Issue #214
Happy Friday! It's May 31 and we're covering Automattic's big win in the Turkish Constitutional Court, Jamie Marsland's speed build challenges, and much more.

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Two big headlines

1. Automattic celebrates victory for freedom of expression in Turkey after eight-year legal battle


"We're pleased to announce that we've finally scored an important victory for freedom of expression in the Turkish Constitutional Court," posted Automattic on X this week – the operative word being "finally."

On Automattic's transparency blog, Stephen Blythe, Head of Legal Process, outlines the eight-year court battle the company recently won: Fighting Back: A Victory for Freedom of Expression in the Turkish Constitutional Court.

In a nutshell, WordPress.com regularly receives takedown notices from Turkey. In 2015, the hosting service was ordered to take down a site containing allegations of corruption leveled at President Erdoğan. At the time, the company had no choice but to comply and block the site in the region or risk all visitors from Turkey losing access to WordPress.com. The company appealed, lost, petitioned the Turkish Constitutional Court, and waited. Eight years later, the court unanimously concluded that the blogger's freedom of expression and right to effective remedy had been violated.

It's a significant win for Automattic in a country that routinely blocks and removes website content, and employs bandwidth restrictions and internet throttling to censor critical media and quell government criticism. As attorney Burak Haylamaz writes in Türkiye's Freedom of Expression: Progress Made, Challenges Remain for Tech Policy Press, by the end of 2022, Turkey had blocked 712,558 websites and domain names, access to 150,000 URLs, 9,800 X/Twitter accounts, 55,000 tweets, 16,585 YouTube videos, 12,000 Facebook posts, and 11,150 Instagram posts.

Speaking with Haylamaz, Blythe emphasizes the importance of enduring lengthy legal processes and exhausting all available legal avenues to "uphold freedom of expression principles against access restriction decisions."

"Platforms are often the final line of defense for freedom of expression online, and as a result have a responsibility to stand up for those fundamental rights," says Blythe. "I am both pleased and proud that Automattic stood by our core values and managed to secure a victory in this case, but the length of the proceedings and political realities involved clearly demonstrate that there remains a significant amount of work to be done."

WordPress veteran Jeff Chandler highlights from Blythe's post, "Do not underestimate the significance of this outcome. Victories of this kind in Turkey are rare, and prior to this case, [Automattic] had spent almost $100,000 USD appealing 14 different takedown orders, without any success."

2. Jamie Marsland pitting WordPress pros against each other in 30-minute showdowns


YouTuber Jamie Marsland's Website Speed Build Challenges are gaining a cult following. This week, Kadence Themes founder Ben Ritter went head-to-head with Automattic's Justin Tadlock in a Kadence vs Core contest.

With Twenty Twenty-Four theme developer Jessica Lyschik offering advice in the live chat, the pair did their best to recreate the WordPress-powered Rolling Stone website in just 30 minutes. Viewers more or less voted Ritter the winner.

Next Thursday, Automattic's Rich Tabor — who's also the design lead on the WordPress 6.6 release team — will battle it out against YouTuber Jonathan Jernigan.

What will they build? Marsland says, "Every bone in my body wants to see @richard_tabor and @permaslug take on the Lings Cars website in the upcoming WordPress Speed Build Challenge on June 6th." Matt Cromwell, Senior Director of Customer Experience at StellarWP, says, "It's the polar opposite of @richard_tabor 's style… DO IT!"

For those going to WordCamp Europe 2024, Marsland is hosting a live Gutenberg Speed Build Challenge on June 14 featuring Lyschik and Tabor.

Meanwhile, Marsland celebrated 40,000 YouTube subscribers this week with five things that helped accelerate his channel's growth, including partnering with WordPress.com

"Jamie is an asset to our entire community. We need more Jamie's in #WordPress," posted Devin Walker, General Manager at StellarWP.
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In other news

In depth

> WordPress is now old enough to drink – in the United States, anyway! WordPress turned 21 on Monday. Co-founder Matt Mullenweg marked the milestone by sharing 11 opinions on the elements that helped make WordPress successful in its early years, which he thinks contributors should continue to keep in mind. He says forums should be "front and center" in the community (and that "bbPress and BuddyPress need some love"), that "We shouldn't be uploading ZIPs in 2024!" and that core should be opinionated and quirky with easter eggs and language with personality even if it's difficult to translate. He adds that "Playground is going to change everything." (ma.tt)

> The WP Minute's Matt Medeiros has called out the WordPress Media Corps for involving Do the Woo's Bob Dunn as a media advisor, labeling it "favoritism." Medeiros says the decision to include Dunn in a private meeting with media core contributors lacked transparency. He also calls for "WordPress media" to be defined, given that his podcast was rejected after he applied to be a WordCamp Europe 2023 media partner. As he describes, "WordPress media is a perfect storm: There's only 10,000 English speaking people in the world that actually care about this type of content, 8 people in the world (myself included) who actually care about covering it, and so few people that know the brands like WP Minute and The Repository who tirelessly cover it. I miss Sarah Gooding." Medeiros' critical take comes after Reyes Martínez, the Automattic-sponsored contributor tasked with leading the experimental media corps, published a summary of the corps team's first kick-off call this week, which included Dunn. The team's next steps include creating a Slack channel for the media corps team and documenting the process for identifying qualified media corps partners (The WP Minute)

