Discussion: Ending the Eternal September

As part of our ongoing discussion around improving the contributor journey, I recently asked a few folks their thoughts on Eternal September in open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL.. More specifically, I wondered:

  1. What makes it difficult for our seasoned contributors to mentor new contributors in the open source project?
  2. What happens for existing contributors when we have an influx of new contributors?
  3. Where are the pain points for existing contributors when we bring in new contributors?

Some Initial Thoughts

There were a lot of interesting responses, but there we a few common threads I heard:

Lack of Clarity

It’s hard for existing contributors don’t know a new contributor is in their onboarding, and therefore also hard to see if they are stuck or what could get them unstuck.

Lack of Skills

The primary work for teams is focused, i.e., marketing, coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress., etc. Welcoming and teaching new contributors is a different skill set from those specific focuses. And ever after accounting for that skills gap, there are unspoken cultural norms to get work looked at and moved forward which takes time and observation to learn, rather than task-oriented training.

Lack of Certainty

No matter whether a new contributor makes a single contribution or returns regularly over the coming months, the time required to make sure they have their bearings is the same. This creates tension among team members/existing contributors—they wonder whether they should prioritize existing work (new contributions) or training/support for new contributors.

What do you think?

I’d like your thoughts on the questions I posed above, but I’d also like you to consider this:

If we believe that speed of feedback on a contribution is key to helping a casual contributor become a regular contributor, then what would a good first contribution experience look like for a mentor?

#5ftf, #discussion, #five-for-the-future

Big Picture Goals 2023

To round out the excellent vision-setting done in both the State of the Word and Letter to WordPress, here are some goals and projects that we can anticipate in the WordPress project this year.

A Quick Caveat

There are always unexpected projects that arise over the course of the year. And there are big projects to move forward in pieces over the course of multiple years. This project is too big for me to see everything all the time, and I rely on the information from team reps and the vision from project leadership to help navigate any surprises.

If you don’t see a project here, keep in mind that many are still valuable to the overall success of our work. 

From 10,000 Feet

There are three pillars that the year’s projects are focused on:

  1. CMS: Complete the Main Tasks for Phase 2 and begin explorations for Phase 3.
  2. Community: Re-engage our community through learning, events, and celebrating our 20th year as a project.
  3. Ecosystem: Update distribution methods and mechanisms for extenders and CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. itself.

I’ve compiled a preliminary list of individual projects that support one of the above goals and are planned for 2023. This list will be updated throughout the year.

CMS

  • APIs:
    • All those related to Phase 3 of the GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ project
    • Fonts APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways.
    • Interactivity API
  • Openverse search in Core
  • Navigation blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience.
  • Media management
  • Simplify the release process
  • PHPPHP PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. http://php.net/manual/en/intro-whatis.php. 8.2 compatibility (Core and Gutenberg)
  • Block theme dev tools

Community

  • Community Summit planning and coordination
  • Holistic contributor onboarding
  • Refinement of Polyglot tools
  • Maintain learning content speed to ship Continue to ship learning content at the current pace
  • Update content and refresh design across wordpress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/
  • Establish contributor and mentor programs
  • Develop a canonical pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party program

Ecosystem

  • WordPress Playground
  • Explore improvements to our contributor tools
  • Create a WordPress brand discipline
  • Simplify the release process (also in CMS)
  • Refinement of Polyglot tools (also in Community)
  • Develop a canonical plugin program (also in Community)

How Can You Help?

I know that our code isn’t the only measure of our success. If you already know what type of contribution you’d like to make, you can check out this list of teams (with links to their community sites) and team reps. If you’re not yet sure, here are the areas that each team falls into:

  • Development, Technology, Code: Core/Editor, Mobile, CLICLI Command Line Interface. Terminal (Bash) in Mac, Command Prompt in Windows, or WP-CLI for WordPress./Tide, Security, Performance
  • Design, Product, UXUX UX is an acronym for User Experience - the way the user uses the UI. Think ‘what they are doing’ and less about how they do it./UIUI UI is an acronym for User Interface - the layout of the page the user interacts with. Think ‘how are they doing that’ and less about what they are doing.: Design, AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility), Test, Triage
  • Community, Extending WP, Education: Community, Themes, Plugins, Polyglots, Training
  • Contributor Experience: MetaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress., Docs, Hosting, Privacy
  • Communications: Marketing, Support, WPTV

A Note on Specialized Groups

A couple of coordinated efforts provide essential support to the progress of multiple teams.

  • Triage: The triage effort happens across multiple teams and has two purposes. One purpose is to ensure tickets are sorted and have all the elements needed for someone to work on them. The second purpose is to determine priority. Not everyone has the information to set priority, but anyone can help sort and replicate reported bugs!
  • Test: The testing effort also happens across multiple teams and has multiple purposes. One purpose is to validate bugs, bug fixes, and new features before they go to users. The second purpose is to bring continuous, high-quality feedback throughout the release cycle. A lot of that coordination happens on make.wordpress.org/test, but there are also calls to test during various points of the release process in the Core channel.

