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Automattic’s WordPress CamelCase filter causes storm—but beggars can’t be choosers

There’s a whole lot of drama over at the WP-Hackers mailing list over WordPress 3.0’s “easter egg” (if you will):  a filter that corrects the spelling of WordPress so that the P is capitalized as it should be.

Jeffro at WP Tavern has the details on how the filter was added in to WP’s newly released 3.0:

This use is detected by the following patch (14996) that Matt Mullenweg wrote and was then committed by Andrew Nacin. The code simply adds a filter that looks for WordPress used with a lower case p within the content, the post title, and comment text. If detected, the word is replaced by the correct spelling.

The WordPress community is upset over two issues: First, that the filter could cause errors, and second, that Automattic had the gall to include the filter in the first place.

But really, the first (that it could cause errors) should be a non-issue. Automattic gave it a go at WordPress.com with only one reported error. And if those on the thread are really that concerned, they can remove the filter with ease, just as Mullenweg suggested.

As I said before, you are in complete control of your site. It’s a single line to remove a filter. If you don’t like the filter, vote with your feet or with a plugin. –Matt Mullenweg

What’s more, there’s already a plugin created that will remove it for you.

Now for the second issue, and what really has most people active on the thread riled up: the fact that Automattic felt the need to install the filter and did it so casually.

But if Mullenweg and Automattic want to make their product do a certain thing, more power to them. The reality is that they do a lot of heavy lifting so that literally millions of people can use some version of WordPress, either as a CMS or to power a blog. And they don’t ask a whole lot in return. Spoiled developers and web designers who get to work with self-hosted WordPress can think all the negative things they want to about the camelCase filter’s presence, but in the end, they can only be grateful for a powerful open-source tool with a great community.

Of course, this is all coming from a guy with a background as a copy editor. I spelled website “Web site” for four or more years just because the Associated Press said so—even though I knew it was so wrong. I still spell e-mail automatically with a hyphen even though that’s stupid. (Damn, did it again!)

I get why the filter was added. I don’t think it by any means had to be done. But get over it. Here’s a haiku that might help.

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