Make WordPress Core

Opened 14 years ago

Closed 14 years ago

Last modified 13 years ago

#12366 closed defect (bug) (fixed)

Remove @author tags

Reported by: ryan's profile ryan Owned by:
Milestone: 3.0 Priority: normal
Severity: normal Version:
Component: General Keywords:
Focuses: Cc:


Except for third-party libraries, we should not use @author tags. There is no single author.

Attachments (1)

12366.diff (8.7 KB) - added by ryan 14 years ago.

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (20)

14 years ago

#1 @westi
14 years ago

  • Keywords dev-reviewed commit added

Patch looks good to me.

#2 @ryan
14 years ago

  • Resolution set to fixed
  • Status changed from new to closed

#3 @hakre
14 years ago

  • Resolution fixed deleted
  • Status changed from closed to reopened

@ryan: says who? I only found an edit of the codex page where this has been just put in there. Nothing concrete and far away from transparent (yes, that exact codex link).

Removing the reference to an author has implications on copyright. Why you did can just jepordazie the GPL license of WP by the way... .

I can totally understand that a commune of authors is wanted here (no single owner ship), but since the GPL is based on the principles of the copyrights, you should / must at least keep reference otherwise it's easy for thirdparties to claim ownership.

So removing the @author tags only is a bit shortsighted. We need a copyright notice in there I guess.

#4 @hakre
14 years ago

I just checked that. On 19:08, 24 February 2010 the following sub-section was added to codex by MarkJaquith:

== @author Tag ==

It is WordPress' policy not to use the @author Tag except in the case of maintaining it in external libraries. We don't want to imply any sort of "ownership" over code that might discourage contribution.

I am not aware of any statement similar to this. Where it comes from looks pretty much undocumented to me, the way this was done here looks far of opposite to open or free.

The commit in this ticket did not get much review for a topic that touches the (personal) rights of other persons. Those issues are serious.

I ask that this correctly handeled. I'd like to see a written consent of the authors whoms credits were removed from the files that it's okay for them to share the code with the project while having their sign of authorship removed. Unless this is not provided, the commit must be reverted.

#5 @ryan
14 years ago

Attribution requirements are not compatible with GPLv2. Like most open source projects, we handle attribution through commit messages and release notes. Author tags are usually removed before committing, but these slipped through.

#6 follow-up: @matt
14 years ago

  • Resolution set to fixed
  • Status changed from reopened to closed

Ryan's spot on -- log messages are the proper place for this. Parts of the code marked off can discourage other contributors, and also becomes unmaintainable when lots of people touch lots of code. (Look at SVN blame!)

Subversion also tracks credit through commit messages:

#7 @ryan
14 years ago

Plus, only regular contributors were removed, most of whom I've met in person and know don't mind.

#8 @hakre
14 years ago

For GPLv2 compability: Attribution does have copyright related issues. GPL is on top of the copyright so what has been written here ("Attribution requirements are not compatible with GPLv2.") is not that precise and can even be misread. The GPL license does in no way allow you to modify the copyright statement. That's an authors decision (at least where the copyright law I work under applies) and the GPL is far away from working against that.

It's good to read that this has been done by ryan in consent with the original authors. To have it properly documented, it would be usefull if ryan provides the list of persons for whom he speaks so we can ensure that not someone slipped through.

And by the way, the problem I have with this is to do it in retrospective. Even if the commits were done in error, there was absolutely no documentation for those issues previous to this ticket. You do not want to get your personal things changed later on and then be said: sorry dude, too late.

I did not speak against having some rules of that everybody knows of before code gets committed. I do not have a problem to give credits to certain parts of the code either, because it can be usefull to figure things out afterwards. I do not want to make that more complicated as it needs to be, personally I have no problem what it's done with my code otherwise I would have said. But I can only speak for my own code and I'm far away from patronising other authors.

I mean we're all developers here, so I think it's pretty fair to respect our rights.

Anyway, for new commits, a somehow documented guideline should be available - a general one, not only bind to the @author tag which infact is just a detail (but that codex subsection and this ticket now is a first start). Maybe that's something Matt can do for the foundation, the project can just benefit from it IMHO.

#9 @jacobsantos
14 years ago

The problem I see is that some of the legacy code was from external web sites, which does require attribution, since you are "copying" from a source that may have a difference license, but obviously one that can be used in open source.

I agree that one that willingly writes a patch for WordPress shouldn't have their name part of the source. The only problem I can see is if I take some of the code I authored and use it outside WordPress with a different license. I do not wish for people to tell me I'm in violation of the GPLv2.

I do believe I have spoken in agreement that I wouldn't mind my name being removed, since I have received unwanted support questions.

#10 @hakre
14 years ago

After another 42 hours, this still looks inconsistent to me. I have problems to verify what's said, because I've never seen @author tags removed prior to commit (which must be no surprise) while even today I stumbeled over @author in trunk (not taking external libraries into account if I remember correctly). Also the information of which authors ryan spoke is missing. Additionally the note in the codex page just has been removed. Just to recap the timeline:

I will try to gather even more attention from the free software community to clarify the attribution/naming of authors issues regarding the status of the copyright and GPL. I think the more information there is, the better it is.

From the projects I know of, which do not want to have author-credited-code inside their trunk, they communicate that upfront. I think that should be done in the wordrepss project as well if that is what is wanted so a contributer knows with what she/he has to deal with.

Maybe it is a suggestion to let the names in there but remove the @author tags?

#11 @hakre
14 years ago

  • Keywords dev-review added; dev-reviewed commit removed
  • Resolution fixed deleted
  • Status changed from closed to reopened

#12 @hakre
14 years ago

I reopened to gather some traction on the open issues with this ticket. Ryan some more comments?

#13 @nacin
14 years ago

  • Resolution set to fixed
  • Status changed from reopened to closed

#14 @dd32
14 years ago

hakre: In this case, I'd request you not re-open this ticket again, If you would like to discuss it, I'd request that you take it to an appropriate location (Such as contacting Ryan or Matt directly to discuss your concerns, or preferably the wp-hackers mailing list).

All @author tags which are not on external code has been removed (I've just checked) and future commits will reflect that.

#15 @hakre
14 years ago

Until today, I had not recieved any feedback from ryan for which author(s) he can speak.

Since this remains undocumented leaves an aftertaste to say at least.

#16 @hakre
14 years ago

  • Keywords dev-review removed

#17 @hakre
14 years ago


#18 in reply to: ↑ 6 @hakre
13 years ago

Replying to matt:

Subversion also tracks credit through commit messages:

What has the subversion project to do with the wordpress project regarding crediting?

I don't see it done like it is outlined in the document you linked.

Can you provide more information?

Copyright related: #6663

#19 @hakre
13 years ago

Related: #16269

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