Stop supporting commercial themes and plugins for free!

For the last days there has been much excitement about Thesis. Fo those who don’t know: Thesis is one of the more popular commercial themes for WordPress. Despite the special problems with this theme and its author it’s a more general question if customers of commercial should be supported for free by the community or not. So the question is:

Shall we stop supporting commercial
themes and plugins for free?

Pro:

  • The creator of commercial themes and plugins is making money from it and why should I give support? I will not get any money from my support but the creator will earn even more with subsequent products because of “the great support”.
  • People asking for support often are consultants, coders or designers making money from WordPress. They will not give me a single dollar if I give them support and help them to satisfy their customers.
  • There are special forums and mailinglist of commercial themes/plugins by the companies. Customers should use those.
  • I don’t support anything not GPL. Viva la revolución!
  • I could support the users but I would charge them for it.
  • There are better alternatives which are GPL. People should start using those and I’ll happily give them support.

Contra:

  • It’s all about the community! I don’t give a damn if others make money from it.
  • For me it doesn’t matter if I give support for free or commercial themes/plugins. The only reward I want is reputation.
  • Many of the commercial authors are active members of the WordPress community and give free support for other problems themselves.
  • Not all users (if not the majority) of commercial themes/plugins are professionals.
  • Often the commercial support is poor and the WordPress community should help those poor lost souls with their problems.
  • There are many support forums for other commercial software where people help each other in their spare time why should WordPress themes and plugins be an exception?
  • All this commercial stuff is making WordPress even more popular and so there will be more people helping WordPress getting better and better
  • Even Matt Mullenweg is profiting from all the free support from the community. Automattic would never be able to do it themselves and to present and enhance the best blogging system since sliced bread.

BTW: This is the third best article about this topic! (Couldn’t resist.)

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