WP Briefing: Episode 13: Cherishing WordPress Diversity

In this episode, Josepha Haden Chomphosy discusses the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to the fabric of the WordPress project and how we can move from a place of welcoming it to cherishing it.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.

Credits

Editor: Dustin Hartzler

Logo: Beatriz Fialho

Production: Chloé Bringmann

Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

References

Diverse Speaker Training Workshop

A WordPress Dinner Party

The Burden of Proof

Leadership At Any Level

Building a Culture of Safety

Leadership Basics: Ethics in Communication

WordPress 5.6

Bonus resource: How to Be a WordPress Ally

Transcript

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:10

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. And before we get started, I have to be honest with you all, this episode and the next one have made me feel really anxious. This one is about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in open source, and especially in WordPress. And the next one is about accessibility in WordPress. And I feel like there’s just so much to do, and we don’t do enough, but we do what we can. And still, we will never be done with that work. And if you don’t know what I mean by Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, you can kind of think of it this way. Diversity is bringing in people with different viewpoints and lived experiences. Equity is making sure everyone has what they need to get a fair chance of success, which is different from equality. And Inclusion is making sure that the environment is built to not only tolerate diverse groups but to celebrate them as well. So remember this as you listen to what I have to say here. We are never where we want to be in either of those spaces. But that shouldn’t stop us from looking at the things we have done to get us in the right direction. All right. Here we go.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:54

I say a lot that we are a project that serves a majority collection of minority voices. WordPress is global in reach and open source in nature. And you would assume that what allows the software to be used by anyone would also enable it to be built by anyone. After all, your location doesn’t matter, and who employs you also doesn’t matter. And your relative social standing certainly shouldn’t matter. As long as you can communicate with the others contributing to the project, there should be no obstacle to your participation. The mission of the WordPress project is to democratize publishing, right? It’s to get the ability to have a website tap into passive income on your web presence. I mean, the job is to level the playing field for everyone. However, it’s my experience that bringing in new voices takes a lot of proactive work on behalf of leaders and contributors. It’s not enough to say, “Hey, I’m having a party,” you also have to say, “I’m having a party, and I’d like you to be there.” It’s not enough to think people will make their own space at this table. You have to make sure that you have table settings for everyone. And even beyond the basics of directing people to you. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  03:12

And on toward the next steps, you have to be honest about the fact that open source contribution requires a fair amount of privilege. By privilege, I mean the luxury of extra time or extra funding or just an understanding employer. WordPress supports 41% of the web. I think it’s 42% of the web right now. But less than 1% of people who use WordPress show up to help maintain it. And that 1% that does show up skews toward people who already have a pretty high level of representation and technology. And so, when you look at who is building it versus who is using it, it doesn’t always match. And since what we build so frequently reflects who we are, sometimes what we build doesn’t match the needs of the people who are using what we have.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:10

So what has WordPress done to be proactive on the question of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? There are quite a few unseen things that have gone into this over the years and a few pretty visible things. This is a very long list. And it has a whole lot of just reference material. And so the show notes today will come in handy for people, and there will be just a laundry list of linked resources for everyone. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:39

But the first thing that WordPress has done is that we have accepted the burden of proof. I’m going to share a post about this in the show notes. That means we accept that it’s not the job of underrepresented folks to figure out if they are welcome. It’s up to us to make it clear that they are. So, there are three big little things that the community has done over the years. One is that many teams open their text-based meetings with an explanation of what is done in the meeting, who comes to the meetings, where to find help if you’re lost in the meeting, and for teams that have a specific type of requests that comes into those channels that aren’t handled in those channels. They also will share where people can go to get those requests taken care of. Many teams have also updated their team handbooks to have good beginner docs, limited use of inside jokes or jargon, and good first bugs. And also, there is a code of conduct in the community declaring that everyone is welcome and clarifies what to do if you see folks being unwelcoming. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:51

A second big thing that folks in the WordPress community have done is written down what was unwritten. Having things clearly documented unlocks institutional knowledge that you’d otherwise have to know someone to get. Clarity and process and the structure help anyone engage with your organization, not just the people who have extra time to figure things out. What that looks like in the WordPress project is that many teams have documented their workflows and their working spaces and just their general team norms. Many teams have also started defining what it means to be a team rep and holding open processes to choose those team reps. Many other community leaders and I have written down countless unspoken rules, guidelines, and philosophical underpinnings so that people don’t have to guess what we’re doing or why we’re doing things, or where we want to do them.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  06:46

And the more visible thing that the WordPress project has been doing is that we found ways to invite people in, and they’re not failsafe; they’re not foolproof, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. The first one is an ongoing, diverse speaker training initiative. And I’ll include a link to that in the show notes as well. It is run by Jill Binder and a fantastic group of contributors that collaborate with her. And I really have loved watching that particular program grow and flourish and help WordPress make a difference where we absolutely can. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  07:27

The second thing that was pretty visible about how we invited people in was at the end of 2020, and we had an all-women and nonbinary release squad for our biggest release of the year; WordPress 5.6. I had a group of probably 70 women and nonbinary identifying folx who joined in the process and joined in learning more about the process. Some of them have continued in the project. Others have stepped away for various reasons. But all of them are welcome to return. And I encourage everyone to return to contribution when time and resources make that possible for you. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  08:09

And then the third thing that we’ve done, which I have talked about a lot, is the revival of the testing and triage practices. That has been work that’s been ongoing for a number of years. And it happens across multiple teams. It is not always immediately clear to people why the testing work. And the triage work is identifiable for me as a way to invite people into this process. And so I’ll be briefly clear about it right now. So testing as a practice brings in the users that otherwise don’t have a lot of spare time and that extra privilege to like, figure out what’s going on with WordPress, and contribute their own fixes to problems. They can give back to this project by being co-developers with us, co-creators with our entire process of making WordPress real and usable for the largest number of people that we can because we now support 42% of the web. And then, the triage practice invites in a diverse voice of people. Because you don’t necessarily always need to know everything about a project to help with triage. And when you’re helping with triage, you get active learning through participating in the process. But you also get passive learning from the people who already know huge amounts about the project and the process and everything that goes into it. And so it’s a low key low stress way to get your feet wet and start building that knowledge that sometimes is hard to come by unless you are actively working in it. So the testing practices, the triage practices, I really to the core of my being believe that those are active and ongoing ways for us to invite people who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to get their voices heard in an open source project. And y’all, as I said at the start, y’all, there’s nothing about this list that I just shared, which makes me feel like our work on this is done. Just like any muscle, you don’t fight to peak fitness, and then hit the big stop button on time and say, “Now, I never have to work out again.” If we did, the world would be a very different place probably. But it does then lead us to the next steps for fostering a community culture that’s as broad as the people who use this software. If you believe in leadership at any level, as I do, there are a ton of things that you can do right now. But I’ll boil them down into three big chunks of things.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  10:54

First, check your community area, or whatever community you want to apply this to, for things that need a little more proactive work. I will share a post called Building A Culture of Safety that will take you through a list of good first steps. And it is not as hard as it looks. When you say build a culture of safety, there are many really clear-cut minor changes that you can ask people to make and, in like, four or five different areas that can help your community be more welcoming and more open. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  11:30

The second thing that you can do is know that small changes add up over time and commit to making those changes where you can. If you are elite at any level, you know that supporting people and processes is the responsibility of everyone in the group. And if you can make your own autonomous decisions and commit to making small changes that make a big difference over time, you will be part of that solution. And that is not specific to any one group that we have in our communities. You can be an ally for anyone, whether they look like you, whether they have your same experiences, or not. And sometimes, it’s as easy as just holding space for the people who haven’t had a chance to talk yet. And on the subject of holding space and the way that we communicate. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  12:22

The third thing that I think is incredibly important is that you can take on as a foundational personal practice the concept of ethical communication. I’ll share a post about that as well in the show notes, but the core of it is that you have to know that what you say and don’t say what you do and don’t do has an impact on others and embrace that responsibility. All right, so you made it all the way through, and I am so proud of you. I’m sure you have questions about this. And I encourage you to share those. You can email them to me at wp briefing@wordpress.org.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  13:10

This brings us to our small list of big things. I’ve got two things for you today. First and foremost, WordPress 5.8 gets released tomorrow. It’s a big release, and lots of people have been working on it. So get your update processes ready and keep an eye on wordpress.org/news for the announcement post. Second, and still pretty important, team reps have been working on their quarterly check-ins so that all other teams can get an idea of what’s happening around the WordPress office. Keep an eye out for that post on make.wordpress.org/updates. And that is your smallest of big things. Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host Joseph Hayden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

WP Briefing: Episode 12: WordPress – In Person!

In this episode, Josepha Haden Chomphosy talks about WordPress – In Person! The WordPress events that provide the dark matter of connection that helps sustain the open source project.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.

Credits

Editor: Dustin Hartzler

Logo: Beatriz Fialho

Production: Chloé Bringmann

Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

References

The tragedy of the commons

WordPress 5.8 Release Candidate announcement

Transcript

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:11

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go!

