The trouble with Joomla

Hell hath no fury like an open source community scorned.

That’s one way we could have interpreted the feedback we got to a story we published earlier this week about an implementation of the Joomla open source content management system at a Toronto-based company. Instead, we’re trying to use that feedback to improve and maintain our editorial standards. We had been pitched the story from Microsoft, who were quick to tell us that the company in question later decided Joomla didn’t provide what it needed and switched to a .Net-based system instead.

We profiled this company and its solution provider partner, listened to what they said about Joomla and went on to explain what they did with .Net. The missing element? The chance for Joomla to respond.

Although this story went live around 5:00 p.m. and didn’t even make it into one of our e-mail newsletters, the response from the Joomla community was immediate, and angry. I publish with permission the comments of one reader below as an example of a more thought-out explanation of the common concerns:

1) The time to reach out to the Joomla Community is during the research phase of the issue. When it comes to journalistic integrity, media seems to allow itself this ‘aw, shucks, we’re just regular folks doing our best’ attitude. We’ll you’re not. You’re in a position of power. There is a responsibility to hire the right people. There is a responsibility to monitor the integrity of these people and their output. There is a responsibility to get things right.
2) When that responsibility is ignored, there is a responsibility to the audience and the self governance part of the issue to demonstrate that the situation has been remedied or your journalistic integrity should come into question.

Journalistic integrity has always been left to the journalist. There are few standards and none are actually enforced. You’re free to present any point of view under the guise of ‘innocent mistakes’. It’s irrelevant whether you’ve presented that point of view intentionally. It’s the perception of the reader that should be your guideline. That’s how sacred this exchange is. Were you not taught this?

And you’re free to rationalize readers reactions into realms where they don’t count as realistic.

Where do you rate your media integrity? At the level of the Independent? At the level of the Globe and Mail? Fox News? Or lower?

Invitations for interested parties to be interviewed as a method of sidetracking the issue instead of acting on your responsibilities is a transparent guise.

This same reader said that calls employee’s heads had been answered and that people have resigned over less than this. I’m sure he’s right, but I’m not firing anyone, and I’m not stepping down. We made a mistake, and far from trying to bide time we were reaching out because we wanted to correct that mistake. I believe we have.

The story, which is now headlined “Women’s portal sorts out CMS issues” will run in our Daily IT Wire tomorrow. We included a lot of feedback from Joomla, perhaps even more than we needed to. This story, in the end, was not about Joomla, nor was it about Microsoft, or even the war between open source and proprietary software. It was about a Canadian company trying to use technology to propel its business forward. And that’s where the emphasis will remain. The phrase “we regret the error,” sounds flat unless you’re the one saying it, and when you really mean it. We really mean it.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Shane Schick
Shane Schick
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