Is Ghost team still on track?

Over the past few months, I have been deeply engaged with the Ghost ecosystem, aiming to potentially build a business on top of it. After spending considerable time on the GitHub repository, exploring documentation, and participating in this forum, I now have several questions about the current state of the Ghost team and their mission.

I’ve noticed that updating documentation does not seem to be part of the Ghost team’s development workflow. Since it’s also not open source, this appears to be a significant conflict with their published mission of “building open source technology for journalism.” Open source involves more than just making the source code available; the lack of comprehensive documentation creates a significant barrier for those wishing to use and contribute to this mission. For instance, in a topic here, it was suggested to highlight missing parts in the forum, but my attempt to do so went unnoticed. Additionally, many posts and questions here stem from confusion due to inadequate documentation.

Visiting the official website as a newcomer to Ghost, one might not immediately perceive it as an open-source project, but rather as a service competing with Substack. I spoke with a prominent newsletter owner on Substack who expressed some dissatisfaction with it. When I suggested considering Ghost, he responded, “Ghost is too expensive.” This made me realize that non-technical visitors might not perceive Ghost as software, but as a service—unlike WordPress, which clearly distinguishes its project site from its hosting service, effectively communicating its open-source nature.

I also observe that the Ghost team prioritizes feature requests only when they align with the Ghost Pro roadmap. This approach may have been essential in the early phases of the project to secure funding, but in recent years, Ghost Pro has reportedly been generating sufficient revenue to support the team, which continues to embrace a small-team principle.

Perhaps things have changed. Maybe the Ghost team is considering transitioning to a commercial web hosting company. If so, I believe we deserve to know this. Clear communication about the current state and future plans would be beneficial.

Please understand, my admiration for the work of this exceptional team remains strong. I am impressed by their vision and their management thus far. It’s also possible that I am overlooking some reasons behind the issues I’ve raised. However, I felt it was best to share these concerns here and initiate an open discussion to gather feedback from as many people as possible.

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Development beyond minor bug fixes seems to largely have been abandoned. Ghost had/has the potential to really take advantage of the popularity of newsletters (and combining that with a blog/website differentiates Ghost), but companies like Beehiiv (that actively update their product) have blown past it.

I appreciate the simplicity of the Ghost UI, but common feature requests (such as a Media Library and some level of autoresponders) seem to just get ignored, in favor of updates nobody asked for, like emojis.

It’s also not clear who Ghost is really built for. Content creators or developers? The clean and simple UI is great. I love it as a content creator. But there’s a lot of basic functionality that requires technical knowledge.

The cost of using ghost for newsletters is very expensive once you have any decent amount of users.

I try to remain hopeful that Ghost will stick around, but it seems it could use some better product management and direction.

Maybe work and planning is being done behind the scenes that they’re not telling anyone about?

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-Just so it’s clear though, I love Ghost, and am real happy with it overall.

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This is clearly not the case - right now the core team are in the early stages of building in ActivityPub support, and are actively blogging about it.

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