The WordPress news from the last week which commenced Monday 25th September 2023
Another week, and we’re bringing you the latest WordPress news from the last seven days, including…
- WordPress’ next version is up for testing. 6.4 has loads of new features and we need as many bug reports as you can create!
- The 2023 Annual WordPress survey is up and is one of the best ways to get your voice heard about the future direction of the project.
- Should some utterly critical contributors be paid for their work? Juliette Reinders Folmer thinks so.
- Is the WordPress community splitting in two – money makers and everyone else?
- The Ollie theme faced pushback about their onboarding wizard. Should they have?
- AI is great at art. AI is killing art. Which one is it?
There’s a lot more than this, so scroll down and take a look…
This Week in WordPress #269 – “Where there’s a review, there’s a queue”
With Nathan Wrigley, Michelle Frechette, Atif Riaz and James Giroux.
Recorded on Monday 2nd October 2023.
If you ever want to join us live you can do that every Monday at 2pm UK time on the WP Builds LIVE page.
Plugins / Themes / Blocks / Code
Not WordPress, but useful anyway…
The WP Builds podcast is brought to you this week by…
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Transcript (if available)
These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.
It's time for this week in WordPress episode number 269 entitled, where there's a review there's a queue. It was recorded on Monday the 2nd of October, 2023. My name's Nathan Wrigley and I'll be joined by three fabulous guests today. I'm joined by Michelle Frechette, by James Giroux, and by Atif Riaz.
We're here to talk about WordPress. It is a WordPress podcast after all, and there's a lot to talk about. We kick off with a fairly long discussion about WordPress, 6.4 1. What we'd like about it? What are the features that we think are important in the new upcoming version of WordPress?
We then talk about the 2023 annual WordPress survey and how it is your really one opportunity to get your voice heard about the future of WordPress.
Should contributions be paid? Certain significant projects in the WordPress ecosystem are very crucial, and if the payment is not there, maybe the ongoing nature is going to be under threat. We talk about a podcast episode I did with Juliette Reinders Folmar.
We also get into a conversation Marieke van de Rakt launched about two sides of WordPress, the commercial side, and the community driven side and went whether the two sides are drifting apart, inexorably.
Should we be allowed to have on-boarding wizards in our themes? The Ollie theme has come under fire this week from certain people in the theme review team, and so we talk about that subject.
We also talk about black Friday and the fact that we've got a deals page all about that. And also we get right at the end, as we always do. Into AI and art. It's all coming up next on this week in WordPress.
[00:01:50] Nathan Wrigley: This episode of the WP Builds podcast is brought to you by GoDaddy Pro, the home of managed WordPress hosting that includes free domain, SSL, and 24 7 support. Bundle that with The Hub by GoDaddy Pro to unlock more free benefits to manage multiple sites in one place, invoice clients, and get 30 percent off new purchases. Find out more at go.me forward slash WP Builds.
Hello. Hello. Hello. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. And all the other goods, depending on where you may be in the world. Nice to have you with us. It's this week in WordPress. It's epic. My eyesight is so small and the font above the screen, which says what episode number it is. I can see there's a number, but I can't read it.
I need. New glasses, but I think it's 269, 269, 269, and we're joined as always by some fabulous people. I will introduce them in just a second before that, though, if you fancy commenting on this show at any point, we love that really, actually, do you know what that really does? Make the show fabulous. I love it talking to the guests, but it's really nice when some of the comments drop in as well.
If you fancy doing that, it's fairly straightforward. If you're on our website, the URL for that, if you, I guess maybe some of you were there it's WP Builds. com forward slash live. If you go to that page, you have to be logged into some Google accounts because it's YouTube comments. That seems to be the predominant way that most people do it.
It seems to be the least friction. The other option is if you're on a Facebook page or group or something like that, where this is showing, there's a little wrinkle there. You've got to go to wave dot video. That's the platform we use forward slash lives forward slash Facebook and authorize Facebook to send forth your image and handle.
Otherwise you just come through as anonymous. That's totally fine. You can come through as anonymous. It just makes it a bit difficult for us to know who said what, but that's totally fine.
[00:04:00] Michelle Frechette: I just wanna know, can we actually start the show if we don't know what the weather is like in Connecticut?
[00:04:05] Nathan Wrigley: No. This show goes nowhere without Peter OL's first comment.
I hope he's made a comment. I don't think he has. Oh, no. Peter, in, imagine a scenario where Peter's not feeling very well. No, we can't. Atif, just so that we have this regular contributor called Peter Ingers on, and every single week he drops in and tells us what the weather is like. wherever he may be at the time, which is usually in Connecticut.
It's very strange, but it's become a real tradition. So yeah, thank you for joining us. We've got three lovely guests today. We'll start off down there somewhere. We have Michelle Frechette. How are you doing, Michelle? You've had a busy weekend.
[00:04:44] Michelle Frechette: Just on the tails of WordCamp Rochester. And if you've ever been at a WordCamp with me, you understand why I have laryngitis today.
[00:04:52] Nathan Wrigley: Tell me, how did it go?
[00:04:54] Michelle Frechette: It was amazing. It was a small camp, but everybody said it was one of the best camps they've been to, which, whether that was lip service or not, I will take it.
[00:05:03] Nathan Wrigley: But when you, how do you quantify small? In your head, what does small mean? How many people typically show up to We had
[00:05:10] Michelle Frechette: it used to be about 140 and we were at about half of that.
So somewhere around 60 to
[00:05:15] Nathan Wrigley: 70 people. And is that the forgive me, is that the first or second time you've run it since the pandemic ended, or? So we
[00:05:23] Michelle Frechette: had it once in 2020, which was online, and then not again since, so this was the first time in person
[00:05:29] Nathan Wrigley: again. Yeah, it feels like the expectation is for numbers to drop, and then hopefully in years to come.
The the numbers will ramp up. Yes. It feels like there's an appetite for these events, but just probably a little bit of a rebuild job. Anyway, to give Michelle her proper bio, Michelle Frechette is the director of community engagement for Stellar WP at Liquid Web. In addition to her work at Stellar WP, Michelle is the WP Coffee Talk, co founder of UnderrepresentedinTech.
com, creator of WP career pages, the president. of the board for bigorangeheart. org director of community relations and contributor of post status author, business coach and a frequent organizer at and speaker at WordPress events, which we've just heard about. She lives outside Rochester, New York where she's an avid nature photographer.
And if you want to learn more about her she's got a personal website which is meetmichelle. org Online. M E T, not M E A T. It's the vegetarian. option. We
[00:06:32] Michelle Frechette: could even go vegan on that
[00:06:34] Nathan Wrigley: if you'd like. We could go vegan on that. But somebody would get it wrong. I used to have a thing for WPBuilds and it was called WPBuilds.
com forward slash meet. And it was like a, it was a room that was open and I would go in at various times. Honestly, I did get three or four emails saying. How do you spell meat? Is it M E A T, which is what I said. So I actually put on the M E A T page, I put a redirect link, but quickly you got a shot of a steak.
Just so that he knew what was going on. Anyway,
we're also joined for the first time by Atif Riaz. How are you doing? Oh yeah, nice. Thanks You are so welcome. It is very rare that we have a guest on who is based in the uk. I think it, it's been a long time since we've had somebody in the uk, Cameron was on and he was in the uk but he is not based in the uk.
But it does feel like over on in good old Blighty. We are underrepresented on this show, so thanks for just Oh, surprised
[00:07:36] Atif Riaz: to hear that you're from the uk because like I said, it's so bright. Wherever, whenever I see your screen, I was like, you can't be in the uk. It has to be gray.
[00:07:45] Nathan Wrigley: It's not bright.
This is what it's really I'm about to turn my lights off. I've got two lights there. This is what it's really like
That's this is fake uk this is real uk Anyway lovely to have you with us. Atif is the operations exec and lead web architect for the scan clinic, a health and technology company based in London. He's also part of the infamous crack development team behind the code snippets plugin. He lives in London with his wife and two beautiful daughters.
He's been working in technology within healthcare for over a decade. That's an interesting subject we've never gotten to in his free time. He is an avid traveler and regularly makes his favorite journey between his kitchen and the sofa. I like that. Lastly. He would like to preface any public speaking by apologizing in advance for any controversial comments and specifically to Nathan for the multiple shameless plugs of code snippets he will make throughout the stream.
I like it. I've already sub, subconsciously plugged it there like twice. It's great. Brilliant. Lovely to have you with us. Hopefully you'll enjoy the show and wish to come back. And finally, yes, guess it right. Three out of three. It's James Daru. How you doing James? Now James is muted. James, you are muted. Michelle had the same problem earlier.
So if you toggle the switches and toggle the buttons and it still doesn't work just refresh and yeah, One of
the funny things about this platform, especially if you use default settings, is there's something that the OS can do and it can somehow interrupt. So if that happens, just go back in and make sure everything's but we'll let you know. Anyway, James, how are you doing?