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:39

Today we’re talking about one of my favorite parts of the project – WordPress events. The in-person component of the project is the dark matter that helps us build resilience and thrive as a group. A lot of what I’m going to share applies to every WordPress event, whether it’s a meetup or workshop, a contributor day, any other sort of format. But I’ll be focused on WordCamps. It’s been a while since we had any in-person WordCamps. Our last two were WordCamp Malaga in Spain and WordCamp Greenville in the US. But that hasn’t stopped anyone from gathering people together online. Which honestly makes a lot of sense for WordPress. Because there are many reasons we gather, the main three reasons are connecting, inspiring, and contributing. It’s true. It says so right in our documentation, “paper rustling.” All WordPress events should connect WordPress users, inspire people to do more with WordPress, and contribute to the WordPress project. As an aside, I’ll tell you that some groups also get to collaborate and educate in there, but connect, inspire, contribute. Those are the big three. And that’s what I’m talking about today. And if you subscribe to this podcast for the back office deep cuts, I’ll also have a few of those for you. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:57

Alright, so first up, connect. WordCamps are generally annual-ish gatherings organized by local WordPress meetup groups. They’re not meant to be big or fancy. The definition of the minimum viable product for WordCamp is 50 people gathered all day to talk about WordPress. They are intentionally affordable to allow people from all walks of life to attend, meet, share and learn. This is made possible by donations and sponsorships from local businesses and larger businesses in the WordPress ecosystem. And this helps us get people connected to those in their community that works with or are sustained by WordPress. That connection feeds into the overall health of the global WordPress project. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  02:45

Next up is inspire. WordCamps do not discriminate. They are open to any WordPress users, developers, designers, or other enthusiasts, regardless of their level of experience. And because of this, sessions generally span a variety of formats. So presentations or live demos to workshops or panels, any other format you can think of. But that also means that there are a variety of skill levels represented. There’s always content about how to use WordPress. That’s a given. But you can also count on content that inspires people to do more with their own dreams and aspirations. When I was still organizing WordCamps, my favorite thing was seeing people who came back year after year, putting into practice something that they learned the year before. It is that Choose Your Own Adventure aspect to WordCamps that lets people see the edge of their ideas and then expand that just a little bit further. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  03:42

And finally, contribute. WordCamps often have a contribution component to them. Sometimes it’s just a talk telling you how you can get more involved in the WordPress project. But sometimes, it’s a whole contributor day. And those range in size from single focus, like everyone, will show up and learn how to review a theme or a focus from every team that we have, like at the big flagship events where we gather hundreds of people into a room just to contribute to WordPress and all of the teams that go with it. Getting started with contributing can be daunting, but it is also essential to avoid something called the Tragedy of the Commons, an economic concept. So I’ll share a link to that in the show notes below. But the most important thing, the most important thing to remember, is that WordPress is open source. And we asked people to help us keep this great tool running by giving back a little bit of their time if they have gotten any benefit from the WordPress project or CMS over the course of their careers. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:40

So that’s it. The three big things you can get from a WordCamp. I know that I can’t wait to get back to them myself because while a lot of these things can still happen online and do, it’s really hard to replace the dark matter of in-person connections for open source projects. And since we’re talking dark matter anyway, let’s dig into it a little.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:01

At the start of the section, I mentioned that WordCamps are local, locally organized, and people are encouraged to attend locally. But I am part of a group that ends up traveling to a lot of WordCamps. If you don’t know about the unseen work of WordPress, this raises eyebrows. So here is some clarification around the back office work that some of these traveling WordCampers often do. When I listed these out, there were about 20 different tasks, 20 different jobs, which was, frankly, a bit overwhelming when I listed them that way. So I’ve grouped them into kind of two genres, each with a group of current versus future types of work. So my two big buckets, big picture stuff, and then community stewardship. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:50

The big picture stuff, our first big genre here, when you’re looking at current topics, current issues kind of information, when we’re working on big picture stuff, you get the clarification of the mission or vision of WordPress, the sharing of open source methods or processes that we use in the WordPress project, and also sometimes those goal-setting conversations that you have to have both because we have a bunch of teams and team reps, that have a lot of really great ideas about what can be done in their teams to help WordPress succeed. But then also, because when you are working, when you’re contributing to a single team in the project, it can sometimes be hard to know how your work relates to the overall goals and visions of WordPress. And so that’s part of the work that gets done that I do there. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  06:43

And when you’re looking at future topics, future issues, the second part of this genre, that stuff like starting conversations or discussions around what the future holds for WordPress, and that’s the project as well as the technology or hearing from people about big things coming up for them. And any content that can support it, anything that I can provide to support those big things. It’s also a good time for me and others to identify trends based on what I see in presentations or what I hear from people at social functions. Really, it’s just a huge opportunity for information gathering to make sure that I know what everyone else in the project is trying to do and if they understand what the project is trying to do. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  07:32

And then the second big genre of things that happen in that dark matter kind of work at WordCamps is what I call community stewardship—so taking care of the community itself for the project itself. And a lot of that work is actually incident response kind of work. So conflict resolution, mediation often happens at in-person events, but also uncovering the shared foundations, the shared understanding for upcoming changes. So a lot of really, in the weeds kind of change management work. And for me, it’s certainly doing my best as a cultural liaison when I do see that there has been some miscommunication or gathering context for the latest disagreement that people are having with me so that I can clarify anything that was misunderstood from what I said. And also a little bit of policy clarification, just explaining why we do things and the way we do them. So for community stewardship, that’s kind of the current stuff that we look at. And that I do when I’m traveling for WordCamps. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  08:36

And then for the future tasks that we do with community stewardship in the project, that stuff like training, and that’s training team reps, community deputies, or new contributors like it’s, it’s not really one type of training, necessarily. But then also, all of the checking in with our organizers, team reps, volunteers, sponsors, everyone like that, to make sure that what we have in the project and what’s happening in the project, the tools that we have, the experience that contributors have while they are working here, and WordPress is good, and is what they need. We’ve got a lot of tools to get things done in WordPress, and we can always make them better. And so checking in with people to kind of see how those processes are, how the tools are making sure that I have an idea of where our holes are and what needs to be patched, and how we can patch them in the long run. So that’s all of the future planning kind of work and topic stuff, just you know, making sure that WordPress has what it needs to survive long into the future and long after I’m doing anything with it, and long after you’re doing anything with it either. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  09:56

So, lots and lots of unseen work being done at our in-person events. But folks who keep a keen eye on the online global work of WordPress will probably recognize that a lot of that work is also done routinely on make.wordpress.org and within the making WordPress Slack. There’s just, I don’t know, there’s just something different about receiving information from a human being with a face rather than an avatar with a photo. So I guess at the end of the day, that means the dark matter that keeps open source together is really an issue of communication. And you’ll get no arguments for me there.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  10:44

That brings us now to our small list of big things. And there’s really just one big thing. And that’s WordPress 5.8. We are about two weeks away from this big release; the community has been working tirelessly on it. And it’s shaping up to be one of the most tested releases that we’ve had in a long time. Myself, I’m grateful to see so much activity before the release. Since 5.8 and 5.9 releases represent such monumental shifts in our software, I’m incredibly grateful to see so much activity prior to the release, especially in the beta period. We’ve been testing everything for it feels like six or eight months, and we’re really starting to see the positive benefits of that. And I think that we, the WordPress community, should be really proud of everything that we’re going to ship in 2021. Okay, so that was less of a small list of big things and really like one big thing with a generous garnish of encouragement, but you deserve it. So thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

WP Briefing: Episode 11: WordCamp Europe 2021 in Review

In this episode, Josepha Haden Chomphosy does a mini deep dive into WordCamp Europe 2021, specifically the conversation between the project’s co-founder, Matt Mullenweg, and Brian Krogsgard formerly of PostStatus. Tune in to hear her take and for this episode’s small list of big things.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.

Credits

Editor: Dustin Hartzler

Logo: Beatriz Fialho

Production: Chloé Bringmann

Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

References

Gutenberg Highlights 

Matt Mullenweg in conversation with Brian Krogsgard 

5.8 Development Cycle

WordCamp Japan

A recap on WCEU 2021

Transcript

Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:10

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insights into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go!

Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:40

A couple of weeks ago, we hosted WordCamp Europe and had the double pleasure of a demo that showed us a bit about the future of WordPress and an interview that looked back while also looking a bit forward. If you haven’t seen the demo, it was beautiful. And I’ve included a link to it in the show notes. And if you haven’t heard the interview, there were a few specific moments that I’d like to take the time to delve into a little more. Brian Krogsgard, in his conversation with Matt Mullenweg, brought up three really interesting points. I mean, he brought up a lot of interesting points, but there were three that I would particularly like to look into today. The first was about balance. The second was about cohesion. And the third was about those we leave behind.  

Josepha Haden Chomphosy 01:24

So first is this question of balance. Brian brought this up in the context of the overall economic health of the WordPress ecosystem. And in that particular moment, he talked about companies that are coming together, companies that are merging. And in Matt’s answer, the part that I found the most interesting was when he said, “the point at which there is the most commercial opportunity is also the point at which there is the most opportunity for short-termism. He went on to talk about the importance of long-term thinking and collective thinking about what makes us, and us here means probably the WordPress project, more vibrant and vital in 10 or 20 or 30 years. One of the things that he specifically called out in that answer was the responsibility of larger companies in the ecosystem. For instance, like Automattic, to commit fully to giving back, there are many ways now that companies can give back to WordPress so that we all replenish the Commons. They can pay for volunteer contributors’ time; they can create and sponsor entire teams through the Five for the Future program. They can contribute time through our outreach program. And they can even contribute to WordPress’s ability to own our own voice by engaging their audience’s awareness of what’s next in WordPress, or whatever. And I know this balance, this particular balance of paid contributors or sponsored contributors, compared to our volunteer contributors or self-sponsored contributors; I know that this balance is one that people keep an eagle eye on. I am consistently on a tight rope to appropriately balanced those voices. But as with so many things where balance is key, keeping an eye on the middle or the long-distance can really help us get it right.  

