My take on this might be clear to you, if it’s not: I am building the most complete WordPress SEO plugin out there and I recently wrote a post on the topic. There’s certainly parts of this, like proper heading structures and clean HTML that are task of the theme, but titles and descriptions are content, not design, and should thus be handled by plugins. Says enough about my opinion, right?
<update:> The Thesis team and myself have apparently miscommunicated quite effectively. Derek Halpern reached out (as you can partly see in the comments) and they’ve agreed to make sure their theme plays nice with my, and other, SEO plugins. The idea is to give the user the choice, which is what I proposed below as well in my perhaps slightly harsh words :) </update>
What I wanted to share with you today is how different theme authors treat this topic. Brian Gardner and Nathan Rice of StudioPress have been actively working on SEO Data Transporter, allowing people to move data back and forth, I’ve sent them patches, and Brian has been very kind about that:
— Brian Gardner (@bgardner) December 2, 2010
Genesis also disables their own SEO functionality when my, or any other SEO plugin, is active: it’s their users choice, not theirs. The guys of the HeadWay theme have been working with me to make sure my plugin also works well with their theme, even doing an update to their framework to make titles work recently.
Compare that to another theme author, replying to a user who wanted his theme to do the same:
— pearsonified (@pearsonified) December 7, 2010
I’ll wait for hell to freeze over, or for that theme to become irrelevant. You know, when you’re Steve Jobs, you get to be that arrogant about your customers wishes, and even he had to cave in regarding apps on the iPhone. Obviously, this author is nowhere near Steve Jobs. You see, open source is about choices. Choices for users, not for product developers. But I guess I should not expect him to get that, as this author has a history of not understanding open source.