[00:09:36] James Giroux: I'm doing good. I was just saying you pronounced my name correctly.
I think that's the first time you've got it right without checking yourself. Yeah.
[00:09:45] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. I I won't get it right ever again, but for once in my life, I did it. I'm not going to say your surname from now on because I'm James. There's a surname there is the founder of team WP and a seasoned veteran in the WordPress community with over 15 years of experience.
He's collaborated with industry giants, but his most passionate about transforming the way we work. James specializes in empowering leaders and managers to create open people. Cultures, including data driven insights for actionable strategies. Learn more about his mission at team W P dot C O. You can also go and listen to some podcast episodes.
Me and James did on the Tavern website and you'll find more about team WP. So yeah, so we've got code snippets over there. WP down there. We've got team WP over there. WP Builds over here. Let's get on with the show, shall we? Before we do that, very quickly, Peter. Oh, thank goodness.
Normality is restored to the universe. Hello from Connecticut. It's 16 degrees centigrade. Oh, look at that. 16 and 61. They're palindromic. I didn't realize that. I'll remember that for the future. So is 82 and 28 just in case you wanted to know it's 16 degrees, 61 Fahrenheit heading up to 26 centigrade, 79 Fahrenheit on the sunny skies.
We're expecting a warm few days. That's brilliant. Thank you. We were really worried, Peter, that, some kind of calamity had befallen you and you weren't quite prepared with the weather forecast. How do you all from Mansfield, Texas, which is in the Dallas area. Good grief. It must be. Crazy early o'clock there.
Oh no, it's spread! There's more weather! Oh dear. We're expecting to hit 83, does that say 93? 93. It's horrifically hot. But a cold front Wednesday should knock temps down to where we should be by this time.
[00:11:42] James Giroux: 34 in October seems excessively
[00:11:45] Nathan Wrigley: hot. It was like, there's a pattern going on somewhere. I believe there's a term for it.
Something global, something or other. But yeah, let's get on with the WordPress show. We've got absolutely loads of stuff to talk about today and we'll probably dwell on one particular story more than all the others, because I think it's probably the most engaging of them all. But let me share the screen and do a few promotional bits.
This is the this is the website for WPB. Builds, you know what we do. We produce podcast content each and every week. If you fancy keeping up to date and you put your email address in there, we'll send you two emails. One, when this piece comes out tomorrow and one, when we produced the podcast episode on Thursday and we are sponsored by GoDaddy Pro.
So big, thank you. Look at that. They make the mouse go big. They are sponsors of WP Builds and we're very grateful to them for that. The other thing to mention, again, bit of self promotion, do apologize, I'll get this done quickly. Black Friday is not that far away, actually it's really far away, but I keep saying it's not that far away.
And if you're into WordPressy deals, so plugins, themes, blocks, whatever, hosting then we have a page for that, and we do every year, we have them for ages. It gets quite a lot of views, and this year hopefully will be no different. We are looking for sponsors to make this page possible. The page...
URL is WPBuilds. com forward slash black. That's pretty easy to remember forward slash black. And so we're looking for sponsors. You can see those sponsor slots would look like this, but we're also looking for deals. I've only had two so far that will ramp up inexorably I'm sure. And the way you're going to do that is to go to that page and click this add a deal button.
So if you've got a product service, whatever. Click that deal and we'll stick you on the page. If it's a match, honestly, every year I get loads of things about t shirts and skateboards and they're not going on this page because it's nothing to do with WordPress. But if you send me a WordPressy thing.
Bob's your uncle. It'll go up there. Do you say Bob's your uncle elsewhere in the world or is that like a UK thing? We say it here
[00:13:48] James Giroux: in Canada. Yeah. If you say
[00:13:50] Michelle Frechette: it in the US, they have no idea what you're talking about. It
[00:13:52] Nathan Wrigley: just means like it's done. It's yeah, it's finished. I'm,
[00:13:56] Michelle Frechette: I'm aware because I have a lot of friends over there, but most people here have no clue.
[00:14:00] James Giroux: Yeah, my, my wife's uncle's name is Bob in our house. It's a running joke, Bob's your uncle. Yes, he is. That's right. Oh, my uncle. I
[00:14:11] Michelle Frechette: have an uncle Bob on both sides of the family. So
[00:14:14] Nathan Wrigley: Bob's plural. Your uncle. Okey doke. Let's get stuck into the WordPress news. Here we go. WordPress 6.4 beta one has been announced.
If you're really new to WordPress, I don't suppose many on this audience are, but if you're new to WordPress the software has to be tested. You can't just ship a piece of software that's brand new, that hasn't been like tested in the wild. If you're working for a company, you can obviously test that internally, but the way WordPress works with millions of sites, with millions and probably even.
Hundreds of millions of permutations of plugins and all that. It needs to be tested by the community. So we ship these beta versions. You go download it, do not put it on a production site, and then you give you feedback, if it's all fine, you can say that if things are broken, you can say that so 6.
4 beta one is the first beta. Typically we go through three rounds of that. It's mooted to be downloadable in its final stable form later in the year. But there's information on this page which I'll link to in the show notes all about that. But, this is interesting WordPress is part of what's called the HackerOne vulnerability service.
So HackerOne is an organization which if you run software, if you own software, you can get people to ethically hack your software and report it through that program. If you report something which turns out to be genuine and was an actual bug, depending on the sort of level of the problem. You can get paid for that work.
So rather than being a silly person and going out and exploiting things in the wild for your own profit , I had to think a moment to say a different word, not silly . And you can get paid for being ethical. So that has now it's been around for a while, but they're doubling. The bounty.
I don't actually know what the bounties are in terms of dollars, but the doubling that, but here we are, we have a new theme 2024. It looks radically different from other themes that we've had before. It's because it's got a massive moose of collection of block patterns and templates that ship with it.
You're also going to be able to manage your fonts across your site in much the same way that you manage media at the moment. So at the moment, managing fonts is a bit of a pain. But in the future, you'll be able to do that in one unique interface, which is nice especially as it fonts and where you have them stored is becoming more important.
There's going to be lightbox functionality for your images. So think of a pop up or something like that, new improvements to the writing experience. There'll be things added to the navigation, the list and the quote blocks as well. More design tools, background images for group blocks will be thrown in.
You'll be able to. So assign aspect ratios for image placeholders. That's cool. If you want it square, you now make sure it's square buttons and heading color, customization in groups and adjustments to settings of synced patterns, sorry, alignment of settings for synced patterns. Lots of new things coming into the command palette, which is a bit like spotlight on the Mac.
You'll be able to do a whole load of things, including a range of. Commands, which are specific to certain blocks, lots more things coming in terms of patterns, especially this is brilliant block hooks. So your theme authors will be able to hook into certain blocks and say every time there's a comment block, put this thing after it.
And that could be, I don't know, a social share block, or it could just be you going, Hey. Comment above or whatever, that's nice and 70 accessibility improvements, 60 of which are going to ship with the first beta and performance improvements, which we always get from the fabulous new performance teams.
Not that new anymore, but you get the idea. So loads of nice stuff in there. I'm going to hand it over. If anybody's got anything they want to add about that just chip in whenever you feel you want to say something. This
[00:18:13] James Giroux: is
[00:18:13] Michelle Frechette: also, this is also the underrepresented gender. as well. So this is coming to you from just a bunch of amazing people.
I'm on the marketing team for this release and. When it feels sometimes like things like change happens slowly, we would look at things over time and it feels like things take forever. I can tell you that sitting in those channels on Slack makes it feel like it's going a million miles per hour. So always bear with us.
If anybody has ever done any development and been part of a project like this, that there, the checks and balances and things that go into it, but it's feels like it's going at breakneck speed. Yeah, so get in there, test the beta or beta as Nathan says, but get in there, test it, see what you like report anything that's not working as you would expect it to, because we want it to release the best possible that we possibly can.
[00:19:15] Nathan Wrigley: Michelle. Anybody else want to give something in that?
[00:19:18] James Giroux: Just interesting to see how far we've come. It feels like Gutenberg, the anti Gutenberg crowd, right? Like that whole movement when we, when it first launched a few years ago it's now like here and Gutenberg is it we're still calling it Gutenberg, although it should be just the WordPress editor, yeah. Yeah, but like just marveling like the, we think about these things, it's after they've happened, but the leadership and the vision to actually say, no, this is the direction we need to go. As a platform and having to convince enough people in those early days to make it happen And then know that the first few rounds of it were going to be building rounds and iterative this iterative approach It's so incredible now to see how far it's come as a builder as a tool and it's quite exciting I think you know we're really getting close to feature parody with things like squarespace and wix to a point where that original Thinking of being competitive with those big budget platforms is now something that's really here.
