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Anyone catch Matt's "State of the Word 2010"? bbPress Mentioned!

  • In case you didn’t it’s up on the WordPress 3.0 launch post – scroll down a bit.

    If you work with WordPress in addition to bbPress I urge you to check it out. You’ll get alot of insight into how Matt sees things going in the future and how they (Automatic) approach open source.

    If you don’t work with WordPress I still urge you to check it out! Towards the end a woman asks a question about the state of bbPress. He answers very frankly and cites these very forums.

    I know there are many people on these forums right now that are not thrilled with Matt and Automatic’s handling of bbPress over the past year or so. For me his comments in this video really puts things in perspective and I now feel very good about the future of bbPress.

    Earlier in the video Matt discusses how the WordPress team is planning on trying something new and releasing what he calls “core plugins” for WordPress 3 – basically large scale plugins that add powerful functionality and are officially supported by Automatic. I foresee bbPress becoming one such plugin.

    Anyways enough of me telling you about it, go watch the video!

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 26 total)

  • zaerl


    More than one hour of Matt is too much for me and it seems that “videopress” doesn’t let me skip the video.

    The day bbPress will become a WordPress plugin, ehm, a core plugin I will run away fast. I began using bbPress cause it’s light software in a world of bloatware. If I need to load all WordPress 3 AND then all bbPress the “light” adjective will not be more valid.



    Hi Taeo!

    Thanks for the link, but I feel that you’re way off base.

    For those who can’t skip it, here’s the WPtavern recap:

    [Matt] even admitted that right now, it would be better off to use another plugin rather than bbPress.

    Can anyone explain to me how it was helpful of Matt to do that?

    He’s not managing expectations, he’s merely degrading the work people are doing. Note, Matt’s not done this with ANY of his other projects on the go.

    The bbPress community was a bit rough around the edges and the flame war that ensued forced Matt to break away for a bit.

    First, I think this is quite insulting, but that aside, if Matt thought we were rough around the edges, why has there only been 1 moderator on the forums since July last year?

    Anyway, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. This is total and utter bull***. Matt is an awesome bloke, great on so many levels, but have a read at the “FLAME WAR” (haha). It’s here:

    Have you ever seen a nicer and more polite flame war in your life? In fact, don’t you feel (apart from 1 idiot) that this is a crazily civilised conversation??

    Honestly, I think it’s a very fascinating read. Especially given that the main posters (the people who posted twice in reply to Matt’s posts) are the current Main Developer and the ONLY Moderator. And in my eyes, that’s the problem.

    Matt realised that no-one agreed with him, he wasn’t weighing up arguements and helping solve a problem, he arranged weekly dev meets and IRC chats and disappeared without telling anyone for 4 weeks and came back with sweeping changes and wasn’t happy when people called him out on it.

    I like to point this out every now and then:

    It’s written by some clever fellow who cares about communities on the internet and knows a thing or two about building great ones around open source software.

    • Don’t Moderate.

      Make sure you only have 1 moderator on the forums. Make sure that everyone else with moderator or above status doesn’t visit the forums for a minimum of 6 months.

    • Allow Spam Through.

      And make sure that a lot of legitamate posts are caught instead. Only have 1 moderator so that it can go days before real posts are displayed

    • Don’t Participate in Comments.

      Less than 20 posts in 7 years? Matt.

      Less than 5 posts in the last 18 months? Trent

      Less than 5 posts in the last year? mdawaffe

      Sam. Would anyone say that Sam was a participant in these forums while he was the lead dev?

    • Design Like NASCAR.

      Design’s a tricky/subjective thing. It is/was disappointing to rollout this theme with 30% of the pages not themed, and not tested on the fonts specified making the quite inreadable.

    • Abandon Search Engines

      Anyone tried searching on bbPress?

    • No Subscriptions

      Email subscriptions plugin was working with bbPress0.9 (and 0.8.3 as I recall, though I might be wrong). Either way, thats over 2 years folks.