Josepha Haden Chomphosy 03:23

The second question was one of cohesion and specifically cohesion over the competition. Brian asked how, if people feel disadvantaged, you can foster a feeling of cohesion rather than competition? And Matt’s first answer was that competition is great. Specifically, he said that competition is great as long as you consider where your collaboration fits into the mission. And he also spent some time exploring how competitors in the ecosystem can still work from a community-first mindset. I personally cannot agree enough about some of the benefits of collaboration alongside your competitors. I remind sponsored contributors from time to time, and I think it’s true for any contributor that you are an employee of your company first and a contributor to WordPress second. However, once you step into contribution time, your main concern is the users of WordPress, or new contributors, or the health of the WordPress ecosystem as a whole or the WordPress project. So you get all this subject matter expertise from competitive forces, collaborating in a very us versus the problem way. And when you do that, you’re always going to find a great solution. It may not be as fast as you want it to build things out in the open in public. And so sometimes we get it wrong and have to come back and fix it but still, given time, we’re going to come out with the best solution because we have so many skilled people working on this.  

Josepha Haden Chomphosy 05:01

And then the third question that I wanted to really touch on is the question of those we leave behind. Brian asked Matt if he thought mid-sized agencies and mid-sized consultants were being squeezed out with the block editor. Matt’s high-level answer was no, and I tend to agree with him. It’s not all mid-sized anything any more than it’s all small-sized anything. His answer continued to look at what stands to change for users with the block editor and who really can stand to benefit. It made me think back to my WordPress 5.0 listening tour. We launched WordPress 5.0, which was, in case anyone forgets, the first release with the block editor in it. I took a six-month-long tour to anywhere that WordPressers were so I could hear their main worries, what Brian is saying in there, and what Matt is saying to really came up all the time in those conversations. And basically, it was that this update takes all the power away from people who are building websites. And in these conversations, and Matt and Brian’s conversation, it was really focused on our freelancers and consultants. But at the same time, all of them heard that this update gives power back to all of the people who could build websites. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy 06:28

I could not shake the feeling at the time. And honestly, I can’t shake it now that no high-end consultants, or freelancers, or any other developer or site creator sit around just longing for maintenance work. After six months of talking to people, I didn’t hear anyone say, “you know, I just love making the same author card over and over and over.” Or, “updated the footer every week, this month. And that’s why I got into this business.” And more than the feeling that there just wasn’t anyone who just loved maintenance, I got a feeling that there were real problems that needed to be solved for these clients and that they wanted to solve them. And that they also would gladly trade updating footers for the much more interesting work of creating modern and stylish business hubs based on WordPress for the clients who trust them so much. All of that, I guess, is to say that, yes, the block editor does give power back to our clients again, but not at the expense of those who have to build the sites in the first place. I think it stands to restore everyone’s sense of agency more than we truly realize. So that’s my deep dive on WordCamp Europe; I included links to the demo and the talk below, just in case you haven’t seen them yet. And you want to get a little bit of insight into the full context of the conversations that I just did a bit of a deep dive into. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy 08:15

And now it’s time for our smallest of big things. All right, I have three things for you today. Number one, tomorrow, we package WordPress 5.8 beta three. If you’ve never had a chance to stop by the core channel in slack for the past packaging process, I really encourage you to stop by; we call them release parties. It’s a bunch of people who stand around and help get it done. So you can also see how it gets done. And if you’re feeling brave, you can even try your hand at testing out one of the packages as soon as it’s ready. The second thing is that a week from tomorrow, we reach our first release candidate milestone. So if you have meant to submit any bugs or patches or if you’ve been procrastinating on documentation, or dev notes, right now is the time so that we can have a chance to get everything into the release by the time we reach the release candidate milestone on the 29th. And the third thing is that we are currently right in the middle of WordCamp Japan. That is a great opportunity to meet some contributors and maybe even get started with contributions yourself. So stop by if you haven’t had a chance to check it out already. I will leave a link in the show notes. And that, my friends, is your small list of big things.

Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

WP Briefing: Episode 10: Finding the Good In Disagreement

To Agree, disagree, and everything in-between. In this episode, Josepha talks about forming opinions and decision-making in the WordPress project.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.

Credits

Editor: Dustin Hartzler

Logo: Beatriz Fialho

Production: Chloé Bringmann

Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

References

10/10/10 Rule

The Eisenhower Matrix 

The Maximin Strategy 

WordCamp Europe

WordCamp Japan

WordPress 5.8 Development Cycle

Transcript

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:10

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of some of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project and the community around it, as well as get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Joseph Haden Chomphosy. Here we go!

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:40

For anyone who has ever organized something, whether it’s a social event, a school project, or an annual family gathering, you know that there are many different opinions. The more opinions you have, the more likely people don’t see eye to eye. And before you know it, you’ve got some disagreements. Some things make disagreements worse, like imbalance of information, lack of showing your work, and sometimes just “too many cooks in the kitchen,” to use a regional phrase. Frankly, sometimes it seems like the second you have more than one cook in your kitchen, you’re going to get some disagreements. But I think that’s a healthy thing. WordPress is huge. And there are huge numbers of people contributing to WordPress or any other open source project you want to name. So there’s a lot of stuff available to disagree about. If we never saw anyone pointing out an area that wasn’t quite right, there would probably be something wrong. If you, like me, think that a healthy tension of collaborative disagreement can be useful when approached thoughtfully, then this quick start guide is for you. 

Step one, prepare to host a discussion. This is, by the way, just the hardest step out there. You have to take a little time to figure out what problem you’re solving with the solution you’re suggesting, any goals that it relates to, and then figure out what the bare minimum best outcome would be and what the wildest dreams magic wand waving outcome would be. And you have to be honest with yourself. 

Step two, host the discussion. The venue will be different for different discussions, but you see a lot of these on team blogs or within the actual tickets where work is being done. Wherever you’re hosting it, state the problem, state your idea for the solution and ask for what you missed. If you’re hosting a discussion in person, like in a town hall format, this can be hard. And generally, hosting discussions in an in-person or voice call or zoom call kind of way is hard. So if you have an opportunity to start doing this in text first and level your way up to in person, that’s my recommendation. 

Step three is to summarize the discussion and post a decision if possible. So organizing a big discussion into main points is a really good practice for the people you’re summarizing it for and yourself. It helps you to confirm your understanding, and it also gives you the chance to pair other solutions with the problem and goals you outlined in step one. If a different solution solves the same problem but with less time or effort, it’s worth taking a second look with less time or effort. There’s something that I say to WordPress contributors frequently, and that is there are a lot of yeses. There are a lot of right ways to do things and only a few clear wrong ways to do things. So be open-minded about whether or not someone else’s right way to do things could still achieve the goals you’re trying to accomplish with your solution. A note on step three where I said, “and post the decision if possible.” Sometimes you’re the person to make that decision, but sometimes you are not the person who can give something the green light, and so you’re preparing a recommendation. Whether you’re making a decision or a recommendation, sometimes you may experience a little decision-making paralysis. I know I do. So here are a few of the tools that I use.

If you’re avoiding the decision, use the 10/10/10 rule; it can help you figure out if you’re stuck on a short-term problem. If there are too many good choices, use the Eisenhower Matrix that can help you to prioritize objectively. If there are too many bad choices, use the Maximin strategy. It can help you to identify how to minimize any potential negative impacts. 

Okay, so you’ve considered your position. You’ve discussed everything. You summarized the big points. Maybe you also worked your way through to a recommendation or a decision. What about everyone who disagreed with the decision? Or have you made a recommendation, and it wasn’t accepted? How do you deal with that? That’s where “disagree and commit” shows up. This phrase was made popular by the folks over at Amazon, I think. But it first showed up, I believe at Sun Microsystems as this phrase, “agreeing, commit, disagree and commit or get out of the way.”

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:34

Disagree and commit as a concept works pretty well when everyone agrees on the vision and the goals, but not necessarily how to get to those goals. We’ve had moments in recent history where folks we’re not able to agree, we’re not able to commit, and so then left the project. I hate when that happens. I want people to thrive in this community for the entire length of their careers. But I also understand that situation shows up in the top five learnings of open source when you no longer have interest in the project and handed it off to a competent successor. So there it is – disagreements in open source in WordPress. 

As with so many of the things I discuss on this podcast, this is incredibly complex and nuanced in practice. Taking an argument, distilling facts from feelings, and adjusting frames of reference until the solution is well informed and risk-balanced. That is a skill set unto itself. But one that increases the health of any organization. I’ll share that list of references and general materials in the show notes, including a link explaining each of those decision-making tools that I shared. I’m also going to include the contributor training module on decision-making in the WordPress project. It’s got excellent information. It’s part of a series of modules that I asked team reps to take and sponsored contributors. I don’t require it from anyone, but I do hope that it is useful for you. Also, speaking of useful for you, if you are just here for leadership insights, I included some hot takes after the outro music for you. It’s like an Easter egg, but I just told you about it.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  07:33

And that brings us to our small list of big things! First off, WordCamp Europe is happening this we; I hope that everybody has an opportunity to attend. If you still haven’t gotten your tickets, they are free, and I think there are still a few left. I will include a link in the show notes as well. There’s going to be a little demo with Matt Mullenweg and Matias Ventura on the WordPress 5.8 release that’s coming up. And then kind of a retrospective discussion between Matt and Brian Krogsgard. I encourage you to join; I think it’s going to be very interesting. 

