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Issue #159
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This week in WordPress

Tech Layoffs Shake Up WordPress Community, Spark Concern and Support from the Community

It's what everybody's talking about lately. This week, Sarah Gooding explored the industry-wide tech layoffs impacting WordPress professionals for WP Tavern. She notes that it's not just large companies like GoDaddy (which acquired Pagely in 2021 and SkyVerge in 2020) and Digital Ocean (which acquired Cloudways last year) that have cut staff in recent weeks, but also smaller firms like XWP and Human Made.

XWP laid off several employees two months ago, and Human Made CEO and co-founder Tom Willmot announced redundancies at his company for the first time in its history last week.

"🙁 There have been more recent layoffs in WordPress hosting, but from private companies who don't have to announce them. Not a great start to 2023," tweets PublishPress founder Steve Burge.

During the Matt Mullenweg's Q&A at WordCamp Asia, Michelle Frechette, StellarWP's Director of Community Engagement, asked what the community could do to create more jobs and stop the associated anxiety and fear. Mullenweg said "open source really shines in recessionary times" and encouraged those who’ve been laid off to contribute to WordPress as a way to build their portfolio and skills and make professional contacts.

Eric Karkovack from the WP Minute tweets, "Maybe it's just me. But it doesn't look good when you lay off workers and still report significant growth in your earnings call. GoDaddy is just one more name on a long list of examples." WordPress historian Jeff Chandler adds, "Tough pill to swallow :("

Meanwhile, Post Status is giving free Pro+ memberships to WordPress professionals who’ve been recently laid off. "@post_status is a game changer under any circumstances. I can not recommend a membership enough to any WordPress professional. But if you've been affected by the recent layoffs, I highly recommend you check this out right now," tweets WordPress consultant Marc Garth.

WordCamp Asia 2023 Celebrates Successful Debut, Plans Underway for 2024 Event

"The #WCAsia team has everything to be proud of. The entire event felt like they've been looking at previous flagship events, took the best parts, threw them together and further improved the mix. It was so well done. Be proud!"

That tweet from Taco Verdonschot, Head of Relations at Yoast, this week. Or as Emily Schiola writes at Torque, WordCamp Asia 2023 was Worth the Wait.
The first-ever WordCamp Asia — the first flagship WordCamp in the region — wrapped up on February 19 in Bangkok, Thailand, and by all accounts, it was a resounding success. A total of 1,299 people attended the event, 3,185 watched the livestream, and 653 people took part in the Contributor Day.

Among the highlighted events was a Q&A with Matt Mullenweg, as mentioned above. WordPress all-rounder David Bisset has shared his highlights and analysis of the session. "Some $0.02 on one of Matt's comments and beyond that #WordPress, AI, and #OpenSource quotes to mentally chew on for later," he tweets.

Global Lead Naoko Takano, an Automattic-sponsored contributor, thanked attendees and volunteers on the WordCamp Asia blog this week. "Writing this blog post fills us with incredible joy, as the journey to reach this point was much more challenging than anticipated. I'm proud of my organising team's achievements in bringing this large-scale project to fruition, which took nearly four years from the initial application submission to the final execution," she writes.

"So I'm unpacking and I find my #WCAsia speaker gift, which I never actually opened. Inside is a thank you card hand-signed by the organizers. I'm not exaggerating when I say I burst into tears. Best. Speaker. Gift. Ever. @WordCampAsia," tweets digital producer Allie Nimmons.

Planning for the next WordCamp Asia has already begun. It’s scheduled to be held in Taipei, Taiwan, in March 2024.

Years-long GoDaddy Security Breach Exposes Millions of Customers' Data and Source Code

A multi-year GoDaddy security vulnerability has enabled hackers to steal company source code and login credentials, as well as install malware that redirects visitors to malicious sites, reports Dan Goodin for Ars Technica. In a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the hosting company revealed that three serious security events starting in 2020 and lasting through 2022 were carried out by the same intruder.

Sergiu Gatlan at Bleeping Computer reports that GoDaddy is now working with external cybersecurity forensics experts and law enforcement agencies worldwide as part of an ongoing investigation into the root cause of the breach.

"#GoDaddy reveals shocking news of a multi-year data breach, exposing the data of over 21 million customers and employees and source code. Stay vigilant and protect your personal information," tweets identity theft protection agency IDStrong.

Washington Post security reporter Joseph Menn put it simply: "Spectacular. #godaddy." to rectify more than 700 accessibility issues is following through on its promise to the WordPress community to improve the accessibility of its site, with plans underway to rectify 732 issues identified by accessibility consultant Deque, reports Sarah Gooding at WP Tavern.

In November 2022, removed an accessibility overlay from its site in response to concerns raised by WordPress accessibility contributors and allies. The events platform now plans to resolve accessibility issues with its site as part of a two-phase approach that includes improvements related to design and color contrast, and the site’s component library and website components.

"Glad to see that @Meetup is putting effort into improving accessibility," tweets Equalize Digital founder and CEO Amber Hinds.