    • Make People Click Click Click.

      Have you ever tried to moderate your bbPress users?

      Don’t worry, Anonymous Posting is coming instead. WE’ve only had that as a plugin for 2.5 years. But you moderating your forum? Puh-lease. just you clicky click click.

    • Treat Everyone the Same.

      1 moderator. Everyone else, regardless of what they do for the project is the same.

    • Don’t Ask Anything of Your Audience.

      In fairness both Matt and Sam have had 1 poll each.

      They just abandoned the poll’s voting and reversed decisions at a later date – making the poll useless (actually, it’s kind of worse, it means they asked then ignored us).

    I really detest forum posts that attack people personally. I often wonder/worry if my phrasing makes people feel like i’m having a go, when really I don’t mean to. This isn’t about Matt the person – he’s very cool, and I’ve alot of time and respect for him.

    This is about the person at the top of the tree making decisions that someone else already pointed out to be a mistake. Those decisions/mistakes result in actions that “kill your community”. It just so happens that both of these people are Matt :(



    The WordCamp minute about bbPress is old news. I preserved it here so you don’t have to wade through the rest of the WP 3.0 stuff:

    Please note the plugin version of bbPress for WordPress will almost certainly be completely incompatible with all existing bbPress themes and plugins and all advice/knowledge to date will become useless.

    It will be essentially an entirely different program just using the same name and I hope Matt just renames it to something else to prevent massive confusion.



    He even admitted that right now, it would be better off to use another plugin rather than bbPress.


    Closing this thread, it has long left productive uses and is annoying me so much I just want to quit the whole project.

    No-one agree with me ergo I close the thread. Childish.



    I hope Matt just renames it to something else to prevent massive confusion.

    In the way he didn’t do with bbPress for BuddyPress?


    Why on earth it wasn’t called “BuddyPress forum plugin – based on bbPress” or an equivalent i’ll never know. All that does is make this community and this product look worse; as we fail to answer support questions over and over.

    You all have good points – some that I think I overlooked a bit. I guess I’m more of a “glass half full” kind of person. I’m at work right now but I’d like to take the time later today to respond to each of you.

    He even admitted that right now, it would be better off to use another plugin rather than bbPress.

    Nevermind if it’s insulting, it’s just wrong. I’ve looked closely at a few WP forum plugins, and they’re all spectacularly ugly, near-impossible to customise, or criminally bloated. Or all of these things.

    That said, he does have a point when it comes to installation. I’ll happily jump through a few hoops to get something working, but I’m not sure I’d recommend bbPress unless I was sure the person knows what they’re doing.

    All in all though, I went for bbPress precisely because it’s still better than all the other solutions. I realise I’m only speaking for myself and other people might miss functions they consider to be essential; and I wish them good luck trying to tame Simple:Press or wrestle phpBB into their site, but I consider bbPress to be a niche product because it provides a simple, basic, themable forum, and I just assume that that’s what people who use it were looking for.

    I’m further assuming that the majority use bbPress in conjunction with a WordPress site, and in that context, I don’t understand why it shouldn’t be a plugin. I personally can’t wait for that to happen, because as bloated as WordPress might be, most people are using it anyway, so the question whether it’s good or bad to load WordPress in order to use bbPress doesn’t even arise for most people.

    (edit) If we’re talking loading WP core stuff on every forum page, fine, I get that argument, but again, I doubt that bbPress is the right solution for a big, high traffic forum anyway.(/edit)

    And the way I understand it, if someone wants to run just a forum, wouldn’t they probably be looking for something more powerful and feature-rich than bbPress in the first place?

    A bbPress plugin would surely be a lot lighter than the current bbPress, no? How is that not a good thing? Am I totally off with my guess that most bbPress users are also running WordPress anyway?

    Maybe it can go different ways indeed (renaming it would be a good idea in that case, obviously). That would preserve all the good work that has gone and is going into bbPress.

