Issue #200
Happy Friday! It's February 9 and we're back after a much-needed seven-week break covering WP Tavern, the MacOS Zip files bug, WordCamp Asia, Matt Mullenweg's sabbatical, and so much more.

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Four big headlines

1. Seven writers vying for two WP Tavern jobs

"The tavern is getting re-tapped!" posted StellarWP's Devin Walker this week, linking to the news that Matt Mullenweg is finally trialing new writers to replace former WP Tavern Editor Sarah Gooding.

Mullenweg has given seven people full access to the WordPress news site to "post and participate however they like" as part of a two-week, $25-per-hour trial. When the trial ends, he says he'll offer two full-time jobs with his investment company, Audrey Capital, and set up a "fair and transparent" system for freelancers to contribute to WP Tavern.

"Honestly, tho, I'm not sure why it's a trial by fire. But that's how they roll!" adds Walker, while Pantheon Product Manager Scott Buscemi posts, "May the odds be ever in their favor."

Whoever ends up replacing Gooding has very big shoes to fill. She left the news site in November after 10 years and was widely praised for her dedication and talent for covering WordPress news.

2. WordPress 6.4.3 introduces MacOS Zip files bug

WordPress 6.4.3 shipped on January 30 and featured five bug fixes for core, 16 bug fixes for the Block Editor, two security patchesโ€”and an issue with uploading Zip files created in MacOS.

"Attention all product folks, you may be getting support queries today about a bug in WordPress 6.4.3," posted StellarWP's Jeff Chandler on February 1, linking to the WordPress Support Forums where developers initially reported the bug.

In Trac, core contributor Tobias Bรคthge quickly identified the issue and a potential fix. After the bugโ€™s severity was initially set to "critical," long-time core committer Aaron Jorbin reverted it to "normal," much to the frustration of developers following Trac. According to Jorbin, the "critical" label applies to bugs with no workaround and the MacOS Zip file bug has two: users can Zip files via the command line or add a filter to their plugin code.

Despite developers calling for the bug to be patched in a WordPress 6.4.4 release, a patch has been committed to WordPress 6.5 alpha and will be backported to WordPress 6.4. In the meantime, "Getting a Windows machine seems to fix the issue ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚," jokes freelancer Igor Beniฤ‡.

Meanwhile, work continues on WordPress 6.5, set for release on March 26. The the next milestone is Beta 1, scheduled for February 13.

3. WordCamp Asia shares full schedule

With WordCamp Asia 2024 less than a month away, organizers have shared updates for the March 8-9 flagship event in Taipei, Taiwan, including the full schedule.

So far, 49 speakers have been announced to present talks, workshops, panel discussions, and lightning talks across four tracks. Day one of the event coincides with International Women's Day and will feature a panel on "Shaping the Future with WordPress Women." Thirty-eight sponsors will set up booths for the 2,000-odd people expected to attend. A Contributor Day on March 7 is booked out. AI captioning will be available in-venue and on mobile.

The keynote speaker scheduled to kick off day one is yet to be announced. And while there's been talk of side events amongst WordPressers in Post Status Slack and other channels, details are yet to be published on WordCamp Asia's Side Events page.

Soup Dumpling, designed by Dian Shen Chen, has been selected as the official Wapuu for the event.

This year's WordCamp Asia comes after the success of last year's inaugural event. At the time, Taco Verdonschot, Head of Relations at Yoast, posted, "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!"

The Repository is a proud media partner of WordCamp Asia 2024.

4. Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg takes three-month sabbatical

In case you've missed the constant stream of blog posts that have been published on Matt Mullenweg's blog since last week, WordPress's BDFL is on a sabbatical from his day job leading Automattic. Former CEO Toni Schneider has returned to Automattic to fill in for Mullenweg while he's away until May.

