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 SourceOpen 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:
What makes it difficult for our seasoned contributors to mentor new contributors in the open source project?
What happens for existing contributors when we have an influx of new contributors?
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, coreCoreCore 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?
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:
Ecosystem: Update distribution methods and mechanisms for extenders and CoreCoreCore 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.
All those related to Phase 3 of the GutenbergGutenbergThe 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 APIAPIAn 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.
Openverse search in Core
Navigation blockBlockBlock 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.
Simplify the release process
PHPPHPPHP (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)
Maintain learning content speed to ship Continue to ship learning content at the current pace
Update content and refresh design across wordpress.orgWordPress.orgThe 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 pluginPluginA 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
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, CLICLICommand Line Interface. Terminal (Bash) in Mac, Command Prompt in Windows, or WP-CLI for WordPress./Tide, Security, Performance
Design, Product, UXUXUX 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./UIUIUI 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, AccessibilityAccessibilityAccessibility (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: MetaMetaMeta 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.
State of the WordState of the WordThis 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.
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.comAn 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 coreCoreCore 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 SourceOpen 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:
Q2. Will WordPress be a thing after the entire focus is moved to GutenbergGutenbergThe 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 pluginPluginA 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 WordCampWordCampWordCamps 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.
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?
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 blockBlockBlock 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 UIUIUI 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 UXUXUX 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 subversionSVNApache 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 GitHubGitHubGitHub 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 extensibleExtensibleThis 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.orgThe 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.
This is post-action documentation of what happened during the cancellation of WordCampWordCampWordCamps 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
3 community members reached out to WordCamp CentralWordCamp CentralWebsite 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).
First mention of coronavirus among make.wp.org contributors, who were bringing concerns from their team members.
WCC reached out to the WCA organizing team to discuss whether or not there was cause for concern.
WCA organizing team publicly announced they were monitoring the situation: https://2020.asia.wordcamp.org/2020/01/27/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-outbreak-update/
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.
Declared a global health emergency by W.H.O.
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/
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.
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
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.orgThe 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
Canceling/moving dates with the venue
Negotiating changes with the hotel
Helping connect affected attendees to community initiatives
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!
Two new SlackSlackSlack 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 email@example.com. You can also reach out with general questions, including ones around how incident response works in WordPress!
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.
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.
Q3. Any thoughts on p2’s release date for self-hosting? It looks lovely!
A3. The new version of P2 requires WordPress.comWordPress.comAn 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 pluginPluginA 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 CoreCoreCore is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. have to advance accessibilityAccessibilityAccessibility (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 GutenbergGutenbergThe 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/GitHubGitHubGitHub 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?
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 “BetaBetaA 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 blockBlockBlock 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.
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 SourceOpen 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 coreCoreCore 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?
Thanks to some great input from contributors and partnership with team reps, the MetaMetaMeta 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. team has added automated recognition for a number of non-code contributions!
Translating and reviewing strings on translate.wordpress.orgWordPress.orgThe 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/
Publishing lesson plans, workshops, and courses on Learn WordPress
Publishing handbook pages
Mentoring a WordCampWordCampWordCamps 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.
Manual props received in the #props channel in Making WordPress
All new updates, and upcoming plans for automated recognition of contributor activity are tracked in GitHub. If there are other activities you think we could auto-magically record, please share in the comments below!
Trialing inactive pledge notifications
Capturing all this great contribution activity also means inactive pledges are more easily identified. There are a number of reasons that a pledge might be inactive: it’s not a great time for that company or individual to contribute, it’s an aspirational pledge and they don’t know how to contribute just yet, or perhaps they aren’t interested in contributing anymore. It could also be that what they are contributing isn’t being recognized yet!
Whatever the reason, knowing which pledges are active is helpful information for Make Teams working on big projects that need contributors. Knowing which pledges are inactive also gives us an opportunity to reach out to see what support those pledges might need, and a chance to connect. The notification process intends to help Make Teams and contributors with these areas.
This is not to remove or erase contributions – in fact, pledges that don’t get any response after a grace period will simply be deactivated, and can be reactivated at any time. All contributions will continue to be displayed on .org profiles, regardless of if the pledge is active or not.
For all teams
To start, the Meta team is exploring sending an email to any contributor who hasn’t logged in for three (3) months. This email will check in, see if the contributor needs some help in connecting with a team, and ask that they log in within the next 30 days. If the contributor does not, their pledge will be deactivated.