WordPress 6.2 Release Squad to Host Live Preview

The WordPress 6.2 release squad will be hosting a live preview of what's coming in the next major release on March 2 at 12 PM EST via Zoom. Sarah Gooding at WP Tavern reports that Automattic-sponsored core contributors Anne McCarthy and Rich Tabor (who recently left Extendify to join Automattic as a product manager) who are leading the release will give viewers a tour of the features coming in 6.2.

According to Automattic-sponsored marketing contributor Jonathan Pantani, the event will be a slightly different format from the previous 6.0 and 6.1 walk-throughs, focusing on showing the work that’s been going into the release. WP Tavern podcaster Nathan Wrigley will moderate the event.

Business Spotlight: Weglot

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WordCamp Asia 2023 Recap by GoDaddy

Sponsorship strap that readers, "Together with GoDaddy Pro".
A short blurb over a yellow background about GoDaddy's WordCamp Asia 2023 recap.
WordCamp Asia 2023, the first flagship event for WordCamp in Asia, took place from February 17-19 in Bangkok, Thailand. The event provided an opportunity for creators and innovators to share ideas and explore new possibilities related to the WordPress open-source project. Participants, including entrepreneurs, startups, and beginners, had access to 55 sessions, 60 speakers, and a Contributor Day, where WordPress users from around the world discussed how they could contribute to the project.

The event was held at the True Icon Hall at the ICONSIAM, a mixed-use development space near the Chao Phraya River, where guests had access to shopping, dining, and entertainment happenings that celebrate the local culture. The event attracted 1,500+ participants, 53 organizers, 84 volunteers, 44 sponsors, and seven media partners. The GoDaddy team was among the 40+ representatives from various brands within the company to attend the event.

Check out this comprehensive recap of the event—along with some really great photos! Are you in any of them?

Read more about the events of WordCamp Asia 2023 here.
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In other WordPress news...

  • David and Olivia Bisset have launched, a curated collection of WordPress news, opinions, and social media posts. They say the site isn’t meant to share every piece of WordPress news, but if you visit once or twice a day, you’ll "get a handle on most recent happenings."
  • The company behind MemberPress has acquired MemberMouse, an enterprise-grade membership plugin. MemberPress creator Blair Williams says there are no plans to combine the two products. Instead, he wants to grow both products in ways that leverage the unique contributions each one brings to membership site businesses.
  • Last week, Michelle Frechette pledged to donate $5 for every selfie taken with her at WordCamp Asia to Big Orange Heart. She smashed her $500 goal (with well over 100 selfies) and Carl Hancock from Gravity Forms matched 50%. All up, $1,250 has been raised for the charity, which provides well-being support for remote workers.
  • The Museum of Block Art is celebrating WordPress’ 20th anniversary by calling for WP20-inspired block submissions. Artists from all backgrounds and experience levels are invited to share blocks incorporating the 20th-anniversary logos or default themes throughout the years.
  • As WordPress becomes more focused on JavaScript development, some developers are feeling left out. Developer Jamie Reevior wrote a short essay on why he's feeling "betrayed" by the project.
  • WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg recently announced plans to begin labeling WordPress directory plugins by cost and community support. In the latest episode of Press the Issue, Nyasha Green and Allie Nimmons pick apart how this plan could help or hurt developers.
  • WordCamp London organizers are working on an event for September 2023. They’ve invited potential attendees to fill out a survey detailing attendance, volunteer, and sponsorship expectations as they work through the initial planning stage.
  • WordPress lead developer Andrew Ozz published a proposal last Friday that would formalize post-Feature Freeze code through a new "gutenberg-merge" ticket type. As WP Tavern’s Sarah Gooding notes, the proposal’s reception has been a mixed bag.
  • The Crocoblock is celebrating WordPress’ 20-year milestone by sharing their first memories with WordPress, as well as whether they’d choose it again if they restarted their careers today. You can read responses from Crocoblock’s CEO, CTO, COO, and others on the toolkit’s latest blog post.
  • 10up has contributed $12,360 to Girls Who Code, All Star Code, and Trees For The Future. These organizations work to increase diversity in digital engineering as well as offset computer-related carbon emissions.
  • WordPress was once considered a blogging engine—but what if it moved on from blogging entirely? A new post from the WPMarmite Team explores the possibility of disabling WordPress Core’s blog feature.
  • DE{CODE}, WP Engine’s free virtual developer conference, is back for a fourth year. This year’s event (on March 21 and March 23) will cover building across development stages, maximizing conversions, improving site performance, and more.
  • Corey Maass and Cory Miller share the messiness of building a WordPress product live in a recent Post Status podcast. They reveal the initial version of Crop.Express, a plugin designed to crop a featured image within the WordPress workflow, and discuss their progress and ongoing development.
  • Mark Westguard of WS Form joined Cory Miller on the Post Status Draft. They discuss OpenAI, the innovation we are already seeing, and what we can and should expect in the future when it comes to WordPress.
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