Mullenweg has also handed off his leadership of to software engineer Daniel Bachhuber, who blogged on day three of his acting role that leadership is a performance.
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Quick hits

WordPress Incident Response Team reflects on first year, seeks new members
The WordPress Incident Response Team has shared a recap of its first year in operation, detailing reports of bullying, harassment, financial fraud, and one report of corporate influence that led to the cancellation of WordCamp Dhaka. The team is looking for new members to help police the WordPress Code of Conduct. Nominations close on February 14. Meanwhile, Angela Jin, the Head of Programs & Contributor Experience for .Org at Automattic, has published a quick guide to the Incident Response Team.

WordPress Foundation receives $10k Google Ads grant
The foundation will launch an ads campaign in March to "increase overall awareness and coverage of the foundation and topics related to its mission," according to Automattic-sponsored marketing contributor Dan Soschin. The campaign will focus on the foundation's mission and program, and driving traffic to open source news, educational resources, and the WordPress Briefing podcast.

LGBTQ+Press Empowerment Grant supports LGBTQ+ contributors
Queeromattic, an LGBTQ+ community within Automattic, has launched a new LGBTQ+Press Empowerment Grant for LGBTQ+ folks interested in contributing to WordPress. Recipients will receive $500 to participate in and complete the WordPress Mentorship Program. Four people will be selected for the six-week program, starting on February 19. For more, Post Status' Director of Community Relations Michelle Frechette and Automattic-sponsored contributor Anne McCarthy discussed the initiative on a recent episode of Post Status Draft.

Gutenberg 17.6 now available
Three new versions of Gutenberg shipped in January. The latest version, Gutenberg 17.6, includes 264 pull requests and refactors the Font Library and Interactivity APIs. It also includes improvements to the new "Data Views" experiment, enhancements to block hooks, and a feature developers have been waiting for: the ability to extend allowed blocks within a parent block.

60% of website hacks due to stolen session cookies
According to a surprising report published by We Watch Your Website, WordPress sites are being hacked at scale due to stolen session cookies and compromised credentials, not plugin or theme vulnerabilities. We Watch Your Website owner Thomas J. Raef says an analysis of over 851 billion log entries from more than 4 million WordPress sites revealed 59.9% were hacked due to stolen session cookies, 7.2% due to compromised login credentials and 32.9% of hacks could be traced back to core, plugin or theme vulnerabilities.

Matt Mullenweg kickstarts Data Liberation project
Following his announcement that the WordPress project will focus on data liberation in parallel with Gutenberg in 2024, Matt Mullenweg has called on folks to help in a post outlining his vision. He says creating a dedicated landing page and Slack channel, ensuring moderation within hours, not days, and listing on WordPress GitHub with syncing for individual commits to SVN for history in both places, among other things, will help set up the project for success. For more on data liberation, writer Eric Karkovack argues that it's needed within WordPress, too, for The WP Minute.

Matt Mullenweg joins WP-Tonic for candid interview
Mullenweg joined hosts Jonathan Denwood and Kurt von Ahnen for a robust yet respectful discussion on the WP-Tonic podcast last month, touching on everything from Gutenberg taking too long to whether WordPress can fulfill the needs of both professionals and beginners, Mullenweg's role as WordPress' BDFL, and tweeting while feverish. "I want to debate with my harshest critics. I want to debate with those who I infuriate," says Mullenweg during the 54-minute interview.

WordPress Project

> WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy shared her big-picture goals for WordPress for 2024, including three key focuses: CMS, community and ecosystem (Make WordPress Project)

> The WordPress Community Team reflected on the "NextGen Events" pilot project and has recommended adopting an expanded scope for events and encouraging the community to keep experimenting with new ideas (Make WordPress Community)

> The WordPress Community Team has proposed a pilot program to test GatherPress, a community-developed plugin, as a event management tool (Make WordPress Community) | Mike Auteri, an Associate Director at Penske Media Corporation and the founder and engineering lead of the GatherPress project, talks about GatherPress's development journey (WP Tavern Jukebox)

> Automattic-sponsored contributor Birgit Pauli-Haack has published a proposal recommending next steps for the Full Site Editing (FSE) Outreach Program, including renaming the Make WordPress Slack channel from #fse-outreach-experiment to #outreach now that it's no longer an experiment (Make WordPress Core)

