The current state of BuddyPress: A critical analysis

state_buddypress

About two years ago I stumbled upon BuddyPress when I was looking for a open source social networking solution for a non-profit project. Until that time I was only familiar with paid scripts to set up a social network, and you’ll probably recognize the way I felt when being introduced to the community that powers WordPress and thus BuddyPress. I actually started using WordPress for the first time thanks to BuddyPress. Within two years time I’ve switched my working career from boring web design jobs into the awesome world and community of WordPress and BuddyPress. It’s been the two most bad-ass working years of my life!

So obviously that shift meant that I’ve been spending more and more time on working with BuddyPress, and getting more and more involved. I started BP-Tricks and currently you’re looking at the 3rd version of it. While it’s been hard to maintain at time, and the post ratio has not always been high, I’m proud of the project and seeing it evolve.

One of the coolest BuddyPress related things I did was a 40 minute crash course introduction to BuddyPress at WordCampNL. It was so much fun to see these WordPress people being amazed at what you could do with BuddyPress. I made a lot of friends that day!

I’m telling you all this because I think it’s important that you know that my concerns written down in this article are coming from someone who owes a lot to the project, and has no intention to see it fail or “die”. I know pretty much all the people running the project behind the scenes, grinding out code as soon as they find the time in their busy lives.

So why write it then? Because if I look at the current state of BuddyPress I can only be honest and tell everyone not much has changed for almost a year. It’s still a great social networking solution but the development and 3rd party plugin development has slowed down enormously. To me it’s obvious that some things need to change. I’ll get to that part later, first we need to go back a little and summarize what happened when BuddyPress 1.2 was launched.

A short trip down memory lane

around the time BP 1.2 was released the potential and buzz around our beloved social networking plugin was steadily growing. The community was active, great 3rd party plugins were released and being worked on, and the project moved at a steady pace. It was a great time for the entire project, and our hero Andy Peatling was spending his full commitment on making it ever more awesome, being backed up by a team of volunteers. Exiting times!

buddypress1.2 The current state of BuddyPress: A critical analysis

After 1.2 released Andy’s focus shifted away from BuddyPress, and I figure that makes a lot of sense. You can’t do the same stuff forever! JJJ was considered the Alpha Male now, and it was a spot he rightfully earned.  When JJJ  was also hired by Automattic I could only be glad for him. Both Andy and JJJ proved that they are capable of developing and maintaining great open source projects, and these job offers allowed them to earn their living with what they loved to do. I did expect that Automattic would make sure they kept being involved with the project, since at that time it was obviously doing very well. Instead Andy completely moved away from the project, and JJJ got his hands full on working on the new BBPress Plugin. He did drop in from time to time to do maintenance and chip in a few cents on BuddyPress related discussions, bust mostly he was doing other things.

Luckily around that time Paul and Boone moved up the ladder becoming Core Developers. And once again I was happy for them. Why? Because these guys write BuddyPress code in their sleep! I can’t name you two guys who have been as passionate about BuddyPress as they are. They have spent hundreds (thousands?!) of hours working on the project, answering support questions and developing plugins. So if you thought this article comes to a point where I start blaming them, JJJ or Andy for the current problems BuddyPress has, you better stop reading now.

So what IS the actual problem then?

Ok now that I’ve spent so much words on setting up the stage, it’s time to start with addressing the problems. This is where stuff can get ugly. But I think it needs to be said. If you have kids reading over your shoulder, it’s time to move them away from the computer.

BuddyPress Development has slowed down drastically

Paul and Boone have been trying their absolute best to keep the development going, but they are doing this part time, on a voluntary basis. It’s impossible to keep such a massive project progressing at the same pace as before JJJ and Andy “left” BuddyPress. They both have jobs, a life and a passion for other things besides BuddyPress. like eating pizza and having a flock of chickens running around.

If I look at the current state of BuddyPress I can only be honest and tell everyone not much has changed for almost a year.

And while it has been said that anyone can “easily send in patches or help with the project” it’s actually not that easy. Remember that a lot of people who want to help out with BuddyPress have no idea how to create patches, work with the trac system or even know where to get started! And no, the answer “Just read the Codex” has never been sufficient. I’m not saying the current way of working is wrong, but it’s too heavily based on the WordPress way of working. And with freaking millions of active users, even they had a hard time finding core contributors.

3rd Party developers and designers are hardly rewarded for their work financially or mentally

That sounds like a bold statement, but just take a few steps back and look at the current situation:

Plugin donations are extremely spare. Thousands of people download BuddyPress plugins every day and the developers hardly receive anything in return. While some might say that that’s just “way how GPL works”, Providing solutions and tools that benefit the community in large should be rewarded financially. That realization is not present with 95% of the community and that reflects on the activity around 3rd party plugin development. I can’t name a single major plugin being released for BuddyPress for the last couple of months or even a year from someone who has not been active in BuddyPress before 1.2 was released. There are still a few amazing plugin developers out there, but when you actually talk to these guys, and ask what they get in return, it makes me a very sad panda. Because mostly the response is something like: “I get about $20 bucks of donations, shit loads of feature requests and the occasional hatemail”.

Even contributors that have been part of the community from the beginning have given up and moved on to other things. Maybe the most painful example of this is the way Jeff Sayre’s Privacy Component has turned out. Hundreds of hours of development seem to have been for nothing due to pushed back released dates, rude community members and overly long demotivating discussions about the importance of such functionality. For me it’s been hard to look back at it being both a user and developer. Not to mention how it must have been for Jeff and the community members who did try their best to get it out there for us to use.

Even this years Google’s Summer of Code has been completely free of any BuddyPress related projects, while the previous year we got EventPress, BuddyPress Courseware, BP-Moderation and BP-Album developed. As far as I know there were NO BuddyPress related project proposals send in. That is a sign that can’t be ignored.

Creating and maintaining BuddyPress Themes is a big challenge

While Child Themes generally an easy way to develop themes, in the case of BuddyPress that is not so much the case. When you just mess around with the stylesheet and change a few things, it’s all good. But when you start modifying templates or actually want to create your own custom BuddyPress parent theme, you get in a lot of trouble.

Premium Themes

Because the learning curve is pretty high, and existing frameworks already have a base template structure set in stone, premiuum BuddyPress themes are sparse. For the most part it explains the lack of (commercial) themes available for BuddyPress. The importance of “Premium Themes” should not be underestimated and it was a huge part of the success of WordPress

Some efforts have been made by bigger players in the theming business (I worked with WooThemes on a BuddyPress theme based on their Canvas Framework theme) but these project have turned out to be troublesome. If you already have a great WordPress framework developed it’s simply a lot of work to offer BuddyPress compatibiliy, and the pay-off is currently very low. ThemeForest does not even except BuddyPress themes, just a ThemeGarden and practically all other theme shops.

If you already have a great WordPress framework developed it’s simply a lot of work to offer BuddyPress compatibiliy, and the pay-off is currently very low

3rd party plugins are based on the BP-Default template structure and this led to great difficulties in getting BuddyPress functional and compatible with other themes and frameworks. It’s pretty frustrating as a BuddyPress fanboy to see these projects fail and I’ve spent countless hours defending BuddyPress. But if I’m being honest and take off my “BuddyPress lover” purple sunglasses, I completely see the many difficulties around any “serious” BuddyPress theme and plugin development. And if it was just me, we would see more then a handful of themes appear right? Here’s a quote from Adii, founder of WooThemes that underlines the position BuddyPress is currently in:

“Our opinion on BuddyPress is divided: whilst we think it is a great platform, we honestly do not see widespread use for it and think that the functionality & features is overkill for 99% of websites. Just because it’s nifty to have your own little social network, doesn’t mean that every website should have this… [...]So our opinion before was that BuddyPress is thus a very niche market and as far as niches go on WooThemes, we’ve always been reluctant to over-commit our internal resources to these. [...]

We haven’t seen more requests for BuddyPress popping up since we introduced Canvas BuddyPress. This has generally been the case when we’ve introduced something new (like our tumblog themes, which has seen us release multiple popular themes since the first two themes in March 2010). [.....]“

It’s unlikely that our foray into BuddyPress will be expanded beyond the Canvas child theme. Never say never, so we’re not ruling this out completely, but this is highly unlikely.

I can’t really blame them. Here’s part of an email I sent to Adii just a few weeks before that post:

Screen shot 2011 05 18 at 1.56.27 PM 250x116 The current state of BuddyPress: A critical analysis

Themes in the Repo

no themes The current state of BuddyPress: A critical analysis

There is a complete lack of new themes being released in the repository. It has taken months before actual BuddyPress child themes were accepted in the Theme Repository due to features missing in the BP-Default theme. This meant that all BP-Default Child Themes were rejected, which in turn led to no new free themes being released for almost a year. When I read this is was actually pretty pissed of at how that situation was handled. In the end this was solved by some great people of the community, mostly Tammie and Modemlooper. But this should have been something that would at least be addressed and handled by the WordPress Core team.

This situation has now been resolved but new themes are still not showing up in the repository. And to be honest I can’t name you five people who work on creating BuddyPress themes. Can you?

The BuddyPress.org Community Site

During the last couple of years I’ve seen a lot of BuddyPress websites, and I think the official BuddyPress one is one of the worst I’ve seen. There, I said it. The community is completely fractured into several streams of communication, and it’s impossible to completely keep track of what the hell is going on. I’ve actually spoken to people who simply stopped going to the BuddyPress site to help out others because they went bat shit crazy.

