The first version of WordPress has been released more then 10 years ago and it has have many successes on the road. But there are still thinks going wrong and about those things I’m going to talk now. It’s important to keep in mind that this is my vision and that some things are maybe a bit direct but that’s just how I’m and I have no problem if you respond direct back. I’m just trying to get discussions going on some of the issues.
Till the end of last year I didn’t had lots of issues with how WordPress being development except the obvious that your tickets don’t get much attention and that UI stuff is a pain to work on. During my development on WP_Image_Editor I had some issues with communication but this year was just a pain to find the right motivation to work on core.
It started that I asked why Post formats UI should be in core and expressed my feelings that it is plugin material but I didn’t get much respond on that. And I started wondering why it was on the roadmap to begin with. It seems for an open source project build on the community that this important things are discussed in a small group. Also till this day I still think it should never be in core and I was really happy when it got removed from core. But I was also a bit sad that we didn’t discussed this in the start so people could spent their time on the real issues for that release.
This is a weird release. We doing a great job in closing tickets but the reasoning why is sometimes pretty lame. I saw situation where tickets got closed because the new media dialog but it didn’t had much to do with that. Also you can still see that dialog.
The most important issue here are the major features. All the features are build by the core team/Automattic people and it’s hard/impossible to help out with it. Also most of the discussions about those features was done privately. Probably because of the possible security issues that it can have.
Plugin driven releases
For version 3.8 features will be developed as a plugin and the idea itself is great. It was already done for a lot of XML-RPC methods that got added in 3.5 and what I currently do for WPDB. You also see feature development by forking WordPress on Github and create patches from that.
However how it currently is structured is really bad and it all started with MP6. I like how it looks but I hate how it was build. It was 0% community driven and only release post where posted on the make UI blog. I tried multiple times to help out but all the times I got ignored and there wasn’t a list with open issues so you could help out. Another thing was what Matt said at his talk during WordCamp San Francisco. He said that most discussing happened on Skype and was unsure if that was a good or a bad thing. To me it is and will always a be a bad thing. Obviously some stuff is fine to be private and specially if it’s design related but it you work on a public product then it should be discussed publicly. Probably because of this some 3.8 plugins are also discussed through Skype.
Another part is that the it’s just an idea without any thoughts on it. When you got an problem you would love to solve then you have to post it somewhere but no clue where. It can be a make blog but it’s hard to get access to most of them and other places can be hard to find for most people. That is also the reason why I posted on my blog, created a GitHub repo and said to the team you can do whatever you want but I’m not going to spend time on this process. It’s just stupid politics.
It’s awesome to see that much of the code has been open sourced but it’s still a pain to help out. On of the issues is that it is hard to get things locally setup. Like a WordCamp site or translate.wordpress.org. In most situation you need to have knowledge or extra code that is missing. So the best thing to have is a sandbox that you can use for this situation or maybe a vagrant box that you can use where a lot of stuff is already setup. I have no problem to help out with that.
Another issue is that some code is still not public and so you can’t contribute back. And that is kind of stupid. Why can’t I see code if I really want to. I contributed back quite a lot of my own time to WordPress. Why wouldn’t I be able to see code what I would love to see. This is obviously a trust issue and something I take personally. I see this as they don’t trust me then. So why would I contribute a lot of my own time to a project if they don’t trust me. And that is something I value really high.
I love WordCamps and this year I will visit my 14th WordCamp. But when it comes on organization or organizing one then I probably don’t even want to talk about. I hate the word guidelines because they aren’t rules so they can be ignored. This because I like equality. Like WordCamp San Francisco is allowed to have such a high budget and WordCamp Europe is allowed to more expensive tickets then allowed.
So last and this year there were discussions about the rules but I think the only outcome was to make the rules more clear. But I can totally be wrong on that. In general there wasn’t much done towards better reasons and till now I didn’t get any responds on my feedback through the survey or my blog posts.
Also the issues about naming is something I don’t get. There were issues a few years ago with WordCamp UK but you still have WordCamp Netherlands and Norway for example. And now you even have WordCamp Europe. And still WordCamp UK was called WordCamp Lancaster UK what is just ridiculous.
And my last thing is that I don’t get when you are allowed to organize one. The rules are more strict then a few years ago but I still can’t find any post about this. Till now I’m not allowed to do so because there aren’t regular meetup in Serbia but still if I organize a meetup there I get more folks then in The Netherlands. Where we also never had regular meetups and still not really have. So if this is a rule then we should also try to apply it on all WordCamps. Existing and new ones.
I get why we have team reps and having a site like make/updates is really awesome so you can follow how each group is doing but till now the process didn’t really work well. The should be an extension to the groups but to me it also looks like an elite group. Nothing personal to any of the people because I do think they do an awesome job. This all started at the community summit where they had two extra days talking about all kinds of subjects and where the rest wasn’t even allowed to enter Jitterbug. To me that is just bullshit. I know hard words but serious I traveled a long distance to talk about WordPress and making things better. Why not having more time to do so. This is also caused by the fact that the summit was only one day.
More recent issue was the 3 month overdue elections and how those elections went. Some of them went private like Polyglots and that is never a good thing to do. Elections should be the same for all groups and always publicly posted. So that they can move someone forward and people can respond if they agree/disagree. This should always happen on their own blog.
People & Groups
The last thing I want to discuss is how people get a position without any involvement to WordPress. I do have to admit that all those people work for Audrey or Automattic. But in general it’s a wrong thing to do. Everyone should have the same change to get a certain position. If WordPress needs a UX person for at least 10 hours per week then we should post that some where like a job board. I’m pretty sure somewhere I or someone else can help out too. Together we build WordPress. Not by a few but by many.
The other thing is groups being started and how they getting lead. The one in my mind is the training group that got started last year and stopped in 3 weeks because of no reaction. I saw the message but I was busy with the release of 3.5 just like many others and totally forgot about it. And it gotten merged with the outreach group what I still think was a stupid move till this day. Now the group getting started again and still no response at all. I think the main problem with new groups is that they are managed by people who are well known by the core team. This means American people and so me as an European will never have a change to help out starting a new team. And from all what I just wrote this is probably the one that I hate the most. If there is a new idea or group then it should be discussed in the group and not being decided by one or a few people. But this is something that not only here goes wrong.
In this post I talked about some of the issues WordPress has and hopefully some can be fixed. And doing so we make this project really community driven instead of doing work for a small group.