    By the way:

    Has anyone considered the possiblity that Matt is keeping his eyes peeled on the current efforts of some people trying to use nothing but WordPress’ core functions to build a simple forum? I’m guessing that any WP plugin which makes that kind of thing easy to set up and enhances its functionality would be really lightweight.

    On a different note, I also don’t get how anyone could read a flame war into any of the discussions here. At all.

    Long live bbPress — can’t the community just fork this project? I’d be more than happy to donate $ to this cause in lack of my development skills. I just want to see some MOVEMENT =

    I think that with the new 3.0 Custom Post Type functionality, a lot could be done to simplify the current WordPress as blog vs. WordPress as CMS vs. Buddypress vs. bbPress clutter. It seems to me that there is no good way of combining them all at this very moment. In wordpress you can’t change nor delete the default post types. If you want bbPress you need to link it up and such. I think it would be better if the current project group evolved into (but who am I in the community ^^):

    *BackPress, which contains the whole base (a lot of things it doesn’t contain atm from WordPress)

    *Wordpress, which could just be no more then a plugin to BackPress (on the download page you should have the option to either download the plugin or backpress+plugin)

    *bbPress, (see wordpress)

    *BuddyPress, (see wordpress)

    This way, wordpress can evolve in a stable, clear and usefull cms. This way, development teams could be handled much more flexible (a team for backpress, and teams for the other projects only having to worry about the plugin).

    This would make it more clear for users and certain wanted features could be implemented much quicker. There should be, however, the functionality of having “plugins on plugins”, thus, plugins on wordpress, …

    Also, this way of working would permit developers to use the backpress/wordpress codebase without having the mess of the current post types. It would also ease combining these projects a lot.

    Last but not least, it would give the teams the oppertunity to clean up codebases (raise spec to php 5, more object oriented way of handling things, …)

    What do you guys think about it?

    As a final note, I’d like to say the following to the developing teams : work with the community, not against.

    Edit : And if there would be interested in starting such an initiative from the community, as automattic isn’t likely to do this, I’d be willing to help developing. If I’d had more time, I’d probably already started something like this, but I haven’t got the time to lead such a big thing.



    A fork? I will help.

    Gautam Gupta


    For the custom post type fork, check here –

    I think he had done it again after his computer crash (not sure, but saw it somewhere).

    However, the fork in the topic on wptavern was a fork as just a wordpress plugin. My intend is to fork both WordPress and bbpress and rewrite them to get something like this structure (although with different names) :

    -Backpress a-like thing, which is basicly a “core” thing with support for custom post types and such and with NO own post types

    -Wordpress a-like thing, which would be an official/canonical/core blog Backpress plugin

    -BBPress a-like thing, which would be an official/canonical/core forum Backpress plugin.

    I also want to take the chance to raise the spec to php 5 and handle things more object-oriented.

    I will start on this project probably at the end of next week, if you’d like to participate, develop, help of any other sort you can mail me at info at wimtibackx dot be . I’ll take the following days to work out a roadmap and such.

    Any help or feedback is appreciated!



    Instead of every topic now turning into a fork discussion, could y’all please just make one fork topic and link to it instead?

    That way there will be far less repetition and the original topic subject will remain intact.

    I think Matt sounded very smart. Like a young Steve Jobs.

    If what he say is true about BBpress just copying a bunch of wordpress code, making it hard to update, I think a plugin sounds greater.

    I dont see why this future plugins should be incompitable with my current installation though.

    As a user, I expect a future edition to carry on what I have now built.

    Themes is okay to renew, but my forum posts and users, I would very much like to keep.



    Rootside ::

    Has anyone considered the possiblity that Matt is keeping his eyes peeled on the current efforts of some people trying to use nothing but WordPress’ core functions to build a simple forum?

    He might be mate, but probably not, as doing so isn’t that difficult at all. I creted a “theme” for WordPress that made it look/work like a forum in essence back in 2008. The same time I made and released the phpBB theme for bbPress. Both were availible on the bbProgress website (which closed last year but there should still be some links on t’internet).