Using the BuddyPress.org website is like having 3 email accounts without any of them showing them if you have new messages. You visit the forums, browse to your profile and check your favorite threads RSS feeds. It’s a usability nightmare. In my opinion there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be changed, and I know that Boone was planning to do so.

The community is completely fractured into several streams of communication, and it’s impossible to keep track of what the heck is going on.

Maybe it’s time to pick that up again before 1.3 launches? I’d be very happy to work on it with a the rest of the community!

Coming up with solutions

I think writing these types of critical articles can only be ended with coming up with some solutions. In the upcoming weeks I will keep coming back to this article and write follow up posts about the problems that I addressed. I think most of these problems can be solved by some hard work, creative thinking and a combined effort from all BuddyPress communities out there. That is why I will be contacting a lot of the people that I know in my BuddyPress network, and work on something that I think will benefit BuddyPress.

I think most of these problems can be solved by some hard work, creative thinking and a combined effort from all BuddyPress communities out there.

Also I’d like to say that Marshall Sorenson and I have been working on a powerful WordPress/BuddyPress GPL platform called Infinity which has full BuddyPress support for (child)theme development. This should make BuddyPress Theme development a whole bunch easier, and it will hopefully give a boost to the available quality BuddyPress themes. BP-Tricks is completely built on this platform and in in the upcoming weeks the project will go into private beta. If you are a BuddyPress developer or designer, we would love to get you on board to give feedback and improve the product.

A word to AutoMattic itself

Over the last two years I’ve become really attached to the project and spent a lot of free time on contributing to it. Not nearly as much as others have done, and that is exactly why I felt the need to write his post. For me BuddyPress is not just a social networking plugin. It’s become a part of my life and helped me made new friends, realize some of my ambitions and helped me make a living. Lately I’ve been getting the feeling that somehow the importance and potential of this project is not realized at AutoMattic HQ. BuddyPress adds something to WordPress and can be used to set up great non-profit social networks. We simply can not ask the current core developers to keep the project evolving at a certain pace, when we know what these guys are already doing the best they can. There need to be new players added to the BuddyPress roster and I just hope that Automatic starts to realize this.

Final Words

Finally I’d like to ask everyone to think really hard about the possible solutions to the problems addressed in this article. Post your thoughts, ideas and suggestions in the comments. Share your thoughts on Twitter and tell everyone to chip in. I’m sure if we get the discussion going, we’ll come up with great ideas to improve BuddyPress. Maybe at a lot faster pace then we’re used to!

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Something about bowe

BuddyPress fanatic, WordPress Theme designer and MultiSite community builder. Proud co-founder of PressCrew. Loves to use awesome in every sentence. Often described as a Dutch Treehugging Hippie.

100 Responses to The current state of BuddyPress: A critical analysis

  1. Tammie Lister May 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    I’ll be upfront and think you are not seeing the full picture of activity in the community. There are those of us creating themes still to this day outside of Woo or other ones you mention. Are we many? No, but we are doing it.

    I do not wish to start anything negative but have to cover one point I feel in part your article shows. I say this with hugs in my heart though and wanting a solution.

    One huge issue in BuddyPress and WordPress is the failure to recognise beyond a few and in part you are showing that. There are amazing people in design, dev and also supporting the BuddyPress.org forums themselves – unsung but they are there. We need to give recognition more and support – that is a huge issue with the community currently not seeing all and some getting more light than others leading to some thinking ‘why bother’. Harsh reality but a truth.

    There are not as many themes for BuddyPress that is a fact. This will change I strongly feel come 1.3 with all the amazing work Paul and others have put into the theme passing the review guidelines. There are also now several BuddyPress people doing theme reviews for the repository as volunteers, me included.

    I’m not saying the grass is all green though. I’m not a developer and have no yearning to be one. I am happy with design and front end – as a result often it has meant I have had to look harder as to how to get involved in the project. I have found though when I looked there were ways though. It has only been due to my own time limits if I’ve not done things.

    Community wise I do agree in part but I also add to that – well what can we all as members do to sort it? I don’t actually think we should wait for Automattic to do anything. Help heal from within is something I believe in and without being to fluffy think can occur here.

    Open source is hard – that’s when community should kick in. I’m hoping it does over this article and think reading between the lines that is one of the wishes you have off this… for it to be a ‘rally troops’ so to speak. I am firmly behind that notion.

    • bowe May 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

      You are right about my ambitions to “rally the troops” Tammy. I’ve been thinking really hard about how to handle this, and I’m working out some of them real soon. You know it’s almost like a relationship. Sometimes you just need to get some stuff of your chest and tell your partner they need to wake up and smell the coffee (or in my case stop taking me to boring parties :D). Not because you’re getting sick of them, but because you want the best out of your relationship :).

      and you’re right; there’s enough activity going on and themes being developed if you look for it. But my point is that the potential for BuddyPress remains huge, and that potential is lost for a lot of people if they have to “look” for the gems out there. We need to make theme development easier, communicate that better and work on making the community a better place for newcomers and old timers :)

      • Tammie Lister May 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

        I totally agree that the potential is huge but the danger is of making it sound so bleak that the potential that is there gets a ‘erm what’? face :)

        I as said fully support a troops rallying approach just think all cards should be shown on table to do that.

        Perhaps part of it is promoting what is going on and making sure those gems don’t get missed or people overlooked so much. I’d like to see any plan having something towards that. We are after all a community together.

        • bowe May 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

          My idea goes a little bit further then just showing what’s happening. I want people to actually support these project with promotion, feedback and actual money. In return they’ll get something back besides just seeing the themes/plugins being made. :)

          • Tammie Lister May 18, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

            I’m all for getting involved and helping also. Anything that can be done to make the community better for those in it and see ‘new blood’ come in and get involved gets a huge +1 from me.

            A personal interest to… if you can let me know about the platform you are developing too as that would be of interest to me as a theme designer.

    • hnla May 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

      Just have to pull you up on

      I’m not a developer… I’m happy with design and front end

      Frontend or the presentational tier is development, I’m a developer not a graphic designer I specialise in that presentational tier as opposed to mid tier programming but straddle all.

      You make a good point however that it’s harder to see how to get involved and as anyone that has noticed one thing I have struggled to get across is that as a project it is somewhat too mid tier heavy with a lack of frontend focus UI UX and all that stuff, a better balance needs to be found but then too an extent those that understand that aspect need to push for that change make it happen.

      • Tammie Lister May 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

        We will agree to disagree on the developer / designer line – tomatoes / tomatothingies :) Graphic designer isn’t even someone that does web to me *rolls into sight a whole barrel of monkeys. Semantics aside…

        I do agree with you totally on the showing don’t have to be arm deep in PHP to make a contribution. The more I think about it the more this rings true.

        I recall a brief mention of a UI team for BuddyPress – if that happened that would be something designers could get involved in. Perhaps the documentation side, support also needs for want of a better concept a ‘rebranding’ in sense of showing that all can get involved.

        If those of us in the community at times find it hard to get involved / look to places perhaps then the information is the problem.

        • hnla May 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

          Ok setting aside the tomatoes and other fruit and veg, yes I too dimly recall some mention of a UI team but there’s the rub there’s been all too much talk and suggestion of ideas but little actual action, but then it’s about the time we can all give without actually impinging on trying to survive and earn ones living.

          Support is in need of a major overhaul and I do point the finger at the powers that be and say that buddypress.org MUST be pulled into shape so that it works and isn’t so painful to try and use.

  2. Sarah Gooding May 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Great article Bowe! Agreed on many fronts. I would love to be more involved at buddypress.org, especially as it concerns helping people with my BP plugin, but I never receive any notices from forums or messaging or @messages. Honestly, I thought I was the only one, so I’m glad to know it’s not just me! ;) But I don’t have the time to hunt around there for every day for my messages.
    I would love to check out your Infinity platform, if you can include me in your updates. I’ve been strongly considering making a free theme for BuddyPress but conditions haven’t been right for it yet. Do you have an estimated launch time for infinity?

    • bowe May 18, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

      Thanks Sarah! Hopefully we can work on making BP.org a better place and feel more like a true home. We’ll get there I guess :) Infinity takes a few weeks to be done, and we’ll probably have an close beta first. Then a public pre-release thing going on. We’re working it, and it will be great for BuddyPress theming. I’ll keep you in the loop for sure :)

  3. jamie marsland May 18, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Bowe, Agree with all of that . BP remains a great product but it’s clearly lost momentum in lost of areas over the past year and a half. We would love to help in some way as it’s very sad to see it drift. Needs a plan.

    • bowe May 18, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

      Hopefully this is the first step towards new plans being made by the community. Stay tuned, because some cool stuff will happen soon :)

  4. modemlooper May 18, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    Great post. It’s something that has been in my head many times. My thoughts about BuddyPress are it seems work on the core is continual and gradual but to what end? It seems what worked before now dies not in regards to what an end user and or developer needs to make the project go beyond niche.

    As for repo or paid themes, it’s a nightmare to maintain a custom theme due to BuddyPress allowing plugins to bundle their own template files. PLEASE CORE TEAM REMOVE THIS ABILITY! I can guarantee theme quality will sky rocket if theme developers did not have to worry about plugin templates.

    I signed up to review BuddyPress theme submissions in the repo but there has been nothing for months and honestly do not blame anyone. For better part of a year BP themes were rejected because of a few CSS and HTML requirements. That in my eyes was absurd and I think it was the nail in the BP theme communities coffin.

    Where would I like to see BP go? More of an API based plugin that would work with any WP theme/plugin. Why be tied to a theme? At any rate I look forward to reading others response to this post.

