Issue #30
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This week in WordPress

… the one thing you cannot have is intolerance

Joe Howard of WP Buffs and Christie Chirinos, Product Lead for managed WooCommerce at Nexcess by LiquidWeb talk about their backgrounds, encounters with discrimination, and what it's really like to be people of color in the WordPress community in the latest episode of their business podcast, wpmrr.
The podcast is worth listening to. Here are a couple of quotes that stand out:

Joe: "When we think about our values in the WordPress community and creating an environment around democratizing publishing, giving everybody the ability to play on an even playing field regardless of their background, that has a lot of connections to Black Lives Matter. And so if you're part of the WordPress space and wearing MAGA hats to things and aren't supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement, that's a big issue for me… To me, it's like, you don’t know what your values are."

Christie: "I don’t think MAGA hats belong at WordCamps. Because if you're trying to create an inclusive community, the one thing you cannot have is intolerance. It's movements that say, 'no, that group of people isn't welcome.' That's the one thing that you cannot be tolerant of."

Joe and Christie mention GiveWP's Allie Nimmons and her excellent post How to Be a WordPress Ally, along with episode 65 of the podcast, which features Allie. They also highlight episode 51, which features Help Scout Director of Talent Acquisition Leah Knobler, and episode 97 featuring Kyle Maurer from Sandhills Development for advice on hiring and how to give opportunities to minorities.

"The most important #WordPress community conversation I've listened to in some time," tweets developer Joseph Dickson, while Impress product manager and designer Kevin W Hoffman tweets, "Thank you, Christie and Joe, for sharing your stories, experiences, and recommendations with us. The paradox of tolerance was a new concept for me and I enjoyed learning more about it after the episode."

Tearing down systems of oppression

Aaron Jorbin, a Core committer and Penske Media Corporation Director of Editorial Technology, has proposed updating all WordPress git repositories to use "main" instead of "master."
"As a part of tearing down the systems of oppression that exist in the world, WordPress should remove references to 'master' and replace them with 'main' in all git repositories," he writes on the Make WordPress Core blog.
"Master as the main branch in git has its roots in BitKeeper, which explicitly used it to mean master/slave relationships. Master/slave is terminology rooted in oppression."

His proposal has been roundly supported. But after core contributor Zebulan Stanphill questioned "Why on earth would this bother anyone?" Aaron responded with: "It's important to remember, especially when dealing with systems of oppression, that our own lived experiences are not the same as everyone else. Statements such as ‘no one in their right mind is going to think you support human slavery when you use the term ‘master branch' are an example of microaggressions."

Bumping the minimum PHP

WordPress is bumping the minimum PHP recommendation to 7.2, reports Sarah Gooding for WP Tavern.

The ServeHappy dashboard widget in WordPress, which warns users of PHP 5.6 or lower that they're running an insecure version of PHP, now recommends upgrading to PHP 7.2. Dekode Interaktiv AS senior developer and Core contributor Marius Jensen opened a ticket for the upgrade last week. He tells WP Tavern the change comes after discussions between the Core Site Health and Core Hosting teams.

The change means a majority of WordPress sites are now using an acceptable version of PHP. According to WordPress.org's Statistics page, 24.2% of sites are running PHP 7.2 and 24.9% are running PHP 7.3. Sites running WordPress 5.2+ will see the upgrade notice generated by the ServeHappy API.

On again, off again

The WordCamp Asia organizing team has postponed its inaugural conference a second time, again due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. The conference was originally set for 12-23 February this year but was canceled and rescheduled for 22-24 January 2021.
This week, WordCamp Asia 2020-2021 Global Lead and Automattic Globalizer Naoko Takano announced in WordCamp Asia Dates and Team Updates that the organizing team had decided to cancel the January 2021 date and put a hold on new organizer selection. She says new dates will be announced when the team has a better idea of the international travel situation.

"Having to delay for a second time has been disheartening to the team. It is however absolutely the right thing to do – doing the event at the right time for the right purposes for our community is our focus," writes Naoko. "Our hope is that everyone in the WordPress community stays safe and keeps building connections while we put a hold on the WordCamp Asia plan for now."

"A great little plugin"

Yoast has acquired the Duplicate Post plugin, and brought on creator Enrico Battocchi as a senior developer, reports Justin Tadlock for WP Tavern. Duplicate Post, which does exactly what the name suggests, currently has over 3 million active installations and has an average 4.9 user rating.

Yoast founder and Chief Product Officer Joost de Valk says the company's initial plans involve improving the plugin's accessibility, he writes in Announcement: Duplicate Post joins Yoast. After that, they'll be adding some simple integrations between the Yoast SEO plugin and Duplicate Post, such as making sure the user roles Yoast SEO adds can duplicate posts.

"Interesting! ‘Duplicate Post plugin joins Yoast.' 😯 A great little plugin I've used for years. Excited to possibly see more integration with @yoast in the future," tweets forgemedia co-founder Brian Jackson.

In other Yoast-related news, the SEO company is hiring two contributors to work full-time on the Gutenberg project. The developers will work on WordPress core 80% of their time and spend the remaining 20% helping Yoast improve how its plugins to work with WordPress core. Yoast already has one full-time WordPress core developer, Sergey Biryukov.

WordPress 5.5 is going to be a great release

WordPress 5.5 will include extensible core sitemaps, according to WP Tavern. A year ago, developers at Google and Yoast began collaborating with other contributors on a proposal to add XML sitemaps to WordPress core.

The XML Sitemaps feature plugin went into testing in January and is now slated for inclusion in WordPress 5.5. This week, contributors merged a basic version of sitemaps that plugin developers can either build on or disable.

"WordPress 5.5 is going to be a great release, with 3 feature plugins merged into core ✨🚀 After image lazyload and auto-updates for plugins and themes, core xml sitemaps were introduced yesterday into WP core 🥂🍾 #WordPress #WP55," tweets WHODUNIT CTO and WordPress Core Team rep Jb Audras.

A fast-moving project

The Gutenberg project team has released version 8.3 of the feature plugin behind the WordPress block editor. While the team's focus has been predominantly on full site editing — as Justin Tadlock writes in Gutenberg 8.3 Updates Block Categories, Includes Parent Block Selector, and Adds New Design Controls for WP Tavern — the latest update includes several user-facing features, including a reorganized set of block categories, a parent block selector, a spacing control, and link color options.

Speaking of full site editing, Carolina Nymark, a team rep on the WordPress.org Themes Team, has put together a free, comprehensive course to help folks get up to speed with how it works. As Alex Denning points out in the latest issue of the MasterWP newsletter, there isn't much documentation on how full site editing works since it's a fast-moving project and its inclusion in WordPress 5.6 is only six months away.

"💖 I'm sponsoring Carolina Nymark because she will teach hundreds if not thousands of theme developers about the ins and outs of Full Site Editing with WordPress," tweets Birgit Pauli-Haack, editor of Gutenberg Times and owner and senior developer at Pauli Systems.

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