Issue #177

Happy Friday! It's July 7 and this week we're covering the cancellation of WordCamp Dhaka, Mika Epstein's take on when abuse leveled at plugin reviewers began to escalate, and Matías Ventura's vision for collaboration in WordPress.

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This week in WordPress

1. WordCamp Dhaka (Bangladesh) canceled due to corporate influence and harassment

The WordPress Community Team canceled WordCamp Dhaka (Bangladesh) this week amid concerns about corporate influence on community decision-making, fuelling speculation about whodunnit and raising concerns about the level of secrecy around the people and companies involved.

As Sarah Gooding at WP Tavern reports, the Community Team published a statement on the event's website and an equally vague incident report on, prompting several contributors, including WordPress Marketing Team co-rep Sé Reed, to call for greater transparency about what happened and who was involved.

In response, Angela Jin, Head of Programs & Contributor Experience for at Automattic, said confidentiality was required to protect those who had reported issues with the event.

Yesterday, Jin revealed that several people involved with the event had reported multiple incidents of insulting and personal attacks, public and private harassment, influencing and inciting harassment, retaliation in response to reported behavior, and discrimination, forcing the Community Team to act. As community contributor Sam Suresh notes in his incident report, canceling a WordCamp is "a rare and extreme decision and underscores the severity of the situation."

The event's cancelation has been disappointing for attendees, including designer and developer Fahim Murshed who commented, "As a Bangladeshi, I feel very ashamed."

For organizers, there'll be some soul-searching. Mainul Kabir Aion, one of the event's organizers, commented, "... as a community, we respect [WordCamp] central's decision and are willing to collaborate to solve local community issues like this. A reboot of the community and making it even more diverse and collaborative is what the community actually wants."

2. Once-in-a-decade abuse now the norm, says veteran plugin reviewer

Speaking of jerks… "There was a time when I didn't think anything would go wrong with plugins. And I remember the time when I realized how much trouble we were going to be in. This is the memory of that story," tooted Mika Epstein, linking to Plugins: When It Changed.

The veteran contributor, who stepped down as the WordPress Plugin Review Team rep last week after 10 years in the role, details the first time she dealt with a difficult developer. In a nutshell: he stole a plugin from a company he had worked for, tried to submit it to the plugin repository, was rejected multiple times, and then impersonated Epstein to his competitors.

Epstein says the 2010 incident had been a once-in-a-decade occurrence, but after 13 years, abuse leveled at the Plugin Review Team was "pretty much" a daily occurrence.

"I'm sorry you had to go through this once, let alone for so many years. Thanks for sharing," tooted Jeremy Herve, a Developer Relations Engineer at Automattic, adding, "I hope that opening up about this may end up helping the people who took over from you 🤞"

ICYMI last week, Epstein announced six new sponsored plugin reviewers and encouraged more volunteers to apply.

3. WordPress 6.3 Beta 3 released with Site Editor updates

WordPress contributors are onto another round of testing with the release of WordPress 6.3 Beta 3 this week, reports WP Tavern's Sarah Gooding.

Beta 3 includes approximately 34 updates to the Site Editor since the previous beta release, and more than 40 updates coming from Trac. A last-minute PR has renamed Library to Patterns in the Site Editor and was cherry-picked for inclusion in Beta 3.

WordPress 6.3 is scheduled for release on August 8

Meanwhile, a live product demo of WordPress 6.3 has been tentatively scheduled for July 20. Automattic-sponsored contributor Dan Soschin says the demo with be "a great opportunity to join the WordPress community to celebrate the accomplishments of 6.3 and this final chapter of Phase 2" of the Gutenberg project.

4. Gutenberg architect shares vision for collaboration

This week, Gutenberg architect Matías Ventura published a series of posts detailing his vision for collaboration, the third phase of the Gutenberg project. Expanding on an outline he published in March, the Automattic-sponsored contributor detailed the goals and scope of work required to implement real-time collaboration, workflows, and revisions in WordPress.

Jason Rouet, Business Manager at Whodunit, commented, "I want to know mooooooore! This is equally exciting and frustating haha! I can't wait to find out a lot more. 🎉" Developer Rich Holman added, "Very much looking forward to this phase. I think it will really enable larger teams to work on posts much easier."

