In this episode, Josepha explores the five groups within the WordPress ecosystem and provides a high-level example of how they interact and support one another. As always, stay tuned for the small list of big things and a contributor highlight.
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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!
In the first episode of this podcast, I said that there’s a lot that goes into WordPress, that’s really hard to see. One of the hardest things to see about the WordPress project as you get started is the overall structure. There is quite a bit of documentation that can clarify the basics: the names of teams, what they work on, and where, and when they meet. The way that they influence and support each other can really feel like a bit of a mystery. So today, I’m going to break down the WordPress community into five big groups; I want you to keep a couple of things in mind.
Firstly, these are high-level and based on my observations. Each of these groups can be further broken down into subgroups. So while you may not feel represented in this exact five, you are included if you were to dig a little bit deeper. The second thing to keep in mind is that the makeup of these groups is pretty fluid. Many community members find themselves in more than one group, but generally not far off. Some group two folks end up in group three, depending on the situation, people in group four can also end up in group five, and so on. As with so many things that I share, I’m not trying to insist that one size fits all. I’m not trying to put the WordPress community into a box. This is just a basic framework to understand how it all fits together. Alright, are you ready? I’m ready. Let’s do it!
Okay, I have a broad definition of the community, which I have mentioned before. I believe that the community is anyone who has interacted with WordPress, whether they know it or not. So, I’ll start from way out there and work my way in that first group; we’re going to call our Visitors.
Visitors are people who arrive at a WordPress site to gain information or engage in an activity. Sometimes they know it’s a WordPress site, but most of the time, they don’t. The second group are Users, people who use WordPress as their CMS. So, that’s website builders, website designers, small businesses, content creators, and the list goes on and on. The third group I like to refer to is the Extenders. Those are people who extend WordPress through the creation of blocks, themes, plugins, and more. There are also people who teach WordPress to others through WordPress podcasts, and newsletters and tutorials. The fourth group I refer to as our Contributors is the people who contribute to the open source software and the infrastructure supporting it, but not necessarily the same people who contribute directly to their own product. And then there’s group five, Leaders. Those are people who help drive the vision and strategy for WordPress; the most notable member of that group is of course, Matt Mullenweg. And I’m also in that group.
Each of these groups directly influenced the groups on either side. For example, a WordPress user is affected by both visitors and extenders. Imagine a content creator who shares their passion for photography through a WordPress site; this photographer may have visitors that need to purchase photos. In response, the user now has a need to make it possible for visitors to purchase photos on a site. So they go to what we consider the extenders, people who have built a plugin that supports that need. And as a result, that user can install that on their site. And they have have satisfied the need of the visitors to their site, the people who now can purchase photos.
There are a lot of examples like this in the WordPress project. Every small pattern that you see is mirrored in the larger patterns across our ecosystem. And every large pattern you see in the ecosystem can be seen among our teams. It’s pretty cool to look at really. So, why should this matter to you? From a very practical standpoint, this matters for anyone who’s trying to learn more about contributing to the WordPress project. These five groups mirror very closely the five steps of volunteer engagement that we see across the ecosystem and from a more philosophical standpoint, it’s just kind of nice to know who your neighbors are. Without the influence and support of the groups around us, it can be hard to know whether we’re on the right track or not. So take a look to your left and look to your right, and get to know your partners in this project.
That brings us now to our community highlight, the segment where I share a note about contributors who have helped others along the way, or WordPress success story. This week’s highlight is from @CoachBirgit, Birgit Olzem, a longtime contributor and a friend of mine. Her success story goes like this.
WordPress has allowed me as a mother of five to leave a toxic marriage for good.
Later, the community picked me up when I became seriously ill.
So I can say from the bottom of my heart, that working with WordPress has saved my life.
And now our small list of big things. I’ve got three things for you this week. I think that they’re all very important. And I hope you check them all out. The first one is a reminder that word camp Central America is coming up on April 15 and 16th. If you have not registered for tickets, you still have time, I will share a link to the registration page and the schedule in the show notes below.
The second thing on our small list of big things is that the Gutenberg 10.4 release is coming out later this week on April 14th. It’s an important release because it’s when we take a look at the current iteration of full site editing tools that we have, and decide if it’s ready to get into the WordPress 5.8 release. There’s a post that has a little more information about that which I will share in the show notes below as well. If you haven’t checked out the Gutenberg plugin lately, obviously I think it’s a good idea to do that in general, but definitely a good idea to check it out now.
The third thing on our list today is a reminder to check out our most recent block pattern tutorial, I’ll share a link to that in the show notes. It’s this kind of tips and tricks, tutorial, the “show me how to do it,” kind of thing in the style of CSS-Tricks. If you or anyone that you know might be interested in sharing a similar style of tutorial, there’s a link to a form in that show notes as well so that you can share with us your name and the topic that you’re interested in. We’ll take a look and see if it’s something that we definitely need to make sure our users know how to do. So, 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!