- MFUs Travel In Packs
A Little Background
A while back, I submitted a theme to the the Theme Garden that was rejected with the ever-so-helpful feedback, “Does not fit accepted Tumblr blog aesthetics.”
This came as something of a disappointment. I looked but saw no obvious technical flaws or egregious style violations. I was left with an irritating conclusion: the reviewer just did not like the way it looked.
I became indignant at that point. While I grant that the theme did not possess universal appeal, I also felt it was the equal or better of many themes already in the Garden. In light of this injustice, my enthusiasm for theme-ing withered, and I focused on other interests for a time.
Eventually, I took another look at my rejected theme. I did so with new eyes and discovered there were some aspects I no longer found so aesthetically pleasing. I conceded perhaps the reviewer had had some basis for his judgement after all.
All was not crap, though. Some elements I still found innovative. I decided to return to the drawing board, so to speak. Over the course of a week, I evolved a new prototype theme. The new incarnation incorporated several new ideas with all the things I liked best from the original theme.
Apply Palm to Face
With the new prototype in shape, I set to convert it into the format of an actual Tumblr theme. During this process I had occasion to reference the original theme’s source code. The following line of code jumped out at me:
<h1><a href="/">Undercover Operative</a></h1>
That line is perfectly correct. For a prototype. For theme source code it should have read:
The later fills in the blog’s title with whatever value the blogger defines. This behavior is expected of all general purpose Tumblr themes. The former sets all instances of the blog to have the same title, which is a clear violation of the aesthetic rules.
A technical flaw existed all along.
Myriad Emotional Responses
As that realization sunk in, I experienced a number of emotions:
Chagrin — I strive for perfection in my writing, whether it’s prose or code. Mistakes where I know better are unacceptable, even if they occur with distressing frequency. Sure I’m human, but I don’t have to like it.
Annoyance — If instead of tossing out a generic, all-encompassing boilerplate rejection, Tumblr had offered something specific I probably would have found the problem. Something like “Theme is missing a required variable” would have been sufficient.
Regret — While Tumblr makes an easy scapegoate, truth is I made the mistake. I caved into doubt. I robbed myself of my enthusiasm. These are all my missteps, my failings.
Gratitude — If the theme had been accepted, I never would have iterated the design. With a second go-round, the theme is much improved, even if I say so myself. I’ll post it soon, and you can judge for yourself.
- Operative Review
- Asset Added:
- 2009.08.15 09:31:39
Why, yes, I was watching the fourth season of 24 on DVD when I was putting this theme together. Why do you ask?
If you you'd like a behind the curtain look at how the first version of this theme came together, click here.