Boy Howdy

WordPress Howdy Jeffro2pt0 of the Weblog Tools Collection blog reports that some significant number of WordPress developers are irritated by the software’s practice of greeting users of its interface with a “Howdy” in the upper right hand corner.

It seems as though the word Howdy, is not liked by many people in many places. I’ve been monitoring an ongoing discussion taking place in the WordPress hackers mailing-list about the subject of the word Howdy being used in all instances of WordPress, despite the locality of the end user. The discussions have ranged from “Not everyone greets each other by saying Howdy” to “Whats the big deal about the word Howdy anyways, it’s not like it breaks WordPress”. The good news is, because WordPress is open source, there is generally someone out there who has the skill and know how to put together a solution for even the most mundane problems.

So, now, there’s a No Howdy! plug-in to localize the greeting. Its designer, Ozh, did it fully tongue-in-cheek, calling the controversy “quite pointless” and the installation of a plug-in to handle something so minor “total overkill.”

Since I actually employ the greeting with some regularity, I shan’t be availing myself of this one. It is a rather amusing controversy, though.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    Let me understand this. Why the hell would that problem need a plugin? I mean, he’s smart enough to write a blog about weblog tools which obviously would require him to understand something of blog maint, and yet he doesn’t know how to edit the PHP with a text editor, if it offends him so?

  2. James Joyner says:

    I don’t think “jeffro” is upset by the Howdy; he’s just reporting on a phenomenon.

  3. Bithead says:

    I remain amused, even in the non-specific case. Altering that code would seem elementary. (/amusement)

    And as a fellow wordpresser, (is that a word?) perhaps we can start a call together for more useful stuff to argue over about WP. For example, better category management, in my case, particularly, the ability to mass edit category elements. I ran into a major issue with that yesterday.

    Or, maybe, an update process that doesn’t require hours of time to update every time someone finds a bug. Ex: I finally got round to upping to 2.31 yesterday, and within 10 minutes of finishing that process, 10 minutes, I kid you not, 2.32 came out, with at least one major security bug listed for the version I just updated to.

    Starting to sound like Microsoft….. And these folks are arguing over THIS nonsense? Color me non-plussed.(/grump)

  4. Eneils Bailey says:

    Dr. Joyner,
    What the hell are you talking about?
    Not heard anyone say “Howdy” since I was in Idaho in 1988.
    You guys have to get out of Washington and realize that some parts of the country are not defined by democrat politicians and perpetuated by that view in the MSM headquartered in NYC and WDC.
    Anyway, “Howdy,” and have a nice day.

  5. Bithead says:

    1: Since the phrase was hared coded into the software before James installed it, we can assume he had nothing to do with it’s use within the context of that software.

    2: That said, it’s a word I use often enough. And I’m hardly in the palces you mention, living in the people’s Republic of New York.

  6. Tlaloc says:

    You are unlikely to find anyone with more antipathy for the south in general and Texas in specific than Moi. I regularly contend that Lincoln was a right royal git for not letting the south go when we had the chance, and I strongly support any immigration border fence that puts Texas on the Mexico side.

    All that having been said *I* still use “howdy” sometimes. I do not however use “y’all.” That one drives me nuts.

  7. Given this pseudocontroversy, I’m surprised nobody made a plugin that rotated the WordPress greeting between languages ala Flickr.

  8. Bithead says:

    Which is interesting given a lot of the development is being done in Europe.

  9. Michael says:

    cat index.php |sed -e 's/Howdy/Hello/g' > index.php

    Done. Somebody made a plugin to do this?

  10. Haha Michael, don’t forget that most bloggers are code-illiterate.

    The curious thing about the Howdy-bashing is the snobbiness of it all: “Oh, it sounds hick!” and so on. But I can’t imagine most of the critics responding to some other ethnic English by saying “It sounds black!” or “It sounds too Jewish!” etc.

  11. Mark Jaquith says:

    Why the hell would that problem need a plugin?

    Because then you don’t need to re-apply the change every time you upgrade, or be familiar with diff or svn. Maintaining core hacks is a pain in the butt, even if you know how to do it.

    And this “problem” is what we like to call a “bikeshed.”

  12. Tlaloc says:

    The curious thing about the Howdy-bashing is the snobbiness of it all: “Oh, it sounds hick!” and so on. But I can’t imagine most of the critics responding to some other ethnic English by saying “It sounds black!” or “It sounds too Jewish!” etc.

    That’s because we like blacks and Jews. What is there to like about hicks?