    • bowe May 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

      Attempts have been made in the past for an API. That not really got of the ground because of several reasons. If BuddyPress could break free from the BP-Default structure and became more modular it would be huge. Including template files is not really a problem, the problem lies in that these templates contain “core” containers. Ideally they would only contain the html/css/js to display what’s needed and inject that into the “core” template structure through hooks. This way you can make a BP theme by just adding hooks to your WP themes and templates.

    • hnla May 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      It is true the plugin template screen issue is a huge massive de-insentive to creating a theme, not being able to cover all eventualities just makes it seem pointless unless one is bespoke developing and knows just what is being displayed.

  5. Tammie Lister May 18, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    I would just like to point out there have been 2 themes in a few weeks for BuddyPress that I know on in the theme repo. Both I do not think passed review but they are still going through system. It’s not that bleak – that is not saying something positive and great can’t be done to make things easier and better for all at all.

    • modemlooper May 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

      I haven’t checked in a few weeks. I was checking a few times a week but nothing was coming through. I’m not surprised themes were rejected.

      • Tammie Lister May 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

        The fact that a lot don’t see is even with WordPress a ton get rejected a small percentage pass. This is magnified in a smaller amount such as BuddyPress. At least the big step is now they were not rejected because child themes or based on BuddyPress Default. That is a big step on the path.

        I fully expect as said 1.3 sees an increase in themes submitted along with the more ‘child friendly’ nature of the repo.

        • modemlooper May 18, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

          Very true, but the downside is I feel child themes have no place in the repo. The majority will not be of high quality or match the complexity of paid custom themes.

          Does BuddyPress need 100′s of BP-default variants as it’s theme showcase?

          • Tammie Lister May 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

            Does it needs 100s? No.
            Do we need 100s of Twenty-Ten clones? No but feels like we have them.
            Does the variety of themes for WordPress make it more popular and spread it’s word? Yes.
            Does having any theme for BuddyPress add to that pool for getting more out there? Yes.
            The theme review isn’t and I probably in suprise to most agree it shouldn’t be about the design of the theme. It should be about offering a basic quality baseline that people can be assured they will get in the theme.

            Would I love to have a way that both premium and free themes can get done easier and without hassle? Yes and that’s the next step in the community starting with 1.3 and other things going on.

          • Andrea_R May 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

            “Does BuddyPress need 100′s of BP-default variants as it’s theme showcase?”

            Actually as much as I hate to say it… yes. No it may not *need* them, but for the average user who has heard of BP and is trying to decide, seeing only a handful of available themes turns them off.

            Just like in the really early days of WP we saw a lot of themes that looked the same (Kubrick variations anyone?), we have to weather the lack of design and restrictions for a bit. At least until it’s easier. ;)

            Remember WP themes before widgets? :D

          • modemlooper May 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

            BP specific themes discussion is moot anyways. There should be no reason why BuddyPress does not work with all the WordPress themes out there. If somebody else created a similar product to BP and made it work with any WP theme then BuddyPress would be pointless.

          • Greg Fielding May 19, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

            Especially if that product was easier for a lay-person to use.

  6. David Bisset May 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    Great article Bowe. I’m still digesting it. (Burp).

    I for one know that I need to step up more regarding BuddyPress development. I work w/ BuddyPress often, but I need to finish some themes and plugins and contribute more. I’ll be the first (and certainly not last) to admit that. However I do agree that more official support (hopefully those aren’t poor choices of words) would be certainly welcome. There are ALOT of people out there playing with BuddyPress.

    I remember talking about BuddyPress when it was <1.0. I said then that there are three keys to making BuddyPress a relative success similar to WordPress. I think they still apply today.

    1. Large selection of available themes. For reasons I won't go into, we aren't there yet in this category.
    2. Large selection of easily browsable plugins (easily = the average joe, not developer, can search). I think we are getting there, but not hitting critical mass.
    3. Examples of what BuddyPress can REALLY do. I think this is critical. Show most people a typical BuddyPress demo and admittingly not many are looking for that particular case. However show them a more unique site like peerbackers or what mashable is doing, then I think people can get excited about the possibilites. Getting people excited generates demand IMO.

    Anyways, good article and hope it generates alot of feedback.

    • modemlooper May 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

      I bought the URL buddychimp.com in hopes to address all three of your issues but like alot of others projects put it on hold until I felt there was more momentum in the buddypress community.

      • David Bisset May 18, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

        I also bought a BP related domain name and sitting on it. Although for me it’s more because of lack of time then anything else.

        • modemlooper May 18, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

          BuddyChimp was going to be a marketplace for themes, plugins and paid support. I just didn’t think there was enough quality themes/plugins to make it viable.

      • John James Jacoby May 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

        With everyone waiting for momentum, there will never be momentum.

        I can’t think of a much better buddy to have, than a chimp that provides BuddyPress themes. :)

    • bowe May 18, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

      Thanks David! Glad the article made you think about what you could to make things better. That was exactly my intention :) If you ever want feedback for a theme or plugin, just let me know. Me and @imath have just finished a cool new plugin called BuddyPress Shortcodes (http://bp-tricks.com/featured/buddypress-shortcodes-plugin/) and I hope to do these things more in the future.

      I completely agree with your points made.

      #1 will happen with Infinity. Every child theme developed on our Base Theme will work fine with BuddyPress. Since our goal is making theme development easier, this should hugely benefit BP theme design.

      #2 is currently out of reach, because I think that would require work from the guys at WP HQ

      #3: WPMU.org does good write up and BPInspire.com does this as well. There are a few great BP communities out there. But I agree.. somehow they need to be showcased even more. I’ll try and think on how to imcomporate it here on BP-Tricks.

      • David Bisset May 18, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

        Re: #3

        I didn’t mean to imply that WPMU or BPInspire don’t do a good job of that – I guess I was thinking more of OUTSIDE the heavy WordPress/BuddyPress dev community. Typical clients who want functionality that BuddyPress COULD do really don’t have it on their consideration list. It’s similar to the collective thinking that once existed that “WordPress is for blogs” that shifted into “WordPress is for blogs and CMSs”. :)

        Again, my $0.02.

  7. jamie marsland May 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    RE Resources and automatic:
    JJJ is doing some great work on the BBpress plugin the beta looks great. But from the outside it feels like he needs some more help both technically, in support and in communications. He’s personally developing the code, answering forum questions (at all levels) and maintaining and developing BP and is responsible for carrying the community. If you compare core BP resources with for example woothemes it falls short. Woothemes has a great support forum that is staffed appropriately. I don’t know how automatic feel about BP (which says something) and i don’t know the inner workings of the BP core team (which also says something) but it feels like JJJ needs more support – both from the community and automatic.

    • John James Jacoby May 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

      Well said.

      My job at Automattic is hard to describe in detail, because remember none of the .org’s are “products” because there are no customers. Customers spend money, and you can have unlimited WordPresses and BuddyPresses for free. ‘BuddyPress’ doesn’t have a business model, and contributors are largely volunteer. I pretty much spend my time trying to put out fires wherever they happen. Support forums, the .org sites themselves, IRC, email, Skype, etc… In between, sometimes I write code. :D

      You’re right to say that having more resources to get more things done would be hugely helpful. Ideally this mirrors the way WordPress works, with a large volume of contributors volunteering their time towards accomplishing specific tasks with targeted shipping dates and deliverables. All the while, trusted forum moderators are helping to keep users happy and educated.

      • Selu Vega May 31, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

        I believe the Buddypress Team needs to start someway to monetize BP and become a free product with incomes, I actually pay for themes, plugins for wordpress, for buddypress, and BP would have easily a big repository of premiums and external plugins and themes that get some kind of commision.

        Im not saying that BP.org should be a market, just thinking in all the free stuff thats die everyday for not been able to monetize it. I hope BP never had to live this, at least on the very closest moment.

        I believe on Buddypress and spent a lot of hours building and thinking about it. And it deserve the effort!

        • Haloiq July 4, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

          I agree. Sell plugins and themes for $1 – $5 and maybe even force star ratings somehow. The good ones will rise to the top and thousands will buy the top ones, making it lucrative to develop.

      • Banjo July 7, 2011 at 2:10 am #

        A good many vuablales you’ve given me.

      • rzgrvtqzhp July 10, 2011 at 10:28 am #

        ST3iDg hixmrkeqmtik

  8. Josh Jenkins May 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    Great post Bowe! I’ll throw in my two cents, because unlike most of those who have already commented I fall somewhere between a buddypress novice and completely worthless. In fact, I’m probably representative of the largest (and least active/least vocal) segment of the BP community.

    But with that being said, I’ve recently ‘hitched my wagon’ to buddypress on a new project for work. So, not only do I think buddypress is neato I also have professional interest in the future of BP. I’d love to be able contribute to BP, but lack the PHP knowledge and dispensable income. Perhaps there’s a way to convert the energy of the thousands like myself into something the actually usable – rather than just noise on the not-so effective forums at buddypress.org. Frankly, aside from contributing micro-donations of a few dollars here or there, I’m not sure what I can offer. Any suggestions?

    • bowe May 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

      Thanks for leaving a comment Josh, we’re not all experts! I spend my first few months lurking around and learning more about BuddyPress before I dared to say anything about BuddyPress in public!

      I think your Micro Donations are the key to setting up something. Keep checking back, that’s all I can say!

    • Riya November 25, 2012 at 9:44 am #

      I’m glad that you reminded eovryene not to download WP themes from untrusted sites. I’ve heard a lot of problems that concern WP themes downloaded from malicious sites, having coded a spam virus inside the theme. WP has many beautiful themes and it’s really a worthwhile investment. One does not have to veer away and look for themes from malicious sites. Andrew Clarkemortgage tulsa oklahoma recently posted..