So it's quite exciting.
[00:20:37] Nathan Wrigley: Nice. Very nice. Arteef, anything?
[00:20:41] Atif Riaz: Yeah I just want to say, it's, it is, I've noticed myself that updates are becoming more, more frequent. So that's always definitely something good to see. Maybe on the other side, maybe James Sheroo, if I'm saying it right.
I'm sorry if I'm saying it wrong. I still, I'm not the biggest fan of, I would say Gutenberg. But it's nice to see it going in a good direction as well,
[00:21:11] James Giroux: I would
[00:21:11] Nathan Wrigley: say. Yeah. When I was reading that piece, the, and bear in mind, this is a book. Beta release. I was, I really had to think long and hard about which pieces I was gonna highlight, and I left quite a lot out and I always get this, when we get to this beta release, there's always way more than we can talk about in a show like this.
We could literally spend the entire show just taking that apart, paragraph by paragraph. But there really is genuinely an awful lot in there, especially just for people who are. Implementing websites. So we're interested in block themes, block patterns, and theme developers and things like that. But also just the ability to like the command palette, the idea that you can just go in there and type if you've got a problem in the past, you'd end up on Google searching for articles all over the place.
Just how do I find this? Now there's that little tool, which gets you wherever you want to go in record time, we're heading towards a new media manager. At some point, it's not here, but at some point that's going to be part of the deal here and having Google fonts in a, oh, sorry, I say Google fonts, any fonts, but I think Google fonts are probably going to be part of that package.
Any font in its own little dedicated interface. It's just, there's just so much in here. The 2024 theme, if you've looked at it. Is not really like another theme you've, we've had before in the, it's a theme, but with the click of a button, you can really change the way it looks. It's designed, it says, this is so wide ranging.
It says use cases include, and I'll quote entrepreneurs, small businesses, artists, writers. That's almost anybody online really. But the but the point is it really is that versatile. So it's written up in this nice little article, but it is. Fair mind blowing in my book. So as Michelle said, if you wouldn't mind testing it the enterprise, you don't have to go soup to knots on it.
You can download it. And the instructions are on the article. In fact, I'll just pop that back on the screen. Cause it, you might be able to read it whilst I'm talking. There's the instructions of how to do it. There's there's a really simple plugin that you can download, which makes all of this really possible.
You, the WordPress beta tester plugin, you can download that from. org on a local website. Honestly. It like 20 seconds later, you're up and running with this new new beta one. And go and test it and then just give some feedback, even if that's just to say, I like it, it's going in the right direction, this all seems to be fine.
But obviously if you've got a concoction of themes or plugins that you typically use, this is now the time to start reporting those things and maybe even get in touch with the developers of themes and plugins and so on and saying, hang on a minute. Have you noticed these problems? So yeah she, Thomas has got a little comment for us.
Thomas to space. What a fabulous Monica. I love the font additions mostly since Google fonts get loaded everywhere. And this implementation downloads the Google fonts once and doesn't load them on every page load. Yes, that's right. So you can, with the click of a button. Basically your Google font gets loaded locally, which is how it really these days, it should be done.
And so that's just another little improvement under the hood, which makes this so worthwhile. So 6. 4 beta one, go check it out. Now, aside from the software being updated, it would be really nice to know where. The project should be going into the future. And I'm about to show the most useless page in history because I've already completed the survey and whatever voodoo they've got going on with cookies or fingerprinting, it won't allow me to show you the other page.
This is an incognito window. It shouldn't show me this, but it showed me this. But this is the WordPress annual survey 2023 and I'll read, I'm in another browser reading it, but you get the idea, your voice matters to the WordPress projects. Thank you for taking a moment to complete the annual WordPress survey.
This year's survey has a new interface which will make completing the survey easier and hopefully fun each year members of the WordPress community that's users, site builders, extenders, contributors, provide valuable feedback through the annual survey. Key takeaways and trends that emerge from this survey often find their way into the annual state of the word address are shared on the public project blogs and can influence the direction and strategy of the WordPress project.
Basically, if you don't fill this out and you complain. You're shouting into the void a bit, aren't you? Really? I will link to this in the show notes because the URL is a little bit tricky. But if you have any inclination of making WordPress better, then go here, go here and fill out the survey.
It doesn't take long, maybe 10 minutes or something like that. And you can get your opinion heard. Courtney's joining us. Hello, Courtney. It was weird that they asked me my exact, I had forgotten that at exact age versus a range. Yeah. Did you tell the truth, Courtney? I I followed over the begins with a two.
Yeah. Thank you for joining us, Courtney. So please go and check that out. I don't know if you three have got anything to add about that.
[00:26:22] Michelle Frechette: I did it on my mobile, which apparently was a different experience than people had on desktop, which from what I've heard people say, which is. Very interesting to me.
Oh, did you,
[00:26:32] Nathan Wrigley: was it harder on the mobile? Do you imagine?
[00:26:34] Michelle Frechette: I thought, I think it was easier for what people were saying as far as listing things in order of importance for you, for example, it was easier to do on mobile than it was on desktop. At least that's what I've been seeing through Twitter.
Yeah. Okay. So
[00:26:48] James Giroux: interesting.
[00:26:49] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, James.
[00:26:51] James Giroux: Oh, yeah. I've somebody who does surveys for living. It's quite interesting. A lot of what's on here. Not a lot of house. So I think I would love to see an annual survey speak not just to what's being built, but how we're building it, how we're collectively organizing, because it is about the community as much as it is about the actual output of what gets delivered.
And I find these surveys are great at pinpointing maybe like the direction the overall project could go, but that's only half of it. We're talking now about an underrepresented gender led release. And I think more of that kind of conversation should be part of an annual survey that's organized in this way by the foundation and hopefully in the future we'll see.
More of that coming through.
[00:27:55] Nathan Wrigley: Nice. Thank you, James. Arteef, anything to add?
[00:27:59] Atif Riaz: Yeah, no, I didn't really struggle. I found it pretty straightforward to do. I did do it very begrudgingly because as a Brit we like to just complain but
[00:28:07] Nathan Wrigley: not actually do anything. Yes, that's right.
[00:28:09] Atif Riaz: I didn't feel comfortable actually saying this, that, the other.
I've heard someone complain, but maybe this is something that's available. I don't know, but it'd be good to see what exactly they do with the information. Is there's like any statistics or things? There maybe probably is, but it'd be good if there was a nice place to
[00:28:28] James Giroux: see that, if it's
[00:28:28] Atif Riaz: true, that's why he's laughing.
This is what we like to do. We like to complain, but not actually have any solutions or any other further comments, just, this is
[00:28:36] Nathan Wrigley: rubbish. What is this? We complain so much. It's amazing. It's amazing. I was just thinking that the final comment where they, in a typical feedback form, any other comments, there wasn't enough options to complain about things, there really weren't enough complaint options.
Oh, that's brilliant. What a lovely comment. I actually had water coming out my eyes. Oh, lovely. We're so famous. It's the rain dripping
[00:29:03] Atif Riaz: through the roof, that's what it is, the rain outside. The
[00:29:06] Nathan Wrigley: Australians basically refer to us as whinging poms. Poms is like the, the sort of jokey way of calling British people, but they always preface it with a winching.
Just moan all the time. That's brilliant. Okay. Thank you. Yeah. Anyway please go and fill that format. If you've got any interest in the long term future of the project, this is one of the few moments where you actually get to have your voice heard. You can go on to slack and all of those places and it's not going to be probably have I don't know.
It's probably a silly sentence to Otter, but go and fill that out. At least you get your voice heard. Okay. This next one is really interesting. I did a fabulous podcast with Juliette Reinders Fulmar. And I confess this was one of those podcast episodes. A, it raised the subject that I didn't really know much about.
And B, it was totally above my pay grade. So Juliette is one of three people, but basically she is the person who is in charge or in charge is maybe the wrong word. She oversees, she. Puts more into it than anybody else of the W P C S project. W P C S is the code sniffer project, and if you are a plugin developer, then this kind of is a really important bit of bit of the puzzle for you.
It's not something I ever use, but it enable, it enables you to integrate it with your I D E and it enables you to benefit from. The years of time that she and various other people have put into the project to help you write better code, more compliant WordPress compliant code. And this project is a, an underpinning really of the WordPress project as a whole.
And I don't know if you've ever seen this drawing, which makes its way out online from time to time. It's like a house. Which is basically built, but half of the foundations are missing and are just held up by one Lego block. And if that Lego block was just kicked out, which it could be at any moment, obviously the whole house would fall over.
And the idea is that Juliet is that Lego piece. If Juliet is, and the phrase is hit by a boss, I know it's not very pleasant, but that's the phrase. If Juliet is hit by a boss, that whole integral underpinning of the project there are a couple of people who help her from time to time, but not at the level she's at, but she's met with burnout.