There’s also WordCamp, Japan coming up June 20 through 26th. I mentioned it last time –  it has a big section of contributing and contribution time. So if you’re looking to get started, some projects are laid out, and I encourage you to take a look at that as well. 

The new thing on this list, and I don’t know how new It is, in general, I hope it’s not too new to you, is that WordPress 5.8 release is reaching its beta one milestone on June 8th, so right in the middle of WordCamp Europe. I encourage every single theme developer, plugin developer that we have, agency owners that we have to really take a look at this release and dig into testing it. It’s a gigantic release. And I have so many questions about what will work and will not work once we get it into a broader testing area. We’ve been doing a lot of testing in the outreach program. But it’s always helpful to get people who are using WordPress daily in their jobs to really give a good solid test to the beta product to the beta package. And put it all through its paces for us. 

So, that my friends, is your small list of big things. Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  10:09

Hey there, you must be here because I told you about this totally not hidden easter egg about my hot takes on organizational health; I have three for you. And if you’ve ever worked with me, none of this will surprise you. But if you haven’t worked with me, hopefully, it kind of gives you some idea about how I approach all of this a bit differently. So, number one, critical feedback is the sign of a healthy organization. And I will never be dissuaded from that opinion. A complete lack of dissent doesn’t look like “alignment.” To me, that looks like fear. And it goes against the open source idea that many eyes make all bugs shallow. 

Tip number two, a bit of tension is good, a bit of disagreement is good. The same thing that I say about women in tech, we’re not all the same. And if we were, then we wouldn’t need to collaborate anyway. But diversity, whether that’s the diversity of thought or of a person or of experience, just doesn’t happen without some misunderstandings. It’s how we choose to grow through those misunderstandings that make all the difference for the type of organization we are. 

And hot take number three, changing your mind isn’t flip-flopping or hypocritical. I think that’s a sign of growth and willingness to hear others. I like to think of my embarrassment at past bad decisions – as the sore muscles of a learning brain. And I, again, probably won’t be dissuaded from that opinion. Although, you know, if I’m sticking true to changing your mind some flip-flopping or hypocritical, maybe I will, but you can always try to, to give me the counter-argument for that, and we’ll see how it goes. Thank you for joining me for my little public easter egg.

Coloring Your Images With Duotone Filters

Created by Alex Lende

Beginning with WordPress 5.8, you can colorize your image and cover blocks with duotone filters! Duotone can add a pop of color to your designs and style your images to integrate well with your themes.

Filters? Like on Instagram?

Duotone doesn’t work in quite the same way as Instagram filters. Whereas Instagram filters do color adjustments (color levels/curves and sometimes a vignette for the photo editors among us), the new duotone filters entirely replace the colors of your images.

Photo by Charles Pragnell.

You can think of the duotone effect as a black and white filter, but instead of the shadows being black and the highlights being white, you pick your own colors for the shadows and highlights.

For example, a grayscale filter can be created by selecting black and white as shadow/highlight colors, and a sepia filter by choosing brown and tan.

Analogous colors can add a subtle effect and work well for cover backgrounds where the overlaid text still needs to stand out.

Much more vibrant and interesting effects can be made with complementary colors.

How Do I Add Duotone Filter?

The duotone effect works best on high-contrast images, so start with an image with a lot of large dark and light areas. From the block toolbar, use the filter button and choose a preset:

You can also choose colors from your theme’s palette, or a custom color of your choice.

In addition to the image block, duotone can be applied to both images and video in the cover block.

Duotone

Will This Overwrite Images in My Media Library?

Images and videos in your media library will remain unchanged. The duotone effect works using SVG filters and the CSS filter property, so the image or video is never modified in your library. On the one hand, this means that you can apply a filter to an image that you link to that doesn’t exist in your media library. On the other hand, this means that the filter won’t show up in RSS feeds or places that use the image URL directly.

Can I Add Duotone Colors to Blocks or Themes That I Develop?

The API for adding duotone colors to blocks is experimental in Gutenberg v10.6. Still, the documentation for using it in your own blocks can be found and will be updated under Supports Color in the Block Editor Handbook. Themes can add duotone presets with theme.json. More information can be found under Global Settings & Styles Presets in the Block Editor Handbook.

Try it Out Now Using the Gutenberg plugin

The duotone feature was released in version 10.6 of the Gutenberg plugin, so you can try it out now prior to the WordPress 5.8 release in July.


Thanks to @joen and @mkaz for assistance writing and reviewing this post.

WP Briefing: Episode 9: The Cartography of WordPress

In this episode, Josepha Haden Chomphosy provides a map of how to navigate WordPress teams and communication channels, along with her small list of big things.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.

Credits

References

Transcript

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:10

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of some of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project and the community around it, as well as get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Joseph Haden Chomphosy. Here we go!

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:40

Almost every episode of this podcast, you can hear me invite you to join in the WordPress project, to contribute back, to get involved. And I’m sure that every time I say that there’s at least one of you who’s like “Yes. Challenge accepted!” And you wade in sight unseen, to immerse yourselves in the cheerful cacophony of open source at scale that is WordPress. You see before you all 158 ways you can start contributing and you are exhilarated by this lostness. This you think, is the lostness of infinite possibility. And for you, I’m really thankful. My work here today would not be possible if it weren’t for the brave souls who leap into something with hope as their primary plan and tactic. You are heroes, and I thank you very much for your service. For everyone else, I’m going to give you a quick tour of where WordPress collaborates and a little bit of how they collaborate. We’ll cover the Make network, the Making WordPress Slack, events for WordPress, and a rundown of the teams. 

First, the Make network. The Make network of sites can be found at make.wordpress.org. That page includes information on most of our teams. Teams like Core and Design and Community. All of those teams require some technical skills since we’re a project built around a piece of software. However, some require a little more than others. You can think of this set of sites as the desk of each team in the WordPress project. It’s where they update each other, where they host discussions, where they refine proposals, and where they coordinate admin tasks. Contributors can write posts on most sites in the network as long as they follow the guidelines and best practices. And anyone with a wordpress.org profile can join in discussions in the comments. Most work on the Make network is asynchronous, and discussions stay open for a long enough time to allow anyone in the world to weigh in when they have the time. It’s how we try to remember that we are a globally-minded project. 

The second area is the Making WordPress Slack instance. The Making WordPress Slack instance can be found at wordpress.slack.com, and it requires an account that is associated with your wordpress.org profile. Each team in the project has a channel, although not all channels in that Slack instance, represent a standalone team. You can think of this Slack instance as a set of conference rooms. It’s where contributors connect, gain a more nuanced understanding of problems that we’re trying to solve. They host synchronous meetings and also coordinate working groups.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  03:31

Contributors can post in most channels, although there are a few that are restricted. We don’t have any social channels in this Slack instance, but most WordPress-ers do tend to find friends that they connect with. The work done here is synchronous, and most meetings last about an hour. There are about 35+ meetings a week, so you can basically always find someone around. 

The last area we work is actually at WordPress events. Word Camps and WordPress meetups happen all over the world. Unless there’s a global pandemic, then they’re kind of all over the computer and at all times of day and night. You can keep track of those on wordcamp.org or on WordPress’s meetup page, which I’ve linked in the notes below. These events bring together all sorts of facets of the WordPress project. And they are an event where local WordPress communities aim to connect, inspire and educate each other. There’s always someone at these events, who knows a little bit more about WordPress than you do. If you’re headed to want to learn more about contribution, look out for any that have a contributor day or are hosting a contribution drive. These are clearly synchronous events. And when we do get back to doing them in person, they’re also tied to physical locations. When we get back to them, I encourage you to find one that’s close to you. They are incredibly valuable. 

Okay, so that’s the map of the area. Those are the three big places where we get this stuff done. Let’s do a quick map of the teams themselves. If you’re a developer and you’re looking to work inside the technology space, work with code a bit, then your best chances for teams are Core and all of its related components. They’re like 50 components, including core editor and various other things. There’s also the Mobile team WP CLI, the Tide team, Security, our brand new team, Openverse, and Meta. Those all take a fairly high amount of code knowledge to contribute there. 

If you’re more into design and product work, then we have a few teams for that as well. There’s of course, the Design team, but we also have Accessibility, Test, Triage, Polyglots kind of falls in there for me. But if you are a programs person, and we’re talking like programs, getting people together programs, not programs, as in programming or code. So if you’re a programs person, you’re looking more at the Community team, at the Themes team, the Plugin team, Polyglots, again, Training support, probably a number of others that have like program components in it as well.

If you are really interested in learning more about contributor experience, which is how we build tools, and again, programs for all of the contributors who are showing up, then the teams for you will be teams like Meta and Documentation, Hosting, the Community team, the Training team, arguably any team that has a program as part of it is considered contributor experience because that’s how we help our contributors know what to do, what not to do, how to help them get onboarded, find their way, stuff like that. 

