Issue #196
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Happy Friday! It's November 24 and we're covering Sarah Gooding's last call at WP Tavern, Spencer Forman's frank live-streamed conversation with Matt Mullenweg, and more.

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This week in WordPress

1. Sarah Gooding leaves WP Tavern

The bittersweet news this week: Sarah Gooding has left WP Tavern after 10 years covering WordPress news.

In her final post at WP Tavern, Gooding thanked past colleagues, the publication's readers, and its owner, Matt Mullenweg. She also shared why she joined the Tavern and its lasting impact on her: "It was never 'just WordPress' to me. As the software enters its third decade, powering 43% of the world's websites, WordPress continues to be an irrepressible force of good on the web. I'd like to think the Tavern had a small part in that."

And another quotable quote: "When I started, I had no idea how I would fully embrace the challenge of writing, editing, and publishing WordPress news every day. It changed me. Writing news is an intensely public job that comes with a nearly constant onslaught of criticism. I found that showing up even on my worst days forged a level of discipline that was previously inaccessible to me. Today, 3,021 articles later, publishing is in my blood."

Tributes flowed for Gooding in the comments at WP Tavern, X/Twitter, and Post Status Slack, with folks lauding her commitment and integrity.

"I couldn't be happier for Sarah Gooding to move on from the Tavern and start a new chapter of her career… The thing I'll miss most is her ability to tell the truth and fight for the consumer. She was steadfast in doing that. Good luck friend," posted Jeff Chandler, founder of WP Tavern.

Developer Mike Schinkel posted, "[Gooding] is a generational talent. I fear that filling those shoes will be nigh impossible."

So… "What... happens to the Tavern?" posted DevriX founder Mario Peshev.

Well, that's up to Mullenweg. In a follow-up post, he announced plans to hire two full-time writers by the end of the year, leading to speculation about who could possibly pick up where Gooding left off.

In the inaugural episode of The WP Minute+ News Roundtable podcast, Matt Medeiros criticized Mullenweg for neglecting the news site and failing to hire another writer after Justin Tadlock left 18 months ago to join Automattic. "I personally know that she's been pushing for more—investment's not the right word—but, more attention on the site and sadly wasn't getting it," said Medeiros.

So what's next for Gooding? She's now Head of Content Marketing at Socket, a cybersecurity platform launched in 2020. In August, TechCrunch reported that Socket raised $20 million in funding to help companies secure open source software.

2. Matt Mullenweg joins Spencer Forman for frank and lively discussion about tensions

"If you're into #WordPress and not watching this - you are seriously missing out - @photomatt is being very, very frank here get in!"

That was Bertha.AI co-founder Andrew Palmer's take on the lively discussion between outspoken WordPress strategist Spencer Forman and WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg, live-streamed on YouTube this week.

Palmer was one of about 100 people who tuned in for the 60-minute chat about growing pains in the WordPress ecosystem, which touched on everything from Jetpack's capabilities and positioning (or as Forman put it, "Jetpack strikes fear into the hearts of mere mortals on the side as the number one violator of 'do as thee, not as me.'") to so-called "bad actors" who engage in "shady" marketing practices to sell their products (viewers in the YouTube chat didn't hold back from naming Awesome Motive).

Challenging an assertion that he no longer speaks up when things are "right or wrong" (for context, this tweet by Forman), Mullenweg cited a recent example when he had personally reached out to Awesome Motive after it was discovered the company had modified plugin results invisibly without saying so. He said the company hadn't violated the GPL or plugin guidelines, but perhaps there should be a new guideline.

Spencer proposed the formation of a consortium with "benevolent rules" so the community could "police ourselves" and address behavior deemed unnacceptable. Mullenweg pointed to the fact that consortiums already exist in WordPress, such as the Enterprise WordPress Agency Alliance and the WordPress LMS (Learning Management System) working group.

Forman ended the livestream with an appeal to the community to join him in pushing for a plugin consortium.

Meanwhile, in a surprise twist following the call, "This is turning out to be a year of 'never thought it would happen In # WordPress' moments... " posted Forman yesterday together with an image showing that Awesome Motive founder and CEO Syed Balkhi has booked a call with him. To be continued…
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In other news

WordPress project

> Gutenberg 17.1 was released this week and brings improvements to accessibility and writing flow, as well as block spacing for the quote block. Work is also underway on phase three features as part of the Gutenberg project roadmap (Make WordPress Core)

> Nick Diego, an Automattic-sponsored contributor working on the new Showcase, shared a behind-the-scenes look at how the project came together (WP Tavern Jukebox)

> By the time Twenty Twenty-Four was released, more than 60 people had contributed code, and over 120 others had contributed in some form or fashion, according to Automattic-sponsored contributor Maggie Cabrera in a behind-the-scenes look at how the default theme came together (Automattic.Design) | At the WP Minute, publisher Matt Medeiros says Twenty Twenty-Four is one of the most important default themes ever released and he hopes the team behind it continues to improve its feature set (The WP Minute)

WordPress community

> WP Africa community organizer Mary Job is calling on members to complete an anonymous salary survey following reports of disparities in the pay offered by companies to workers across Africa (WP Africa Slack)