She's met with enough is enough. I can't keep doing this on a voluntary basis. And it, from what she was saying to me, it really does sound like she is treating this almost like full time work. She's so dedicated to it, but she said, Nope. I can't do it anymore. I need to be paid for this work. And so that was the debate.
She outlined her case. I gave her that platform, but I am really interested to know what you three think about this. We're so used to in every regard on WordPress, we've just seen the 6. 4 beta release. Tons of voluntary hours have gone into that. I just wonder, are there any things which are so crucial to WordPress?
that we need to pay the people to do it. And that is such an interesting conversation to have. So I'm going to pass this first of all to Michelle, because I know that you, I know that you have opinions around this based upon events and you might like to begin there,
[00:32:34] Michelle Frechette: sure. The events that I've done through through post status.
So last year we had our first ever. Career summit, and we paid our speakers to be part of that. We have another one coming up. We're actually having to move the date that more on that later, but we are paying our speakers for that as well. And. With underrepresented in tech. com, we are releasing starting, I believe, next week a whole series of webinars, which are panel discussions with different subgroups of underrepresentation.
So for example, I did a panel discussion with black men in tech and we paid all of those people as well to be part of that, because. We don't believe that people should be contributing without some kind of not just recognition, but compensation for their time, especially when it comes to underrepresented folks who are already doing so much of the work for less than most others are receiving.
And so I'm making blanket statements and I realized that it isn't always true of every person. Don't come at me for that. But historically speaking, underrepresented folks are given a lot less and compensation and recognition for the work that they do. And so anything that I'm involved in that I'm allowed to pay people, obviously I can't for WordCamp because that's not something that's in my purview.
I will always, champion monetarily compensating people for the work that they do if and whenever possible.
[00:34:10] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it's interesting because everything that you've just said makes perfect sense, but I'm guessing Michelle, you're a bit like me in that you probably don't have any hands on familiarity with this.
thing WPCS. No, me neither. Like really nothing. I really didn't interact with it at all. At the beginning, before we hit record, she really had to go and explain what it was, how it worked. And she very quickly made a fairly compelling case for, look, if this thing fails, we are all. We're really all gonna suffer because so many people that make the bits and the pieces that make WordPress interesting, core, plugins, blocks, and all of that, they need to be checked and you can do that manually, or you can adopt some sort of automated solution like Juliet is implementing, and it just made me think, I wonder if there's a class of contributions that are just so crucial Thank you.
That either, there's loads of volunteers making sure that the bus problem is eradicated, it's just, there's hundreds of people, all of them willing to do the ta that's fine. But what if it's like this one, where there just doesn't seem to be the interest? Over, over a decade or more, Juliet's been banging the gong of please, will you come and help me?
But A, It's far too technical. And she goes into explain that it is a really thoroughly technical job. You have to be in the weeds of PHP and all these other open source projects, and that's hard. And people are typically, if they're that experienced, they're well paid doing something else. But anyway, I think I've made the point.
It's important. And I wonder, James or Atif if there is some little subset of jobs, which are just like, no, we really should pay for that one.
[00:35:59] James Giroux: Yeah, I don't disagree at all. I'm my head jumps into solution mode right away, though, which is probably not great either. But, we have. Within word camps, these, three tiers of top level sponsorships that people can do in order to be like, like a top tier sponsor.
And I think the prices even went up this year or something by a significant amount just to be You know, having your logo on all of the WordCamps, I wonder if there's an opportunity for us to do something like that as well with our mission critical, highly technical roles, because I agree with her, no one should be feeling that sense of pressure or obligation to contribute because if they don't, it won't happen and things will break.
And then who ends up actually facing the backlash from that? It's not WordPress that faces the backlash, it'll be her. And imagine that kind of pressure being put on an individual as well, who is just doing their best to contribute their skills and abilities to something that they love. I'd be really worried for her.
And I am worried for her that if burnout is something that she's facing, we need to rally around her and others like her and support her and figure out as a community, how to offload some of that pressure. Like how can we Make sure that she doesn't feel that sense of ownership alone. And look for opportunities.
Succession planning is maybe one thing as well, like with Mika Epstein in, in the plugin review as well. Like we've had another person who probably felt very similar, right? Like I'm holding this all together and yes, I've got supporters that are helping me, but it's me and having to finally let go is a big deal.
[00:37:55] Nathan Wrigley: She did, to touch on a point that you raised there, which I didn't raise cause I forgot. She she did say that she's actually had during the course of her career, so I couldn't say when this was. She did get threats. She was actually threatened on a variety of occasions for I guess it was, we need this doing, why didn't you do it kind of thing.
So that is another part of the painting really, which I think makes it almost. Too unmanageable, she's just suffering this stuff in silence, but she did again, James, to your point she wondered if there was a future in which there was like a five for the future type of deal. So as a set of projects within WordPress that are so crucial, but probably unknown or not widely known that get some kind of share of that.
Pot. So it could be the WordCamp sponsor pot or whatever pot, or maybe there's a new pot. She mentioned the WP Community Collective as a possible route to doing this. Maybe there could be some kind of, I always forget the word, what's the word for the programs that they have? The, it's like a scholarship or something like that.
There could, that, that maybe would be a route to doing it and then people could donate individually, but she really, she thought maybe that it would be for. Business, because they've just got the, they've got the wallet that's deep enough to do this and having thousands of contributors donate a handful of dollars doesn't really provide that sustainability.
Whereas if a few of the big companies could just create a big pot just like that, Nathan, just off they go. But wouldn't that be an interesting proposition? And then in some way, those sponsors get the recognition that they need. for that contribution elsewhere, maybe in WordCamps or something like that.
Anyway, so I wanted to raise that as the threat piece, which I forgot to mention. Atif, I don't know if this, I don't know if you, being a developer and all of that, I don't know if you've ever come across this and used it. Yeah, no, absolutely, no,
[00:39:56] Atif Riaz: definitely. It's it sometimes can be like the most annoying thing, actually, because
[00:40:04] James Giroux: Because like you will
[00:40:05] Atif Riaz: like so hard on it, on a feature or something to implement. And then, Oh, I've got like tons of errors now and tons of a bit, but we all do it. It's, I think that's one thing which is important to mention, where we can all overlook some things, but it's really important, I think, to have coding standards because that's, it's a fundamental.
It's if you're building, I don't know, anything like a house, an example, you don't have any standards on how to build a house, then you can have a street, which. Every house is built differently, and like you gave the analogy of the Lego in the building, it can impact on other houses. If something's not done correctly, it can impact on the whole street.
It was actually just a shock or more surprise to me, just reading a little bit about it, the actual real life situation. And yeah, I can't say I have any specific answers to it, but If, as an example, if I was making a plugin just completely separate and as an idea, I had to contribute something, a small amount just to get my plugin on the repo.
But I know that it helps to support some teams that do this kind of work on developing the code standards. But also maybe it helps to support the teams that are doing the actual review process. I think I'd be more than willing to do that if
[00:41:20] Nathan Wrigley: it's a problem.
There are so many ideas that could work, which won't work, and so many ideas that won't work, which we would love to work. And all that, yeah, it's really difficult. I do wish I had the answer, but thank you for those people who are making comments. Just one other small point. Yeah, sorry, I interrupted you, I
[00:41:48] Atif Riaz: apologize.
No, just one other small point, which I think, if... The whole point of having standards, like we said, is, things are done in a consistent way, and by making sure these standards are done, I think it opens the door to have finding new ways of, for example, a piece you're going to come to later about the review of plugins, and it's such a long waiting list.
If there are these standards, then definitely there may be ways to, with some of the newer tools and having AI helping to generally just verify things because it knows these are some set standards that you have to follow. It may help to release some of that burden and pressure. So that's a really important, definitely.
And more voice should be given to. To this,
[00:42:29] Nathan Wrigley: To this topic, I think. Yeah it, one of the things that was just really interesting to me is because I'm not really developing in the way that you are. This just totally flew under the radar. And it only came to my attention because this got flagged on the tavern by Sarah Gooding.
I can't remember how she picked it up, but she did. But then it just made me think about, that whole Lego holding up the building piece. That's so true in this case. Let's have a look at some of the... We're all kept in dark rooms, developers
[00:42:58] Atif Riaz: kept
[00:42:58] Nathan Wrigley: in back
[00:42:58] Atif Riaz: dark rooms. We don't have any nice fancy studio of our own.
[00:43:04] Nathan Wrigley: We need studio. That's what everybody should contribute to. Studios are us. So here we go. Courtney says WPCS, WP Code Sniffer. It's the backbone of core plugins, themes, et cetera. The repository use it to scan for compatibility. She goes on it is one of the most technical knowledge requirements we all depend upon.
