Proposal: What’s next for the Outreach program

Following the post Evolving the FSE Outreach Program, there was a transition period of six months after the 6.4 release and the end of Phase 2. Now let’s discuss what could happen after this period. 

This post recommends the next steps. Before that, some clarification of terms might be in order: 

  • Site builder = No code/low code user who builds sites for others
  • Extender: Developers/designers who build plugins and themes or work for agencies or as freelance developers/designers.

Because site builders and Extenders regularly intersect, the channel’s content and discussions will be relevant to both groups of users. 

A good first step could be to rename the channel from #fse-outreach-experiment to #outreach, as it will be about more than FSE, and no longer an experiment. 

Several projects could use SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at support in the WordPress space for discussion, clarification, and overall ruminating on future features coming to WordPress. A list of discussions, sharing, and information that could be shared in the channel follows. None of them are exclusive, but they made the list because they don’t necessarily fit other channels. 

The ideas also don’t warrant a separate channel, but all ideas come from knowing that non-contributors need to connect with contributors. As noted in comments on the previous post, a clear outcome of the FSE Outreach program was that connecting in this channel facilitated participants’ first contributions and lowered the barrier to connecting with the open-source project. 

  1. The channel is a place for attendees and viewers of regular Developer Hours to connect with presenters. The discussion could cover the event’s topic beyond the live event. The same is true for the Hallway Hangouts. Resources for both events will be shared in the channel.
  1. Once the Test team, or any other team, issues a new call for testing, the feedback would be surfaced here in a conversation about challenges and to help answer questions.
  1. There might be a breaking change in an upcoming release that needs attention from extenders.The channel can provide space for additional discussion on workarounds, etc.
  1. Excerpts from the Dev Chat agenda/summary of the user-facing updates from contributors can be shared, if they are relevant for site builders and extenders.
  1. The channel can subscribe to the What’s New for Developers round-up posts feed, so posts are shared upon publishing.
  1. In collaboration with design and engineering teams, discussion from GitHubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. and TracTrac An open source project by Edgewall Software that serves as a bug tracker and project management tool for WordPress. can be raised in the channel to solicit input from those interested in the topics.
  1. The outreach channel is also the place to point people to from other networks (X, Mastodon, or Facebook) when there is a need to discuss issues/topics that are outside the scope of the Support team and require a WordPress space to get a few people in from other teams involved. 
  1. The channel could also be a resource for MeetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on will help you find options in your area. Organizers who have questions or need advice on facilitating local discussions about upcoming features. 

Independent of the list of activities, the #outreach (working title) Slack channel will continue as a central point of contact with the community.

This can only be a group endeavor if we want to broaden the reach and be a welcoming place for people interested in particular focuses of the software. Quite a few people raised their hands to be part of a continuation of the outreach program, be it to participate in discussions or to follow future calls for testing. If you are interested, please let us know in the comments! 

All feedback on this proposal is welcome. Here is a set of questions that could get you started: 

  1. Naming things is hard, so what do you think about the future name “outreach”? Any other ideas for a name? 
  2. What do you think about the eight ideas shared about what a conversation might look like in the channel? 
  3. Do you have any other ideas for community outreach that could have a place here? 

Feedback by February 12th would be appreciated. 

Nick Diego, Justin Tadlock, and I would like to invite contributors to a Hallway Hangout on February 20th, 2024, at 15:00 UTC to discuss this proposal, the comments, and the next steps. 

Props for review and input to @ndiego,@greenshady, @angelasjin, and @cbringmann.


Evolving the FSE Outreach Program

What started as an experimental program in May 2020 with the expectation that the Site Editor would ship in the following 6 or so months turned into nearly 3.5 years of feedback loops, knowledge sharing, and community building. With WordPress 6.3 bringing Phase 2 to completion, it’s time for the FSE Outreach Program to evolve alongside the broader WordPress project and needs. All good things must come to an end–or they need to adapt to continue to stay relevant. 

