Issue #188

Happy Friday! It's September 22 and this week we're covering the WordPress Plugin Reviews Team's stellar progress, the loss of trust in WordPress leadership following last week's #wpdrama, the new addition to the Hosting page, WP Tavern's new forums, and more.

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This week in WordPress

1. WordPress Plugins Review Team launches self-check plugin, announces new reviewers

Let's kick off with some good news: the WordPress Plugins Review Team is "turning the tide" on the overwhelming backlog of plugins awaiting review, says Automattic-sponsored contributor Alvaro Gómez who posted an update on Make WordPress Plugins this week.

The backlog is currently sitting at 1,241, a number Gómez says the team is "painstakingly aware of." To help plugin authors fix common problems — and speed up the review process — the team released Plugin Check to earlier today. The plugin allows developers to check their plugins meet the Plugins Review Team's base required standards and, according to Gómez, will soon become a requirement for all new plugins submitted to the repository.

The team has also onboarded three new volunteer reviewers: Gustavo Bordoni (Engineering Manager at The Events Calendar/StellarWP), Gagan Deep Singh (Engineering Manager at rtCamp) and Rob Rawley (Security Advisor at Patchstack and former head of security at DreamHost and Pagely).

"During the last 6 months, the Plugin review team has worked on documenting its processes, training new members and improving its tools. Now, thanks to your patience and support, the tide is about to turn," says Gómez.

The team's hard work is not lost on developer Jacob Martella who posted, "Just want to shout out the #WordPress plugin review team. I know they're doing a lot of hard work with so many plugins to review (and a list that keeps growing). Also, the Plugin Check plugin will be a massive help for plugin authors!"

2. Trust in WordPress leadership eroded in wake of plugin ranking dispute

Last week, concerns about plugin listings outranking on Google search transformed into something much uglier: issues of damaged trust. Specifically, trust in WordPress' Benevolent Dictator for Life, Matt Mullenweg.

Sarah Gooding covered the story for WP Tavern in an impressive warts-and-all report given it centers on Mullenweg, her boss: Developers Claim Damaged Trust Following Public Confrontations with WordPress Leadership.

"I just want to give a shoutout to @pollyplummer for being one hell of a journalist," posted Pressable's Jeff Matson about Gooding's report. "It must be super hard to write articles like this - having to report on someone who pays her salary. It shows a real commitment to accurate, unbiased journalism."

For more commentary on what Rob Cairns has described as a "WordPress dumpster fire" (tune into The SDM Show for his take):
  • Matt Medeiros at The WP Minute says when a leader mocks the accomplishments of one person it's not thriving—to use WordPress Executive Josepha Haden Chomphosy's word at WordCamp US 2023—it's soul-crushing.
  • On the WPwatercooler podcast, the panel discusses Mullenweg's apparent demoralizing approach to leading the WordPress project, and WordPress Marketing Team co-rep Sé Reed shares why she thinks Matt Mullenweg blocked her on X.
  • GravityView creator Zack Katz believes Mullenweg has violated the WordPress Community Code of Conduct.
Getting back to what started this mess, SEO consultant Jono Alderson added his well-informed voice to the mix last week, advising that plugin pages should be noindex'd: "If the target audience for these pages is indeed mostly logged-in users, then the small opportunity cost of preventing them from being indexed by search engines should be inconsequential," he writes.

Lastly, Gooding's latest report is that plugin pages now feature a download link for using plugins on self-hosted sites.

3. added to hosting page amidst continued lack of clarity on selection process

Meanwhile…. "Gosh, that's interesting timing," commented WordPress Marketing Team co-rep Sé Reed in Post Status Slack, linking to a Trac ticket showing was added to the "Hosting" page at last week.

According to the ticket, Audrey Capital-sponsored contributor Samuel "Otto" Wood swapped out Siteground with But as Marius Jensen, Head of Engineering at Dekode, points out, Siteground was removed from months ago, so it wasn't a case of simply replacing one hosting option with another.

The change comes after the WordPress Hosting Team discussed the content on the "Hosting" page at the recent Contributor Day. But as Hosting Team rep Jess Frick notes in Post Status Slack, the team is waiting to see the results of a hosting survey WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg shared in Make WordPress Slack in July.

