Here at Education Is My Life we are going through a blog redesign (you may have noticed). We are making changes in both content and structure of the site. The ultimate goal is to make it user friendly, showcase our new monthly education topics, and the authors who write from a variety of perspectives. This is a detailed process and one I’ve been planning doing for a while now. As I was looking for inspiration for our new site I remembered the new blogging network “Svbtle” that Dustin Curtis created. I love the design of the sites (I’m a fan of the Kudos button although I know everyone is not) and it works really well as a platform for writers to do what they do best: write.
However, I don’t have near the designing and programming capabilities to create a network like Svbtle. We use WordPress and I continued the search for a new look. Then I came across the “Svbtle for WordPress” theme created by Gravity on Mars. It was a perfect fit for what I wanted to do with our site…but with a major catch. It was almost was too good to be true. Thank goodness I have spent a few years as an outlier in the tech community, participating in Hacker News and even trending a few times on the front page with posts like “The 20% Project (like Google) In My Class” and “Why Every Educator Should Read Hacker News”. If I didn’t have this exposure, I may have installed the theme immediately and started the redesign.
Instead, I sent a very quick email to Dustin. I told him my purposes for our blog and what we aimed to do in education. I also admitted that I was inspired by his work, and if he ever released a paid theme version of “Svbtle” I’d probably be first in line to buy it. Then I asked, “If you feel like it is a complete rip-off for anyone to use the WP Svbtle theme, then let me know and I’ll respect your wishes. I’m not in the business of starting any controversy. But I would like to use a network like yours and this is a great option for me with a WP working knowledge. I appreciate all you do…keep on fighting.”
Dustin got back to me within a day or two and very nicely said that he’d like to keep the Svbtle theme private while wishing me good luck with our network. I told him I’d respect his wishes. Simple as that.
In a world where anything can be used and re-used in a matter of seconds and clicks, I’ve learned my lesson the hard way that it’s much better to ask first, then have to beg for forgiveness later. I know it goes against the old adage, but I think the rules have changed in the 21st century.
While people may disagree about using the Svbtle theme, I hope we can all agree that common courtesy is something that should not be lost on our generation.