Meanwhile, how will collaborative features improve WordPress? Writing for speckyboy, Eric Karkovack explores a few scenarios to illustrate how the new features might benefit users and developers alike.

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In other news

WordPress project

> WordPress is officially dropping support for PHP 5 in the upcoming 6.3 release. WordPress' minimum supported version has been PHP 5.6.20 since 2019 and will become PHP 7.0.0. The recommended PHP version will continue to be PHP 7.4+ (WP Tavern)

> Alex Kirk joined this week's episode of the WordPress Briefing podcast to talk about recent innovations in the WordPress Polyglots Team's work ahead of phase four of the Gutenberg project (multilingual support). The long-time Automattic-sponsored contributor has been instrumental in recent team initiatives, including the launch of Translate Live (WP Briefing)

Business & enterprise

> Louise Towler, founder of UK-based agency Indigo Tree, joined the latest episode of WP Tavern Jukebox to discuss in-depth her talk at WordCamp Europe 2023 about digital sustainability. She highlights that the internet is the fourth largest polluter globally, surpassing the airline industry, and offers practical tips on how users and developers can help make the internet more energy efficient (WP Tavern Jukebox)

> Awesome Motive founder and CEO Syed Balkhi is celebrating WPBeginner's 14th anniversary with $50,000 in prizes (WPBeginner)

> Barn2's Katie Keith and WPChill's Cristian Raiber shared their views on how mastermind groups can help business owners overcome challenges, find inspiration, and gain outside perspective—especially when making difficult decisions about internal team issues (Freemius)

WordPress community

> Remkus de Vries is taking a break to focus on ‘me time' and growing his business after investing 15 years of his time and energy into growing the European WordPress community. de Vries co-founded WordCamp Europe and is currently the lead organizer for WordCamp Netherlands 2023 (Remkus de Vries)

> After hosting a Women and Non-Binary Folx panel at WordCamp 2023, Francesca Marano, the Director of Engineering (Learning & Growth) at XWP, posed the same panel questions to her colleagues. The resulting Q&A article offers insights into how XWP team members have learned from mentors, overcome struggles, and achieved in an industry where they are underrepresented (XWP)

> eLsqrd founder George Woodard III asks why there are not more diverse speakers, influencers, and faces of authority in the WordPress community (MasterWP)

Conferences & events

> WordCamp Finland will return to Tampere on September 14 after an 8-year hiatus. The two-day event will include a contributor evening and a program of talks on topics ranging from analytics in the GDRP era to climate change, work fatigue, WP-CLI, and security. The full list of speakers, sessiosns, and schedule will be published in early August (WordCamp Central)

> WordCamp Germany 2023 organizers have put out a call for speakers and are encouraging women and people from underrepresented groups to apply. Applications close on August 9. The two-day event will be held in Gerolstein, Vulkaneifel, kicking off on October 19 (WordCamp Germany)

> Juan Hernando, a Weglot-sponsored community contributor and one of the three global leads for WordCamp Europe 2024, relived his WordCamp Europe 2023 experience on the Weglot blog. He highlights his top 20 takeaways from the event (Weglot)

> It's not too late for companies to support greater diversity at WordCamp US 2023 by taking part in MasterWP's travel grants program. Several companies, including Elementor, Paid Memberships Pro and The WP Minute, have already contributed $1,000 each toward helping people from underrepresented groups attend the flagship event in National Harbour from August 24-26 (MasterWP)


> Ultimate Member 2.6.7 was released this week with a patch that finally fixed a privilege escalation vulnerability. Last week, security company WPScan warned users to disable the plugin after multiple inadequate attempts at patching the critical flaw and evidence it was being actively exploited in the wild. According to WPScan, the issue was rooted in a conflict between the plugin's blocklist logic and the way WordPress treats metadata keys (WP Tavern)

> Wordfence's weekly WordPress vulnerability report details 66 vulnerabilities disclosed in 56 plugins and 1 WordPress theme. Thirty-four vulnerability researchers contributed to the security company's database last week (Wordfence)


🛝 Adam Zieliński says he built WordPress Playground because it was easier than installing WordPress.

😌 For Italian-American Allison Dye, WordPress offers a way to escape chronic pain and gain independence.

📑 Ollie founder Mike McAlister argues that it's time to stop using the term "Gutenberg".

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