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.

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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!