And if you’re more in the communications area of things, we have quite a few teams there as well. We do have Marketing, of course, but also I think that Support ends up in our communications area, WordPress TV, obviously ends up in communications. But I think Training, Meta, Documentation, and arguably, maybe also Testing ends up in that space as well. 

I realize that there are a handful of teams that I mentioned multiple times, especially Polyglots, Support, Test, Triage, Meta, Community. The reason they end up in a number of different places is that all of those teams also have a fair amount of admin and infrastructure stuff that goes into the WordPress project and community as a whole. So it touches a lot of other teams, and so they get a lot of mentions. All right. So WordPress adventurers, you now have a beginner’s map. I hope it helps, and I hope we see you around the community.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  07:54

If you’re still with me, that brings us today to my small list of big things. I’ve got four things for you, and I’m excited about all of them. The first two are events actually. WordCamp Europe is coming up from June seventh through the ninth. It will include a presentation from the WordPress project co-founder, Matt Mullenweg, so I encourage you to hop over, grab a ticket to check out the rest of the sessions that are happening while you’re there. The next one is WordCamp, Japan, which is happening June 20th through the 26th. And you heard that right that is seven whole days of WordCamp. It’s a little bit of a different format than we normally take, but it’s five days actually of contribution on ten specific projects. Then that’s bookended on either side of those contribution days, with full days of sessions. There’s some in English, but it’s primarily in Japanese. But either way, I think it’s going to be a really excellent event, and I encourage everyone to check it out. 

The rest of my list is not events. We have opened our sixth call for testing, it’s specifically looking at the template editing mode for Full Site Editing. It is an iteration on one of our earliest tests for the Full Site Editing outreach program. And so it has incorporated a lot of the feedback that we got in that test the first time around. So if you look at that test, which by the way, are all guided, if you’ve never tested anything before, don’t let this scare you. It’s really well written, it’s got a good guide on it and, and also allows for a little bit of exploration. But if you participated in the landing page test that we did early on, this is the follow-up to that. It incorporates a lot of the feedback that we got, so this is closing that feedback loop and I encourage you to stop by and participate in that test. It will be linked in the show notes and also I tweet about it a bit so you can run over there and find it also.

 WordPress is dropping support for Internet Explorer 11. That’s happening over the summer, so around the middle of July is when that’s going to happen. If you’ve been using WordPress for a while you’ve been getting notifications. If you happen to get to WordPress with IE11, letting you know that that this particular browser is reaching the end of its life for support in general on the web, but now WordPress also is making the choice to drop support for that. And so there’s a post out on wordpress.org/news, which I will also link to in the show notes in case you have not heard about this yet. It shouldn’t have any immediate and noticeable effects on anyone who’s visiting a site that’s built using WordPress. There might be a few things in the dashboard that don’t work if you are administering a WordPress site from IE11. So there’s a lot of good information in that post. Give it a read and if you have questions, always feel free to stop by the Core chat and ask those as we go. 

And that my friends is your smallest of big things. Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks!

WP Briefing: The Commons of Images

In this episode, Josepha is joined by the co-founder and project lead of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. Tune in to hear Matt and Josepha discuss the relaunch of CC Search (Openverse) in WordPress and the facets of the open source ecosystem. 

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.

Credits

References

Openverse Repositories

Tech Stack Outline

  • Frontend– Languages:
    • JavaScript, CSS/SCSS
    • Libraries/Services: Vue.js, Nuxt.js# 
  • API– Languages:
    • Python, PostgreSQL
    • Libraries/Services: Django, Elasticsearch, Redis
  • Catalogue– Languages:
    • Python, PostgreSQL
    • Libraries/Services: Apache Airflow, PySpark

Join the WordPress Slack instance, #openverse

Transcript

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:10

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing. This is usually the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of some of the ideas is behind the WordPress open source project. Today, I have a little bit of a different topic. It’s still WordPress, it’s still open source, but it’s kind of peering into some stuff for the future as opposed to looking at where we are today or how we got to where we are today.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:36

You might have recently seen an announcement from Matt that CC Search is joining the WordPress project. This is a really exciting thing for open source, for sure, and definitely, from my perspective, for WordPress. And so I invited Matt to join me today to take a look at what he had in mind with bringing that particular project into our project and what we have in mind for the future. And so, today, this is the WordPress Briefing with Matt and Josepha. And I hope you enjoy the conversation we had. Here we go!

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:22

So, we recently announced for WordPress that we essentially acquired CC Search, a project that’s been part of Creative Commons. And they recently chose a different kind of roadmap for the work they’re doing in the future. And so it seemed like a really great opportunity to bring this tool and this, I don’t know, this kind of experience for our users into the WordPress project. So Matt, what are your thoughts about how, like this commitment to images with CC licenses, with Creative Commons licenses, can impact WordPress and how we work in the open web.

Matt Mullenweg  02:09

I think it’s pretty exciting because Creative Commons exists to do for media, you know, images, audio, etc., what open source has done for code. And so for people who choose to want to donate their creative work under these licenses, much like anyone who contributes a plugin, or code or documentation or translations for WordPress, now people for whom their method of expression is, let’s say, photography, can put that into the comments like literally, I like why it’s called the Creative Commons, it’s such a good name. It can be accessed within everyone’s dashboard for WordPress. And those images can start to really be part of the fabric of the web the same way that code that runs WordPress or its plugins is part of the fabric of the web.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  02:57

For anyone who’s listening who’s not actually already familiar with this concept of the tragedy of the commons, do you want to give us the elevator pitch of what that means and why it’s so important for WordPress to try to counterbalance that in our work?

Matt Mullenweg  03:12

Sure, the tragedy of the commons, you know, I think the canonical example is as a shared field in a town, and it doesn’t belong to anyone, so anyone can use it. And when too many farmers took their sheep there, they would overeat the grass, and then there was no more grass left because it was being overutilized, and there was no one owning the field to say, Hey, we need to practice a more sustainable amount of sheep. grass in

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  03:39

Put more grass in there.

Matt Mullenweg  03:41

So basically, the idea is like a shared resource that gets overused and then disappears. With software, we have the opportunity to have the opposite, which is a wealth of comments where every person using the thing actually has the opportunity to make it a little bit better. And that is really beauty of like Wikipedia, open source where every person using it might contribute a small fix, or a translation or a bug report or tell a friend about it, or basically be part of making this thing better, which you know, WordPress is history is very much an example of, and then as it gets better, more people want to use it. And the beautiful thing about software is you can have economics of abundance versus the economics of scarcity. There’s not one field used, but every additional incremental user of WordPress makes this community stronger and creates a larger market for the products inside it. So those types of dynamics can have the opposite of the tragedy of the commons.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:39

Absolutely. I love this idea that you brought it up in your question, not your question, in your answer right at the top. I love this idea of acknowledging that code isn’t the only fabric available in open source and certainly not the only fabric of the internet as we know it. This idea of like, let’s bring Creative Commons licensed images into a more long-term space for WordPress. Do you think that that at some point can apply to videos and other sorts of audio files?

Matt Mullenweg  05:21

Absolutely. There already is a ton of Creative Commons licensed content out there that people can use. But there’s a discoverability problem, you know? Each individual image or audio file or video is, is a little bit of an island. So that’s why it’s so important that there’s the equivalent of a search engine that allows people to discover all the great stuff that’s out there. And what happens today is there’s stock photography sites, some of which used to be Creative Commons-based, but many have moved away from that. So they essentially relicense their user contributions. Or people, if we’re being real, people just go to Google images, and they might utilize images that they don’t actually have rights to. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s not ideal. And so we can create this really compelling directory experience of imagery, which people have chosen to share and want to be used. I think that’s a much better outcome than the equivalent of piracy.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  06:21

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I leapt right into this and didn’t really give any context to what CC Search is or anything, but for anyone who is not familiar with this tool already, CC Search is, as Matt mentioned, a search engine that currently is focused specifically on images that use open licenses. The Creative Commons licenses are like the content-specific version of GPL for code, which is a really big deal, I think. If wishes were fishes, Matt, and you had your total hope ahead of you, what is your hope for the relaunch of this product and this tool in WordPress?

Matt Mullenweg  07:15

Well, first and foremost, I think we can improve the experience of designing and contributing themes and then modifying them with this really fantastic image directory if we’re able to build it in the media library. And lots of plugins like Jetpack do some version of this. I think that Jetpack uses Pexels or one of the proprietary, but open libraries. And so we can make it fully, like you said, the equivalent of GPL and open source, all the better. I think longer-term, I’d love to have a way for people who are adding media to the WordPress site to set it to be available under a Creative Commons license. So just to make it easy and built-in for people to create more Creative Commons license imagery. And then, you know, with the integration of Gutenberg and other things, we can make it easy for other people to use it and credit back the original author if they choose to. And what we find is that even though with CC0, which is essentially a kind of like putting something into the public domain, credit is not required. If you make it the default to link back to the original photographer, author, most people believe that because they like creating things that they use. So you get the best of both worlds; you have the freedom of use for any purpose, including not requiring the credit. But then, just by having it by default, when you insert one of these images, a lot of people are going to leave that and link back to the original author, which I think is also really cool. Like you’re not required to have a credit link on WordPress, but most people leave the Powered BY WordPress on there. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  08:45

One of the interesting areas, you mentioned Pexels in this case. One of those interesting areas that we, as a project, can really explore here is how to make it so that the metadata gives you confidence in the origin of the image. Like I don’t believe that there are any set standards for that. I’ve just started my research, obviously, because they’re brand new to us, but I just don’t think there are any standards available there. And, I think that there is an opportunity for WordPress as a true supporter of the open web to help change the fact that we don’t have that’s one of the main competitive disadvantages that open source libraries have been trying to combat and especially with Unsplash, who eventually did get purchased by Getty Images. Still, I feel like part of what must have driven that decision to change the licensing terms had to be that they are up against that behemoth of Getty Images where people know where the things came from. They know where the images came from, and they can trust that lineage and model releases and all that stuff. I’m just really interested to see how we can; I don’t know; I hate to say dignify contributors who are offering their contributions to open source in this way. But, it also is kind of that there’s no sense in saying that just because you did not accept payment from getting images, your photos weren’t any good, or your images did not have an excellent path to where they are housed at that moment.

