keep track of news is using a third-party RSS Reader or subscription service, right?
Get Rid of It
What I propose is that we just do away with the news widgets entirely from the next versions of WordPress, especially with all these additional features being released and added to core.
Let’s lighten up the ship a bit, shall we?
I’m sure there’s some compelling arguments for why one would want to keep the news widgets there but I’d be shocked if anything close to the majority of WP users out there would cry a single tear if they didn’t see it in version 3.7 (or some other release down the road).
Thoughts from your side of the fence? Is there too much emotional attachment and history with the news-in-your-dashboard to even consider it a real option or do you agree?