    And Justin’s coding one based on the new Custom Post features, which will work alot better than mine did (he actually build one last year too, but had a hard drive crash and lost it).

    Basically though, a blog and a forum are different in their “n to n” nature. WordPress relies on a huge amount of caching to try and keep it’s memory intake down, and a customised caching mechanism is essential once you hit any form of modernday traffic. That sort of feature works well on “1 to many” software, but a forum is different. It has to call data differently, and handle multiple parent/child relationships.

    Rootside ::

    I’m guessing that any WP plugin which makes that kind of thing easy to set up and enhances its functionality would be really lightweight.

    No, no way mate :( The opposite.

    I understand the desire to make a WP plugin that is a forum, I can see Matt’s viewpoint on that, but in comparison to bbPress as it stands, it’ll be far from lightweight.

    Not only will it struggle with the caching that WP relies on, but you’ll have all the overhead of loading everything in WordPress before hitting any actual forum content (including the WordPress admin sections and plugins).

    It’s basically going to be very similar to the BuddyPress “bbPress” plugin, as thats a hacked/stripped version of bbpress1.0 (in general terms it removed BackPress and rewrote the function calls to call WP/buddyPress functions directly). But in order to get it to work, every page has to load WordPress then BuddyPress then bbPress forum module.

    Lightweight it ain’t!

    Even if the very clever people that work at Automattic and contribute to the community manage to pull a great number of rabits out of hats, there is no way that it will be anything but bloated.

    But you know, 90% of folks won’t care. Take Marius (poster above me), he runs a forum about Michael Jackson with aboot 100+ users and maybe 50 topics started a week. He’s not that uncommon to alot of the folks that pass through here (other than that he is allergic to manners). They won’t care in the slightest about the small hit as the chances of them noticing it are going to be slim, and they get access to all the good stuff that comes with WordPress, heck for the most part they’ll get the stuff they think they should from bbPress/Wordpress integration now. For a percentage of people, there will be no downside, even if it’s far from lightweight.

    I realise that software moves on, and I realise that as it grows there will be some bloat. Thats the reality of where we are, and WordPress does a really great job of being quick despire it’s bloat. But the sheer difference between a bbP0.9/WP2.5 deeply integrated forum (which has MORE features than we have now) and a bbP1/WP3 deeply integrated forum is unbelievable. Bloated, slower, more prone to errors and less features.

    I see why Matt thinks things have to change, i don’t agree with the direction and thats cool, i don’t have to agree, nor does anyone :)

    But really the history of this project has taught us one thing repeatedly: Heading in a direction without planning or a roadmap will definately lead us somewhere else, but we’ll be just as lost. Who knows though, 40 years later he may just lead us out of the desert ;-)

    Hopefully on Matt’s way up to Montreal he’ll see a burning bush ;-)

    He even admitted that right now, it would be better off to use another plugin rather than bbPress.

    I agree that this seems very insulting but you have to keep in mind Matt’s target audience. Matt and Automattic are concerned first and foremost with WordPress. And the vast majority of WordPress users are not the people involved in this thread – they are bloggers and publishers with very little knowledge of code. For them, the easiest forum solution is a WordPress plugin. We know better here at but we make up a very small (albeit vocal) minority.

    Knowing this, it is difficult to imagine the future of bbPress (under Automattic) as anything other than a “core” WordPress plugin. I think your concerns with this, Zaerl, and Kevin, are completely reasonable. It will absolutely be less lightweight than bbPress is now. I have no doubts of that although I am confident the WordPress team will minimize the hit in every way possible.

    However, for me personally, the good outweighs the bad. I basically make a living off of customizing WordPress templates for people and I will be very happy to have an easily implemented and officially supported forum solution to offer my clients. I am almost sure this is how the majority of WordPress users also feel.