Matt Mullenweg  10:39

I mean, it’s really fun to contribute to something larger than yourself. And for many folks, you know, their gift, their craft is something like photography. And so there’s always going to be the sort of paid marketplaces and, and something like Shutterstock, I think really fantastic companies and services. I think a marketplace for paid content. But we just want to make an alternative, so those who want to donate their work to the world, much like engineers, and designers, and translators of WordPress, donate their work some of that effort to the world, they can do so. Right now, there are some places for that, but we’re going to try to create one that is fully open, has no advertising, has an open API. So other CMSs can access it too.  You know, we’re going to try to bring the WordPress philosophy to this space. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  11:29

Gosh, I just love that. While we’re on the question of contributing to something bigger than yourself, bringing the WordPress philosophy into this space, how do you think CC Search will impact the current media library and how WordPress handles media in general? Or do you have an idea about how it will impact that? Sometimes we don’t know until we get in?

Matt Mullenweg  11:53

Yeah, I think within Gutenberg, the idea of adding an image from an online library or a search is something we’ve wanted to do for a while. But either the licensing made it a little tricky, or, you know, some of the sites that did have open things, maybe the site itself had like a lot of advertising or pop-ups or things like that. So by having this hosted by wordpress.org, we’ll have a clean, open source, and ad-free place that people can access. I suppose it’s also worth saying that CC Search, which we’re rebranding as Openverse, is actually all the code behind is open source as well. So there is going to be a new project on WordPress’s GitHub that will be this open source search engine. So that’s also part of the contributions; we’ll be pointing this search engine to try to index and collect Creative Commons license media, but perhaps it could also provide a base for someone else wanting to build a different characters engine or just host Openverse themselves and run it themselves; that is totally fine.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  13:00

I should probably mention, for any of the WP Briefing listeners who are contributing to the WordPress project itself, there is a brand new team that we’re working on building, and for one wander over and welcome everybody, we are welcoming in an open source community into our open source community. And so, of course, we want to make sure that they know how to get around and feel welcome in the space. But also, anything that you are interested in helping to contribute to that particular project, I think would be helpful. WordPress is big; we have a long history. And so I think I feel confident in saying that, if I were on that team that’s bringing in this new tool, I would hope that there were some OG WordPressers, who were available to help me discover the ins and outs of things, especially as its 18 years of us.

Matt Mullenweg  14:04

Yeah, it’s also a new technology stack. So let’s say you want to be involved in WordPress, but your expertise is more on the Python side, or Elastic Search or something like that. We now have a project where people who are into that or want to learn about it can get involved. Because, of course, you know, contributing and being involved with open source is probably the best way to learn a technology, better than any college degree.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  14:28

I was just talking to some folks about that; our active learning opportunities and our passive learning opportunities get into a different balance as we get older. And active learning opportunities are for real in school, right? And our passive learning opportunities where you get to look at someone else’s code, you get to review proposals on user flows, and things are harder and harder to come by unless you happen to be in an open source project where we’re just working on that in the open all day, every day. And I’ll put a link to the repos in the show notes, and also, I’ll include a list of the tech stack that we’re looking at there, just so that no one has to like, chase it down. But yeah, I’m excited about this new integration, not only for the CMS but also for the community.

Matt Mullenweg  15:26

And the whole library will be available to any plug-in who wants to call to it. And like we said, even other CMSs, much like we designed Gutenberg to be able to be used by other CMSs, how cool would it be if Drupal or Joomla or others were also able to leverage this library and allow their users to contribute to it as well?

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  15:47

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. There is a burning question that I feel like we probably should just go ahead and answer here. I’ve been asked a few times, and I think you have been asked a few times whether this is an actual acquisition. And If yes, then what entity is it under? Is it under the WordPress Foundation? Is it under Automattic?

Matt Mullenweg  16:10

It’s a little complicated because, as you know, WordPress.org is not part of the Foundation. So basically, Automattic paid Creative Commons, the nonprofit. They will essentially redirect the old URL, so old links to Creative Commons Search won’t break. And we ended up hiring some of the people that they were parting ways with into Automattic. And then we put that open source code, and we’ll run the service on WordPress.org, and then those we hired, Automattic hired, will contribute to WordPress.org and the open source projects that power what we’re calling Openverse now.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  16:54

I am.

Matt Mullenweg  16:56

That’s kind of an acquisition, but also from a nonprofit, and then going into something, which is not a nonprofit, but is open source and sort of freely available, which is WordPress.org, the website.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  17:06

Yeah, that has been hard for me to answer because you’re right, it’s not like it was donated to WordPress or something. But everything that we’re doing is being donated back to the project, and of course, hopefully, really living into that WordPress ethos that we have of giving back to, to the project, something that made your work and your life better. So there’s some, some finger-crossing going on in there.

Matt Mullenweg  17:37

We could have skipped some of the steps because the code was open source; we could have just used it or something like that. But it was also a good opportunity, I think, to support the Creative Commons organization. And like we said, as part of that donation, there’ll be redirecting Creative Commons Search to WordPress.org. And honestly, we don’t need that, but it just from the point of view of keeping links workings, which is a big passion of mine. I like that none of the links will break or things to the Creative Commons Search, which I think has been around for… I don’t actually know the exact timeline, but a very long time. It’s been part of the internet for a long time. So we’re happy that it can now continue and be something that can plausibly be around for many decades to come.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  18:23

Yeah, we’re going to build ourselves a little sustainable program around this project, and it’s going to be beautiful; I’m excited.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  18:31

I did want to give everybody a cultural heads up. When I say crossing my fingers, I know that for some of our cultures, that means I was lying. That is not what I’m saying—crossing my fingers and moving forward on this with a lot of hope.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  18:51

I tried to be careful about my local idioms when I’m talking to folks who don’t know that I’m from Arkansas, so I sometimes say weird things. But I’ve given up on y’all, for instance, like that has made its way right back into my language. 

Matt Mullenweg  19:09

Y’all is great. In Texas, we had a funny thing, which maybe applies to you now, which is “more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.” I bet you haven’t heard that one. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  19:21

I have not, but I love it, and I’m going to fold it into my personal vocabulary for later use. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  19:30

The response to this has been overwhelmingly positive, and I know that I am incredibly positive. I just mentioned like I’m moving forward through this with hope, even though there’s a lot of stuff that I don’t actually know about how we can implement it. I have never brought an existing open source community into an open source community that I’m currently working with. So there’s a lot of learning to be done in there. But, from your side Matt, like, are there any things that you are feeling anxiously hopeful about for this? Anything that you hope is right, but you’re not sure about?

Matt Mullenweg  20:14

Oh, this is just the first step of many. So just having the search engine, is I think good to provide a service to the internet. But where we can really leverage it is those next steps we already talked about, which is really building out the API and integrating the API with the WordPress admin to make it easily accessible within people’s dashboards. And the Gutenberg blocks to embed these images, quickly and easily, and with all the proper credit and everything. And then the next step, which was probably the one I’m most excited about, which is enabling folks to contribute to the Creative Commons. And by that, I mean the Commons of Images, which have open licenses and are encouraged for reuse and remixing and all those sorts of great things. And I think that anything we can do to increase more of that stuff on the internet also enables a lot of creativity and innovation.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  21:10

All right. Well, that was an excellent conversation. I am really excited about this. I want to, for my work, just say a huge welcome to the folks over at CC Search and our brand new group around Openverse, and a big thanks to the folks over at the Creative Commons group. Matt, do you have anything else you want to share with any of our audience?

Matt Mullenweg  21:39

No, I feel great that we could support the Creative Commons, keep this going for the open internet, and so excited to work alongside the folks who have been working on Openverse and take it to the next iterations and the next level. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  21:56

Beautiful. Well, Matt, thank you so much for joining me today. This was a wonderful conversation. My friends, this has been Matt Mullenweg, WordPress project co-founder, and project lead.

Matt Mullenweg  22:08

Thank you so much for having me.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  22:17

Thank you for tuning in today to the WordPress Briefing. I hope that conversation made you as excited as I am about this new adventure that we’re embarking on with CC Search and that whole team. I’m going to put in the show notes a few links to where you can find them, where they’re doing their work, what you can collaborate on, and also some notes about the tech stack that goes into it. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy.Thanks again for joining me and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.