#goals, #planning

2022 State of the Word Q&A

State of the WordState of the Word This is the annual report given by Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress at WordCamp US. It looks at what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and the future of WordPress. https://wordpress.tv/tag/state-of-the-word/. 2022 was held in New York City on December 15, 2022. It was a welcome feeling to gather together again in person for this annual and anticipated event. After a keynote address that looked at the year’s successes and a peek at what’s to come in the year ahead, the WordPress project’s co-founder @matt engaged in a warm and insightful question and answer session with the in-person attendees.

State of the Word 2022

As with events past, this post will list the questions from WordPress users and contributors that could not be answered live. 

Q1. “Own your content” has long been a rallying cry of WordPress. How does this fit with Tumblr’s model of a centralized content server? WordPress.comWordPress.com An online implementation of WordPress code that lets you immediately access a new WordPress environment to publish your content. WordPress.com is a private company owned by Automattic that hosts the largest multisite in the world. This is arguably the best place to start blogging if you have never touched WordPress before. https://wordpress.com/ allows me to own my content because I can export it to an independent instance. Will we see a standalone Tumblr, like WordPress?

A1. Think of both of them as having different frontends but the same great coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. (WordPress) on the backend. Tumblr is a SaaS service and, from the standpoint of owning your content, quite a bit of work has gone into data portability. It’s true that Tumblr’s not quite yet open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. yet, but a lot of work is planned to unify APIs, support RSS, and generally make it more open overall.

In a recent Hallway Chats podcast (beginning at 29:07) with Topher DeRosia and Nyasha Green, Matt offered the following analogy:

“My hope is that basically Tumblr and wordpress.com, they’ll be essentially like two different restaurants that share the same kitchen. You have a different vibe, different dishes, different experience, different kind of front-end experience, but on the back end, the same great ingredients, the same attention to detail, same infrastructure, same sort of stuff that makes it excellent. Food is actually a good analogy.” 

Matt Mullenweg; January 6, 2023

Q2. Will WordPress be a thing after the entire focus is moved to GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/

A2. WordPress is here to stay. The purpose of the Gutenberg project is to evolve WordPress and its capabilities. The Gutenberg pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party itself is a tool for early testing and stabilization of features that will land in and improve WordPress Core, but will not replace it. Matt addresses this further during the State of the Word.

Q3. Are we doing enough for the open-source Contributors and what more can we do to recognize or give back to the community to grow the number of Contributors?

A3. It’s hard to define what “enough” is when it comes to supporting open source contributors. Everyone is invited to celebrate the work done within the project, and a simple way to do so is to recognize folks in the Making WordPress Slack #props channel. There is always room for improvement, though. If you’ve got thoughts about how we can do that, we’d love to hear them! Join the discussion on how to improve the contributor experience. 

Q4. Can we perhaps have a second Q&A event with Matt each year to allow for more active feedback and comments from the community in person?

A4. Several other Q&A opportunities with Matt occur throughout the year at most flagship WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. events in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. This year the Community Summit will resume, which is also another great opportunity for contributors to exchange feedback and ideas in person. Submit your topic by January 16.

Q5. Why is polylingual functionality in Core less important than collaboration? More than 50% of WordPress installs are not in English.

A5. WordPress is committed to making itself available in as many languages as possible. As part of that commitment, Multilingual is on the roadmap for Phase 4 and set to commence immediately after Phase 3: Collaboration and Workflows, which begins this year.

From a technical point of view, making WordPress natively multilingual is quite challenging. Adding collaboration tools in advance will help support Phase 4 technical’s implementation and provide tools to manage multilingual content out of the box, like translation and review workflows. So Phase 3 will not just “inform” Phase 4 but will actually create the infrastructure and features central to making Phase 4 possible.

Listen to Matt’s full response here.

Q6. Can Media Library finally get a refresh? We need to be able to organize the images in there. 

A6. Yes! Revamping the Media Library and providing better management, discovery, and collaboration tools for media content are on the roadmap for Gutenberg’s Phase 3.

Q7. Are you concerned about the implications of AI image generation being built on top of the copywritten work of artists without their knowledge or consent?

A7. The WordPress open source project supports a free and open web; as long as AI image generation supports initiatives that abide by CC licensing requirements, then AI image generation can be a good thing that helps augment natural human creativity. Listen to Matt’s thoughts on the subject in the Q&A session.

​Q8. Will there be preferred browsers for playground dev?

A8. Currently, WordPress Playground works across all browsers apart from Edge. To learn more and to start using the tool, please visit: ​​https://developer.wordpress.org/playground/ 

Q9. WordPress introduced and pushed “post formats” with the 2014 theme. Regarding the development in the Twitterverse, what are your thoughts on the post format asides? And what do you think of post formats in a blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. editor world?