The proposed plan:

  • The FSE Outreach Program transitions into a focused space for solving issues, creating resources, and facilitating conversations around adopting Phase 2 led by a new crew of folks (@ndiego, @greenshady, @bph). If you are interested in contributing, please comment on this post. Big thank you to those folks for stepping into this! 
  • After 6.4 betaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process. 1, the facilitated calls for testing will be replaced by ad hoc calls for testing run by the Make Test team or contributors who need specific features tested.

The program will run for an additional 6 months minimum with this evolved approach before concluding with hand-offs and collaboration with the Training, Documentation, and Test teams as needed. This is the proposal so please share your feedback below so it can be iterated upon as needed.

Why is this happening?

With WordPress 6.3, the Site Editor is firmly part of the CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. WordPress experience. What was once experimental, is now matured and can use the usual WordPress feedback pathways available for all. The intention of this experimental Outreach Program was to “get feedback about pain points to the right people faster and help keep us on track for Phase 2”. We did this! You did this. 

Now, it’s time to focus even more on adopting what’s been built, something that has been a part of the Outreach Program efforts but that deserves a greater spotlight at this stage. With Phase 3 coming into view, this will also open up an opportunity for new outreach efforts. 

When will this happen?

Here’s the expected timeline if we follow the above proposal:

Where was this discussed? 

While this has been a topic of discussion throughout the duration of the FSE Outreach Program (it’s one of the most repeated questions I’ve been asked), it gained more prominence around the 6.3 release and the wrap up of phase 2. The first mention of what was to come happened on August 7th which was followed up with a flurry of conversations in the last few weeks including in a #make-test meeting, recap pings in the outreach program, and an amplifying ping in #6-4-release-leads. This post in and of itself is part of the broader discussion too so please share your thoughts/questions/concerns. 

Where will user feedback go when this happens? 

User feedback is always valued and can go the same places we’ve always brought it in the community: GitHubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. and TracTrac An open source project by Edgewall Software that serves as a bug tracker and project management tool for WordPress.. It’s so important to continue receiving user and contributor feedback, and moving it to the main feedback channels will help streamline the triagetriage The act of evaluating and sorting bug reports, in order to decide priority, severity, and other factors. process at this stage and scale. Additionally, keep in mind that some contributor team meetings, like #core-editor offer Open Floor times to ask questions, or feature channels like #feature-website-navigation where you can talk about a specific topic.

What do you all want to see documented for future outreach efforts?

I’d love to know what I can do to ensure that anyone else who tries to start an outreach program in WordPress has an abundance of helpful places to turn. Here’s what I have currently that I plan to sweep through before wrapping everything up: 

What’s missing? I am happy to write personal blogblog (versus network, site) posts as well, similar to prior reflections like On future outreach program models in the WordPress community, if something doesn’t fit nicely in the mix.

Want to help with the future of the Outreach Program?

Fantastic, please comment below. I’d love for this evolution to be even more impactful than the current version. 

Thank you for making WordPress better

For the folks who translated the calls for testing to bring others along:

For folks who ran group testing and summarized the feedback: 

For the folks who responded 3+ times to a call for testing: @paaljoachim @piermario @bgturner @elbsegler @get_dave @priethor @courane01 @poena @luminuu @beckej @itsjustdj @hage @antigone7 @robglidden @clubkert @chopinbach @franz00 @jordesign @soivigol @josvelasco

For the folks who responded 5+ times to a call for testing: @paaljoachim @piermario @courane01 @hage @antigone7 @robglidden @clubkert @franz00

For @paaljoachim who responded to every single call for testing without fail, rain or shine. 

For folks who shared the calls for testing and helped get the word out, even when they couldn’t contribute directly.

For everyone who helped run or participated in the various hallway hangouts.

For all 140 folks who received Test Contributor badges for responding. 

For everyone who asked a question, opened an issue, shared a piece of feedback, and tried the Site Editor long before anyone else saw it. Thank you for making WordPress and the open web better. Thank you for engaging in a time and place when it’s so easy not to, especially during the depths of the pandemic when this all began.

Share your feedback by September 22nd, 2023

To help focus incoming feedback and to stay in an actionable place, please share any questions/comments/concerns in the next two weeks. I will write a summary then and help facilitate any next steps.

Thank you to @chanthaboune @juanmaguitar @bph @cbringmann @rmartinezduque for helping to review this post.