Yeah, I tried to make that point. I'm not sure that came through in the podcast so well, but thank you. And the boss factory is certainly a great metric to track within WordPress stats stroke dashboard. All the sub projects need to have awareness of such metrics. And then finally. She writes at WordCamp US, much conversation was had with the hosting team and plugins to efforts among those who most depend upon the work she does to serve customers.
Makes sense. It's just one of those situations where you've just had a really decent person donating so much time for no gain. It's almost Juliet will do it. Just just, she'll do it. She always does it.
[00:44:10] Atif Riaz: I think there's a big shame as well that her name isn't really known. Maybe you guys will know her or have an idea who she is, but for someone who's actually a developer, I had, I didn't know who she was.
And I think that's a real crying shame that she's done so much, but her name isn't more widely known.
[00:44:25] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. And she really doesn't seem to get many people involved. I think it's the. High level of technical knowledge. Thomas, thank you very much. Says it's also not just WordPress is PHP CS. Yeah.
She's one of the core contributes to that as well as PHP utils as well. Which is highly dependent on the P on the PHP world as well. Yeah. So she's got her fingers in all those pies. And I imagine that a lot of that edifice. I'm glad I got to use the word edifice in this episode. My life is complete.
On that edifice, she she really does. She seems to be important in all of those different ecosystems, but WordPress is a significant one. So anyway, please. If you can come up with some ingenious way, reach out to her. It's on WP Tavern. It's episode number 92 of the podcast section. And there is her socials and things listed on there.
If you can come up with a way of making it possible for her to contribute. Yeah. She's very well known in the PH community. PHP, sorry. Community specifically. Thank you. I thought you said orifice
[00:45:25] Atif Riaz: for a
[00:45:26] Nathan Wrigley: moment and I was like an entirely different medical based podcast. We're not going there. Let's move on.
Let's go to this one. This is a community piece, but it's nothing to do with code specifically. I just caught sight of this one just a couple of days ago, and I just thought this was so worth mentioning. Okay. So to paraphrase over on poststatus. com on the 28th of September, Marika, formerly CEO and founder of Yoast.
She penned this piece called two worlds of WordPress and I'm going to paraphrase it. Basically she, she sees this, I'm going to use another word bifurcation of the WordPress community. She sees that the community is getting split into two different directions, hence bifurcate. And one of those is the community that we're all a part of now, the, the philanthropic side, the people who contribute to the open source project, they're attending events and all of this kind of stuff. And then there's the other side, which is the let's make money from WordPress business opportunities, business community. And she's not trying to say the two shouldn't exist.
Because they should, right? It's very healthy that we've got profitable businesses in the WordPress space. But her worry is that the two are growing far enough apart that it's like those two people at the end, each at the end of a giant dining table, shouting each other, pass the salt! And the only way to get the salt is A, to hear that the other person's requested it, and then you've got to get up and walk down the table if you can be bothered, and then...
Hand it over. In other words, it's getting more and more difficult for these two different communities to agree on things to even view the project in the same light to view WordPress is the same thing, and she hasn't got a solution, but she is saying she's going to keep an eye on it on post status.
She's going to start writing a weekly column where she tries to figure out how the two things can be gelled back together again. So That's the enterprise. I, for my part, I think she's right. I feel this, and I have conversations with people, I'm sure many of you do too, I Speak to the business community.
And I speak to the people in just the let's just call it community. And I feel them cross with each other. I feel an underlying sense of injustice. No names to be mentioned, over there, they're doing all this over there, they're doing all this and undermining each other. I don't have an answer.
But Marika hopefully will. So I just wanted to raise it. If you've got any intuitions on this or you felt anything like this or you disagree with her Atif, James, Michelle Chipping, I
[00:48:22] Michelle Frechette: feel like it's a Venn diagram, right? So there's two circles representing, but there is some overlap for some of us who work in community and work for big companies like this.
I would argue almost that there's a third circle for people who are users of WordPress who don't necessarily feel an affiliation with either one of those. things, right? So it's this little orb on its own. So there's lots of people who have no idea there's a community who buy the products or just use it for free and don't feel like they're part of either one of those things.
Many bloggers, for example, who are using WordPress just to as a diary. But yeah, I think that at times those, the Venn diagram gets closer and the crossover is bigger, is a larger piece and sometimes it's further apart and maybe barely touching. And so I think I agree with her that I don't like when things are splitting so dynamically that we feel like.
We're coming from two separate worlds within the same community. Because some of us do live in that middle space and it gets uncomfortable sometimes
[00:49:22] Nathan Wrigley: I don't really have any, okay, I'm not going to name any names or do I, I don't really have an intuition on how to fix this, but the bit that I hear.
More on the community side is, and the word hate is often used. I hate how the money has got into WordPress. That seems to be the argument on that side. It's all about the money now. And then on the other side, I hear the, but we're just trying to make a living and all of those kinds of things.
And yeah, I don't have the perfect answer for that, but I do like your Venn diagram. It's much better than my metaphor of the big, long dining table. Cause you're right. They do overlap, but I do feel that they're getting further apart and resentment from one side, if you're volunteering hours like Juliet, for example, and you're seeing these larger companies again, naming no names, but some of these larger companies turning what to you looks like crazy profits.
And you think hang on a minute, where's the economist nature of this? How come I'm giving up all my time and all of this. And I do feel that glue. Which used to begin at the beginning, used to be there at the beginning of any open source project is starting to decay and get rendered a bit.
The best analogy I've got is my thoughts around Google. Like when Google came out, it did nothing but great stuff. I was just a complete evangelical Google user. Now it's a bit more yeah, Google's built something. Not sure I want to use that. So I'm, yeah, anyway, analogy. James or Atif, go for it.
James, you have got muted again. So I'll go to Atif while you agree with you. Would you say, yeah, I'm agreeing with James as well. That was so profound, James. That was like three words. He summed
[00:51:09] James Giroux: it up. It's the software.
I didn't double check before I opened my mouth. I. I look at it as two camps as well. I think Michelle's Venn diagram works really well, but I consider it, we started out and there was this idea of making money with WordPress. And we were seeing the transition to making money from WordPress.
And when you operate from a world of making money from WordPress, that's where you have. Executives, investors those equity like investors and larger companies looking at WordPress as a commodity with which to generate additional revenue to satisfy their financial goals. On the other side, you've got this make money with WordPress, which is that much more, this is a tool.
This is a community we're built. Yes, absolutely. We're going to generate revenue out of it. But that community feel is a big part of it. When you have those two philosophies on either side you get extremes in both, right? Often you have people on the make money from WordPress side that recognize, Oh, Hey, if I want to make money from.
WordPress, I've got to figure out how to make money with WordPress. And that's actually the way to do it. That's the way to succeed here. But then you also have the extreme on the other side, where it's no big money is here to, make it possible for me to make with WordPress.
And they forget that money part. They just assume it's going to happen or it's going to drop into their bucket and figuring out how to get them back to that. Make money with WordPress. Part of it has to have a conversation with. And we have to balance the needs of both. I don't envy the foundation being stuck in the middle of that.
I do wonder, talking about our previous story, if, if the foundation was in a place where it was actually able to independently generate revenue on its own, how that would impact the conversation as well. And what, how, what that would do as far as like where it dedicates dollars, as far as like the contributors that invests in.
And how it generates revenue, right? All that, like there's just a whole bunch of different conversations that come out of that as well. But yeah, I think, like figuring out that it's not bad to make money with red WordPress and it's not bad to make money from WordPress. But as soon as you start to get to either extreme of those things, the conversation becomes less valuable and let's keep moving everyone toward that middle view.
[00:54:05] Nathan Wrigley: I said it was gonna be profound. , that was a brilliant summation of it. I've actually written some of what you said down, 'cause I didn't want to get it wrong with versus off or with versus from , with versus That's it, isn't it? That in a nutshell, is it? I hadn't really thought about it in those terms.
That's brilliant. Okay. Thank you. I'm just going to quote Marika. Her impression was this. In the past few years, gradually, I feel like these two WordPress worlds have drifted apart, and I don't think that is a good trend. Atif, over to you, if you've got anything on that. Yeah, no, I I
[00:54:40] Atif Riaz: don't think I can say it better than for Michelle or James, but I actually ultimately, the success, we have to be realistic and pragmatic as well.
The success of any project ultimately will come down to. There's money and revenue generating because I can use cold snippets as an example. It's been around for 10 plus years. I've not been a part of it for that much time, but it was been a free For majority of that time. It's been a free plugin only I think maybe two two years now It's been they have pro version where you pay and that had to be done because at one point It's only so much you can do for free to have the free plugin.
It's only so much more Features and things that we can add in because that all takes time and that takes development time, marketing time, all these other things. So definitely these two worlds, they have to find a way to coexist in a way which can satisfy everybody. Otherwise, yeah it's not going to grow.