A9. Currently, post formats are in a stable state; they are still supported and usable, but there are no real plans to foster adoption or add additional functionality around them. There are no plans to focus on them during the remaining phases of the Gutenberg project, but if there were a group of motivated contributors who wanted to spend some time on post formats, we would welcome those contributions!

Q10. 2022 shows some progress in the design of mobile features in WordPress: fluid typography, fluid spacing, gaps, etc. However, there are some missing functions: is there some plan to add responsive block order, show/hide, and more features for responsive menus? We work with some African companies and their customers are almost all on mobile (80%). So for them, mobile-first is the rule.

A10. Continued improvement of the mobile experience is absolutely on our collective minds for 2023. There is an active discussion about the limitations of breakpoints vs the opportunities represented by intrinsic web design principles. You can follow and participate in that topic on GitHub.

Q11. Does the project have any plans for future updates to the full administrator UIUI UI is an acronym for User Interface - the layout of the page the user interacts with. Think ‘how are they doing that’ and less about what they are doing., i.e. “the dashboard,” as it appears dated particularly when compared to other website builders? 

Several State of the Word attendees asked about the modernization of the dashboard and its UXUX UX is an acronym for User Experience - the way the user uses the UI. Think ‘what they are doing’ and less about how they do it./UI. This question has been modified to reflect that.

A11. Revamping the administration interface (which many of us refer to as “wp-admin” or “the dashbaord”) is included in plans for Phase 3 as it is arguably intrinsic to better collaboration. So far the features being explored are new content management screens (for blocks, styles, fonts, etc.), new admin tools like a global search, and a refresh of notifications.

Q12. What is the word on the need for child themes when customizing block themes?

A12. Block themes are much simpler to customize than classic themes, so while the creation of child themes is supported by block themes, it’s often not needed. Child themes are still valuable, though, when seeking to extend themes from other developers or Core.

Q13. What is the state of the traditional theme?

A13. While the future belongs to block themes, many modern WordPress features are supported by classic themes to help smooth the transition and upgrade path. For example, WordPress 6.1 allows block template parts in classic themes.

Q14. Is the style guide also visible for non-block themes?

A14. There isn’t a guide currently because Styles aren’t available for non-block themes. You can learn more and discuss on this GitHub issue

Q15. Will the plugin directory for developers always use subversionSVN Apache Subversion (often abbreviated SVN, after its command name svn) is a software versioning and revision control system. Software developers use Subversion to maintain current and historical versions of files such as source code, web pages, and documentation. Its goal is to be a mostly compatible successor to the widely used Concurrent Versions System (CVS). WordPress core and the wordpress.org released code are all centrally managed through SVN. https://subversion.apache.org/.? Or are there any plans to go full git?

A15. There are no plans to move toward git at this time. There are ongoing discussions on how to support more integrations with 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. https://github.com/ or GitLab that you can learn more about here.

Q16. Years ago, it was much easier to grow a plugin for WordPress and make an impact. What can plugin devs do outside of Freemium/Premium/Paid Add-On models? Donors/sponsors are difficult to find

A16. Plugins are quite similar to consumer products, and finding the right product-market fit and building it to ensure the highest quality are key factors in terms of finding success for a plugin. Careful market landscape research and quality checks will help plugin devs evaluate whether their efforts find the right fit with users. 

Q17. Will Canonical Plugins get a blue checkmark?

A17. There isn’t yet a specific plan for how canonical plugins will be displayed on the plugin directory, but this is a wonderful suggestion for Make Design.

Q18. Regarding backend UX/UI, can consideration be given to a standard way of grouping/organizing plugins in the menu? Multiple plugins that insert a link into the menu can make it cluttered.

A18. Though this part of very future forward work, this topic is currently being explored in this post under the section “Make it extensibleExtensible This is the ability to add additional functionality to the code. Plugins extend the WordPress core software..” 

Q19. How is WordPress addressing the incessant notifications in the WP dashboard – will there be a Notifications ban in the dashboard and the set up of a Notifications Central point? If not, why not?

A19. The feature notifications project work is ongoing, and there is renewed interest in getting the MVPMinimum Viable Product "A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development." - WikiPedia completed this year. Some new contributors have been joining the conversations, and anyone interested in this feature can join the #feature-notifications channel in the Make WordPress Slack.

Q20. The notification interface, is it also for promo and banners?

A20. As recommended in the Plugin Developer Guidelines, the WordPress notification interface is not intended to be used for advertisements or promotions.

Q21. How will Collaboration will be developed: as a Gutenberg plugin or WP Core integration? And when 6.2 or 6.4?

A21. Collaborative Workflows will be developed within the Gutenberg plugin. While it’s too soon to tell when and what collaboration tools will land in WordPress core, using the Gutenberg plugin allows for early access to all these features as soon as they are available

Q22. When was the last time someone actually used “Post via email” in the settings area?! (followed up with: more along the lines is why is it still in core? I get users totally confused by it all the time as they think it’s email settings, etc..)

