Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Naming and Shaming of programming tightwads

Let the Shame List begin

Just like the News of the World when they published their list of paedophiles, nonces and kiddy fiddlers I am seriously considering creating my own list of shame which would list all the many people who have contacted me and done any of the following:

1. Asked for a new feature to be developed for one of my Wordpress plugins that only they required. Then once I have delivered the upgrade they don't even say "Thank You".

In fact 9 out of 10 times I don't even get the smallest of donations even when I have been promised them beforehand. I have lost count of the people who email me promising to donate me money if only I do this or that but when I do it they seem to forget how to click that big yellow DONATE button in the plugin admin page.

Do these people really think I live only to serve their useless coding skills by implementing features they themselves are too unskilled to develop or too tight to pay for? Is this really what people expect from Open Source code? I don't mind if you cannot code and add the feature or fix the bug yourself but if you can't then at least have the decency to donate some money for my time. Is that too much to ask for?

2. The other group of people (and there are many) are those who email me at stupid times throughout the morning 4am sometimes - demanding that I fix their site immediately due to my plugin "not working".

In fact 99 out 100 times it is usually the case that they have either been a numpty and not followed or understood the instructions, deleted all or some of the files or haven't set the relevant permissions up correctly.

Not only do I try and make all my Wordpress plugins easy to use for the non technical to use by outputting detailed error messages that explain what they must to do to fix the problem but most plugins have a "Test Configuration" button on them that will run all the necessary tests and then list any problems as well as fixes for them.

If these people cannot even read and understand error messages such as "Filepath does not exist at this location" because they have been silly enough to delete that file or folder then why should I offer free 24hour support for them?

Here's an idea. If I email you back with steps to fix your incompetence - donate me some money. Believe it or not I don't help people out for fun or offer free 24 hour support for FREE products.

You get what you pay for! If you are too tight to offer to pay me to develop your custom feature or too tight to even donate the smallest amount when demanding (as I have had on numerous occasions) that I do X Y or Z by next Tuesday then why should I bend over to help you?

3. And the last group is those companies (even some that have been big multi-nationals) that email me asking for relevant licences to be added to my downloadable scripts so that they can use them in their own projects. Probably projects that they will be making lots of money from by re-selling my code. Yet they refuse to donate even the slightest amount to the cause.

In future I am going to name and shame every person and company who carries out one of these actions on my blog.

Maybe it might help those other developers considering open source development to realise that it's a dead end that causes more hassle than it's worth. If you think your going to get rich developing scripts that can easily be stolen, downloaded, re-used and modified then you are living in a fantasy world.

Let the shaming begin.

Just to let you know, since I started this list I have had quite a few people donate money and I have removed their names from the list. I am not heartless and I don't want people searching Google for their own name to find this page first. Therefore you know what to do.

Kevin Clark - who did not know how to set up a sitemap - "press the build button" and wanted help "fixing" issues that were not broken which I duly gave out. No dontation received.

Raymond Peytors - who asked about the now non supported pings to ASK or Yahoo - these have not been supported for sitemaps for a long time now. No donation recieved.

Mike Shanley - who did not seem to know how to read the "Read Me" text that comes with Wordpress plugins. On all my plugins I add a "Test Set-up" button which runs through the setup and displays problems and solutions for the user. The Read Me guide also explains how to run the Test when installing the plugin. Donation? Not on your nelly.

Juergen Mueller - For sending me an error message related to another plugin that he thought somehow was related to my plugin. This was due to the memory limit of his server/site being reached by said plugin.
Despite that he had all the details within the error message to fix it he still decided to email me for help. Despite me explaining how to fix the problem and steps he should do in future to fix problems I did not get a donation.

Holder Heiss - who even though he had read my disclaimer that said I don't give away support for free still asked me and received free help. He tried to motivate me to solving his problem with the following sentence

 "I understand that you are cautious about giving free support for your free software. Anyway as I like using and would like to continue using the google sitemap plugin, maybe I can motivate you to have a look on this topic reported by several users:"

Even though he had not donated me any money I still checked the system, upgraded my software and looked for a problem that I could not find - probably related to another plugin. You get what you pay for and he got at least an hours worth of support for free!

Pedro Galvez Dextre - Who complained about the error message "Sitemap Build Aborted. The Server Load was 4.76 which is equal to or above your specified threshold of 0.9" and asked what was wrong????

Cindy Livengood - who couldn't be bothered to read the Readme.txt file as they "bored her" even though they contained an example post which would show if the plugin was working or not.

There have been many other people but I only have so much time to go through my inbox.

By the way if your name is on this list or appears on it in future and you would like it removed then you know what to do - a donate button is at the bottom of each plugin, on my website, on my blog and many other places.

Please remember people - I have had a serious illness and I am still in lots of pain. Therefore I have stopped supporting my Wordpress plugins for this reason PLUS the lack of donations I have received.

I work at a company where I am charged out at £700 a day therefore a donation of £10 is not going to make me work for a day or two on a plugin that is open-source and should be taken as such.

You get what you pay for and I wrote these plugins for myself not for anyone else.

I put them up on Wordpress to see if anyone else found them useful. If you do not like them then use another plugin. If you want support then be prepared to pay for it.

As stated in my Readme.txt file of my Sitemap plugin:

I have an error

If you have any error messages installing the plugin then please try the following to rule out conflicts with other plugins
-Disable all other plugins and then try to re-activate the Strictly Google Sitemap plugin
- some caching plugins can cause issues.
-If that worked, re-enable the plugins one by one to find the plugin causing the problem. Decide which plugin you want to use.
-If that didn't work check you have the latest version of the plugin software (from WordPress) and the latest version of WordPress installed
-Check you have Javascript and Cookies enabled.
-If you can code turn on the DEBUG constant and debug the code to find the problem otherwise contact me and offer me some money to fix the issue :)
-Please remember that you get what you pay for so you cannot expect 24 hour support for a free product. Please bear that in mind if you decide to email me.
A donation button is on my site and in the plugin admin page. 
-If you must email me and haven't chosen to donate even the smallest amount of money please read this >> 
-If you don't want to pay for support then ask a question on the message board and hope someone else fixes the problem.

But I need this or that and your plugin doesn't do it

Sorry but tough luck.

I wrote this plugin for my own requirements not anyone else and if you have conflicts with other plugins or require extra work then offer to pay me to do the development or do the work yourself.

This is what Open Source programming should be about.

I wrote this plugin as other Sitemap plugins didn't do what I wanted them to and you should follow the same rules.

If you don't like this plugin or require a new feature you must remember that you have already bought a good amount of my time for the princely sum of £0.

Hopefully the starting of the shaming will stop the influx of emails I constantly receive asking for help without donations.

Remember every one of my plugins has a donate button at the bottom of it and you get what you pay for!

1 comment:

Danny Smith said...

Couldn't agree more Rob, I hate Open Source programming for the same reasons as you.

People expect the world from FREE products you have spent hours even weeks developing and they seem to expect 24 hour support as well.

I hope you do shame every person and company who hasn't got the decency to say thanks or donate some money.

Good work by the way. I have just donated to you for your great Tweetbot plugin!