Support » Plugin: WangGuard » Why was WangGuard closed

  • Plugin Author Jose Conti

    (@jconti)


    Many people have been wondering why WangGuard closed for good. It is a question that I have come across more or less frequently in the WordPress forums, the official WordPress.org Slack, Twitter, and so on.

    I have never answered, but I feel that now the time has come to explain, since thousands of sites worldwide were using this plugin and there are conjectures everywhere.

    From what I’ve seen, those conjectures can be anything from the economic ones, the professional ones, or the “he closed it just because” ones.

    None of the above fits in the least with reality. Yes, WangGuard had a high server cost for me, but SiteGround had started to sponsor WangGuard, and hence that cost was gone. The only “cost” left was the time that I dedicated to the plugin. As to the professional one, that I had started to work for a company and had no time left, of course not. I still feel very comfortable working for myself, even though I can work more or less regularly for important companies, who know that I am a free agent. The “just because” conjecture is the most absurd of all: WangGuard was created to help people with a very big problem on the internet, particularly in WordPress (and various registration plugins). WangGuard made me known worldwide (at least to those interested in the developer), and opened doors which allowed me to meet great people. I’ve noticed this at WordCamp Europe, where, when introduced as the developer of WangGuard, people always had a big exclamation of gratitude for what I’d created.

    My purpose with WangGuard was never money. I could have made WangGuard a paid plugin at anytime, and had actually a plan for that for years, but didn’t do it because there is something inside me that would never let that happen. It was never, I repeat, never my plan to get rich with WangGuard, and I assure you that I could have done it easily: simply charging each of my users 24€/year, would have meant an income of more than 2 million euros per year. I just had to distribute a version of WangGuard I had collecting dust, with a checkbox on WangGuard’s server administration options but I never got it done. No matter other reasons, which only people very close to me know: I simply didn’t want to, nor did I want to be a millionaire.

    Now, without further introductions, let’s move on to what you really care about, which is the actual reason for WangGuard’s closure.

    WangGuard, without a doubt (and I say it with total tranquility and totally convinced), was the best anti-splog system to date. It was not intrusive, was transparent to the users, eliminated sploggers, and completely blocked the unwanted users. Apart from this, it offered super useful tools like total and absolute control of any type of activity that was carried out in a network or a multisite. It was European, not an absurd fact considering how the situation is right now, and the absolute protection of privacy that I always applied, the database, was registered with the proper data protection authorities. In short, there was no legal problem in using WangGuard.

    WangGuard worked in two different ways: as an algorithm that I had been refining for 7 years, and which was getting better as the sploggers evolved, so that it was always one step ahead of them, and also as human curation, in which I reviewed many factors, among them sites of sploggers to see if their content, could improve the algorithm and make sure that it worked correctly both when it was blocking or not blocking a site. The great secret of WangGuard was this second part. Without it WangGuard would not ever have become what it was.

    This human component is what I have been doing for 7 years, and also what has led me to close WangGuard (along with other considerations that are not relevant).

    Maybe you’ll be thinking that, of course, a significant amount of time was devoted to this, but if it is true that I did in fact spend a lot of time, this was still not the reason. As I said, a very important part of the development of WangGuard were my continued visits to sites: the problem was what I found, not the time I spent doing it. For 7 years, I have visited places where I saw pederasty, pictures and videos of murders (by razor blades, by gutting live people, by beheadings, dismemberments, to name a few), real videos of rape of all kinds (children, women, boys), photos of accidents in which people were totally disfigured, bizarre actions that I did not even know existed, and a very long “and so on”, which I do not want to expand on.

    During these seven years, my family knew that when I told them that I was going to work on WangGuard, they should not go where I was, the only reason being to protect them from the FILTH (with capital letters) that I had to see every day. Very few people can imagine what it’s like to see all that garbage every day. At first, it affected me to see all that but, over time, I tried to minimize it. Over time, however, instead of “getting used to” seeing all that shit, I started to be afraid (yes, afraid) of visiting those pages, despite the fact that I would come up for air once in a while and kept on doing it. Finally, a few months ago, I broke down. I disappeared from everywhere and fell into a depression. The 7 years of working at WangGuard finally took a toll on me. I had nightmares because of all the maccabre deaths I had seen, an obsession with protecting my children from pederasty, OCD, depression and many other symptoms. It took me about 6 months to recover (and honestly, I may be deceiving myself, since I do not think I completely recovered my life), after which I started going back on the internet. Now I am almost fully integrated back into the community, although I am missing things, such as collaborating fully in WordPress Barcelona again.

    And lastly, as I said WangGuard was the most effective tool to stop unwanted users, and for this reason I constantly received death threats. Yes, for 4 years I have had to suffer almost daily death threats from mafias for making them lose millions of dollars.

    All this and and only this is the real reason for WangGuard’s closure.

    I hope that my effort was helpful while it lasted, so that you do not have to worry about sploggers.

    • This topic was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  Jose Conti.
Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • It is true that your plugin has helped me a lot, on many installations, but nothing in this world is worth what you had to endure.

    I wish you and your family a full and happy recovery, with many thanks for your work on WG.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  Ze Fontainhas.
    Plugin Author Jose Conti

    (@jconti)

    Thanks a lot @vanillalounge happy to went helpful and thanks for translating the whole explanation into english.

    Considering that you had no intentions on profiting from it (in the short term) why not invite some more people to help? Why only one person on such precious project?

    Well, as for now, I really hope you get really much more that you gave to all of us.

    You deserve peace and gratitude from all of us. Thank you.

    Plugin Author Jose Conti

    (@jconti)

    Hi @vitormadeira,

    I ask for help sometimes, Some people offered to help, but then they disappeared 🙁

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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