A22. That is still in use! The feature was originally created as a parity tool for Posterous and has remained in Core. A helpful guide for support is located here.

Q23. What about the third-party Site Builders, are they a thing of the past?

A23. The Block Editor provides numerous APIs for third-party site builders, which they are encouraged to use to leverage the benefits of storing content in block format.

Q24. Will ActivityPub support be added to WordPress and will Mastodon publishing be added to Jetpack?

A24. Yes, the ActivityPub plugin is up for review as a canonical plugin later this year, and Mastodon publishing is also due to be added.

Q25. How does WP support the GDPR, privacy, e.g. relating to territorial disputes regarding privacy issues between the EU and the US and increased cyber threats?

A25. Many of these issues relate to how and where each individual site is operated, so it is difficult to find and apply a global solution in WordPress Core. Solutions are best found in the various plugins and integrations available.

Q26. Not sure if this is the right platform, but the removal of “Active Installs” raised a few questions. Maybe shed some light on the idea behind that.

A26. Others have raised this topic recently, which has been deeply discussed on this Trac ticket.

Q27. I’m wondering about the custom post types/custom fields.. are we going to see them baked in Core soon?

A27. These are currently supported in core programmatically, and there are currently no plans to expose a UI in the dashboard for the management/creation of these. There are existing plugins that fill this need if required.

Q28. Is there any plan or conversation about integrating Composer into WordPress for sites to manage their dependencies (plugins, themes, custom libraries, Core) via code?

A28. Within the WordPress community, composer holds different definitions for different groups. For example, there’s a non-WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ packager that many WordPress-via-composers use, like https://wpackagist.org/. The work on the Plugin Dependency feature is ongoing too. Read more about the recent work on this Trac ticket or this call for testing plugin dependencies

Enormous thanks to @akirk, @zieladam, @annezazu, @bengreeley, @cbringmann, @dd32,   @harishanker, @priethor, @psykro, @jpantani, @mcsf, @eidolonnight, @rmartinezduque for their help in researching, answering, and editing this post.

#qa, #wcus2022, #wordpress

Request for Feedback: How can we Improve the Five for the Future Contributor Journey?

The WordPress project has made great strides this year thanks to its contributors. As WordPress enters an exciting new era of growth in 2023, it is time to examine how Five for the Future can best support the project and the people behind it. 

This post shares research on the contributor journey for individuals and organizations committed to the Five for the Future initiative. Your feedback will be valuable in further refining the contribution experience for pledged contributors. 

Self-sponsored Contributors and Pledging

At this time, individual self-sponsored contributors can edit their wordpress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ profiles to update and share the number of contribution hours per week towards their chosen contributor teams. However, after pledging contribution time towards their respective teams, the onus is on the contributors to follow up on their commitments. Below is a flowchart representing the current contributor journey for self-sponsored contributors in Five for the Future.

A flowchart depicting the contributor journey for individual self-sponsored WordPress contributors in relation to Five for the Future.

As depicted in the flowchart, many contributors pledging their time to Five for the Future tend to drop off. Based on conversations with contributors, I identified some reasons why this may be happening: 

  • Self-sponsored contributors do not get any direction on navigating the project or identifying contributor teams.
  • There is no onboarding for self-sponsored contributors pledging their time to the Make/Teams of their choice. 
  • Making the first contribution can require a lot of coaching and guidance, which is currently not available to self-sponsored contributors.
  • Pledged contributors frequently do not get any additional guidance or support on making ongoing contributions to the project. 
  • There is a lack of clarity on what constitutes a Five for the Future contribution.

When a contributor making a recurring time commitment to a big project like WordPress lacks guidance on how they can honor their commitment, their contributions could stagnate. In other words, at this time, the journey of a pledged contributor is not very much different from a non-pledged contributor.

Companies and Pledging

Companies have a more nuanced relationship with Five for the Future. They are listed on the Five for the Future website with dedicated profiles, which include lists of the Make/Teams they contribute to, linked contributors, and the total number of hours pledged. However, like individual contributors, once a company commits time and resources to Five for the Future, they frequently also lack direction or guidance on contributing. 

You will find below a flowchart representation of the current contributor journey for companies. As you can see below, in an ideal world, when a company pledges to Five for the Future, they should go on to make ongoing contributions to WordPress and build a mutually successful relationship. At this time, companies have to figure out the nuances of contributions themselves and put in extra effort to provide ongoing contributions to the project. If they are unable to get that support, their contributions could stagnate.  

A flowchart depicting the contributor journey for companies pledged to WordPress through Five for the Future.

Companies and organizations that have grown alongside WordPress or that already have experienced contributors may be able to navigate through the process more efficiently. However, many companies in the program (especially newer companies) could have a tough time figuring out WordPress contributions. Some of the issues faced by Five for the Future companies include: 

  • Lack of guidance on the next steps after pledging (Ex: How can a company start contributing to a Make/Team – example, Make/CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. or Make/AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility))
  • Missing direction for companies navigating their Five for the Future contributions (Ex: How does a company build a Five for the Future strategy? How do they effectively make contributions as a company? Are contributions aligned with company goals and WordPress project goals?)
  • Significantly less ongoing support for their contributor journey.
  • Little or no awareness of how companies can benefit from Five for the Future 

These issues could potentially lead to some companies reducing the quantum of contributions or even dropping off the program. 