  9. Andrea_R May 18, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    I actually think this post nailed it on the head with the right balance of contructive criticism. We can all think that BP is awesome and at the same time acknowledge that it is hard to work with. Because the down side is – it is. :-/ And keeping up with core changes from minor release to the next is sometimes… interesting. Keeping our heads in the sand about it and not talking about ways to make it better will be the downfall.

    And by better, I do not mean new features. I mean take what we have and make it better, Fix the UI issues, think about how people actually use it verses how they want to use it and

    I think the key takeaway here is it needs to be easier:
    - easier to create new themes
    - easier to contribute *anything* not just code
    - easier to find information and support

    And I don’t think asking Automattic to throw more devs at it is the answer. The handful of people (Ron included, because I’m commenting for the both of us ;) ) who contribute to the core are all working their asses off. To ask them to do even more is unfair.

    For myself, I have tried multiple times to put forum support on my daily rosters, but as is stated above, it’s really had to navigate. Make it easier for us. ;) need more mods? I’m sure many of the commentors will help out.

    But overall – if we’re touting BP as a drop-in social network, there’s a lot of new users turned off by being dropped in the deep end of the pool of code to do anything custom outside of the default theme. I see this a lot over at StudioPress actually, where the average user is trying it out, and we’ve made it easy for them to get it up and running on those themes. After that? They are lost.

    So in many ways we need to roll back t thinking like a newer user too. ;) Make it easier. It’s probably always going to be a little more advanced, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.

    THAT will be what really makes it take off. And I think we all want to see it take off more.

    (also this comment box has no scroll bar in FF on Linux. :P )

    • Ipstenu May 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

      easier to find information and support

      The main reason I don’t frequent the BuddyPress forums is that … I hate them. I hate the look, feel, design and layout. This is no fault of the regulars, it’s just something about the way the design feels makes me not want to go there. Which is weird. I know I hate the pale color of text and links, to point a finger on one thing. I know I dislike (not hate) the font size.

      And to tack on to Andrea, there’s no scroll bar on Chrome for Windows ;)

      • bowe May 18, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

        Scrollbar problem is fixed. Had an overflow: hidden in there.

    • Selu Vega May 31, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

      Im agree with almost everything.

      For me as a translator, designer, and CEO of some projects using BP its hard to learn, to get the right cuestion… and actually for my taste the worst thing that I ve found on BP its the usability.

      Its awful, people cant get easily throught a lot of places they should be easier.

      I strongly believe that also BP needs to listen more the users and not only english, this project its universal, and very powerful NOW, no on next releases, but needs that people like me, that we are crazy for helping (not in a code way) be able to leave our small help to the project.

  10. Greg Fielding May 18, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    Great post Bowe. I hope this does spark some action.

    I don’t have too much to add from a developer’s perspective, but I do have some thoughts to share from the perspective of a “target” buddypress user who has actually bought premium themes, plugins, and support and built a mid-sized community over the last 18 months.

    Buddypress is hard to use. It is absolutely not a plug-and-play social networking solution. If you want to build a community, you are going to have to learn CSS, basic PHP, and get familiar with MYSQL, server set-up, caching, and more. Worse, with every plugin or core upgrade, parts of my site can stop working. It’s a daily commitment of several hours just to deal with finding and fixing problems and fighting spam, etc. Then, plugins you’ve committed to stop being developed or simply become too buggy to use.

    I would guess that the vast vast vast majority of all of the BP downloads give up after a month or two of pulling their hair out. In fact, I would guess that the community of active BP users and developers is pretty small as you see the same names and faces on all of the discussion boards.

    I am financially-committed to Buddypress succeeding, but it looks like the project is dying…and maybe it should because development of what BP currently is does not appear to be sustainable.

    There is a whole ecosystem that needs to be in harmony – the core, the customers, and the developers. Right now, the core is stuck, the customers are frustrated and dwindling, and many developers and coders are moving on to other things.

    People like Brajesh and Boris – who do great work and I pay for support – don’t seem to be getting very many new customers (these are my assumptions, which could be completely wrong – they could both be doing quite well).

    Hobbies need to become viable businesses if BP is going to survive. From a business perspective, there need to be a lot more people using BP on their wordpress websites if premium plugin devs are going to have enough customers to keep their doors open. Without available developers to hire, people like me would have no choice but to abandon BP completely (and potentially shut down the communities we have worked so hard to build).

    If money is what it will take to keep BP moving forward, then they should charge for it plain and simple – that’s better than letting it die a slow death. If they insist on it being free, then the core should be shrunk down into something much smaller and easier for the volunteer devs to maintain and update. Then, let premium developers charge money for all of the fancy add-ons.

    But if it is going to die, maybe our focus here should be on how to create a smaller, simpler, modular BP system that can survive long after the current BP project is dead.

    • bowe May 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

      Thanks for your very detailled comment Greg.. It’s important to read the perspective of someone who has a BP based business/community running, and the concerns you express are all valid points. I’m not sure how other commercial plugin and theme developers are going, but looking at my theme sales, things seems to be slowing down. And I think this is also related to the eco-system you mentioned between developers, community and commercial initiatives.

      I think money is not THE answer, but it might help fix some outstanding problems with 3rd party plugins and such. Funding the people who solve these issues might be a good idea :)

  11. John James Jacoby May 18, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    I’ll do my best to address a few key points, and I’ll subscribe to comments to keep up with follow-up discussion. I’m not going in any particular order, so forgive me if I go astray. :)

    There have been a number of “BuddyPress is dead” type conversations, similar to the “bbPress is dead” ones – Neither is the case, nor could it be farther from the truth. The commit logs alone speak for themselves – there is tons of code being written to make sure both projects are what they’ve promised to be.

    If you haven’t been keeping up with bbPress development, there is a *ton* of new code that will get ported over to BuddyPress to improve theme compatibility, increase performance, and lower the barrier of entry for eager new community members. Remember too that me focusing on bbPress is still me focusing on BuddyPress, focused on the Forums component.

    As far as Automattic and the company’s dedication to the project, I can promise you if it’s changed it’s only gotten stronger. We use BuddyPress as an internal tool ourselves, we support it through our VIP services, and (while I don’t normally speak for others) I can tell you with a high degree of certainty that everyone is excited at its future. Automattic as a company donates a huge portion of resources to everything .org, to the tune of several employees all-told; with 1 whole person (yours truly) focused on BuddyPress and bbPress.

    That brings us to my position within Automattic specifically, which touches on the personal side of things. I’m essentially donated to the .org community as a whole, I lead two sister projects to WordPress, and I naturally gravitate to the pain-points to improve them. BuddyPress as a whole is solid, so I’ve shifted gears for the past 6 months to working on improving bbPress’s integration with WordPress and BuddyPress. Boone and Paul have more than compensated for any of my absence, in my opinion.

    BuddyPress 1.3 is more of a staging release than it is a full feature redux. Lots of code clean-up, tons of small bug fixes, lots of refactoring to make deployment of custom components easier, the abstraction of user settings, and an improved XProfile interface are just a few of the goodies that are already done.

    The future of BuddyPress beyond 1.3? We have lots of considerations to make about what limitations we had in the past compared to what possibilities we have in the future. That sounds obvious at first, but remember BuddyPress started in an era when there were two completely separate versions of WordPress (Single site, and MU) and it was originally built to work exclusively on MU. Now that we have 1 code-base, now that bbPress is a bonafide plugin for WordPress, now that we have a custom post type API, the WordPress world is a much different place. I’ll even go so far as to say now that I work side-by-side with the WordPress core team on a full-time, daily basis, the future of BuddyPress has never looked so bright.

    As far as the BuddyPress.org website, there will be a redesign at the same time as 1.3 ships that will should rejuvenate the community as a whole, including the codex. I don’t know that we’ve ever effectively showcased what BuddyPress is capable of, and the redesign hopes to do that. I’ve been running it privately for some time now, keeping it up-to-date with new WordPress and BuddyPress core code as it goes in. I even tweeted a teaser screen-shot a few weeks back. :)

    I think this just comes down to communication, and the current BuddyPress.org site has opened too many communication channels for such a focused and support-based need. I spend a few hours everyday responding to private messages, activity stream messages, forum posts, blog comments, between several sites, Tracs, email lists, and IRC channels. While I’m keeping up with individuals, there’s not much global communication because there’s not much to globally communicate yet other than “Everything is still not dead.” :)

    In the past we had some guest blog posts at BuddyPress.org, but that tapered off. Anyone want to contribute to bringing the blog back to life with good old-fashioned pro-BuddyPress blogging? :)

    • bowe May 19, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

      Thanks for a detailled and semi official reply John. It’s good to read that you’re still very involved with BuddyPress even though your current focus is BBPress.

      The BuddyPress is dead conversation has always be a stupid one, because that’s approaching it from the wrong angle imo. But looking at the comments made so far, even the extremely involved people like Milo, Greg, Andrea, Stwc and yours truly, agree that the core of the issues that were pointed out in this post still apply to BuddyPress to this day. And as Stwc says these problem have been there from the day 1.2 was launched.

      So my sentence “Not much has changed for BuddyPress for the last year” rings true for the people actually using it. I know that behind the scenes you, Paul, Boone and many other have added all kinds of features and fancy things, but it does not improve the current situation BuddyPress is in.