> Bob Dunn has shared his vision for Do the Woo 4.0. Scheduled to launch in 2024, the next iteration of the site will focus on delivering content that appeals to a global audience (edit: not just Americans) and will feature more regular hosts across a series of 14 shows covering both WooCommerce and WordPress topics. The original WooCommerce-focused Do the Woo podcast launched in March 2016 (BobWP)

> WordPress needs a "Glassdoor" for WordCamps that allows speakers, sponsors and attendees to give honest feedback about the organization, business models, sponsoring, and quality of talks, writes investor Marieke van de Rakt in her latest column (Post Status)

Business, enterprise & acquisitions

> Equalize Digital's Accessibility Checker plugin won the 2023 Gaady Award. In a recap of the awards event, the accessibility company shared that "Receiving a Gaady is an honor. The Equalize Digital team sincerely thanks the GAAD Foundation for recognizing the effort we have put into Accessibility Checker." (Equalize Digital) | Equalize Digital's Accessibility Checker plugin recently hit 3,000+ active installs (X/Twitter)

> James Kemp has finished up at IconicWP, the WooCommerce plugin company he founded and sold to StellarWP in June 2021. Kemp has taken up a new role as a product lead at WooCommerce (X/Twitter)

> WordPress milestones: The WP Minute has crossed 15,000 YouTube subscribers (X/Twitter) | Freemius recently celebrated its 9th birthday (X/Twitter)

> Cristian Raiber, founder of WPChill, talks about buying and selling plugin companies and why he does it on the latest episode of The WP Minute+. Last month, Raiber acquired ImageSEO, an image SEO optimization plugin, from WP Umbrella. Earlier this month, he sold WP SMTP and Check & Log Email to developer Jack Kitterhing (The WP Minute)

Conferences, awards & events

> WordCamp Asia 2024 has released a third batch of tickets, with just 122 remaining. Organizers have also extended the call for sponsors to November 30. The flagship event will be held in Taipei, Taiwan, from March 7-9 (WordCamp Asia)

> WordCamp Europe 2024 has published a call for speakers to join next year's event in Torino, Italy. The flagship event will feature long talks, lightning talks, workshops, and panels. The speaker application form asks folks to share their pronouns and whether they're part of any marginalized or underrepresented groups. Last year, organizers were criticized for the apparent lack of diversity in its speaker line-up (WordCamp Europe)

> Voting is still open for the annual WP Awards. The awards celebrate the WordPress community's favorite plugins, themes, and services. Voting closes November 30 (TheWPWeekly)

#WPCommunityFeels: Anil Gupta

Photo of Anil Gupta.
This week, what's inspiring Anil Gupta, CEO and co-founder of Multidots and CEO of Multicollab.
A podcast worth listening to: On Purpose with Jay Shetty. I find it an exceptional podcast for anyone interested in personal development and mental health.

A concept worth understanding: Don't punish 95% of the good people because of 5% bad people. Most of the time, there are less than 5% of people who want to take advantage of you, but we end up punishing the other 95% of good people. Instead, focus on your energy to find and eliminate this 5% of bad people so you can have a more trusting relationship with the remaining 95% of good people.

An X/Twitter account worth following: Sahil Bloom’s (@SahilBloom) tweets are a goldmine of insights on personal development, business, and finance. Each tweet he posts is concise, impactful, and offers a valuable lesson or perspective in living a high-performing and balanced life.

An article worth reading: The Tail End by Wait But Why. This article changed my perspective on life and time. Its visual illustrations of how limited our time really is, especially with loved ones, are both eye-opening and profound.

A habit worth forming: Waking up at 5am. By waking up at 5am, I set the stage for a victorious day by 8am. I immerse myself in reading, writing, yoga, meditation, a refreshing walk, a revitalizing workout, and thoughtful planning. These precious morning hours are my secret to nurturing my four pillars of personal growth: Healthset, Mindset, Soulset, and Heartset. This habit has been transformative for me, and I've shared more about it in a detailed thread.


Editor's note: It's Black Friday! Enjoy the BFCM takeover below.

🤑 Post Status has almost 300 deals on its huge Black Friday / Cyber Monday list.

🔖 The WP World has teamed up with Cirrus Influence to publish a list of BFCM lists.

🔧 WP Builds has published its annual Black Friday / Cyber Monday Deals for 2023.

💸 LayerWP's BFCM deals page is back for 2023.

🫰🏼 The folks behind ClickWhale have launched

💰 The WP Weekly has published a Black Friday Deals collection.

Other miscellaneous stuff

✖️ Correction: We named the wrong Jonathan in a story last week about the critical cURL/requests bug. It was Jonathan Desrosiers, not Jonathan Bossenger, who shared the minute-by-minute timeline of events that led to the WordPress 6.4.1 rapid maintenance release.

The Repository is a weekly email for the WordPress community by Rae Morey. Also on our team: proofreader Laura Nelson and columnist Jonathan Wold (who'll be returning soon, stay tuned!). Thank you to Kinsta, our web hosting sponsor, and MailPoet, our email sponsor.

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