How Can We Improve the Five for the Future Contributor Journey?

As @chanthaboune mentions in Episode 35 of the WordPress Podcast, Five for the Future intends to foster “generous collaboration toward the long term health and stability of our project for the future.” While the program has made great strides since its formal launch in 2019, starting the journey to the next iteration of Five for the Future will make that vision a reality. With improved onboarding and better cross-team communication between companies and contributors, that reality will also enjoy an unmatched contributor experience that benefits both the WordPress project and contributors alike. 

  • What do you think about the existing contributor journey? What are our successes and pain points?
  • How can we improve the contributor journey for Five for the Future contributors and sponsoring companies?
  • What more can Five for the Future do to help its contributors?
  • How can Five for the Future contributors best support Make/WordPress Teams? 

Please share with us in the comments on this post! Your feedback will go a long way in shaping the contributor experience of our favorite open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. project. 

Additionally, if you are an existing WordPress or Five for the Future contributor or work closely with Make/WordPress Team, @angelasjin and I would love to chat with you. Please express your interest in the comments of this post, pingPing The act of sending a very small amount of data to an end point. Ping is used in computer science to illicit a response from a target server to test it’s connection. Ping is also a term used by Slack users to @ someone or send them a direct message (DM). Users might say something along the lines of “Ping me when the meeting starts.” @angelasjin or myself (@harishanker) in the Make/WordPress SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/., or simply drop a mail to getinvolved@wordpress.org so that we can schedule a conversation based on your availability.

#five-for-the-future #5ftF #discussion

This post was jointly written with @angelasjin.

Journal Entry: WordCamp Asia 2020 Cancellation Debrief

This is post-action documentation of what happened during the cancellation of WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. Asia at the start of the pandemic. There are no necessary action items remaining, this is simply to make the work and process available publicly should the need ever arise again ~Josepha.

Timeline – 2020

Early Jan:

  • 3 community members reached out to WordCamp CentralWordCamp Central Website for all WordCamp activities globally. https://central.wordcamp.org includes a list of upcoming and past camp with links to each. (WCC) to ask about how the coronavirus might impact WordCamp Asia (WCA).

Jan 21:

  • First mention of coronavirus among make.wp.org contributors, who were bringing concerns from their team members.

Jan 22:

  • WCC reached out to the WCA organizing team to discuss whether or not there was cause for concern.

Jan 27:

  • WCA organizing team publicly announced they were monitoring the situation: https://2020.asia.wordcamp.org/2020/01/27/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-outbreak-update/

Jan 29:

  • WCA team began researching contracts, etc. in case of a late cancellation.
  • Thai Department of Disease Control (DDC) made recommendations for gathering in crowded places, but no directives to postpone: https://ddc.moph.go.th/viralpneumonia/eng/file/recommendation/06crowded_place.pdf
  • WCC and WCA team collaborated on possible cancellation criteria and landed on travel advisory from US or UK to Thailand + travel advisory from any SE Asian country to Thailand.

Jan 30:

  • Declared a global health emergency by W.H.O.

Feb 4:

  • WCA local team member had a call with Thai Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation officer.
  • WCA team publicly shared their cancellation criteria, and assurances that planning was proceeding as usual: https://2020.asia.wordcamp.org/2020/01/27/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-outbreak-update/

Feb 10:
WCC received reports about the following:

  • a significant number of sponsors cancelled their travel
  • a significant number of speakers cancelled (due to health concerns or flight cancelations)
  • some companies were not allowing them to attend
  • Some organizers privately shared their concerns about legal consequences if the event did happen and people were infected.
  • our contact inside the Ministry of Health assured us that the Thai gov was planning an announcement for big events to be postponed.

Feb 11:

  • WCC had several meetings with the WCA team discussing all these factors with a focus on having our attendees’ safety as the main priority.
  • There was no unanimous position between WCA and WCA on what to do next.
  • Later that day, the DDC recommended that big events in Thailand be postponed unless absolutely necessary: https://ddc.moph.go.th/viralpneumonia/eng/file/recommendation/016Recommendations.pdf

Feb 12:

  • WC Asia was officially cancelled.
  • https://2020.asia.wordcamp.org/2020/02/12/cancellation/
  • https://wordpress.org/news/2020/02/wordcamp-asia-cancelled-due-to-covid-19/

Cancelling the Event

Action Plan
WCC and worked through an 8-hr handoff, global communication plan. Communicating the change was a lengthy process, due to the desire to maintain ethical communication patterns. It was important to let anyone who would have to accomplish the bulk of the work (or receive a bulk of the feedback) know first, and progressively share the information from there.