      Theme development is still a bitch, 3rd party plugins are still abandoned and the BP.org site still sucks. And while it’s hopeful to read that some of these things are being worked on, a monthly blogpost with a short status updates about the project could do wonders. You are a “Happiness Engineer” at Automattic. I think a “BuddyPress Happy Engineer” working on the community and keeping everyone exited about the project would be great. Guys like Mercime, HLNA and R-A-Y would be the perfect fit for such titles. They are involved, positive and know BP inside out.. Seriously think about giving these guys the “power” or resources to work on the community aspect, so the core developers can focus on making the actual code better. I would go as far that even more then WordPress, BuddyPress it’s sustainability is in the hands of the community. Because unlike WordPress, BuddyPress is not currently backed up by a huge amount of businesses depending upon it. There is hardly any money being made with BP, and if even the non profit projects or “hobby” site owners are giving up, then the end is really near.

      To get back to the “coding” aspect a bit. Many of the things you talk about sound hopeful and I’m sure it will be awesome, but do realize that many current features in BuddyPress just don’t work that well.

      So this BBPress integrated functionality, new custom post type base components and bugs being squashed are all cool things to talk about, but Joe Schmoe does not really care about these things. He wants to be able to run an out of the box social network with BuddyPress, add a cool (premium) theme and have a great community to back them up when problems occur. It’s not a technical thing, it’s a community thing.

      Andrea makes a great point about trying to fix the existing troubles with BuddyPress (theme development, the BP.org site) before moves should be made forward. It’s not your job to do that though, and ideally you, Paul and Boone keep doing what you do best, while a new group of people really start focusing on improving the community side of things.

      Yesterday Paul tweeted that “talk only leads to more talk” and so I’ll be setting up something that will hopefully give a boost to the existing problems. In the meantime I’m happy to read that people are still taking the time to write entire novels about how BP can be improved. that just shows how important people still consider BuddyPress to be.

      • Greg Fielding May 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

        My suggestion of the death of BP wasn’t to suggest that there aren’t people working hard on the project. Paul, Boone, and everyone active on the BP.org boards are working hard and I really appreciate them.

        The problem isn’t supply, it’s demand. A lay-person can build a functional, successful wordpress blog without too much headache. But using BP to build and maintain a successful community is very difficult for people who aren’t professional developers.

        It’s great to hear that development is moving forward and the future is “bright”. Hopefully that includes making it more intuitive and usable for the average joe.

        • John James Jacoby May 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

          To expect to run a successful community without it actually requiring any maintenance is partially an educational issue with BuddyPress, and means we’re not really painting an accurate picture either.

          I liken it to what happens with WordPress and blogging. More often than not, new users lose interest because no one comments on their posts, or they get hit by spam, or they can’t upload an avatar without using Gravatar. It’s easier to just abandon the whole idea than to work to maintain it and shape it to be what you want.

          The most common feedback about BuddyPress is the fragmentation of communication within the platform itself. I blame it on bp-default being too generic and allowing each component to carry equal weight. When you install it, and turn all the components on, you don’t have any direction or idea what to do or why. It’s overwhelming, and confusing. If you turn off friends, private messaging, and forums, all of a sudden things take shape. Ideally BuddyPress powered sites should shape bp-default into component focused themes, but so far that hasn’t happened. That’s what the BuddyPress.org redesign will do. :)

      • John James Jacoby May 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

        Joe Schmoe does not really care about these things…

        Joe Schmoe doesn’t know these issues exist, because he isn’t reading these blog posts.

        It’s not your job to do that though…

        It is my job to fix the existing troubles with BuddyPress. It’s exactly what my job is. :)

        There is hardly any money being made with BP…

        I’d also argue that BuddyPress jobs are some of the highest paying WordPress consulting jobs you can get. They require specialized knowledge and dedication to deliver a solid product. If you’re a consultant and you’re not capitalizing on your unique BuddyPressing skills, it’s time to raise your rates and earn your keep.

        …hopeful… …hopeful… …hopeful…

        I’m not hopeful because I *know* these things are getting done. So i’m, excited. :)

        …I’ll be setting up something…

        Where will this something be? Flip this script on its ear, and one could say sites like bp-tricks enable the fragmentation you mention with yet another login/pw/url/community that talks about BuddyPress specific things, rather than putting them on BuddyPress.org, which we all agree is what needs work. I personally think sites like bp-tricks are great, so I’ll clarify before the “JJJ hates other BP sites” stuff starts that the above statement isn’t my opinion, and I only put it out there to make the point.

        You are a “Happiness Engineer” at Automattic…

        Technically I’m not a “Happiness Engineer” I’m a “Code Wrangler.” While I strive to provide happiness, it possibly insults the amazing work of official Happiness Engineers to call me one; similar to calling me a designer, or a mechanic, or a chef. But, if I manage to make people happy, I’ll take it. :)

        It’s not a technical thing, it’s a community thing…

        There is an open opportunity to take buddypress.org to these next levels. If it isn’t a technical thing, then why isn’t the community stepping up to solve these problems? :)

        …think about giving these guys the “power”…

        That’s a technical limitation ( see above :) ) of BuddyPress that is being addressed in 1.3 and the bbPress plugin. The only way currently to give anyone “power” is to make them a super admin to all of the buddypress.org sites on the network, which is limited to a few accounts for obvious reasons. There is no “moderator” role, and no ability to use WordPress capabilities to enable specific actions. Better moderation tools are started in trunk already, and once 1.3 ships and the site redesign drops, this will be easier.

        …it’s sustainability is in the hands of the community…

        No one has approached me in the past year to say “Hey I’d like to help write blog posts at BuddyPress.org” or “Here is a redesign I put together” or “I have this new theme that would be perfect for core” or “I want to own the Private Messages component and improve it.” There are very few in the development chats in IRC, and very little discussion on the bpdevel site. All of the places anyone can get involved, no one is getting involved. I can only send out so many calls for help in blog posts and at WordCamps until it’s time to just start writing code and getting things done.

        …that just shows how important people still consider BuddyPress to be…

        I don’t think that’s what it shows. I would think that if people were getting things done ( see above :) ) . It’s been the case with both bbPress and BuddyPress for a while, and not because of lack of effort by Automattic or anyone specifically.

        There are lots of opinions on where to go and what to do, what is right and what is wrong, but rarely does that happen with me or the core team responsible for making those decisions. I can remember Andy having this exact same stance almost a year ago.

        For me, I’m always on Skype, IRC, and 5 different online messaging platforms, and my cellphone number is on my Gravatar. If someone wants to fix a BuddyPress *thing* then I’m they should contact me. It’s a huge volunteer effort, some of which comes with expectations, some of which doesn’t. If someone volunteers to do something, they are doing it naturally. So, let’s get things done. :)

        • John James Jacoby May 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

          P.S. – We really need some blockquote styling in these comments. :)

          • bowe May 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

            done!

        • bowe May 19, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

          Honestly I can’t tell you how many times the people in involved in this conversation have posted their concerns and offered to help out. Endless topics were created on BP.org about what should happen to make the site a better place. As soon as I got the idea for BP-Tricks the intention WAS to make it part of BP.org. That was rejected because it was “not the right place to do so”. Free BP themes that I developed got rejected for the repo. So I published them here.

          I specifically removed all community features on BP-Tricks and linked to BP.org in 95% of my tricks. All the general support questions for my themes were either published or shared on BP-Tricks as “quick tips”. And now I’m just talking about me, all the others showing concerns in this thread have all contributed to BP.org and throughout the web. Exactly these people are now showing their concerns, trying to set something up, and trying to “get things done”. The point I’m making is that what you guys might consider as getting things done (helping out others, creating patches and solving problems on BP.org itself) has been made a all around unpleasant experience. Just look at the comments alone:

          - I want to help improve BP.org, but all my other attempts got shot down or did not get picked up
          - I’d love to contribute finanically, but how?
          - I want to make BP themes but they get rejected or the entry level is too high
          - I can not possibly keep up with the information streams on BP.org and I just gave up.

          Seriously I bet most of the people here love to help out, at least that’s what they tell us. They just don’t know where to start. If it was a matter of being lazy or just complaining there would not be full sized novels being written in this topic. Just as my article does not point towards the guys at Automattic and the core devs, you can’t point at the community for not picking up on things. Or to quote Greg:

          There is a whole ecosystem that needs to be in harmony – the core, the customers, and the developers. Right now, the core is stuck, the customers are frustrated and dwindling, and many developers and coders are moving on to other things.

          • John James Jacoby May 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

            I’d love to contribute finanically, but how?

            If someone wants to donate money to the WordPress foundation, that’s always welcome. :)

            I want to make BP themes but they get rejected or the entry level is too high

            Of course incomplete themes are going to be rejected. The reason the barrier for entry is so high is because it’s a theme for a complete social network. It isn’t going to be easy because it isn’t a theme for 1 blog with post formats and archives, it’s 8 distinctly separate user facing components with their own ins and outs, one of which is the blog itself.

            my article does not point towards the guys at Automattic and the core devs

            Your article has an entire section devoted to calling out Automattic and mentions Andy and I specifically.

            Instead Andy completely moved away from the project, and JJJ got his hands full on working on the new BBPress Plugin

            That looks like pointing to me. Correct me if I’m wrong here. :)

            …helping out others… …has been made a all around unpleasant experience…

            These long, drawn out debates are deflating. They literally suck the life directly out of the project every time they come up. Instead of rallying troops in a positive direction with actionable items, they get the people that care riled up with pitch forks and torches ready to storm the castle about when when when things will magically improve… To which I respond “please help with these specific things” and someone says “here are 25 things you should fix soon to make us happy” and I say “please help with those” and someone says “here are my ideas on what you should do.” When the only response is “let’s debate more about the same things next year” it’s a huge, huge bummer.