Getting Started with the Figma WordPress Design Library

Created by James Koster, (@jameskoster)

As the name suggests, the WordPress Design Library is a library of WordPress design assets, enabling anyone to quickly create design prototypes for WordPress UI in Figma.

These tools are useful for designers when creating new UI and for anyone looking to contribute ideas, enhancements, or even solutions to bug reports. Sometimes pictures really do speak a thousand words.

In this post, we’ll talk about some key features of Figma before diving into a practical example that demonstrates some of the WordPress Design Library utilities.

What Is Figma?

Figma is a collaborative design tool that members of the WordPress project’s design team have been using for several years to work on and share design concepts. It offers a variety of handy features such as: in-browser access, rich prototyping tools, component libraries, code inspectors, live embeds, inline commenting, plugins, and much much more.

Perhaps best of all, it is totally free to sign up and start playing around. If you join the WordPress.org Figma organization (instructions below), you’ll gain access to the WordPress Design Library enabling you to design WordPress UI in no time.

What Is the WordPress Design Library?

In Figma, you can share components and styles by publishing them, transforming your file into a library so that you can use instances of those components in other files.

Figma.com

It may be easiest to think of the WordPress Design Library as a visual representation of all the javascript components that compose UI in the WordPress codebase. As an end user of the library, you can use those components in a self-contained environment to create new interface designs. It’s kind of like a big LEGO box containing all the UI pieces (buttons, form inputs, etc.) that you can use to create and try out new designs.

Creating designs with these assets enables rapid ideation on new interfaces by removing mundane processes that one would ordinarily have to work through. Nobody wants to repeatedly double-check that the button they made perfectly matches the buttons rendered by the code! And on the flip-side of that coin, anyone sharing a design with others will generally endeavor to make specific elements (like buttons) match what exists in the code as closely as possible. The WordPress Design Library solves both these headaches and more.

An additional benefit to these assets visually matching what exists in the codebase is that any designs you create with them will inherently make use of the latest WordPress design language and consequently feel like WordPress with almost no effort required. Passing such designs on to developers makes them easier to interpret and implement too.

Figma Fundamentals

Before getting into the practical section of this post, let’s quickly cover some of the fundamental features of Figma libraries. This will help prepare us for working with the WordPress Design Library.

Components

As we touched on above, the library consists of “components” that serve as visual counterparts to their code-based equivalents. That is to say, there is a Button component in Figma, and a matching Button component in the WordPress codebase.

But what is a Figma component?

Components are elements you can reuse across your designs. They help to create and manage consistent designs across projects.

help.figma.com

Let’s quickly explore some of the properties of Figma components to understand the ways they help when working on our next design.

Variants

Some Figma components offer variants. One example is Button(s) which all have the following states:

  • Resting
  • Hover
  • Focus
  • Disabled

These can be manipulated via the variants interface in Figma:

Other examples of components with variants are form inputs and menu items. Variants are a new feature in Figma, so we’ll be adding more over time.

Overrides

Although any components you insert are intrinsically linked to the master component in the library, it is possible to override some properties.

While working with an instance of the Button component, you can change things like the label, or even the background color, while maintaining the link to the master component in the library. If you’re familiar with git workflows, this is kind of like creating a local branch. Any changes you make can easily be reset in a couple of clicks.

Overrides made to your local instance will persist even when the master component is updated. So if your design calls for a button with a green background, you can apply that override safely with the knowledge that even if the master component is updated, your button can inherit those updates and remain green.


We’ve only really scratched the surface of components here. So I would recommend the official Figma documentation for more advanced information.

Figma Styles

In addition to components, styles are also published as part of the WordPress Design Library. They have similar properties to components in that a master style exists in the library and can be utilized in your local Figma file. Just like Components, Styles will receive updates when changes to the library are published.

Styles are used to define colors, typographical rules, and effects like drop-shadows present in the WordPress codebase. They enable you to apply things like text or background colors that will match other UI parts.

Using Styles from the library, you ensure that your creations match existing UI elements, making it easier to implement.


To learn more about styles in Figma, I recommend the official documentation.

Views and Stickers

“Stickers” are simply arrangements of Components and Styles that have been combined to represent common UI elements. They are not good candidates for full componentization due to their frequent customization needs. Examples of Stickers include the Inspector sidebar and the block inserter:

Their utility is simple: find the sticker you need, peel (copy) it from the WordPress Design Library, and stick (paste) it into your local file before customizing as needed.

Stickers are not Figma features like Components and Styles, but any stickers you copy to a working file will stay up to date by virtue of their underlying assets.

Views are arrangements of components, styles, and stickers.

Designing a Block Using the WordPress Design Library

Okay, now that we have a handle on the basics of Figma libraries and their features and the utilities of the WordPress Design Library like Stickers and Views, let’s work through a practical example – designing the UI for a brand new block.

Getting Started

All you need to get started is a Figma account added to the WordPress.org Figma organization.

Once you’ve signed up at Figma, simply join the #Design channel on the community Slack and request an invite. Include your Figma username, and a friendly community member will help get you set up in no time.

Now the fun begins!

To create a fresh new design file in Figma, visit the Gutenberg project and click the “+ New” button.

Now let’s include the WordPress Design Library in our working file so that we have access to all the goodies we’ll need:

  1. Open the “Assets” panel and click the little book icon to view the available Team Libraries.
  2. In the modal, toggle the WordPress Design Library on. You can leave the others off for now.

After closing the modal, you’ll notice a number of components become visible in the assets panel. To insert them, they can be dragged on to the canvas:

It’s kind of like inserting a block 🙂

Creating a Pizza Block 🍕

I love to eat pizza, so for fun, I’m going to design a new block that simply allows the user to display a delicious pizza in their posts and pages. I want the block to include options for a total number of slices and different toppings.

Work Out the Flow

I always like to concentrate on individual flows when designing blocks. That is to say, the linear steps a user will take when working with that block. In this case, I want to create visualizations of the following steps/views in our Figma file:

  1. Inserting the block from the Block Inserter
  2. The Pizza Block placeholder state including options in the block, its Toolbar, and the Inspector
  3. The configured Pizza Block settings
  4. The end result – a delicious pizza sitting comfortably on the canvas

Sketch the New States

Thanks to the WordPress Design Library, I’ll be using as many existing UI components as possible, but I still need a rough idea of how they will be composed in the new interfaces that my Pizza block will require. I normally find it helpful to sketch these out on paper.

Here’s the placeholder state which users will see when they first insert the block. This should be all I need:

Prepare the Views and Stickers

Helpfully, there are Views in the WordPress Design Library I can use for each of the steps in the flow outlined above.

I open the library, navigate to the Views page, find the views I need, copy them, and paste into my working file.

It is very important to copy (not cut) Views from the library so that they remain intact and other people can still access them. If you cut them, they’ll be gone forever, so please don’t do that 🙂

I’m also going to need a block placeholder sticker, so I navigate to the Stickers page, copy the one that most closely resembles my sketch from before, and paste it into my working file.

As with views, please only copy stickers; do not cut them.

Gather the Components

Referring back to the placeholder state I sketched out on paper (it can be helpful to import this into your Figma file), I can see that I’m going to need some form elements to realize the design.

I navigate to the Assets panel, locate the components I need, and drag them into my file:

Helpful tip: Once a component has been inserted, you can transform it into another component via its settings panel. Sometimes it is easier to copy/paste a component you already inserted and transform it this way, rather than opening the assets panel over and over.

Arrange the Views, Stickers, and Components to Create a Coherent Design

Now that we’ve gathered all the individual pieces we need, it’s simply a case of arranging them so that they resemble each of the steps of the flow we outlined before. This is done with simple drag and drop.

If you’re familiar with software like Photoshop, Sketch, and others, this should feel very familiar.

Once everything is in place, our flow is complete:

I still find it incredible that we’re able to do this in just a few short moments.

Hook up the Prototype

With each step of our flow created, the last piece of the puzzle is to connect them and form a clickable prototype.

I switch to the Prototype panel and create click behaviors by selecting a layer, then dragging the white dot to the corresponding frame.

There are a variety of behaviors that the Figma prototyping tools support, such as a hover, drag, and click. It is even possible to create smart animations. Perhaps that’s something we can explore in another tutorial, but for now, I will refer you to the Figma documentation for more advanced prototyping.

Now that I’ve connected all the appropriate elements, I am able to take my prototype for a test drive by clicking the Play ▶ icon:

You can try it too; just click here.

That’s All, Folks!

I tried to keep this tutorial fairly simple and concise; even though we only really got to grips with the basics here, you can see the power of Figma and the WordPress Design Library when it comes to trying out new designs.

WP Briefing: Your Opinion is Our Opportunity

In this episode, Josepha discusses the importance of co-development and testing for the continued growth and maintenance of the WordPress project. 

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.

Credits

References

Transcript

0:10

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of some of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project and the community around it, as well as get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go!

0:39

Prior to Gutenberg, our current multi-year project that is changing the way we see WordPress, another multi-year project changed the way we saw WordPress. Starting in 2008, substantial changes to the WordPress interface came in a series of major releases, starting with WordPress 2.5. That was before my time in the project; I’ve only ever worked with the current dashboard in WordPress. But, from what I’ve read, the user testing that would have gone into it was a huge undertaking and very well coordinated. Now, WordPress has not taken on that type of robust testing project since, but starting around 2014 or 2015, a community testing practice was started. I’ve shared these calls for testing frequently, both on Twitter and in this podcast. But you may not really know why I find the testing program so valuable. So today, I’m going to explore with you the concept of co-developers in open source.