Inform the organizing team:

  • The team was spread across several time zones.
  • Naoko delivered the news progressively across all three time zones.

Inform the public:

  • Andrea coordinated with the organizing team when and how to communicate the changes through their channels.
  • Josepha coordinated with Matt how to communicate the changes on WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org//news.

Create supporting materials:

  • Writing and proofreading posts for each property
  • Letters to request that fees/penalties be waived
  • Emails to attendees, sponsors, etc

Logistics management:

  • Canceling/moving dates with the venue
  • Negotiating changes with the hotel
  • Helping connect affected attendees to community initiatives
  • Monitor social media, private SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. instances, and influential bloggers

Temp Checks and Feedback

Many factors were taken into account while discussing how to move forward. These were some of the most concerning unknowns that we had:

  • Thai govt gave some inconsistent pointers, such as advice to avoid large gatherings but then not preventing them.
  • The unpredictability of quarantines, and other disruptions to travel.
  • Uncertainty of the incubation period, increasing the possibility of unknowingly spreading the virus.
  • Attendee-focused decisions were hard because putting the attendee first can be “making sure they can attend regardless” or “making sure we don’t put them in harm’s way unnecessarily”.
  • People are worried about how this affects future flagship events.

#journalentry, #covid, #wordcampasia, #wordcampcentral

Announcement: New WordPress Incident Response Team

Earlier this year, the WordPress community welcomed a project-wide code of conduct and incident response training. Part of this was an announcement and request for nominations to a new incident response team (IRT).

As a reminder, the purpose of this team is to help everyone understand where they can go if they see behavior or actions that don’t match the code of conduct. The responsibility of the incident response team is not to actively search or monitor behavior, but to be a resource to the community when things don’t go as expected. 

Those nominated to the team have completed the incident response team course as part of a cohort, during which they met six separate times to discuss key topics and practice essential skills through role play exercises. Following the course, participants reported an increase in confidence for both taking and responding to incident reports, identified ways to continue building essential skills for incident response, and offered ideas to strengthen the WordPress incident response team itself. 

Let’s welcome the first group of incident responders! 

@megabyterose, @mysweetcate, @evarlese, @katiejrichards, @kcristiano, @juliarosia, @devinmaeztri, @samsuresh, @adityakane, @harishanker, @nao, @piyopiyofox, @_dorsvenabili, @peiraisotta, @sippis, and @angelasjin

Two new SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. channels have been created as a next step: a public channel (#incident-response) for anyone to ask public questions of the Incident Response team, and a private channel where IRT members can collaborate on confidential situations. This team is new, so practices will be iterated on as transparently as possible. However, for the safety of community members, incident response needs to be treated confidentially wherever possible. Anonymized, annual reports (similar to what the Community team has done in the past) will be published.

How can this team help you?

If you see something that doesn’t align with the project wide or events code of conduct, please feel free to reach out to any of the IRT members. To submit an incident report, please email reports@wordpress.org. You can also reach out with general questions, including ones around how incident response works in WordPress!

X-post: FSE Program: Seeking volunteers to use Replay.io for capturing bugs

X-comment from +make.wordpress.org/test: Comment on FSE Program: Seeking volunteers to use Replay.io for capturing bugs

Now we have a sustainability channel in Making WordPress Slack, what should we do?

At WCEU 2022, Nora Ferreirós from the Spanish WordPress community, asked Matt and Josepha about their thoughts on supporting sustainability concerns within the community. Matt suggested setting up a new sustainability channel in the Making WordPress SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. group, and there are now over 100 people in that channel! Josepha is open to discuss suggestions of specific issues that can be addressed.

This is fantastic progress! It demonstrates a growing interest in the WordPress community to come together and discuss sustainability concerns, both at leadership and community level. 

There are many questions worth addressing around this, especially as sustainability and maintaining the WordPress project are complex topics.

But before we dive into the specifics, perhaps it is best to take a moment to visualise what a sustainable WordPress community might actually be?

What are the tools, behaviours and systems we could co-create? What does being a member of a sustainable WordPress community feel like? What do other communities looking into ours observe? What are the things we want to move away from that hamper our progress to becoming more sustainable?

We wish to ignite a conversation about the art of the possible.

In the words of William Arthur Ward “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it”

We invite contributors from the whole WordPress community to share their visions for what we could do together: what does a truly sustainable WordPress community look like to you?

Let’s allow ourselves to dream big!

What can I do?

Start by being part of a WordPress community who openly discusses and actively works on sustainability issues. 

Leave a comment on this post to share or link to your thoughts on what a truly sustainable WordPress community looks like to YOU,

If you want to do more, join the sustainability Slack channel to take the conversation within the community further:

  • build on and discuss the visions shared by others;
  • contribute ideas on what we should do next;
  • share other sustainability work in the WordPress space that you find interesting.

 Here’s how to sign up to WordPress Slack.

You could also contribute to the on-going work of the performance team.