WordPress project

> A release candidate for WordPress 6.5.4 is now available for testing. The minor release temporarily restores auto-redirects following plugin activation after "significant impacts" were reported by several plugin companies, including Awesome Motive and WooCommerce, due to changes to plugin dependencies in WordPress 6.5. WordPress 6.5.4 is scheduled to ship on June 5. In the meantime, core contributors are continuing to work on a more permanent framework for plugin onboarding experiences (Make WordPress Core)

WordPress community

> The women behind WP Includes want to reveal the "numbers" behind the gender landscape of WordPress businesses, not the "feelings." According to co-founders Siobhan McKeown and Francesca Marano, who joined Do the Woo this week, they want to validate their gut feelings with real data collected as part of their Gender Equality in WordPress Businesses Survey. "We want to produce something that is objective, that just lays out what we've learned in a non-judgmental way, and that provides useful actions that companies can take to support more women to get into leadership," says McKeown. The pair will deliver early insights from the survey during a talk they are scheduled to give at WordCamp Europe 2024 (Do the Woo) | Miriam Schwab says completing the Gender Equality in WordPress Businesses Survey is an eye-opening and insightful exercise. Elementor’s Head of WordPress Relations posted in Post Status Slack last week that she's "acutely aware of what it means to be the only woman in the room and to be frustrated by obvious and unnecessary gender inequality. But the survey helped me really hone in on what factors can indicate a gender equality issue in an organization, and what to keep an eye on." (Post Status Slack)

> The WordPress mentorship program is boosting the confidence of new contributors and providing clarity on how to contribute effectively to WordPress, says mentee Krupa Nanda. Nanda, together with Automattic's Open Source Program Manager Hari Shanker, polyglot contributor and mentor Tor-Bjorn Fjellner, and DEIB advocate Birgit Olzem joined host Abha Thakor on Do the Woo to discuss the mentorship program and its impact since launching last year (Do the Woo)

> Hazel Quimpo, Michele Jones and Michelle Frechette have launched WP Wonder Women, a weekly newsletter celebrating women and nonbinary folks who work with and contribute to WordPress. The inaugural issue's "wonder woman" is WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy (WP Wonder Women)

Business, enterprise & acquisitions

> Vox launched its new WordPress-powered website as part of the media company's 10-year anniversary celebrations. The launch comes after Axios revealed last year that Vox was dropping its Chorus CMS and switching to WordPress because its continued dominance in the CMS space had made it harder to compete. At the time, Automattic founder and CEO Matt Mullenweg said he believed that "on a long enough timeline, the survival rate of proprietary software drops to zero." Core committer Aaron Jorbin also posted, "With the news that Vox is moving to WordPress and [The Washington Post's] ARC focusing less on Media, I think the winner of this war was WordPress. Always bet on open source." (Vox)

> In 2023, Hostinger's revenue grew by 57% year-on-year to €110.2 million. The hosting company's financial results were significantly influenced by its growing customer base (the company ended the year with 2.42 million customers, up 57% on the previous year), focus on developing AI products, efficient management of marketing investments, and increased operational efficiency The Lithuanian-based company launched in 2004 employs almost 900 people (Hostinger)

> Awesome Motive-owned All in One SEO has acquired LowFruits, a keyword research tool designed to unearth low-competition keywords. AIESEO President Ben Rojas says LowFruits will continue operating independently, maintaining its unique features and functionality. "We have already started working on new features and improvements, and you can expect to see these updates by the end of Q3 or early Q4," he adds (AIOSEO)

> The Scale Consortium has launched its second annual State of Enterprise WordPress survey. The survey aims to collect insights from big brands on how they use WordPress to meet their business goals. Last year's survey results included responses from The Times, Macy's and the V&A on everything build and maintenance costs and decision makers to integrations, value for money, and the block editor vs the classic editor (State of Enterprise WordPress)

> WP Product Talk has launched a brand refresh. The latest episode of the podcast features Emilia Capital's Joost de Valk, who shares his expertise and personal stories about effective branding in the WordPress space (WP Product Talk)

Plugins, themes & products

> WordPress.com's Studio app is now available for Windows. The free and open source local development environment runs on WordPress Playground and has gained thousands of active users since launching for MacOS users last month (WordPress.com)

> Cloudways has launched a new Malware Protection add-on powered by Imunify360. The add-on proactively detects and eliminates malware across all PHP-based CMS platforms, including WordPress, providing comprehensive security without the need for additional plugins. Announcing the add-on, Cloudways product marketer Muneeb Ajmal said the hosting company wanted to make effective malware protection available to its customers, adding that some security plugins were ineffective in malware scanning and removal. Cloudways has introduced several other security tools in recent years, including enterprise-grade protection via Cloudflare Enterprise, free bot protection, safe automated WordPress updates, and a vulnerability scanner (Cloudways)