> Last year, the WordPress Core team shipped 2,211 commits, 1,079 people contributed to core, and 472 people made their first contribution, according to the team's 2023 report (Make WordPress Core)

> The WordPress Performance Team has released a roadmap outlining key priorities for this year grouped into four categories: interactivity performance, load time performance, ecosystem activation and performance management (Core Performance)

> Hari Shanker R, an Open Source Program Manager at Automattic, is proposing a series of updates to Five for the Future based on insights gathered at last year's WordPress Community Summit, including process improvements (e.g. treating Five for the Future like WordCamp sponsorships), sponsorship (e.g. task-based or project-based contributor sponsorships), creating team health dashboards, and providing mentoring and onboarding ( Project)

> Automattic-sponsored contributor Justin Tadlock shares the process so far to overhaul the WordPress Theme Handbook and next steps, including chapters left to create or update: Patterns, Classic Themes, Advanced Topics, Accessibility, Guides and Contributing (Make WordPress Themes)

> Nick Diego, an Automattic-sponsored contributor, has published a recap of the work completed so far to improve the Block Editor Handbook over the past eight months and what still needs to be done (Make WordPress Core)

In other news

Year in review
> Barn2's Katie Keith writes about growing her business and personal brand in 2023 (Barn2)
> Studio Wombat stopped focusing on the WordPress repository, developed a content strategy, switched to subscriptions, and grew revenue by 48% (Studio Wombat)
> Awesome Motive's Syed Balkhi details his 12 business acquisitions and shares his top life lessons (Syed Balkhi)
> Vova Feldman writes about Freemius's highs, lows and 2024 goals, including launching (Freemius)
> WP Umbrella wrapped up 2023 with a $220k increase in its annual run rate (WP Umbrella)
> Devin Walker writes about launching SolidWP and getting engaged (
> Shahjahan Jewel shares how FluentForms added 100k businesses to its customer base (
> Iain Poulson writes about his first year working for WP Engine (Pole Vault Web)
> Rich Tabor joined Automattic in 2023 and shared more on his blog and X/Twitter (
> recapped a big 2023 with a snazzy video (
> Ajay D'Souza launched Beyond Develop and focused on creating connections (Ajay D'Souza)
> 20i launched managed hosting plans in 2023 and gave its website a refresh (20i)

> Joost de Valk (Emilia Capital) and Tom Willmot (Human Made) discuss why it's important to support open source projects in the WordPress space (Do the Woo)
> Multicollab co-founder Anil Gupta talks about the challenges posed by collaboration in WordPress (WP Tavern Jukebox)
> Michelle Frechette discusses a topic close to her heart: diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (WP Tavern Jukebox)
> Pascal Birchler, a Google-sponsored contributor and core committer, talks about revolutionizing image and video processing within WordPress (WP Tavern Jukebox)
> WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy discusses some of the big-picture goals for WordPress this year (WP Briefing)
> Tammie Lister and Jonathan Wold reflect on the initial pushback from the community and the journey to where the Gutenberg project is now (Do the Woo)
> Weglot Partnership Manager Thomas Fanshin discusses the difficulties in tracking the effectiveness of marketing efforts at events (WP Tavern Jukebox)

> Developer Cameron Jones explores options for managing a plugin in decline (Cameron Jones)
> In a recent column, investor Marieke van de Rakt says the WordPress ecosystem needs to find its Nash equilibrium (Post Status)
> Altis Product Director Ryan McCue details how the company is reducing its carbon footprint through a range of sustainability measures (Altis)
> Automattic Product Wrangler and sponsored contributor Anne McCarthy describes her work as a "dot connector, accelerant, and doer" (Hostinger)
> Former plugin reviewer Mika Epstein recalls sexism, lying, a multi-level marketing scam, and how a genuine apology helped a banned developer get un-banned.
> Wordfence has released its 2023 State of WordPress Security Report, revealing a large increase in Cross-Site Scripting attacks (Wordfence)
> Joost de Valk argues that WordPress needs to level up its developer relations within the broader open source community (