A few prompts to help you think about your vision

If you’re new to considering what a sustainable future might be like for WordPress, that’s ok. You’re not alone. We’re all exploring new possibilities here, and that’s the point. As a person new to this realm you are the perfect person to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the table! Everyone is welcome to share their vision for what the future could be.

Here are a few prompts to get you going.

How can we help people understand what sustainability truly is?

  • Decarbonisation is often described interchangeably with sustainability. But decarbonisation is only one aspect of what needs to happen to create a truly sustainable future. This confusion leads many people to believe the only way you can make digital technologies more sustainable is by focusing on performance gains that reduce electricity consumption. The reality is this is just one aspect of what is possible. What else is possible?
  • There are many approaches to improving sustainability, some of which can be done in a way that respects the rights of people to thrive, and some of which abuse those. How can we communicate these ideas?
  • Many people still do not see sustainability as a positive move and may feel it would compromise their ability to grow a business effectively or innovate and push WordPress forward. How can we change perceptions of how a greener future for WordPress will benefit all of us?

How can we embrace the diversity of the WordPress community?

A sustainable future is one that embraces everyone’s differences and similarities.

  • The people that make up the WordPress community are multi-national, multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary. Sustainability will mean different things in different contexts. For example sustainability in the Global South might feel very different for someone in the Global North. How can we embrace a diversity of viewpoints and celebrate that?
  • The WordPress community manifests both physically, through WordCamps and meetups, as well as digitally through the software and documentation we produce. What are the tools we might build, the resources we could create and the conversations we could start that would benefit all our different manifestations?

Acknowledgements

The WordPress community isn’t new to working on sustainability issues. In fact Josepha mentioned that back in 2019 a group of people came to talk to her about the topic. 

We’d like to acknowledge the work done by Abha Thakor, for leading an informal sustainability group, and the recently created performance team for working hard at optimizing the software. These are great pillars to build on.

We look forward to seeing what a truly sustainable WordPress community looks like to YOU. Share your thoughts below.

——–

Post written collaboratively by @hanopcan, @littlebigthing, @noradriana, @nahuai and @Thijs Buijs

#sustainability

WCUS 2022 Q&A

WordCamp US 2022 convened from September 9 to 11 in San Diego, California. It felt reminiscent of earlier gatherings that offered a comfortable environment for reconnecting, learning, and discussing all things WordPress. The highlight for many was the closing session with the project’s co-founder, @matt, who shared a sneak peek at features slated for the upcoming 6.1 release and engaged in conversation with attendees in a Town Hall Q&A.

WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. US 2022 Q&A

In an effort for no questions to go unanswered, those submitted on Livestream and Twitter are listed below with answers from WordPress contributors. 

Q1. How do we convince legacy web builders, agencies, and companies to more quickly adopt new WordPress features? I’m seeing a ton of opportunities to support older sites (5.0), but very few agencies/projects/companies are moving to build on 6.0.

A1. A few teams are working hard to share and educate users about new features in the latest WordPress releases. The Training Team publishes tutorials to help ease adoption. Marketing highlights new #WordPress features across multiple social networks. @annezazu hosts regular Hallway Hangouts in Test. Your thoughts on additional adoption initiatives are welcome.

Q2. How close is WordPress to editor collaboration? It’s sometimes frustrating that two people can’t be in the editor at the same time. 

A2. The project roadmap shows the big picture goals and upcoming releases, and @matveb shared some early thoughts about building a “multiplayer” experience, but there is no release date for this feature yet. As noted in the Q&A, some big questions need to be addressed before collaboration can be addressed. That said, some exciting plugins explore comments and other collaborative tools.

Q3. Any thoughts on p2’s release date for self-hosting? It looks lovely!

A3. The new version of P2 requires WordPress.comWordPress.com An online implementation of WordPress code that lets you immediately access a new WordPress environment to publish your content. WordPress.com is a private company owned by Automattic that hosts the largest multisite in the world. This is arguably the best place to start blogging if you have never touched WordPress before. https://wordpress.com/ hosting to power its more advanced feature set, so there is currently no self-hosted version available. You’re welcome to try the O2 plugin and the P2 Breathe theme, but please note that this pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party is not in active development.

Q4. What commitment does WordPress CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. have to advance accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) for disabled WP users and also for baking it into WordPress sites created?

A4. Accessibility is top of mind while developing WordPress, and WordPress 6.1 has seen 40 accessibility improvements listed under milestones 13.1-14.1 in the GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ 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. https://github.com/ repository, if you would like to follow along, with more expected in upcoming releases. As Matt mentioned in the Q&A session, there is an interest in slowing down the fast clip of Gutenberg development to allow for necessary improvements, like accessibility.

Q5. What is the plan for making the Site Editor accessible?

A5. Every new release includes a variety of accessibility improvements. You can read about WordPress 6.0 Accessibility Improvements and expect more in 6.1. You can also get involved with this work by joining the #accessibility channel in Make Slack.