The project will ultimately go down if money's
[00:55:40] Nathan Wrigley: not being generated. It is the drifting apart bit that I think is the key of this story. It's like everybody knows that they're separate. But it's just, as Marika says, it's just the fact that I think she's right. I think they are getting further and further apart and past the salt is becoming harder and harder to say and hear on both sides.
So yeah, that's really interesting. I don't have the answer, but what I'm going to say is go to post status, search for two worlds of WordPress. It was September. The eyesight is failing me September the 28th. You can find it there. And if Marika keeps up with that. And so she, she said she was going to write something weekly or thereabouts.
And hopefully you'll be able to hear her cause she knows all the people, right? I reckon she's the perfect person. She knows everybody in our community. And so she'll be able to begin that conversation and make it count. Peter, I'm going to read it into the record. It was on the screen for a while.
Agree with Michelle a hundred percent as a WP DIY advocate, the group of In air quote, in quote, sorry, innocent users is often overlooked, or at least not considered enough continues while it's difficult to get the numbers, I believe that the vast majority of WordPress users have no engagement with the community.
However, that's defined. Yeah, I think you're right. I think that makes sense to me, Peter. I would imagine most of the people that are using WordPress have no idea that there's anything going on behind the, behind the scenes. They probably just imagine there's a company somewhere with paid employees who are just banging it out and yeah, that's, there you go.
And also let's be wary of echo chambers. As always, thank you, Peter, for your comments. That's a really interesting. Okay. So keep your eye out on that. That's going to be a story which will continue. Okay. I think this is the piece for the week. That's probably going to dominate the conversation.
Could be wrong. It's all about a theme called Oli. We've actually mentioned it on this and various other things that I've done. Oli is a theme created by a developer who's been in the WordPress theme space for a really long time. Mike McAllister, and he released this block based theme a little while ago, and he has been trying to get it into the repository.
When I interviewed him, I think it was for the Tavern. There was only a, you had to go to a GitHub repository and download it and. Presumably that's still the way it is because the story goes like this. He's been trying to get it into the repository, but he's been getting some pushback from the theme review team because inside of his theme is an onboarding wizard and that onboarding wizard, I confess I haven't seen it, I haven't even seen screenshots of it, but it is felt by some.
On the theme review team that's a step too far and it will give him in the future Some sort of commercial advantage in other words If you want to have this kind of onboarding wizard thing in your theme Why not make a? Plug in for that and then have people, I don't know, click a button, download that plugin, and then go through that.
So two sides that are listed in this article, it's on WP Tavern. It's called Ollie theme faces pushback from WordPress theme review team. Justin Tadlock on the one hand. Who's on the theme review team saying he thinks that this should get a pass. The reason he thinks it should get a pass is a, because Mike has stripped down the wizard after having been asked not to include it.
And he's gone back with a slimmed down version and B because Justin tablet was one of the people who originally created the. The law, for want of a better word, the guidelines around the inclusion of themes and what could be included, what could be not included. But it was in an era where the themes were classic themes and they had the customizer.
And so the rules were built around what could be included and shouldn't be included in the customizer. Customizer in this case doesn't exist. So he says, let's give it a pass. On the other hand. You've got people like Carolina Neimark who are saying no, allowing this onboarding experience will set a precedent that erodes the standards of the team is trying to uphold for the ecosystem hosted on wordpress.
org and gives Ollie an unfair commercial. Now we could quote them all, but probably there's no merit in that. My, my intuition is that Mike, having made three themes for all this time, I just don't feel like he's that kind of bad actor. I have this intuition that he's doing it for the right reasons. In fact, he says as much, he says what does he say?
Given the amount of pushback Mike McAllister is now torn about removing everything extra, sorry, I can't find the quote. Here we go. This is it. Quote, I built this as a good faith attempt to help people on board into block themes and hopefully even help drive adoption. He said, my intentions are pure and steeped in 15 years of doing it the WP way.
It is an attempt to move the needle worth a shot anyway. Paint into the background here, the fact that the block themes are really not taking off. The idea that block themes would by now dominate the landscape just hasn't turned out to be true. So Mike saying, look, I'm doing something innovative.
This is going to help people who just don't want to go near a block based theme, at least I'm giving them some pointers, so I don't know. I'm conflicted. I can see it from both sides. I'm being typically liberal. I'm sitting on the fence and I'm going to leave it to you guys to to figure it out for me.
Nice. Over to you. Yeah, it's a chin scratcher, isn't it, Michelle? What do you do?
[01:01:27] Michelle Frechette: Yeah, I always lean towards education is better. And if there's something that can help people understand better how to use WordPress, whether it's theme specific or not, it's a good thing. We have those in plugins, as you've said, and as that article points out.
But I also understand process and developing a process that means that Whatever we do is fair and equal to all. And that just because one person acts in good faith, if we haven't vetted a process by allowing that to happen. Opens the door for people who are not acting in good faith. So I also am torn.
And I'm going to be interested to watch and see how this develops.
[01:02:12] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it's difficult this one, isn't it? And as luck would have it in drops, Patrick Posner who is the other half of Ollie, I've mentioned Mike McAllister cause he was the chap that I interviewed about it cause he was going, he was running solo at the time, but since then Patrick, who is, he has another plugin called Simply Static. He's now the other half of the Oli team. So yeah, give us some live updates. He says he's happy to give us some live updates. I love this show. It's great when stuff like that happens. Yeah, so whilst we give Patrick a moment to put his side of the equation.
What do you reckon, James? I don't think this is a square that any of us four are going to circle. But nevertheless, what's your opinion?
[01:02:52] James Giroux: I have a bit of a unique perspective because I worked at Envato for five years. And so for those of you who know, Envato has a a theme review and a plugin review process that has coding standards, whether people acknowledge them or not.
And we would deal with this all the time. And one of the challenges that you have to consider is like Carolina brings up. It's really, it's review at scale, right? This is not about OLLI theme. It's not about Mike or Patrick. This is about review at scale and setting precedence. And I will just use notifications in WordPress themes as the marker of pain and death for everyone as an example of where the slippery slope leads.
I have also Chatted extensively with Mike. I'm a huge fan of Ollie, so I know what they're up to and their onboarding experience, I think is incredibly innovative. What we have to do is figure out how and when to break the rules when innovation is going to lead to progress. And I'll use WordCamp Europe as a prime example of where the foundation already has a track record of doing this.
When WordCamp Europe was first pitched, it faced opposition because that's not how WordCamps are done. WordCamps are local. WordCamps are supposed to be. This thing. And here comes this experiment called War Camp Europe that tried to do things a different way, was given a little bit of flex and freedom to be able to innovate and do things differently.
And as a result, we have what I believe is the flagship WordPress event around the world. It is a fantastic experience. And so with Oli. We have to, what we have to do is figure out, okay, where are we going to give the theme review team permission to innovate, who ultimately, what's the process for that, so that it's at least transparent, so that people can understand that.
And we also have to give permission to the theme review team to be selective and say, yeah, no, this is great. This is innovative. We're letting one in just because we let this one in doesn't mean we'll let everybody in. No, that's not maybe necessarily. Fair, right? But here's the model. If you can show and prove in your in your processor in the code that you're submitting or in whatever you're doing that you are adding value to the experience and you are living these specific things that we've identified as being required for themes, right?
Or for the project. And we will consider it and make a decision and prove it or decline it. I think that probably captures the balance, right? It's not necessarily fair. It's not necessarily equitable, but it's the pragmatic approach in my opinion. That keeps the necessary review requirements in place for scale while also being accepting of innovation and allowing for thought leaders and new approaches to help push the project forward as well
[01:06:19] Nathan Wrigley: in the piece that you write, sorry that you write that was written by Sarah Gooding, she actually does mention that Justin Tadlock kind of class And Classifies this in that way, he uses the term special case.
He said the team reps can and have all and have always had the capability to mark as a air quotes, special case. There's even a tag for this in the backend or there wasn't when I was a rep, he says, but that is really interesting, isn't it? Just the idea that occasionally somebody's going to submit something which is so different.
That rather than just say it's not part of the rule book that it might be good enough to say do you know what? Maybe the rule books, maybe the rule books, something that needs looking at this point. And the sort of sad point of this story though, is that Mike, given all of the contributions that he's made, he made the following tweet.
And I'll quote from his Twitter account after a very X account, after a very rocky and in brackets and downright combative theme review process at wordpress. org, I'm not sure if it's the right place for our at built with Ollie project. In other words, I'll take my theme and I'll just do it all from our own project.
Atif, anything on that before I take it to Patrick's comments, which are coming in thick and fast?
[01:07:49] Atif Riaz: Yeah, sure. Maybe just to play the other side, maybe give another side of it. I don't disagree with some of the things that, Michelle and James said, but I actually did watch a little video of how the onboarding process works and just looking at it, definitely.