    Unfortunately for those of you who want bbPress to remain a standalone solution I think your time is limited. Even if Automattic wanted to keep bbPress as a standalone solution I don’t think they have the developers to do it. If this is what you really want I think the only choice is to do it yourselves. Whether that means forking or taking some of the core and rebuilding completely – one of you will simply have to take charge on your own and forget Automattic.

    I know that sounds harsh – I’m not trying to mean – I totally understand where you guys are coming from. I just think this is the unfortunate state you are in.



    Hi Taeo,

    You’re absolutely right.

    I doubt anyone here has a problem with Automattic making the best choice for them in the long run. Even if it’s not ideal for everyone; if the good outweighs the bad for a large percentage of people and it gives Automattic another feature to give their users then I can totally see why they’ve come to this decision.

    The issue I have personally, isn’t with the decision (or indeed any decision that Automattic have made), but rather the way that information is passed along (or, ususally, not passed along).

    To delete the bbpress0.9 milestone and decide to go back on your word to support it for 2010 without telling anyone – even weeks after you deleted it, is symptomatic of how Automattic treat the people involved with this project.

    Matt’s word carries alot of weight, especially with WordPress users, so to make dispariging / negative / insulting comments about us in his KeyNote speech is poor. I realise that he was answering a question, and not a prepared statement; and we’ve all answered questions badly before, but it was a slap in the face to those of us who’ve given up our time.

    Given that the 1.0.3 milestone has a year’s worth of bug fixes, and NOW isn’t going to be released until all the 1.1 bugs are finished AND a new backPress is released – though thats not been communicated to anyone yet; it makes it hard for those of us who have gotten behind bbPress to draw a line under it.

    It’s also why this talk of a Fork is premature. Because when 1.1 gets released, there will be a swell of “bbpress is not dead” euphoria – much in the same way there was when Matt came back in December and when the new theme got uploaded. For me, I just want to get my current forums patched up to work the way bbPress1.0 was meant to and be treated like an adult until that happens.

    BTW Taeo, I miss not being able to recommed your UI ;-)

    I guess I wasn’t involved with the community long enough to feel the burn from the back and forth decisions you mentioned. That does sound pretty shitty!

    This is just pure speculation here but maybe the information from Automattic was so inconsistent because they weren’t sure what direction they were going themselves. I don’t know the whole history of BackPress but it sounds like it was a pretty big undertaking that would have had implications for WordPress as well. Going off my knowledge and what Matt said in the keynote it sounds like the BackPress project just didn’t work out in the long run but it was too late to take it back from bbPress.

    Again, thats pure speculation so treat it with a grain of salt :-P

    BTW Taeo, I miss not being able to recommed your UI ;-)

    Heh sorry about that. It was too much work to maintain between patches :-( I’ve posted some new stuff on my new website ( ) but it doesn’t have all the auto-config bells and whistles of the original.

    For an good looking, easy to setup UI I usually recommend TukUI to people. I helped him build his site (WordPress and bbPress of course).

    Aw Kevin dear, thanks for understanding me lol.

    This speech we talk about, was held last month, has there been any development?

    Its amazing that only four people are behind WordPress, plus some new ones now. To me, it seems like WordPress is a company on the level of Apple. I imagined there would be hundreds of employes behind WordPress. They really give the impression of being the most professional people in the business of cloud-computing.

    Same goes for BBpress. And to learn that most of this business is handled on forums and chatrooms is almost near the point of being unbelievable.

    I imagined huge office landscapes, designer glasses, modern art on the walls, a brass mailbox full of offers to buy the company.

    To learn that what we say on these forums, actually gets noticed by the makers is a huge privilage though. That never happens on places like Imagine Steve Jobs going, on the launch of iPhone 4: “So this guy Marius on the forums, really gave us a hard time about this the other day, so we decided….”

    Its amazing that only four people are behind WordPress, plus some new ones now. To me, it seems like WordPress is a company on the level of Apple. I imagined there would be hundreds of employes behind WordPress. They really give the impression of being the most professional people in the business of cloud-computing.