Q6. Are there any plans to make future WordCamps hybrid to take advantage of the aspects of video conferencing that we discovered during the pandemic?

A6. WordCamp US 2022 had a captioned Livestream available throughout the event (recordings also available). Community members in San Diego and at home kept the conversation going with #WCUS across social platforms, especially on Twitter. WordCamp organizers are committed to iterating and exploring how best to bring the experience to participants both in-person and online.

Q7. What is the timeline for removing the “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.” tag from the Site Editor?

A7. The Core Team is discussing open issues and blockers to the removal of the Beta label. You can follow along with the discussion on GitHub.

Q8. Right now, the navigation blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. is basic. Are they planning to improve this? For example, I would like to easily create a mega menu.

A8. Navigation is a crucial part of the site editing experience and can cover a wide array of use cases, from simple “all pages” navigation to complex structures. Currently, the project is focused on ensuring the best experience possible for the most common use cases while still allowing extensibility. Once that experience is polished enough, the editor will be extended to allow more complex navigation structures such as mega menus.

Do you have a question? Comment below, and join one of the many teams making WordPress for answers.

#wcus2022

Open Source and how we sustain ourselves

The title of this post has been edited, due to feedback that the terms originally used were causing folks not to be willing to read the post.

In open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL., we aim to make our projects more sustainable and make sure they survive and thrive long after we have stopped being there for them. It’s an immense and wonderful responsibility, and a complicated one! In discussing how to future-proof WordPress, we cite two economic problems as a shorthand for the open source problem we see: the Tragedy of the Commons and the Free Rider Problem.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked about these two theoretical problems a lot, and there was something I noticed in each conversation. The folks I was talking to would advocate for two opposing solutions, sometimes in the same breath, and at the same time I could identify how those opposing solutions could work/do work in WordPress. 

To figure out what might be behind that, I spoke to a doctoral professor of economics and he clarified that these two economic problems are distinct but related, and apply to two different situations. Even though both of those situations exist in open source, we sometimes use the terms interchangeably to illustrate a single problem—which can cause confusion.

Some Quick Clarifications

The Tragedy of the Commons is the most recognized economic problem we discuss in open source. It uses the example of a public pasture to demonstrate what could happen if one group sent all their sheep there for the best grass without doing anything to make sure the grass remained the best and greenest for other sheep.

The Free Rider Problem is discussed less, but is one of the harder to solve problems of tending to the commons. It deals with public goods that have the same quality no matter how many people use it, or how many times. This results in a lack of urgency and priority for supporting the public good.

Take for example, public media. Everyone can listen to public radio stations, almost without limit, regardless of whether or not you contribute. That *could* lead to underfunded programming, relative to what would benefit listeners (and other free riders, like news sources that reference the station), resulting in  a reliance on unpaid interns and a more limited information network. So, while a public station is able to operate and produce a good product, programming could be better or more plentiful if they had more resources.

What Does it Have to do with Open Source?

The Tragedy of the Commons is specific to a resource that can be used up and so needs some way to watch after equitable access and long term maintenance. The way it shows up in open source is when we’re looking at contributions.

Contributing requires time or money and frequently some specialized knowledge, and there are limits to how much is available. Unlike the software, we can never treat a single maintainer as an infinite resource. As WordPress scales, having a little structure and support for contributors can help keep any one contributor from being overloaded. Mostly what is important to know is that this is considered a solved problem if you use Ostrom’s 8 Principles. I can cover that in a separate post if folks find it interesting!

But the Free Rider Problem, since it’s specific to resources that can’t be used up and therefore don’t need anyone to watch after their equitable distribution, shows up when we’re looking at the WordPress software.

No matter how many new sites are launched using WordPress, the coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. software does not become any worse for wear, and there is no end to the available “seats.” Access to and use of the software is wholly unconstrained and any advancement to the software benefits everyone equally regardless of the size of their company or contribution.

So how is the Free Rider Problem solved?

It is possible for an open source project to suffer from the free rider problem, but it depends on a clear understanding of the point at which it actually could become a problem. The Free Rider Problem doesn’t assume that ALL free riders are inherently bad. In WordPress’ case, we want a vast number of our users to be able to access the software (and hosting, training, information, etc) at remarkably low cost. The free riders that pose a problem are frequently those who get disproportionate value compared to what they contribute.

It could be argued that organizations like public media, WordPress, or Wikipedia have overcome the Free Rider Problem by effective use of social infrastructure and by being available to a large enough community that the support is sufficient. Alternatively, it could also be argued that all of those organizations are actually under-supported relative to what would be best for our communities, therefore requiring them to limit the programs and services they offer.

I believe that the crux of the discussion should be this:

The builders and extenders of WordPress are invested in this software being the best for everyone using it. Collectively, we support the creation and maintenance of WordPress through our community of contributors. How can we rebalance the tenacious need for contribution with the immense benefit WordPress brings to everyone, including our free riders and contributors?