> Matt Mullenweg talks about AI, tips for life's darkest hours and the art of sabbaticals on Tim Ferris's long-running podcast (The Tim Ferris Show)

> Registration is now open for WP Engine's DE{CODE} 2024 on March 19 in the US and March 21 in EMEA (WP Engine)
> Tickets are still available to WordCamp Europe 2024. This year's flagship event will be held in Torino, Italy, from June 13-15 (WordCamp Europe)

> While Automattic didn't do layoffs last year, performance management and natural attrition allowed the company to shrink in size from a peak of about 2,064 employees to 1,936, according to Matt Mullenweg (
> Awesome Motive's WPBeginner Growth Fund has taken an investment stake in customer support help desk software, GrooveHQ (WPBeginner)

This week at The WP Minute

The WP Minute+ โ†’
WordPress: Deep Dive into Passion & Strife
Cory Miller and Matt Medeiros discuss how the WordPress community is impacted when โ€œbig issuesโ€ clash with Matt, Automattic, and members of the community.
Eric Karkovack โ†’
A Big Change Is Coming to Advanced Custom Fields. Are You Prepared?
The popular Advanced Custom Fields plugin is about to get some changes that you might need to prepare your sites for.
YouTube โ†’
Bricks or Blocks for WordPress? With Paul Charlton & Brian Coords
Matt Medeiros hosted a livestream with developer Brian Coords and WPTuts owner Paul Charlton to share their dueling opinions on bricks vs blocks.

#WPCommunityFeels: Vahe Arabian

This week, what's inspiring Vahe Arabian, founder of State of Digital Publishing.

Join WP Publisher Success Week, an online event for digital publishing and news media professionals from 26-29 February 2024. Learn from presenters from Google, The Texas Tribune, Multidots, Blasting News, Foreign Affairs Magazine, and more. Register for free. The Repository is a proud media sponsor of WP Publisher Success Week.
A podcast worth listening to: I like Huberman Labs as it challenges you to better take care of yourself.

A concept worth understanding: It takes up to 12 pieces of content before a decision-maker makes a purchase. Consider WordPress personalization blocks and site search functionalities that can reduce this friction.>

A Twitter account worth following: Joost de Valk provides a valuable feed of fundamental tips on Yoast and any new product he is trying. WordPress enthusiasts will discover plenty of useful information by following Joost.

An article worth reading: Research: WordPress publications misuse tags by Joost de Valk on how WordPress publishers often miss the mark in terms of their tagging strategy (or lack thereof) is something anyone working in the publishing and WordPress space should carefully read.

A habit worth forming: Regularly reviewing and cleaning up your site tags. Not only will this avoid index bloat, but it can become a critical function of your site architecture.


๐Ÿ—ฝ Matt Mullenweg has launched Freedom grants for open source contributors who don't feel safe in their political environment.

๐Ÿ“ธ Marcus Burnette's WPPhotoStats showcases WordPress Photo Directory stats.

๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ WPGivesAHand's 2023 campaign raised $11,200 for nine global charities.

๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿณ WP Kitchen is providing 1,000 subsidized meals to WordPress freelancers across Asia.

๐Ÿ“˜ WebDevStudios co-founder and COO Lisa Sabin Wilson has released the fifth edition of WordPress All-in-One for Dummies.

๐Ÿ”ฅ MasterWP is back with a vengeance, now hitting inboxes three times a week.

๐Ÿ”Œ Matt Cromwell has re-launched his Shiny New Plugins series.

โœ๏ธ Developer Nyasha Green has published her WordPress: Introduction to Custom Block Building course on LinkedIn Learning.

๐Ÿ• Human Made co-founder Noel Tock is on a mini-sabbatical helping Nor Dog in Ukraine.

๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿผโ€โ™‚๏ธ Jonathan Bossenger created Dodge, a game built entirely with WordPress technology.

๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ Tammie Lister is sharing WordPress editor tips on

๐Ÿ› WordPress Playground now supports WordPress multisite.

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