"We understand that many hosts have submitted responses to the survey, but the Hosting Team does not have access to the responses, nor do we have any timelines or insight as to when changes may take place in response to them. However, we will absolutely do our best to keep everyone informed as we learn more on the process," says Frick.
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In other news

WordPress project

> An analysis of the Core Web Vitals performance impact of WordPress 6.3 in the field confirms that WordPress 6.3 has been an important milestone for WordPress performance, according to Google-sponsored core committer Felix Arntz (Make WordPress Core)

> Answers to the seven most highly voted questions from the WordCamp US 2023 Q&A sessions are now available, covering accessibility, outreach to audiences unaware of WordPress, AI, the fediverse, the WordPress Plugins Review Team, and the future of WordPress ( Project)

> WordPress developers are being encouraged to contribute to Interop 2024, an initiative that aims to improve interoperability across Chromium, WebKit and Gecko, the three major web browser engines (Make WordPress Core)

WordPress Community

> WP Tavern has launched forums. According to Editor Sarah Gooding, the news site's bbPress-powered forums have been designed to help expand conversations that originate on the Tavern, especially within the comments of posts (WP Tavern) | "I did not have WP Tavern adding forums on my 2023 bingo card," posted writer Eric Karkovack (X)

> In a Q&A with Themeisle's Adelina Tuca, Rahul Bansal, CEO of enterprise agency rtCamp, says success to him means sailing through the recession without layoffs: "It might come at a cost of reduced margin or even burning some of our old savings (situation of negative margin). So our accountant may consider us a failure from a numerical perspective but I will still consider it a success." (Themeisle)

> Software engineer Vagelis Papaioannou shares his journey as an organizer in the Greek WordPress community and project translation lead for the Greek language (WP Tavern Jukebox)

> Destiny Kanno, Head of Community Education at Automattic, discusses the evolution of Learn WordPress and the need for more content creators and translators to help drive the project (Hostinger)

Business, enterprise & acquisitions

> Planning is underway for a Post Status Annual Summit next Fall in Europe. Announcing the summit in Post Status Slack, CEO Cory Miller also made a push for 500 WordPress businesses to support Post Status and help fund the summit by becoming a Charter Business Member. The news comes after the business community site recently revamped its partner directory (Post Status Slack)

> Awesome Motive Partner Thomas Griffin shares OptinMonster's 10-year journey – and how it almost didn't happen after the product's initial launch as a SaaS platform failed, forcing a pivot to a plugin-only product (OptinMonster)

Products & platforms

> Convesio unpacks the history of WooCommerce and how the ecommerce plugin has evolved according to GitHub stats, including the top contributors based on commits, commits across different versions, and security vulnerabilities (Convesio)

> Bob Dunn has teased a first look at the new Do the Woo Podcast Network, releasing the first "official" episode, All Things WordPress, featuring co-hosts Bud Kraus and Mark Westguard in conversation with XWP Director of Technology and Innovation Alain Schlesser about AI (Do the Woo)

Conferences & events

> WooSesh 2023, the virtual conference for WooCommerce store builders, will be broadcast live on October 10-12. This year's theme is "Next Generation Commerce." Registration is now open and the speaker lineup and broadcast schedule are now available. This year's event will also launch "The Seshies," community awards recognizing the best examples of the WooCommerce ecosystem (WP Tavern)

> WordPress Accessibility Day, an independent 24-hour virtual conference, has published its schedule for the upcoming event on September 27. Co-lead organizer Amber Hinds reports that more than 1,248 people have registered for the event so far with attendees across 30 different countries. Approximately 50% of attendees are from the U.S. (WP Tavern)

> Post Status will host the second annual WP Career Summit on October 20. Aimed at job seekers and hiring managers, the virtual event is the only one of its kind focused on careers for WordPress (WP Career Summit)

#WPCommunityFeels: Marta Torre

A photo of Marta Torre.
This week, what’s inspiring Marta Torre, a freelance fullstack developer on open source projects, organizer of the WordPress Santander meetup, #WPDiversity volunteer, and WordPress Plugins Review Team contributor.
A podcast worth listening to: I like to learn about how to take care of our planet and love learning about sustainability in our cities and urban mobility. I think Ride: The Urban Mobility Podcast is great.

A concept worth understanding: Equity is a concept that is a little difficult to understand when it comes to equality, because who doesn't want us all to be equal, right? In the case of equity, it is more about justice for all those people who have fewer opportunities, because equality, whether we want it or not, is sometimes not fair.

An X account worth following: She Code Africa (@SheCodeAfrica) is an organization I've been following since not too long ago when I started doing my own research on other diversities. I love what they do and I am in love with their account.

An article worth reading: I have this great post on diversity by Josepha Haden Chomphosy: A WordPress Dinner Party. I think it's a fabulous post and one that everyone should read.

A habit worth forming: Do 15 minutes of sport a day. It is often difficult to find the time, but 15 minutes is the time that your head understands that it is not a big effort and then you feel much better. Fifteen minutes of sport a day can be done by everyone and it is good for your health, mental health, sleep, performance, work and nutrition.

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👩🏼‍💻 Hostinger has launched its first Sustainability Report as part of the company's journey toward achieving gender equality.

🚀 WordPress VIP has shared highlights from NASA and Lone Rock Point's presentation at WordCamp US 2023.

🍎 Matt Medeiros muses on whether Apple's Journal app is really a blog in disguise.

🎉 Anne McCarthy is celebrating nine years at Automattic.

🔐 Remkus de Vries says the EU's Cyber Security Act is a good thing for WordPress and security.

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