            I don’t need ideas or guidance; I respect them, but they aren’t helpful at this specific time. I need contributors, dedicated ones that want to work closely with the core team on an almost daily basis, with deliverable items and deadlines.

            Theme denied in the repo? Want to improve it so it’s accepted? Ping me, or someone in IRC. We can work together on what needs to happen to improve it.

            The thing is, I’m not even mad. I get it. We all love BuddyPress, and we want it to be better in our own special ways. These are the things that I’m working on, all day everyday, to make BuddyPress better:

            Step 0 – Better dedicated support forums via bbPress plugin
            Step 1 – Redesigning buddypress.org
            Step 2 – Releasing 1.3
            Step 3 – Mirroring the WordPress development methods (UI/UX/Trac/etc…)
            Step 4 – Improved collaboration with contributors

            If anyone reading this isn’t totally scared off and wants to own a thing, drop a note in the sticky topic over at BuddyPress.org and let’s start making things happen.

          • bowe May 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

            @JJJ: Obviously we have completely different standpoints on the entire situation, and we could talk about this for days and still get nowhere. I’ve said everything I wanted to stay about how I feel about the current state of BuddyPress, and I’ve clearly stated that these issues are not the fault of anyone specifically. I was merely pointing out the situation that led towards the situation BP is currently in.

            I’ll do my absolute best to improve the project as much as I can, and it was never my intention to rub people the wrong way. So honestly I don’t feel the need to keep going around in circles about certain issues. Like Ron Burgundy would say; Agreed to disagree :-).

            I’ll reply to your topic on BP.org and we’ll see how it goes from there :-)

          • stwc May 19, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

            Step 0 – Better dedicated support forums via bbPress plugin
            Step 1 – Redesigning buddypress.org
            Step 2 – Releasing 1.3
            Step 3 – Mirroring the WordPress development methods (UI/UX/Trac/etc…)
            Step 4 – Improved collaboration with contributors

            This sounds like exactly the priorities I would propose. Excellent.

    • Haloiq July 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

      Why not make BuddyPress Basic free, and BuddyPress Pro $39 or even $99? The revenue from Pro could help fund Basic.

  12. milo May 19, 2011 at 2:44 am #

    Designed & developed more than twenty custom BP sites for clients (starting with BP ver 0.7), where only eight projects are alive at this time, simply because BP changes every once in awhile completely (code & structure).

    Some minor BP changes breaks the majority of BP plugins, not to speak about themes.

    Until now I had to rewrite my free BP themes several times…

    • bowe May 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

      It just shows the dedication you have for BuddyPress is you’re willing to maintain so many themes for free. I’m having trouble updating just my one theme, and that has been a tough thing to do. It will be easier in the future I’m sure :-)

      • milo May 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

        Well, I’ve developed a frame work, where all my free BP themes are based on.
        But still a pain to update or supply templates for plugins (currently six plugin templates in each theme).
        Strange behaviour to allow plugins own(!) templates, if this happened in WP, users and devs go nuts about that.

  13. stwc May 19, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    During the last couple of years I’ve seen a lot of BuddyPress websites, and I think the official BuddyPress one is one of the worst I’ve seen. There, I said it.

    I couldn’t agree with this more. Personally, I think this is to a big extent at the root of many of the problems with ongoing engagement with BP seeming to wither. I said it, as gently as I was possible, at the time of the redesign, and offered as much concrete advice as I could at the time, kept trying to help new people in the forums as much as I was able… and then gave up, because it was a constant struggle trying to use the site.

    I’ve since launched a new BP-based site which is doing OK, but going back to buddypress.org to look for help or advice is always disheartening, because it’s just too fractured, too feature-poor to support the kind of interaction that is at its core — mutual user support and community engagement — and it does a pretty poor job of being an advertisement for the power of BP. I’ve had to fix many of the plugins I use, because most of them (and not fringe ones by any means — major, key functionality-extending ones) were abandoned by their authors and never updated for WP3.0 multisite stuff months ago.

    I get a little grumpy thinking that it took literally about 6 months after the buddypress.org redesign (which I really did not care for, in terms of reduced usability from the previous iteration) for us to be able to wrap code in backticks in the forum again. I am still grumpy that more than a year later, you still can’t save favorites/bookmarks (a core function) in the support forums, and I have to resort to bookmark posts. Or pagination links at the top of item lists. Or timestamp links on the front of the forum lists to most recent comments in threads (another incredibly simple template hack). Or any number of other things, major and minor, that would make the site more usable.

    With the vanilla bp test site showing off an out-of-the-box install, there’s literally no reason whatsoever (other than a lack of resources) for buddypress.org not to be an all-singing, all-dancing example of how far you can take BP to serve any kind of community. At the moment, the hostility the current design seems to offer its users in terms of design and usability, well, like I said, it’s disheartening, and I can’t help think it drives potential new users away just as it drove me away (until I decided against better judgment, perhaps, to BP again for a new project).

    I can’t imagine that things are any easier for the folks who try to offer support in the forum there. I’m extremely grateful that people like Boone and Paul and many others are still hard at work on stuff, but I do very much get the sense that they are spread extremely thin these days, and not having a very good time.

    I have hopes for the future, as always, but I am worried. There’s a lot more that needs doing, and you hit on much of it here, but I honestly do think that a redesigned buddypress.org site, not just in terms of aesthetics but also of user interaction design, into a showcase with a focus on providing a platform that is designed expressly and actually works for community support and interaction, as the hub for all things buddypress, would be a huge step towards getting things back on track.

    • stwc May 19, 2011 at 5:22 am #

      Oh, by the way, my blockquote tag was stripped in the first paragraph of that comment. Bowe said that, not me, though I agree wholeheartedly.

    • bowe May 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

      I completely agree with all your points which are in turned meant to underline my own points.. lol :D But seriously.. If people like you and me are fed up with going there, it just shows that something must be wrong. Honestly I have no problem spending 3 hours on writing a BP tutorial, but helping someone on BP.org or just going there, takes more of my energy that writing 3 of these tutorials. I think I’ll work on making a BP redesign template just for fun, and see how people respond and so we have a “live” enviroment to work from as a group of designers/users.

    • modemlooper May 19, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

      bp.org should drop activity streams. The site should not be a social network but should be a support forum. Use testbp.org as ootb example.

      • John James Jacoby May 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

        That’s effectively what the redesign is doing. Back to basics.

        • bowe May 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

          +1 very good idea

      • Ünsal Korkmaz May 30, 2011 at 12:56 am #

        problem is… you cant disable activity streams.. profiles etc just doesnt work without it.

  14. Johnny May 19, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    Lately I’ve been getting the feeling that somehow the importance and potential of this project is not realized at AutoMattic HQ. BuddyPress adds something to WordPress and can be used to set up great non-profit social networks. We simply can not ask the current core developers to keep the project evolving at a certain pace, when we know what these guys are already doing the best they can.

    Non profit ?? bach…

  15. modemlooper May 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    I replied but it didn’t post ;(

    • bowe May 19, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

      Can’t find your comment in spam either :(

  16. J. Pisano May 20, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    I love the conversation going on here, but to be honest the last time this type of inspiring and informative-type of conversation happened it was over the frustration being built up to the 1.2.5+ releases (see this post: http://buddypress.org/2010/07/activity-breeds-activity/ and the ones before it).

    First off, I’ll state that I fall somewhere between a super-end-user and a novice coder. I’ve been running a successful BuddyPress site for almost a year now at the musicpln.org. This is a first of it’s kind site for Music Educators and making it work correctly takes up TOO much of my time. Since its launch in July of last year, I’ve been waiting for a number of things to be fixed, work properly, or developed further in someway. I would love to take a “breather” from it and put it on cruise control like so many of my standard WordPress sites for awhile…

    I watch the BuddyPress forums like a hawk and then sometimes I just have to “go away” from it because of the frustration that forms up when I can’t get something seemingly simple done -something that only seems to make sense to me like getting BuddyPress roles defined for users for example (tracked 13 months ago here: http://buddypress.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/2348) or the comment nesting that “we” seemingly held up 1.2.6+, but now is moved to “future release” (http://buddypress.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/2587). Something simple like getting the Spam under control on BuddyPress.org would go a LONG way to making things look tider, and more professional, and “soothing” for all of us.

    I’ve watched great plugins “die”, made a massive personal movement and financial effort to keep one alive (buddystream.net), have spent money on sites like wpmudev.org and buddydev.com, given much money through donation,s and am “doing my part” in helping others (like many of us) on the BuddyPress site. In the end, as vested as I am in BuddyPress, I now find myself wabbling with regard to continuing to use it.

    I find myself almost obsessed with finding simple answers to simple problems and often can’t find them… and yes, I’ve even gotten used to using the codex. These things shouldn’t take up the time that they do. I think we are taking too many “chunks” and “bites” in solving 600+ tickets at a time. Seems to me it could have been 300 or 100 tickets and then released and a bunch of these fixes could have stopped hundreds of support questions in the mean-time…

    I also watch the trac, it’s amazing to see the efforts of DJ Paul, Boone, and others on there (not to mention R-A-Y, Hnla, and MerciMe, on the support site. But, even with all this activity I can’t help but feel that I’m on a tightrope with this product. It’s dizzying.