1:52

Open source software, like WordPress, is built by the people who show up. There are a few obvious groups when you think of software, the developers, designers, technical writers, folks who monitor the forums, and really, all the teams you find in our WordPress project. Co-developers or co-creators, if you’ll join me in making our tent a little bigger, refers to the users of an open source product who actively engage and contribute to the work by using the software and sharing any bugs that they find.

2:25

I mentioned this group in the episode about how WordPress improves. Specifically in that episode, I underlined that if you consider users to be part of the collaborative process, as long as people use your product, those people will have opinions about your product’s needs. And today, I’m extending that thought a bit further to say that, as long as there are opinions, there are opportunities.

2:51

When you know what isn’t working, you can focus your attention on a solution, you can focus on making sure that you can make it work. The existence of co-creators is one of the great things about open source. No designer or developer or product owner has to know every sort of user to be able to get feedback from them. If they show up, test the software and get their thoughts written down, then you can start to see patterns and common pain points. It is also, unfortunately, one of the great difficulties of being an open source project. After all, if users don’t show up, or don’t test, or don’t write down their feedback, it’s impossible to know what worked for them and what didn’t. And on top of that, with such a large percentage of the web being supported by WordPress in this case, not every problem is part of a pattern. And not all patterns are part of the current priorities.

3:54

Looking beyond that double-edged sword. Let’s say that this idea of a co-creator makes sense to you. And more than that, you feel like it describes you. What does it mean for you to show up in WordPress? There are lots of good ways to offer this sort of feedback and contribute to those patterns that can help us see through the fog. So I have for you a mini list and, of course, a bunch of links in the show notes for you. 

So some good ways. First, you can participate in any of the dedicated calls for testing. They are short and frequently have a guide. I participate in them and generally find them fun. I say generally because sometimes I also find them frustrating. That’s really okay too; the frustrations helped me to identify that I found a problem. And if I can find a problem, then I have saved someone else from finding that problem in the future. The second thing you can do is file a bug report with information about what happened when you ran into a problem and how someone like me could make your bug happen on their site. Bug

5:00

Reporting is one of the things I’ve grown to really love in my time and open source; I did not love it. At first, I was really scared to do it. I mostly used to send videos of the bugs that I found to other people and ask them to file the bug reports for me. But then, of course, I never knew whether they got fixed or not. So I was scared to do it at first. But once I figured out what makes a “good report,” I felt like I was helping circle hidden treasure on a map or something. I realized also not everyone’s excited about finding hidden treasure on a map. But I play video games and finding hidden treasure on maps is, like, a thing.

5:43

A third really great way to contribute like this is that you can join any community meeting to learn more about what’s happening now and in the future, or just to see what makes WordPress work. As a heads up, these meetings go really fast. And they’re all in text. And there’s sometimes, but not all the time, a little bit of jargon that you have to head to your favorite search engine to find. But I sit in on about half of them myself and get a lot of really good information about things that I’ve been wondering about, things that looked broken, but actually are functioning exactly the way that they should. And I just didn’t want them to function that way. And more often than not, I found out that something that I thought was broken, was already identified and being fixed. Those are three great ways to show up and help give feedback that helps make WordPress better and more functional for more people. 

There are also a few other ways that we see people trying to share that feedback that don’t work quite as well. And I’m going to touch on a few of them just because it’s important to know, as you’re trying to figure out how to get started with this. The first one is just tweeting your frustrations, and I get it like that’s literally what Twitter is for.

7:03

But also it’s hard to create a block from “I am frustrated, behold my hateful rhetoric.” Not that any of you, my dear listeners, ever tweet hateful rhetoric. Still, that is really hard for anyone to figure out what was actually wrong in that moment. Another thing that is not the most functional way to give feedback is review brigading. The Internet rewards this kind of behavior, but I have found at least for WordPress, those false positives and false negatives can be really confusing for our new users. And the third way, that’s not our best way, and probably is the least best way, is just by giving up and not telling anyone what broke for you.

7:45

I know that I already said it’s not possible to fix everyone’s problems. But while it’s not possible to fix everyone’s problems the moment they get shared, it’s also truly impossible to fix any problems that no one knows exist. And so giving up and not sharing an issue so that we can identify it as part of a pattern of problems is probably the least effective way to help us help you get your problem solved.

8:13

This brings me back to the question of the value of WordPress users as co creators in the development process. As WordPress grows, both in usage as a CMS and in participation as a community, it’s important for us to shed the idea that software creation is only about what literally can be done to code or what literally can be done to core or what literally can be done to the CMS. It’s also important for us to constantly remind ourselves that the best outcomes are the result of collaboration with the people who use WordPress the most. I know that not every type of user we have is showing up to give us feedback about where WordPress doesn’t work for them. And I would love to see more feedback that helps us to figure out where our patterns are.

9:03

So the bottom line is this without user feedback that has some clarity of what was expected versus what happened, the work to make a good choice involves a whole lot of guessing. So since open source software is built by the people who show up, I hope this gives you an idea of how you can show up and help improve the tool that powers your sites.

9:32

That brings us to today’s community highlight every episode or so I share either a great story of WordPress success or a great story of a WordPress contributor who helped some folks along the way. Today’s community highlight comes from @trishacodes who shared one of her early to WordPress mentors. She says “@RianRietveld was such an encouragement and helped me find the courage to speak up.” I have had myself many conversations with Rian, and that rings true for me as well. 

10:00

That brings us to the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the small list of big things. It’s actually kind of a medium list. Today, I’ve got four whole things to share with you all. The first thing on my list is that WordCamp Europe is coming, that will be June 7th through the 10th. It’s a multi-day online event. I will share in the show notes a link to the main website; there you can get an idea of what will happen, the schedule, and get your hands on some tickets so that you can get it in your calendar and prepare yourselves. 

The second thing I want to share is for all of our polyglots out there. The French team is planning a translation day coming up on April 30. I will share a link to that as well so that you can get an idea of what that takes if you’re feeling like you want to do some translation work. The third thing I want to share is that the Indian community in Pune actually started a new meetup series. It is a translation work along self-study – also for all of our polyglots out there. I would love to see as many people as are interested in both learning about how to do translations and certainly translating WordPress get registered for that. A final thing I want to share with you all is that if you are curious about what full site editing features will be included in the 5.8 release, that’s the WordPress release that’s coming out in the middle of July, you can check out my recap and recording of the demo that was held with Matt, Matias, and the rest of the team. There’s are also a number of other posts of next step ideas that I will share in the show notes as well.

11:51

That, my friends, is your small list of big things. Thank you for joining in today for the WordPress briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks!

Become an Early Adopter With the Gutenberg Plugin

Copy by Anne McCarthy (@annezazu) and Design by Mel Choyce-Dwan (@melchoyce)

In WordPress circles (whether it’s your local meetup, a trusted publication, or your networking group), you may have heard terms like Core Editor, Gutenberg, and the Block Editor used interchangeably over the last four years. And if you’re following contributor work on the project itself, you may also have heard some additional nuances—Gutenberg plugin, Gutenberg, or Block Editor. 

It can get a little confusing, so let’s take a look at four terms that will help you find your way: 

  • WordPress – WordPress refers to the open source software but also to the community that surrounds it. 
  • Gutenberg – Gutenberg is the code name for a multi-year project to update editing areas for the WordPress software.
  • Editor – The editor refers to a section of the software that allows you to update content on your site’s posts and pages. 
  • Gutenberg Plugin – The Gutenberg plugin is where early work to update the editor is shared.

The Gutenberg Plugin

Now that we’ve cleared up the definitions, let’s talk about the plugin. When might you use it? What would you use it for? You can think of it as an early access program or a “WordPress lab.” The plugin is updated every two weeks, which means that bugs that have been reported are often fixed and that what you see changes rapidly. 

The Gutenberg plugin also contains features that aren’t yet ready for their WordPress debut but are ready for curious users to test and provide feedback. This is a common practice that allows stable features to make it to your site in WordPress releases while allowing experimental features to be tested and refined. To get a sense of whether using the Gutenberg Plugin might be something you want to explore to get access to earlier features, check out the “What’s New” release posts and the Core Editor Improvement post series

Do I Need the Plugin to Use Gutenberg?

It depends on your comfort level! Generally speaking, it is not recommended to use the plugin on a site that has launched and is actively in use unless you’re very comfortable with the code side of WordPress. Fortunately, each WordPress release comes ready to go with multiple versions of the Gutenberg plugin

But if you are a keen beta tester who loves reporting feedback, or you feel comfortable navigating how to opt-in/out of the experimental aspects of the plugin, here are a few reasons you might want to dig into what the Gutenberg Plugin has to offer:

  • Test new features and give helpful feedback. For example, you can use the plugin to help test Full Site Editing
  • Get early access to the latest & greatest while navigating when to opt-in or out of experimental features. 
  • Prepare for the future whether you’re a theme author, plugin developer, agency owner, etc. 

Do you use the Gutenberg plugin and share feedback on GitHub? Thank you! This kind of feedback is what helps ensure stability in what’s shipped in WordPress releases.