There has been a lot of debate of late on Twitter about whether or not WordPress is a CMS (ignoring the “WCM v CMS v ???” issue for now). Peter Monks is an proponent against the concept [Edit: He isn’t, see comments], as is Irina Guseva, a senior editor for CMS Wire. Ron Miller over at Fierce Content Management says that WordPress is a CMS and Tony Byrne at CMS Watch says it is for a simple reason: Many organizations are using WordPress as a CMS. That makes it a CMS.
That is a fallacious argument. I’ll explain why in a second, but some important facts. This blog, Word of Pie, is hosted by WordPress.com and I love it. If I decided to host the blog personally, I would use WordPress. For my blogging needs, it is perfect.
So do not read into any of this as an indictment against WordPress.
Why the Argument is Flawed
Let’s look at the statement. If people use it as an X, it is an X. I can tell you right now, through my years of creating fun solutions while out camping, traveling, and owning a house, that is not a valid argument.
- I once used a towel to fix my car. That doesn’t make it a car part, even though without it I wouldn’t have gotten home that day.
- I recently bought some instant oatmeal to eat in my hotel room. I didn’t have a bowl, so I made it in one of the glasses provided by the hotel. That doesn’t mean that the glass is a bowl. Don’t ask me what I used as a spoon.
- I can’t tell you how many times a mouse (mostly the older mechanical models) didn’t work on a table until I put a piece of paper under it. That didn’t make that piece of paper a mouse pad.
Those are a few examples that I had on the tip of my tongue. The point is that using something to solve a problem doesn’t make it designed to solve the problem.
Looking at all of the comments, here is one that sums up my opinion.
From Irina: WP is a publishing/blogging tool. It is not a #CMS, people…
To prove to me that WordPress is a CMS, the community needs to finish working on all of the definitions out there and get terms with which people agree. Then classify the systems because they vary quite a bit.
The fact that there is debate just reinforces that there is a lack of clarity.