    Almost every time a plugin comes out or an “update” to one that I use, I feel like I’m gambling and there is a 50/50 chance it might work, it might break the site, or it might work and break something that I don’t find out about until a week later from a user. I don’t feel this way with all of my WordPress non-BP sites.

    I guess when you watch the 1.3 finish guestimate go back to where the 1.4 guestimate was, you might begin to wonder what is going on with production, and yet I do realize that the trac is making forward movement -most of the time.

    Since June of 2010, there has been very sparse communication from the blog on BuddyPress… there has been a lot of talk about communication, but the average user isn’t seeing it… In addition, there are weeks and weeks, lately, without much posts on the http://bpdevel.wordpress.com/ site either, so it’s hard to get an idea of what is going on.

    In the end, I guess, I’m hopeful and also appreciative of all the efforts that are obviously transpiring, but I can tell you that something is going on that is un-nerving to potential and existing users about the progress and future of BuddyPress or else we wouldn’t be having these type of conversations so often.

    Maybe it’s just growing pains, Maybe not… There is nothing like the BuddyPress platform currently available and I hope it can get a little less harrowing and less stressful for all of us.

    So -thanks to all, and whatever you all can do to make this all easier, faster, and less complicated for all of us – Godspeed!

    • bowe May 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

      Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed reply. I personally think it’s worrying that the more “serious” BuddyPress powered communitiy admins (like you) are having so much trouble in getting their communities running smoothly. I am hopeful that the situation will improve with BP 1.3, IF plugin author decide to update their plugins. That’s something that worries me a little and could cause problems down the road. Also the BP.org redesign should hopefully improve the situation.

    • LPH May 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

      Interesting thoughts. Most of my students would agree with you on their end as a user of a buddypress site. They don’t know or care that it is buddypress. They just know that things “suck” or “oh, that works now?” or “why doesn’t that work yet?”

      After reading this article and responses last night and thinking about things over sleep, I do have a suggestion for the development team – incremental updates.

      The team should consider Incrementally releasing fixes, updates, etc. I think your post provides the support for why this is important.

  17. John G May 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Yikes! I can’t believe I missed this awesome article and great discussion when it was fresher. The respondents, many of whom I have grown to respect over the past several years, and the well thought out viewpoints represented make it appear like a virtual summit!
    My organization uses BuddyPress for a social network that serves thousands of students and could grow dramatically in the next few years. Because of our size and the difficulty to institute a change at this point, I, too, am personally and financially dependent on its success. It was on my radar from <1.0 and the reason I chose it as the heart of our social education network at the time I did (1.2 release) was it had reached a critical plateau of usability with an incredible amount of headroom for improvement, at least according to my needs. In other words, it seemed to evolve out of the 'open source early death stage' to the point where it was receiving active contribution and development with a significant amount of community involvement.
    While I am relatively knowledgeable about WP/BP as a user and service provider I am novice or destructive as a coder. What I appreciate about the entire community is that it makes it possible for someone like me to plug together a service that meets my community needs on an enterprise scale without losing flexibility and costing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars and I am always amazed at how much GREAT code is out there. Of course, we also make sure that we pay for the plugins we use, sometimes much more than the requested donation/price because as we've all seen, if a developer can't justify the time, code gets orphaned. We contribute to plugin and theme developers on an individual basis, and where possible, within content communities like WPMU Dev. While there has been some philosophical skirmishing across the net about whether subscription silos are good or bad for developers, I can say that it makes it easier for me to make a business case to select WP and BP when I can increase the confidence of my superiors that service enhancement provided by plugins will have longevity and not become development baggage in the future. My hat is off to people like Boone, DJ Paul, JJJ, Andy, Modemlooper, Suscov, Steph @Strategy11 and certainly Andrea and Ron. The work you have done has created an environment and toolset for the greatest innovation my organization has been involved in for many years.
    As a fairly tuned in power user, my perspective on BP is that it is in a transitional state of evolution. It is extremely functional and has a list of capabilities it NEEDS to add, but as it evolves it also sheds legacy compatibility and presents a moving target for developers and users. If it moves too fast, developers can't keep up or justify the time to remain current, but if it moves too slow, it will stagnate and lose user interest. I am more charged up and optimistic about BP than I am about any other software I've ever used. At the end of June I am presenting at ISTE (national educational technology conference) on K12 uses for social networks as learning management systems and plan to brag the hell out of BuddyPress and its capabilities.
    Sorry for the length of this reply, consider it an open love letter to the BuddyPress ecosystem and all of its participants.

  18. ewebber May 29, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    I have yet to go through all the comments here, but after reading the article I thought I’d throw my 2cents in.
    I love buddypress, I use it for a hyperlocal community website, which it’s perfect for. I was excited about the possibilities of BP ever since I heard about it and after a while it happened that it fit a project that I wanted to do. I am not a developer, I can, like a lot of people pull a wordpress site together and customise using html/CSS and small tweaks to the PHP so setting up my buddypress site has been a learning curve, but I now have something that works pretty well.

    In my working life I work with development teams that make websites for clients. We use wordpress when it’s relevant and have been looking towards BP where there is need for community although we haven’t got there yet. The main problems that we have at the moment is 1) that it’s new(ish) so people are unsure of it, both clients and developers 2) the name doesn’t inspire clients to want to use it 3) Search – google has set the bar high on this and the BP search doesn’t cut it alone.

    It seems to me that more people using BP commercially will go towards speeding up development, once people are being paid to develop features, that should only go towards more rapid enhancements.

  19. Selu Vega May 31, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    Hi all!!! Really, had been so cool to read about Buddypress thoughts, with those clarity and constructive criticism.

    I wish to start giving my point, asking for sorry if my english is not perfect and I have some grammar fails. Also, my knowledge about BP is about 7 month ago, when I was looking the way to make a nice community for some ideas. I felt very impressed and engaged with the plugin from very begining, but as soon I started to dig more on the matter, I became dizzy and lost.

    I really think is a usability cuestion. Things like the easy cuestion of change name of user on the frontend its really a wall to get for a non programmer like me. Now I ve got a programmer with us on the 4 social networks im building with buddypress. Even that its not easy to make it works properly.

    I help on the translation of 10 plugins now, some like bp-gallery, G-press, Invite Anyone, and help with buddystream and bp album (which I believe its getting too long to get update). After that I think its time to give my point.

    Buddypress SHOULD BE and I hope to be, the real deal of the future. I strongly believe that in five years the NON SOCIAL COMPONENT websites are going to dissappear and Buddypress into de WP core should be unbeatable. Its far away better from other option to make your own social network inside wordpress, and WordPress its becoming the nº1 CMS use on the world, step by step. Why don have a global BP where people can login with an universal account like facebook, why don try to focus buddypress on user experience with the proper people and most important, THE CORRECT QUESTIONS.

    I believe on a Buddypress as the social structure of the most Communities on the world. But for that, we need to stop to work that spread, actually de BP.org its just as little flexibility and social engagedment as any static page with a forum… Is not buddypress a much more? A real big time project that can change the world? I bet for that, I guess you (core devs) are working a lot on that, but millions of code lines are useless if nobody uses it for making their live better.

    Buddypress can do it, but needs probably a mind change or a really creative challengue.

    Anyway, thanks to everyone that makes possible that a fool in coding like me, to be able to manage some communities with Honour.

    • Jay Collier April 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      I agree with Sulu here: in the near future, just as Web 1.0 websites integrated blogs, Web 2.0 websites will integrate social components, by default, and BuddyPress should provide those functions in WP core.

      I can see the progress over the 9 months since this post was first published, and I look forward to seeing even more integration in the months and years to come.

      • Jay Collier April 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

        Sorry for misspelling your name, Selu.

        • Geeta May 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

          The best wordpress thmees are the search engine friendly ones. Not all wordpress thmees are search engines friendly.Of course only thmees won’t give you traffics, but thmees are also important factor. Don’t look for how cool theme are, but look for search engines friendly one.As i am aware of, thesis theme is very popular of it’s SEO opmtimization, however there are some free thmees that created by thesis creators too, here are some list:

      • Umesh May 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

        04 Aug 08 at 8:08 amI’ve just started using your modadiadcus theme on my own site and think it’s fanadtasadtic (thank you). I’ve made small chneags here and there, but as I’m a novice, I have a quesadtion to ask: is there a way to make links live in the ‘digest’ veradsions that appear on the home page? Thanks again. Great designs. Reply

  20. Gezan June 1, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    As I see it, the biggest problem with Bp is lack of information.
    If you want to get a clue which way the project is going you have to dig deep in trac and irc. That’s ok if you know what to do and is a tech nerd, but all the others with their opinions and possible contributions, are left out.

    Second, I think the project should actively seek for professional ui/ux folks.
    All core and other more notable people are first and foremost devs. Many say they are designers too, but there are a big difference in first and foremost being a designer and being a dev. Looking forward to 1.3!

  21. Peter Verkooijen June 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    When Buddypress first came out I based various projects on it, assuming it would grow and develop into an open social networking standard. It didn’t. I regret wasting so much time on Buddypress and am really annoyed with Andy Peatling and Automattic for creating this pile of dung.

    So what’s wrong with Buddypress? The original developers had no clear idea of what Buddypress should and shouldn’t be. I thought the goal was to turn WordPress into a Facebook/Linkedin type social network, with the member’s profile page at the center.

    But then they started mixing Buddypress with the traditional forum structure of BBpress. A social network and a bulletin board are not the same thing and mixing them is confusing. And then they started half-heartedly integrating Twitter-like features. And lots of other features.