I, it just seems most plugins, how they work when they have an onboarding process. So it didn't really seem it didn't come across as, this is the theme, it looked like a plugin, how a plugin would onboard, if you went to WooCommerce or something.
So I can I really understand from the theme reviews, people the team's point of view that where is the line now between a theme and a plugin, really blurring that line.
And we don't want to set precedence. I can understand your point of view about maybe special cases, but then. You're blurring, I think when you're blurring the line, these rules are in place for a reason just to create an open playing field. So I think that's something
[01:08:48] Nathan Wrigley: to take care of.
Yeah, you are right. You put the other side very nicely. Thank you. Yeah. Okay. Let's go to let's go to Patrick's comments. So just. Just to be clear, let's put this in the record. Patrick is with Mike on this project. So he says for peace of mind of everyone involved, we separate our onboarding process into a separate plugin and ship the theme as a traditional FSE theme.
Okay, thank you. Then he goes on. We talked a lot with the review team and decided that we should be available on the repository, even without the onboard experience. Okay. So maybe there's a resolution coming here. This way we'll be able to ship the original onboarding solution, including things like generating a child theme.
Or setting a logo. So that is interesting. So it's definitely moved on since that piece was written, but I do wonder Patrick, what your feelings are. You spelled out what you've done there. I wonder how it's made you you feel about that. And then Courtney's is back. There are several track tickets about using learn content as part of onboarding.
I want to see if the functionality of Olly might lend itself to core learn onboarding. So that's then. Generalizing the onboarding and making it available as a plugin for everybody. Is that what you're saying, Courtney? So there's this like onboarding plugin or something like that, which any theme developer could use and there would at least be a sort of standard onboarding API, if you like, or something like that.
Also James's point about the theme review is solid. Cameron said, I've always been confused as to why the theme review process is so cumbersome compared to the process for plugins, regardless of how this goes. I think there's a need for improvement of the whole process. My, my intuition that Cameron is is something along the lines of Juliet.
I imagine it's a. People on the ground problem as much as anything else.
[01:10:47] James Giroux: It's the muddled nature of functionality in a theme or not, right? Right That line is not hard, right? Like it's blurry and that makes it challenging because what goes in a theme versus what? Especially with FSC themes where it is the design layer, it's blocks, right?
We're talking about patterns. It's a very different world to even classic themes which had a little bit more flexibility on that, but yeah, no, Cam, you're right. It's. Cumbersome, sure.
[01:11:21] Nathan Wrigley: Rob says Mike is frustrated because he had to, he had tried to do everything above board and Peter chips in.
Thanks, Patrick. I know there was concern that there is more to maintain with a plugin, but I think that's a really good move. Yeah. Maybe this story has developed during the time that we've since that was published and now anyway, fascinating subject. I would just
[01:11:43] Atif Riaz: want to agree with what Cameron said, because I think, the more and more the core of WordPress.
The more and more themes will develop and become more, functional and do more things. So I think that this conversation should be reviewed. And what is a theme? What isn't? What can we allow? Because things will only become more and more, I don't know, complicated
[01:12:03] Nathan Wrigley: or more, I think James's analogy of the notifications thing is a great example of where give people an inch.
Yeah, man, I can see it from both sides. That's not how I think this is
[01:12:24] James Giroux: where core steps up, right? Because, like this is where we go, okay, are, part of the challenge of WordPress is also it's magic. The magic of WordPress is that it is so extensible, right? And that themes and plugins make it.
Unique on a per site basis, right? You can have exactly what you want and nothing else, but. It also means that we end up encountering these challenges, whether it's on the plugin side or the theme side, where, you know, like that onboarding process for somebody who's new to WordPress, new to the dot org version of WordPress, I should say is an uphill battle, right?
For any new person getting in and. Maybe there's part of that conversation as well, where we have to be clear about who, like who the user is or what the audience is, the target audience is for a dot org version of wordpress and what the expected understanding or learning or knowledge of wordpress is before they're even getting into that.
[01:13:32] Nathan Wrigley: Yep. Every so often on this podcast, we segue quite well, not very often, but once in a while we do. And this is one of those moments. Look at that. Perfect. Thank you, James, for teeing this up. The the next piece is off the tavern. It's called WordPress plug in review team on boards. New members releases plug in to flag common errors.
So here's what they're trying to do. Okay. If we hadn't have had that discussion that we've just had, I feel that like this would be entirely positive. Maybe it's got a little bit colored by what we've just been talking about, but there are now 1, 260 plugins. So we're not talking about themes now, but you can see the connection, right?
The, there are 1, 260 plugins, which are awaiting review. That's a lot. That really is a lot. And if you've put your life and soul into designing a plugin and you want it on the repo and then you suddenly realize you've got this gigantic. Wait from the moment you finished it until possibly you're going to be told, no, you've got a bunch of things which need fixing.
And then you've got another gigantic weight. Then anything that can make this go away is a good thing. And so steps have been taken. Although the backlog seems to be getting worse, says Sarah Gooding on the Tavern an update announcing new systems in the team, putting in the team is putting in place to get the solution under control.
Sorry, the situation under control during the last six months, the plugin review team has worked on. Documenting its processes. So any people joining, are you training new members and so on? That's improved. It's not okay, just shadow somebody for ages. Now it's the case of here, read this in your own spare time.
They've onboarded two new rounds of members. Three more reviewers have been added. I know these numbers seem like tiny numbers, but it's. It's what it is. And the system in place to make this easier in the future has been set up after receiving 40 applications to join the team, the form now will be closed at the end of September.
So that number sounds a lot more positive, doesn't it? The number 40 sounds way better than three. Also plugin authors in the queue will be sent an email, which will allow them to hopefully self check. I know this is like a band aid over a wider problem, but it's something, right? They'll be sent an email saying, these are typically the things that we fail people for.
Go and check against those before you submit it. And apparently 95 plus percent of plugins that have errors can be corrected with whatever is contained. Inside that email. So again, something, and is possibly the best news. Actually, no, the bodies on the ground is the best news. A new plugin called plugin check has been published on wordpress.
org for plugin authors to self review. Common errors, which will eventually be integrated into the plugin submission process. So at the moment it's self serve, get the plugin, do the work yourself. But at some point it'll be okay. You can't even get to the theme review team unless you go through what this plugin requires you to do.
I feel Atif, if you want to take this one on this this is a frustrating situation, it feels this is a bandaid a bit, but it feels Oh, it's way better than what we've had. Yeah, this is definitely, this
[01:16:50] Atif Riaz: is like one of those situations where maybe you've got like a well and you've got buckets of water and there's holes in the buckets and you're trying your best just to get the water.
So definitely, something has to be done and what can we do, but I think this really full circles back to earlier in the conversation about the coding standards, because once you have solid coding standards, then you can have a plugin which checks other plugins and then. The process is clear.
Okay, the plugin scans what you're about to submit. If it doesn't find that you've met certain criteria, you can't submit it. That will definitely inevitably not only help cut down the list of plugins waiting for manual reviews, but also improve the quality of. Plugins that are being submitted because then you've checked and screened them.
So I think it all is so interlinked with things that were discussed
[01:17:45] Nathan Wrigley: earlier. Thank you for that, Arteef. The, one of the founders of Stackable which is a plugin block suite. Ben Intel, he's joining us and he says the queue is now 101 days long. Okay. So that 1, 260 now equates to more or less a third of a year.
I was going to say in the UK, we have this thing called the NHS. Oh, you're not touching the NHS for waiting time. That's nothing. But
yeah, exactly. But still, if this is your career and you've, I don't know, you just need it reviewing all of this is going in the right direction. And it just speaks to, okay. Somebody listened somewhere. And things are being done. Is it the perfect solution? Probably not. We could probably throw a million dollars at this and it wouldn't go away.
But still, something's being done. But it's demoralizing, Ben. It's hard.
[01:18:45] James Giroux: Where there's review, there's a cue. It doesn't matter what it is. Oh, we had to deal with this. It's
[01:18:49] Nathan Wrigley: profoundly, this time it's a rhyme. Damn it, I'm giving up. Sorry, Garyol, I interrupted. Writing that down.
[01:18:59] Atif Riaz: We love our queues as well.
We're famous for his queues. We love our queues. Make it longer. I
[01:19:06] James Giroux: want it longer. It's funny. I was actually on the Envato forums a couple of days ago, which is why this is so fresh looking at some of my old posts where I was literally talking about how the queue for video review had gone from, 30 days to 180 days because of the amount of content that had come in from.
a couple of providers. There's just no way for there not to be a queue if you have a filter if you have that process. But anything we can do in our process to make it easier, I think we can. But it also has to be part of you as a creator to consider as part of the business reality. So if you are planning to launch something in WordPress, you as a business if that's what you want to do just have to take that on board, right?
