Issue #31
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This week in WordPress

Matt Mullenweg and Automattic criticized for "decimating" Longreads

First up this week: "My post on this is far from perfect. But I felt like it's worth discussing," tweets Post Status' Brian Krogsgard, linking to his piece Employment troubles at Longreads. In a nutshell: two former long-term "permalancers" at the long-form content site, Sari Botton and Soraya Roberts, who quit in protest this month have criticized Matt Mullenweg on Twitter for "systematically decimating Longreads."

Sari and Soraya don't hold back, detailing how the employment practices and culture at Longreads deteriorated over time as Automattic continuously cut funding and resources for the site. Automattic bought the long-form content site in 2014. After initially increasing Longreads' budget to $130,000 a month and not getting the results they'd hoped for, it was reduced to just $30,000 a month.

Soraya tweets: "fear is a hell of a drug. tech ceos seem to run their media empires on low grade dread, ours turned out no different. it takes a special kind of cruelty to buy a company, allow it to flourish into a virtual utopia, then, at its height, suddenly sweep back in to tear it apart."

Matt and Automattic's official statement both say they continue to be committed to Longreads. But, as Brian points out, it's clear that the 75%+ reduction in funding hit the Longreads team hard.

Post Status partners launch Commerce Journey with GoDaddy

"Really excited to finally unveil this project helping entrepreneurs get their stores up and rolling w/ my partner @Krogsgard and @GoDaddyPro!" tweets Post Status partner Cory Miller, who launched Commerce Journey this week, together with Brian Krogsgard and GoDaddy Pro.

As Cory writes in this week's Post Status newsletter, the project's goal is to help people sell their products and services online with resources and community — and GoDaddy hosting — for ecommerce store owners.

GoDaddy closing Austin offices, laying off 300 workers

Speaking of GoDaddy, Web hosting company GoDaddy is closing Austin offices, laying off 300 workers, writes Lori Hawkins for Statesman. The closures, which the company says are due to fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic, will affect 12% of the company's workforce, or 814 employees. More than 40% of those employees will be offered other jobs with the company.

Retiree Jane Hammons tweets, "I've mostly heard about the permanent closing of restaurants and bars, often with music venues; this is the first big tech-related loss I know of. The severance is decent, but still…". Jay Hill, a WordPress Applications Engineer at WP Engine, cheekily tweets "For anyone in Austin impacted by the GoDaddy announcement, WP Engine is hiring in our sales department."

WP Engine and employees raising money to support Black community

WP Engine is matching employee donations supporting BLM, ACLU, and Black Girls Code. The company announced this week, on Juneteenth. Through July 19th, the hosting company's employees will be raising money in support of the Black community through efforts directed by WP Engine's employee resource group, Represents.

According to WP Engine, the group seeks to raise awareness of the perspectives and experiences of all racial and ethnic groups within the tech industry and increase the equality of opportunity. Also, the web host will be holding internal meetings aimed at driving conversations on the issues of race and inequality, and looking for ways to take action as it continues to address these issues.

"The fight against injustice is a lifelong journey, but one we are proud to keep fighting," says Nakware Howard, head of WP Engine's Represents ERG.

Meanwhile… "If you were to ask me what feature I most want to see in the next version of #WordPress it is absolutely arresting the killers of Breonna Taylor," tweets PMC Director of Editorial Technology Aaron Jorbin.

Finding sustainable web hosting solutions

"After writing about the size, speed and performance of this site, I went down the rabbit hole of green VPS hosting. This is what I found," writes developer Ross Wintle who runs Oikos. He links to Investigating Green VPS Hosting Options where he's published a collection of sustainable hosting solutions for WordPress.
In this week's MasterWP newsletter, Ben Gillbanks, who runs Pro Theme Design, says he thinks hosting companies could be doing more to make things better for the planet. "If only from a selfish point of view. There's increasing awareness around green issues and this would be a great marketing opportunity. But obviously I don't want this to be something that's used for marketing without any real action. It would be nice to see real improvements," he writes.
Test your site's carbon footprint at Website Carbon Calculator.

New version of Gutenberg out, plus live Q&A today

Gutenberg 8.4 is out. As WP Tavern's Justin Tadlock writes in Gutenberg 8.4 Adds Image Editing, Includes Multi-Block Controls, and Enables Block Directory Search, well, the latest version has all those things. But more specifically, it offers some major user-facing changes including new image editing tools and the ability to edit options for multiple blocks. The previously experimental block directory search is also now enabled.

This is the penultimate version of the plugin before the last major version of Gutenberg is integrated with WordPress 5.5. The 5.5 release is anticipated to ship on 11 August.

In other news, Gutenberg Times owner Birgit Pauli-Haack will be hosting a live Q&A on block-based themes and full-site editing today (26 June) at 6pm UTC. Birgit created the free Full Site Editing Course. She'll be joined by Sidetrack Studio Design Engineer Eileen Violini and Kjell Reigstad, a designer at Automattic who works on the Gutenberg project.

And ICYMI last week: Proposal to Rename the 'Master' Branch of WordPress-Owned Git Repositories writes Justin Tadlock at WP Tavern. This news comes on the back of news that Packagist, GitLab, and GitHubUpdater Plugin are working to improve support for alternative default branch names.

Common hosting problems and how to fix them

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There are hundreds of thousands of web hosts that meet WordPress' minimum web hosting requirements. But when you opt for the bare minimum, you're going to run into problems, writes Lindsay Pietroluongo.
Her piece The Top 5 Most Common WordPress Hosting Problems and How to Fix Them for WP Mayor covers pitfalls to avoid when you're looking for quality hosting.
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