I really want to help WordPress but I think what is most needed isn’t a new editor or more guidelines but rather someone to take all the stuff in this fractured ecosystem and bring it together. Get rid of all the crap and only show people the stuff worth using.
My first attempt at this is with plugins. Currently when you go to add new plugins you are given two screens (Featured & Recommended) that I don’t (and likely most new users don’t) find all that useful.
For example, let’s take the featured tab. I took a screenshot of it right before making this post and the top four plugins it recommends are BuddyPress, Theme Check, bbpress, WP Super Cache. Those are fine plugins but how many new users do you think will actually use any of them.
Then look at the recommended tab. It’s a bit better but I don’t think the above four plugins are what a new user is looking for. I don’t know if this is really a problem you can solve with code. I honestly believe that a bit of manual curation is necessary. Manual curation isn’t all that uncommon. Look at the App Store or Play store they put together collections of apps all the time.
I know why the core WordPress folks don’t do this. They don’t want to upset people by not picking them. I don’t even know if they could as it would require a diverse group of people to agree on something (which isn’t always easy). I think this works as I have no friends to upset by not picking their plugins and since all plugins are picked by me it’s easy to come to a consensus 🙂 .
So what Better Plugin Recommendations does is remove the default featured and recommendations tab and instead adds a new recommendations tab which only included plugins that I’ve hand selected. These are plugins that I feel are appropriate for every new user and are ones that great examples of why WordPress is awesome.
I’m perfectly aware that the number of regular users who finds this plugin and install it will be small. What I’m hoping is that I can convince the hosting companies to preinstall this (maybe in the MU folder) for their customers. The app blends in seamlessly with WordPress. There are no ads or branding. The plugin is designed solely to help new users find great plugins to help them on their WordPress journey. So if you work at a host please get in touch and I’ll let you know why using Better Plugin Recommendations is the best choice for your customers and the WordPress community.
Special thanks to Joey for helping me with this. It’s so rare to find a developer of his caliber who will not only talk to me but even help me with tiny little projects like this 🙂 .