There will be a process. It's going to take six months. So maybe you start by getting it in the queue and figure out ways for the queue to be able to self update it. So maybe you just get in line now. With what you plan to release in the next six months and then have an updated version I don't know.
[01:20:18] Atif Riaz: Can I ask a question maybe to everybody to see how they feel about this because Like I said, we love queues in the uk and we love to find ways of making money from queues as well Any government waiting time, there's always like a fast track. How would you feel if there was like a fast track where you can pay something and then you
[01:20:39] Michelle Frechette: get caught at the front of this queue? Oh, I'm gonna, I'm gonna crush, I'm gonna crush
[01:20:41] Nathan Wrigley: that one right from the start. Because that's not gonna fly.
[01:20:43] Michelle Frechette: Going back to those underrepresented people, you plugins from all over the world, and not everybody has the cash flow to be able to fast track. And so that creates a very disparate In opportunity for people to get seen.
So I'm going to go, I'm going to go on record and saying, I don't think that's a good idea.
[01:21:07] Nathan Wrigley: I think you'll be literally pilloried if somebody was to try and enforce that. I totally get it. Obviously that is a. It's a completely viable solution in so many scenarios. Think of a theme park where you've been queuing for four hours to get on that ride and then a little dude shows up with his fast track ticket and you're like What the hell?
He's just got on it! And it just, there's just such a lack of equanimity there. I recently had to give my passport,
[01:21:36] Atif Riaz: just to renew my passport, the queue time, if I just did a normal submission to get a renewed passport was like six months, but I could pay, I can't remember how much it was now, and I could have a next day service, I know it's crazy,
[01:21:48] Nathan Wrigley: it's crazy, yeah,
[01:21:49] James Giroux: One, one.
[01:21:54] Nathan Wrigley: your audio. He's lost his audio again. And it's so profound. I'm lip reading and it's just gold. It's gone. Yeah, you are. We don't hear you. Try try the hard refresh and we'll see if that brings you back. Yeah. Something's bought there, isn't it? I suspect it's your OS. Changing on the fly, but we'll grab him back.
Yeah, really interesting. Do you know what though? Not to completely kibosh Atif's idea. Now we've lost his camera. Oh, brilliant. Keep going, James, stay with us. I'm here. I'm here. Can you hear me now? Yeah. Can I just finish my sentence? I do apologize. What if James's idea, sorry, Atif's idea was used and it paid for people like Juliet?
[01:22:44] James Giroux: Or it paid, or there was a way to pay for the review.
[01:22:48] Nathan Wrigley: Still doesn't feel right. It feels icky. It's still
[01:22:51] Michelle Frechette: disadvantages people from. Yeah, from what
[01:22:53] James Giroux: about there's a
[01:22:56] Atif Riaz: business idea, start a business of reviewing people's plug in a charger
[01:23:00] James Giroux: that actually exists. So within the Envato ecosystem, and I'll use this as a parallel because a lot of these are common issues.
There are even some of the actual reviewers. Would have services that they would offer to prospective authors that were looking to do it saying, Hey, if you want a review before you jump in the queue, we'll do that, right? We'll provide that for you and give you a sense of the dot points that you need as a paid to pay that on.
It doesn't necessarily increase their position in the queue. But it helps them with the possibility of rejection because that's the other thing. It's one thing to get into the queue. It's another thing to get through the queue to the front of the line only to be rejected and then have to go to the back of the queue, right?
With your next submission and go through that process again. So one thought I was going to add as a potential solution here is a program that we had done at Envato, which was a trusted author program, which is where authors that had already submitted and had an approved plugin were from a trusted program so that they would maybe not necessarily have to go through the entire process.
But what we're added to a list of trusted, so they could get, if you want to talk fast track, that's how you get fast tracked, you get fast tracked by being good at creating code and meeting the rules. And that's how you get through the
[01:24:26] Nathan Wrigley: queue faster for you. So it's a merit based system based on your past endeavors, as opposed to a paid for system.
I, I point everybody to the article from Marika. 10 minutes ago. It's the same problem in a different format, isn't it? It's the same thing. Okay. Time is running really short, so I'm going to miss a whole bunch of the stuff that plan to do out. I'm sorry about that, but I will just mention a few things.
Not that if you're on the. org side. Of things and obviously if you're a plugin theme developer that whole dot org login is like truly crucial to you It really isn't to me. I you know, I log in and poke around a little bit But you've now got the option to to use t2fa two factor authentication as a security mechanism to log into that account And you know in the same way that the bank is quite an important thing for me to have 2fa on I imagine if your livelihood is wrapped up in Plugins and themes.
That's a nice thing to be able to see. Then I'm going to quickly. I'm not going to, I'm going to pass this over to Michelle. What's this one?
[01:25:32] Michelle Frechette: Are you passing
[01:25:32] Nathan Wrigley: the mic to me? I'm passing you the mic. No, not this mic because it's attached to this stand. I
[01:25:37] Michelle Frechette: remember that. And I love the way you say stand. So Saturday was happy international podcast day.
It was international podcast day. And I reached out to as many WordPress podcasters as I could think of most through, through Postatus, but other places and ask people to do that. Tick tock challenge where they say I'm passing the phone to so and instead we came up with 18 of us passing the mic back and forth talking about the things that we all do in wordpress and I think it was a beautiful video.
It was beautiful. I like it better as video that actually than as the audio because there's a lot of visual things that people are doing, but it works either way. And it was just yeah. Exciting to pull it together. Literally stitching it together as I was getting ready to walk out the door to WordCamp Rochester speaker dinner.
So apologies if I did spell people's names wrong. I was going off memory, trying to get it done as quickly as possible. So Rumkus, I do apologize. Cause I did mess up his last name a bit. But the sentiments were all there and it was. I hope you enjoyed being part of
[01:26:40] Nathan Wrigley: it, Nathan. Oh, it was lovely.
Thank you. Me and podcasting, I absolutely love it. So what a nice initiative. You can find this wpcoffeetalk. com forward slash podcast forward slash podcasting day, 2023. It's a bit of fun. And we need that in the world these days. Of the two things that we've got remaining, which one shall I raise?
I think I'm going to go for this one because it's just AI and we know how much I love to bash AI. This is exactly why I'm worried, right? Chinese artist, there's Chinese artist's painting. Look how great that is. Aren't you impressed by that? Wouldn't you as an artist be happy to have sat down at a paint at an easel and to have spent decades perfecting your technique?
To make such a wonderful piece of art. On the other hand, you could be an AI that spent probably a couple of minutes scraping it and then produce more or less exactly identical content. This is without a shadow of a doubt, the bad side of AI. I know it's got its upsides, but this is the stuff which is starting to bother me more and more.
This. This artist is now going to really struggle because she's got this unique style. She does this one thing and she does it brilliantly. And she was so in demand. And now that who's going to pay for that now, if you can just click a button and say, do it in the style of that person. And the answer is, I suspect not as many people as before.
So don't know if you've got any comments on that.
[01:28:10] Michelle Frechette: That's what the writer's strike was is, and was about as they're trying to come to resolution is if. AI is taking the jobs of writers of television and movie writers. It's not only taking their jobs, but it's profiting off the work they've already done because it's scraping all of that information.
[01:28:30] Nathan Wrigley: I'm so excited about all these technologies, but at the same time, I think sometimes we have to just put the brakes on and be a bit of an adult. Yeah. Yeah. It's a bit like you don't let your children do certain things because they'd have fun. But at the same time, ultimately.
It's going to hurt. Yes.
I don't know. Yeah. Anyway, I always do that every week. I hijack the AI piece. There's no time. That's it. We're out of time. We've done the show. That's everything I've got for you today. I would just like to say a big thank you because I thought that was a really interesting conversation on so many levels.
Yeah, that's right. Yeah. I've got a title for this one. It's called where there's a review. There's a Q. I like that. Yeah, thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you so much for Michelle. Thank you to James as well. And thank you for anybody. Who joined us in the comments today? That was very much appreciated.
I'd say if you won't know this bit, but we have to do this slightly we don't have to, but I'd appreciate it if you did do this slightly humiliating thing where we raise our hands and I take a screenshot of everybody with hands raised at our James and get, yeah, that's it. Nice. That's perfect.
[01:29:52] Michelle Frechette: I got it. The bracelet was
[01:29:55] Nathan Wrigley: perfect.
[01:29:57] Atif Riaz: I haven't watched this before.
[01:29:59] Michelle Frechette: We'll be back. I'm going to remember that in the future. It'll
[01:30:03] Nathan Wrigley: be back next week. But thank you for joining us. Really appreciate it. If guys, if your video gets hijacked at the end just stay with it for a minute and then kick yourself off, but hopefully it won't.
So we'll see you next week for another show. Take it easy. Bye.
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