Issue #5
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This week in WordPress


Developers and agencies were left scrambling to update client sites on Thanksgiving Day after a surprise from Yoast: a bright, animated, full-width Black Friday banner ad on every page of the WordPress admin. The outrage was swift. "I do NOT want to update a plugin on Thanksgiving day because you added a Black Friday banner in the most tacky
Hey! It's a banner - quote from the Simpsons
fashion to my clients' WordPress websites. That's 20+sites I need to update and test when I should be spending time with my family. So unprofessional," tweeted Daniel Schutzsmith, one of the hundreds of developers who vented their frustration. A flood of 1-star reviews quickly followed on the repository as Maxime BJ was quick to point out.

Yoast CEO Marieke van de Rakt was quick to apologize, tweeting: "That BlackFridayBanner was not the best idea. We’re truly sorry for the annoyance and difficulties it may have caused. We did not think this through properly. If you want, you can update to a new version of our plugin without that banner. #blackfriday #neveragain #apologies"

As Marieke explains further in Justin Tadlock's write-up for WP Tavern, Black Friday Banner Gone Wrong: Advertising in Free Plugins, the decision to place the ad was about growth for Yoast's premium products since the company hasn't grown as fast as expected over the past year. Also, other plugins use similar ads. #yoastgate, as some have labeled the debacle, raises bigger questions around the use of for-profit advertising in the WordPress admin and the so-called "entitlement" of those who use free WordPress plugins.

"My full take on the 'bullshit' uproar around the @yoast Black Friday ad. Here goes. The way I see it, these are the relevant facts: - a for profit company put an ad on WP dashboards - the AD was an ad, no misunderstanding possible, no unclear language, no misleading info…" tweets WordPress site owner Barbara Pederzini. "The entitlement is strong in the outrage by people using software for free. Over an ad. I think Barbara articulates things well…." adds Chris Lema, VP of Product at Liquid Web, who in a further tweet describes the outrage as "ridiculous, immature, insane. Those are words I stand behind."

Meanwhile, security plugin SecuPress pounced on #yoastgate as an opportunity to promote their wares, tweeting, "This is what your #WordPress Dashboard will look like with our #BlackFriday ad banner…" Hint: there’s no banner….

Everything we do comes with a cost attached

What is the cost of contributing to WordPress? "Contributors usually cover the costs of their contributions with time, not money. Time that should have gone into their health or family instead…," writes Alain Schlesser, who runs Bright Nucleus. In The Cost of Contribution, he highlights the stress, anxiety, burnout and churn in the WordPress community.
"People need to be aware of the costs involved, and what it means to contribute to something without hurting yourself or your family in the process," he writes. "It is not heroic or laudable to do too much and burn out, and we all ultimately lose because of it. We don’t need a rotation of martyrs that we churn through. All we need is a constant accumulation of reasonable and sustainable efforts."

In the comments, Heather Burns, a tech policy and regulation specialist at Webdevlaw, points out that, "Something which keeps getting missed in this ongoing dialogue is the fact that projects dominated by professional full-time contributors need volunteer unpaid contributors for the open washing. Their value to the project is not their contributions, it's their tokenism as the bona fide volunteers, in a crowd of salaries, which allows projects to maintain the appearance of the work being an OSS collaborative, even when that ship has well and truly sailed."

"In this context, I want to point out wpandup.org as a resource for people inside the WordPress community that have (or might have) mental health issues, or know people who do," shares Tobias Zimpel, a developer at inpsyde.

Raising awareness

Speaking of WP and Up, Cory Miller, a trustee of the mental health initiative, shares his Reflections on WordPress and Gutenberg, the Necessity of Mental Health Awareness, and Coaching on the CodeInWP blog. He talks about opening up about his mental health as a way to help end the stigma. "A big segment of our community works remotely, so there’s an isolation effect. I think in life in general it’s absolutely pertinent to talk about mental health," he shares.

Cory was the first speaker in this week's #DoSummitGood event, held on Giving Tuesday. His presentation, along with all the others from the free summit, is now available to watch on the WPandUp site.
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In other news...

  • - Contributing to BuddyPress just got easier :). The BuddyPress core team has released the first stable version of the BP Beta Tester plugin, which can be downloaded from WordPress.org plugins directory.​​
  • - Never attended WordCamp US before? Content marketer Maddy Osman shares her 8 Takeaways as a First-Time WordCamp US Attendee & Speaker. "I left WordCamp US energized with ideas for how to pivot my business in the future and I’ll be working hard to make that happen through the end of the year," she writes.
  • - Is Twenty Twenty theme the best default theme ever? "That’s a toss-up, as it depends on how you define what WordPress is," writes Matt Medeiros who runs the Matt Report. He puts the new theme through its paces in Twenty Twenty WordPress theme video guide.
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