Conferences & events

> Four cities are in the running to host WordCamp Europe 2025. Local teams in Krakow in Poland, Granada and Valencia in Spain, and Basel in Switzerland applied. The host city will be announced during the closing ceremony at this year's conference in Torino, Italy (WordCamp Europe)

> WordCamp Canada is struggling with team member commitments, sponsorships, and lower than expected ticket sales. Organizer Shanta Nathwani says despite the challenges, the team is committed to hosting what will be the first regional—and very Canadian—WordCamp in North America, designed to help reactivate meetups and support diversity and inclusion (Do the Woo)

> CloudFest USA 2024 kicks off on June 5 in Austin, Texas. The full schedule is out and features an impressive speaker line-up, including Vint Cert (VP and Chief Evangelist at Google and co-inventor of the internet) and Matt Mullenweg (WordPress co-founder) (Eventbrite)

> StellarWP is hosting Stellar Spark on July 19. The live virtual conference will feature 15 speakers across two tracks who will "spark" ideas for growth, creativity, collaboration and more (StellarWP)

WordPress Community: Humera Zubair

A photo of Humera Zubair
This week, what’s inspiring Humera Zubair, a Project Manager/Lead Developer at Kooheji Systems.


Get to know the folks behind WordCamp Europe 2024! The Repository is featuring organizers every week ahead of the June 13–15 event in Torino, Italy.
A podcast worth listening to: Asking My Friend How He Went From $0 To +$100M Before Age 30. This motivational speech shares the inspiring journey of a man who moved from Pakistan with no funds to establishing a 9-figure WordPress empire before reaching the age of 30. Discover the reasons behind his decision to decline a $70 million offer, his unique choice of purchasing a gas station as a baby shower gift, and gain insights into the distinction between recurring revenue and re-occurring revenue.

A concept worth understanding: Emotional intelligence (EI) is a vital concept that underpins effective communication and interpersonal relationships. EI encompasses the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one's own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. By developing EI, individuals can navigate social interactions with greater empathy, adaptability, and self-awareness, leading to more authentic and meaningful connections. Understanding emotional intelligence equips individuals with valuable skills for effectively expressing themselves, resolving conflicts, and building trust and rapport in personal and professional settings. Cultivating EI not only enhances communication but also fosters resilience, collaboration, and overall well-being. Thus, mastering emotional intelligence is essential for anyone seeking to thrive in today's interconnected world.

An X/Twitter account worth following: An exceptional Twitter account worth following is @NASA. This official account provides fascinating insights into space exploration, groundbreaking discoveries, and stunning images captured by NASA missions. As someone who loves astronomy and everything space-related, you'll find @NASA's tweets to be a treasure trove of captivating content, updates on current missions, and glimpses into the wonders of the universe.

An article worth reading: Career and Motherhood Are Not Mutually Exclusive challenges the idea that career and motherhood are incompatible, advocating for self-compassion and balance. It suggests that success in both realms is achievable through personalized approaches and support systems. Addressing common issues like overwork and comparison, it encourages mothers to prioritize their well-being. Practical tips, including flexible work arrangements, are offered for navigating challenges. Ultimately, it asserts that with the right mindset, mothers can thrive both personally and professionally.

A habit worth forming: Planning a day in advance involves taking proactive steps to map out tasks, appointments, and goals for the following day. This strategic approach enables individuals to set clear objectives and priorities, facilitating a more organized and efficient use of time. By allocating specific time slots for each activity and anticipating potential challenges, individuals can better navigate their day and optimize productivity. This habit not only enhances time management skills but also helps reduce stress and overwhelm by providing a roadmap for the day ahead. Ultimately, planning in advance empowers individuals to take control of their schedule and maximize their potential for success.

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Meanwhile...

Read


🎂 Remkus de Vries managed to install WordPress 0.71 after "an hour of errors" (Remkus de Vries)

5️⃣ A behind-the-scenes look at how WebDevStudios does Five for the Future (WebDevStudios)

🕴️ Eric Karkovack on how WordPress democratizes publishing and fuels an economy (speckyboy)

🤝🏼 Robert Nolte on building brand trust, credibility and differentiation in WordPress (Freemius)

Listen


🛝 Adam Zielinski on how WordPress Playground is reshaping site creation (WP Tavern Jukebox)

🎙️ Allison Dye and Sophia DeRosia are hosting a new podcast about the next generation of WordPressers (Do the Woo)

Watch


🤖 Jason Tucker, Sé Reed and Jason Cosper on the impact of AI on website creation and the broader WordPress ecosystem (WPwatercooler)

📺 Christian Taylor on how to become a WordPress YouTube influencer (WP-Tonic)
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