Process Proposal: Moderating the New Showcase

Earlier in 2023, @jpantani posted about Revitalizing the Showcase, and the new Showcase launched on October 18th, 2023. The following is an update on what sort of entries have come in so far, and a proposal for the next steps in moderation.

Submission Stats

In the first 30 days post-launch, the Showcase received 142 new submissions. This is in line with expectations based on the trend of over a thousand submissions each year. After performing a high-level review of these entries, I found the following:

  • Of the 142 entries, 48 (34%) were immediately omitted due to the site: not loading, having SSLSSL Secure Socket Layer - Encryption from the server to the browser and back. Prevents prying eyes from seeing what you are sending between your browser and the server. errors, being a blank/hosting/domain page, containing only default content (i.e. “Hello world”), being a duplicate submission, or not being a WordPress site.
  • 21 entries (15%) were discounted due to low-resolution images, excessive ads, broken styling, etc. Some of these seem to be intentional efforts to drive traffic to sites with a ton of ads or affiliate links.
  • The remaining 73 entries are in this Google sheet so everyone can see the breadth of submissions. Note that these have not been reviewed beyond the simple checks mentioned above.

49% of entries being unsuitable (due to the reasons stated above) for the Showcase is also in line with previous Showcase behavior. Unfortunately, the new submission form and login requirement do not seem to be deterring these low-quality entries.

Ongoing Showcase Moderation

Given the volume and nature of the Showcase submission cadence, it would not make sense to create 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. issues for every submission. Even narrowed to the 73 passable entries, creating an issue per submission would be time-consuming and create a lot of notification noise. It should be noted that no integration currently allows the automatic creation of Github issues from Showcase submissions.

Instead, I think a Showcase admin (myself or perhaps @ndiego or @laurlittle) could periodically export entries to a spreadsheet like the one shared above. Marketing contributors and others are invited to the sheet to collaborate on the review. Based on the obvious motivation to manipulate this process, this document should not be publicly editable, but could be publicly visible.

After sites are reviewed in the spreadsheet, those deemed appropriate for publication in the Showcase could be turned into Github issues (ideally with a new issue template) where collaborators can submit screenshots, copy, etc. Once complete, a Showcase admin could publish this content as a new Showcase entry. This process is similar to that of the People of WordPress, so there is some precedent for it working already.

Next Steps

This post is a proposal to which everyone can offer feedback and/or volunteer to help with moderation and content. With new submissions piling up daily, establishing a process within the next couple of weeks is the soft deadline. Future iterations are certainly possible and expected, and I would hope that over time some of these tasks can be automated.

Assuming this process is agreeable, we will need the following:

  • A fresh Google sheet to store exported Showcase submissions
  • A new issue template in the Marketing-Team repo
  • Reviewers to go through submissions and create Github issues for those that meet the submission criteria
  • Copywriters to write the Showcase entry descriptions (an excellent task for new contributors)
  • Designers to capture the necessary screenshots

Thank you to @ndiego, @laurlittle, @rmartinezduque, and @ninianepress for their review of this proposal.