Marketing Junto | The Issues Within The WordPress Community

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My Take

Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of the WordPress open-source project and founder and CEO of Automattic (, has a real talent of being a bit of a dictator around the open-source project, which is and should be a group effort.

Recently, Cameron Jones on his blog wrote a hard hitting piece about what he thinks of the requests for volunteers for the open-source project.

He makes some very good points:

  • WordPress is not a community driven project, it’s a dictator driven project.
  • WordPress is not as important as we think it is. WordPress is just a tool that we all uses to build sites. There are other tools that we can use as well.

He goes on to say that the WordPress Foundation’s “Five For The future” isn’t the only way you can give back. But often to people like Matt, it’s not seen that way.

[Matt] means that a vast number of various contributions to the project, involving both time and/or monetary contributions, are explicitly excluded.

Cameron Jones

Cameron sums up his piece:

I don’t think Five For The Future is all bad. The intentions are undoubtably noble, and the qualifying contributions, while extremely limited and exclusionary, is largely correct when considering the core software. However the inflammatory attitude of those not involved being “free riders”, as well as setting scorekeeping benchmarks that are being weaponized against those who don’t contribute “enough” or in the “right way”, are fracturing the WordPress community. Five For The Future serves a necessary purpose, but is in need of a serious change of image before the toxicity it’s breeding turns people away from WordPress for good.

Cameron Jones

Many of the ways I give back to WordPress isn’t to the core structure of the foundation, but to help out with the WordCamps, help people who are stuck on WordPress questions, that are not always on the forums. But none of these count to “Five For The Future.”

It sometimes feels like Matt and the higher-ups in the foundation don’t view these contributions as valuable, which can and often does alienate people from contributing.

I actually find what many in the higher echelons think is a free rider problem is actually offensive. Many of us are not free riders. We’re just not contributing how THEY think we should. I try and give back how ever I can. Sorry it doesn’t count. I’m looking at you Josepha! And though she responded to people who were offended in the comments, I think she needs to clarify her thoughts better in the article, if she didn’t mean to call everyone who doesn’t contribute the way they think we should is a free rider and bringing down the ship.

WordPress expert Paul Lacey tweeted, “There I was just coming to terms with being a Parasite, and now I’m a Free Rider too. I’m just glad I’m not yet an existential threat.”

Everyone who knows me, knows I love WordPress and the community. But like Cameron, in the end WordPress is just a tool to get a site up and running. I can, though I don’t want to, use a different content management system (CMS) if need be.

What do you think about all this drama? Hit reply and let me know your thoughts.

Web Finds

Podcast Of Note

I’ve been a huge fan of Jay Clouse and his Creative Elements podcast for a while now. Jay interviews some of the biggest names in the digital creator space. He’s a great interviewer as well. Jay’s shows are around an hour long, but every minute you’re sitting taking it all in. It’s a must listen.

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Until next week, stay curious!

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Photo by Fikret tozak on Unsplash

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