[wp-hackers] Community Management (was Re: WordPress Bike Shed Mailing List)

Doug Stewart zamoose at gmail.com
Thu Oct 22 14:23:23 UTC 2009

All of this, at least to me, points to a rather pressing need on
WordPress/Automattic's part to hire/appoint a Community Manager, ala
Jono Bacon in the Ubuntu/Canonical world or Glynn Foster for

WordPress (and Ubuntu, and OpenSolaris, and Drupal, etc., ad
infinitum) is NOT simply about code -- it's just as much about the
community.  You can have the best-coded piece of software, available
under the best and most expressive license imaginable, but if you
don't have people excited about using it, you're sunk.

WordCamps, meetups, etc. have largely been successful in keeping folks
from a certain locality excited and engaged and there are multiple
ways to get plugged in, from the mailing lists to the IRC meetings to
Ideas/Kvetches, but there's no single unifying presence showing a
clear direction.

I mean, take a look at the .org front page, *really* take a look at
it.  Say you're a prospective WordPress user/contributor.  What part
says "This is how you get involved"?  To my eye, not a single part.
It's focused on "Hey, you want to use WordPress for a site, here's
plugins and themes and ways to do what you want", but it lacks a "This
is how you give back" punch.

I think those of us who have been on the wp-* mailing lists for ages
have lost sight of this in many ways and, in essence, are squandering
the potential resource that is the WordPress community (writ large),
and so you get users (and worse, active code contributors) who get
frustrated and leave the lists, and sometimes even the community as a

Writing code is (comparatively) easy; wrangling people is *hard*.  I
think it's a net loss to the WP project and I think we do a disservice
to the community by not having a defined way to go about this whole
"community" thing.

Just my $.02.


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