    At the same time there was no progress on the basic things you really need when you try to run an actual online social network:

    There was no built-in way to reliably use the member’s Firstname Lastname throughout the site like Facebook or LinkedIn do; bizarrely this was a conscious decision by Peatling/Automattic, because it would offend foreign cultures or something like that.

    There was no improvement on WordPress’ clunky member management. WordPress was originally developed for blogging with a limited number of “users”, but for a social network managing a list of members is key.

    There was no built-in security and privacy to make parts of the network members only.

    The registration process was the same old standard WordPress crap, not the kind of process users would expect from a social network. It is still not possible to really edit the system messages and replace the obnoxious ‘dear user’ with the person’s name without hacking core files.

    There is no front-end posting or front-end profile management. P2 is NOT the solution. I nearly got kicked off Bluehost because one P2 function looped through 1200+ members every time you opened a page. P2 was an experimental theme that has never been updated since it was released.

    The annoying Admin Bar is not a solution either. It leads back into the backend and only adds more confusion. It is NOT a usable “consumer-focused” interface.

    The developers wasted too much time on Buddypress themes. Code and themes are supposed to be separated. That concept went out of the window with Buddypress, which made upgrading custom themes pretty much impossible.

    I dropped out of the Buddypress project when a new version rewrote all the template tags without providing a list of them so I could at least manually update my custom theme.

    For the last year I have been phasing out Buddypress code from my sites, replacing it with various other plugins and custom code.

    And that would be my advice. Scrap Buddypress. Start over, maybe based on Habari

    • Vinicius June 9, 2011 at 4:21 am #

      Seems Hibari.. has its share of problems as I view the comments on the site.

  22. dains June 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    I’ll put in a call to action on the most basic element – documentation. The height of the barrier to entry of any technology is determined solely by the amount of knowledge required to work with it. Buddypress’ documentation is sparse at best, and the API functions listed generally have no associated explanation, examples of use, interactions with other functions, etc.

    By way of example, I was defeated in doing something as simple as setting the default tab to show on a certain view by the lack of documentation on bp_ajax_querystring. As far as I can tell, this is the core delivery mechanism for content in most BP tabs, and it’s undocumented, just like most of the other “guts” API functions. The only reference I could find on the forums was a method of writing an action for bp_ajax_querystring on a different tab, which while potentially useful, can’t be implemented without the fundamental knowledge of what arguments apply to the tab I was working on. And those basic, essential facts are completely missing from the documentation. Game over man, just game over.

    So how is any developer supposed to pick up this technology and run with it? As far as I can tell, the expectation is that everyone will reverse-engineer the technology in order to acquire the necessary knowledge. That’s just unrealistic in terms of time and learning curve, so it’s no wonder that the very people who have the fundamental skills to make Buddypress as much of a success as WordPress just go find something easier to work with.

  23. Jim June 15, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    I have just installed Buddypress as a private social network here at the International Baccalaureate. We kept it pretty vanilla, as it actually fits our needs quite well for internal collaboration forums and a basic news area.

    However, we diverted from the vanilla in one important area…we hitched it to our Oracle HR database and imported a batch of user details into the profile fields. All good, except I now have duplicate user details appearing in group lists and some emerging issues with group membership and private group approvals.

    My complaint is not that Buddypress is breaking under strain, because I take full responsibility for breaking it…but I don’t know where to go next. There are only a handful of experts out there, and none of them seem desperately interested in helping or in documenting the detail behind how Buddypress works. I’m willing to pay for support, but it’s not clear to me who I need to go to or what I’m even asking for.

    So yeah, documentation and a clear escalation and support network would be awesome.

    And if anyone wants to offer to help investigate and fix my problem, you know where I am…let’s talk!

  24. Roger Coathup July 7, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    Hey Bowe,

    a good, well reasoned and argued article.

    From our perspective (and modemlooper touches on this as well with regard to plugins and their templates), the biggest drawback to developing with BuddyPress is the over-tight coupling between function / data and presentation.

    The function and API of the system should be independent from any theme / presentation. At the moment it’s not – the BuddyPress API embeds and spews out line upon line of html – which we, as developers, have to remove (either by filtering, by writing regular expressions, or plain and simply by rewriting the API functions).

    BuddyPress, like WordPress, has ‘the_’ and ‘get_’ functions. The ‘the_’ functions echo out their results, the ‘get’ functions should just return clean data for us to process. In WordPress, they do this. In BuddyPress, they don’t – a large number of the BuddyPress ‘get_’ functions don’t return clean data – they return data wrapped in arbitrary html tags (designed for the bp_default theme). [examples of where it's particularly bad - activity stream items, and the functions for retrieving buttons]

    As a website developer, I want to use BuddyPress for it’s functionality – I don’t want to be forced to adopt it’s embedded (overly complex, and in some cases archaic) html constructs.
    My call, as echoed by Parallelus on Themeforest is:
    If you want to encourage more BuddyPress development and great sites, fix the API

    Cheers, Roger

    p.s. I noted a comment from JJJ elsewhere about plugins inserting code rather than requiring full page templates. A step in the right direction, but I didn’t see any mention of delivering a clean, presentation free, API.

    • Quint July 30, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

      I am a WP and Buddypress noob (though not new to conceiving of and running multi-million dollar software development projects) but I just wanted to say to all the folks who are directly and indirectly connected to the present and future existence and improvement of Buddypress, “You guys ROCK!“.

      This may be of value to someone Dr. Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats. This dude rocks, too!

  25. Thomas September 15, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    I feel that Buddypress lacks a real direction and rallying figure and needs to broaden their exposure and reap those awards financially for future development of their platform. I think they need to broaden their focus, and then focus on dominating a niche with something other than Buddypress. The community supports BP and wants to help, there is a way. Choose a niche, assemble a team that is crowdfunded or just passionate volunteers, and dominate it. Build a beautiful and functional front page, powered by Buddypress, and do your PR, gather your audience, and through your community’s support building a money-making device and HUGE social network for real developmental work and funding.

    Just my opinion, anyway. I plan on doing this at PR Luv. We’re bringing together some great talent in a huge niche, and I intend that traffic and portion of money to go towards Buddypress development. I see so much potential in Buddypress, I just think they need a rallying figure and a new voice and spot in the world.

    I think it would be incredibly beneficial to both parties and makes a ton of sense, whoever the community-funded project is under. Just explore some niches and make a group decision – and if that has to be ‘put your money where your mouth is,’ so be it. SEO guys passionate about Buddypress could offer plenty of advice on profitable niches worth the risk of investing time into.

    Finally: I wouldn’t be self-service in public if I didn’t think it was mutually beneficial. ;-)

  26. Codeamazon December 12, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    Hi, I’m using buddypress to build out the social network for my publishing company. I’ve been doing web design since the 90′s and core programming (Java mostly) through most of the oughts. With the recession, I’m doing new things, and BuddyPress is part of my plan. Or at least I’d like it to be…

    As I build out BuddyPress, I get the impression of a somewhat neglected code project — which is what led me to this post. As an example, the css hooks are so generic they clash with a variety of other templates. It would be so easy to give them a name-space with a bp_ prefix or similar…

    I’d love to get involved and contribute, initially by discussing such things and later by contributing code directly. I have the coding chops to help, but as mentioned in the article, it’s hard to figure out how to get started. I don’t want to just submit bug reports without some context…I don’t want to be “that person”! I know all too well there are sometimes good reasons for coding decisions that the casual observer doesn’t know.

    Is there a mailing list for devs that someone interested in being a bit more involved could lurk on for a while? Or…?

    Thanks

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  29. uloga February 11, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    bp has become a fucking joke. I mean check out the core code , if you know little php you’ll see all the unnecessary function calls and code duplication. I’ve used the old version of BP developed by Andy and it was OK back then, but now the 1.5 ,it’s a fucking mess, especially the FUGLY default theme. FUJ BAH! Also the CORE DEVS and community seem to be ignorant toward others who wants to get involved!

  30. Richard March 1, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Getting help to use BuddyPress is pretty awful IMHO.
    In this respect it is very similar to WordPress.
    To use BP & WP I find I often run into problems and getting help to fix them is usually a problem
    (often posts on the BP & WP forum/support sites & on other sites go unanswered). There are a couple of admins on BP & WP forums who do try to help if you are lucky enough to get a reply from them. I can’t find a list of my threads on BP forum & I have 2 login names there (one from my WP forum & another…confusing!).
    So with both BP & WP you are largely on your own. I have been battling with BP for around a year now & I still do not have it working properly.
    BP & WP provide lots of functions but this causes issues for newbies and more experienced coders alike and dealing with & solving your issues with BP & WP is not easy!
    I stick with it & slowly increase my experience with BP & WP but it is a trial at times and I am always open to other options to BP & WP that make life easier!

    • Katy May 30, 2012 at 10:28 am #

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  32. Andy May 11, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Any updates on the current state of BuddyPress?

    I was involved at the start via the forums etc and used it as a basis for a very large UK based start up but it’s only now I have come back to revisit it for another client and things seem to have come to a complete stop. Can anyone convince me otherwise?

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  34. Corinna West August 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    Hi,

    I know this thread is totally dead but I’m glad I found it. I’m the exact Joe Schmo you were talking about above. I have an online community idea that can fix the mental health system and take down pharma profiteers but no money. I’ve been battling with Buddypress for a while and am way over my head now. I’ll keep plugging away but if anyone has suggestions about alternatives, I’d love to hear them.

    I suppose if most Buddypress sites that are successful have to rebuild from scratch after a few months, it would explain why I can’t find really large, active, functional demo sites.

    -Corinna

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