Testing a future notification system
To test a notification process that will best support the future of Make Teams and contributors, the Meta team has been exploring options with the Training and Polyglots teams. These teams will trial a more comprehensive, automated notification system for pledges.
For starters, this notification system will notify pledges to those teams without any recent contribution activity. Similarly, they will be offered support and given a grace period before the pledge is deactivated. This proposed schedule and notification system is currently being discussed in issue #205.
The Training and Polyglots teams have offered to help by giving feedback on these notification systems. Based on feedback received, the Meta team will make iterations before rolling this notification system out to other Make Teams.
How you can help shape 5ftF
If your team would like to participate in email notifications, please voice your interest in the comments below! The Meta team will connect with you to help you get set up.
Another way is to help identify other contributions to recognize. A lot of time and effort is given to the WordPress open sourceOpen SourceOpen 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 every day. As Josepha recently said on WP Briefing, “Building our culture of generosity helps us to better recognize and celebrate each other for all of our contributions… if we see more and more of the same type of contributions being celebrated, then we can also work toward automating those as well.” If you see those contributions, say it! The Meta team can look into automating recognition of that contribution, to start.
Last but not least, share your thoughts on the suggested notification system. What’s missing? What would you change to better support active and inactive contributors?
After reading through some of this post’s comments, I think it might be useful to re-articulate the hopes behind the discussion.
The end goal is to find ways to automate contribution props, so that no one has to either spend huge amounts of time before their contributions are noted or find ways to contribute to the most time intensive props opportunities, major releases and major WordCamps. The end goal is to distribute props more equitably and more consistently by taking out the subjectivity of human review, not to make individual contributions somehow less valuable.
The first step for automation is, of course, documenting what you have and what you mean, hence my use of the word “define.” ~Josepha
In recent months, the Five for the Future (5ftF) program has improved to make it more reliable and useful when it comes to tracking impact and success. An example of this is the work being done to reduce the number of spam and dormant Five for the Future pledges and give more credit to non-code contributions.
To support such efforts, it’s also important to build a shared understanding for how the Five for the Future program works.
The WordPress project thrives because of the generous contributions in time and resources from people and companies across the globe. A portion of contributions are made in the form of Five for the Future pledges from individuals and organizations. They commit to giving back to the WordPress project by contributing a goal of at least five-percent of their time (or resources) consistently via the Make WordPress teams. By joining together in giving, we make WordPress stronger.
Participation in Five for the Future means consistent effort by an individual or a company via a Make WordPress team to directly support the WordPress open sourceOpen SourceOpen 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 and the project’s current big ideas, rather than the sole benefit of a company or individual. Simply put, Five for the Future exists to collaboratively invest in the health of the WordPress project, ensuring its long-term sustainability and success.
What makes a contribution a 5ftF contribution?
Some contributions are easy to sort through and agree on; we see them happening, props are given with them already, and we understand how they help make WordPress better. Contributions of code to CoreCoreCore is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. or the apps, translations through Polyglots, forum management with Support, organizing WordPress-centric events, and many other main focuses of Make WordPress teams.
But other contributions are in a grey area. For those, it’s important to look at not only whether they move WordPress forward, but also whether it helps the community of contributors work in a sustainable way and whether the contributions can be done consistently over time.
Some examples of grey area contributions that do fit the 5ftF definition include: maintaining WordPress.orgWordPress.orgThe 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/, WordCamp.org, or Rosetta networks; adding or editing official WordPress documentation, training, or communications; speaking at WordPress Meetups and WordCamps; and maintaining or moderating official repos (plugins, themes, photos, WPTV, et al).
Examples of grey area contributions that do not fit the 5ftF definition include: creating WordPress websites, creating WordPress themes, plugins, or blocks (including those that are listed in WordPress.org), and providing support solely to third-party WordPress themes or plugins. These activities are critical to extending the reach and utility of the WordPress project, but they are not considered part of making Five for the Future commitments.
There are many important efforts and lots of incredible work performed outside of WordPress.org and Make Teams. While these are indispensable activities that further the WordPress ecosystem, Five for the Future is about ensuring that the WordPress project continues to be a fertile foundation for WordPress extenders and users.
What do you think of this definition? Share your feedback in the comments below.