    Welcome to open source software development Marius :-P

    What you are saying is *sort of* true. There have only been 4 main code “committers” in recent years but there are actually a lot more people involved in making WordPress what it is.

    WordPress is “owned” by a company called Automattic. Everything they produce is open source and therefore free to use and/or modify. It’s not a huge company but it’s not tiny either. They are comprised of 40+ developers, designers, engineers, etc who all work from their homes spread around the globe. They make their money mostly from which sells WordPress hosting as a service.

    The beauty of it, since it’s all open source, if you decided you wanted to become a developer and you came up with a great idea for a new feature and coded it up as a plugin – Automattic might decide that they want to incorporate it as a core feature and implement YOUR code. This is exactly how the new menu feature in 3.0 came about. People had been making plugins that worked in a similar fashion for years.


    You know what might be worth checking out? Vanilla 2 (forum software) is pretty solid, and it’s built on “Garden” which is exactly like the BackPress concept you were talking about.

    I’ve been trying to get bbPress to take care of my forum needs for a while, because I’m a heavy WordPress user and I’d like the two to integrate.

    However, given the current level of frustration I’ve had with getting the integration to actually work, and the frustrating limitations of bbPress which don’t appear to be going away any time soon, I’m becoming more interested in seeing a fork of WordPress to run on top of Garden and integrate with Vanilla.

    Hello Burlesona,

    I’ve used vanilla (1.x) before but vanilla 2 was new to me. I’ve just checked it out briefly, but while I think using a framework (like Garden or others) to build a custom website, I don’t like the idea of using a framework to build a sort of webapplication (not sure what it should be called) which can be extended itself. (Then you’re actually building a mini-framework onto a framework)

    Although the idea of using the MVC-pattern sounds interesting. It might be usefull for the theme stuff, although it isn’t a “go” yet.

    Furthermore there is a difference between Garden and my to be fork of backpress. My fork would function as a basic cms. If you only need a simple website, you could go with my fork + the default included plugins. My blog and forum plugins would be just plugins. Garden however is a framework, it can do nothing on its own. It needs a layer (here : vanilla) on top of it.

    As for your integration problems, you could try to integrate vanilla and wordpress untill you find something better?

    However, the bbpress forum might not be the best place to have discussions about stepping off bbpress or forking it.

    Thanks for the tip,

    Wim Tibackx




    please don’t derail this thread with nonsense about another forum software, we’re still trying to sort this one ;-)

    I understand the desire to make a WP plugin that is a forum, I can see Matt’s viewpoint on that, but in comparison to bbPress as it stands, it’ll be far from lightweight.

    Fair enough, but as you state further down in your post, most if not almost all of that bloat would come from WordPress, no?

    In my opinion, a fair comparison would have to be WP/bbPress (deep integration) and WP/forumpluginX.

    I accept that there may be better ways to run a forum than to wrap WordPress around it. But other things need to be taken into account, eg how much time would I have to spend to ensure that the forum (or specifically the forum’s header and footer etc.) looks and behaves like the rest of my site? Can I leave a site with a less tech-savvy admin at all, or will I have to maintain everything forever because said admin can’t get his head around dealing with WP AND a forum that “works kind of like WP but not really”? And so on.

    Of course, first and foremost the thing needs to run, and run reasonably fast. But this is also a question of priorities.

    Sure, many people will not even realise that there’s an issue, or they might simply not give a toss, but for the rest of us it comes down to whether some additional bloat and a more sluggish forum might not be acceptable if we get clean integration and a single backend interface in return.

    I think any discussion about bbPress as a plugin should be seen in this context.



    In my opinion, a fair comparison would have to be WP/bbPress (deep integration) and WP/forumpluginX.

    You’re wanting to compare an unsupported, unintentional, unadvisable, found-by-mistake hack (that doesn’t always work) against a theoretical piece of software. It’s a no-brainer which will compare favourably.

    A fair comparison should be a WP/bbpress normal “as intended” integration to a WP/plugin.

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