WordPress has been around for over 20 years. And a lot can happen in two decades. The software has changed. But so has the community surrounding it.
As an open-source project, WordPress depends on contributors. One can imagine that many people have made their mark in that time.
But loss is one of the side effects of longevity. People pass away and leave a void in the community. Sure, WordPress keeps moving on to the next version. Yet it’s also important to remember those no longer with us.
A new project aims to memorialize those who made an impact. Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at WordPress Remembers.
How Loss Sparked an Idea for Remembrance
The WordPress community has lost several beloved friends over the years. But not all are widely known outside of their niche. Sometimes, we don’t fully grasp their contributions while they’re with us.
WordPress Remembers offers a place for us to both reminisce and learn. It’s a simple page on WordPress.org that encourages us to dig deeper.
How did this project get started? The WP Minute spoke with Pablo Postigo, a Senior Engineering Manager at Automattic. He’s among the volunteers responsible for putting the page together.
Pablo told us about the loss that inspired him. And he also shared details about how the project works and what’s in store.
The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
The WP Minute: How did the idea for the WordPress Remembers page come about?
Pablo Postigo: In mid-June, José Luis Losada, a Spanish WordPress community member, passed away. He was incredibly active in many of the Spanish WordCamps, so his loss deeply affected the entire Spanish community I belong to. It was also the first time I confronted the loss of a WordPress contributor whom I personally knew.
TWPM: What was your role in bringing the page online?
PP: While I took on the role of project coordinator, I definitely didn’t do it all by myself. A great group of contributors stepped in.
Some took charge of the page design. Others helped me get it live on WordPress.org. And some focused on setting up the memorials inbox. While others helped me pull together the initial list of memorials.
TWPM: How will the page be maintained? Is there a specific team responsible for it?
PP: The page is currently maintained by a small group of sponsored contributors who review requests sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TWPM: What qualifies a community member who passed away to be listed? Do they have to meet certain criteria?
PP: We aim to recognize everyone who has contributed to the WordPress project and has left us. Any WordPress contributor we lose deserves to be remembered, both for their impact on us and the project.
TWPM: Are there plans to add additional features in the future?
PP: WordPress is here to stay, implying that as time passes, we will remember more contributors. This will require iterations on the page’s design to accommodate more memorials.
Additionally, we want to recognize in perpetuity the contributions made to the WordPress project. Fortunately, we already have a solid system that tracks contributions and displays them on WordPress.org Profile pages.
To that end, there are some initial thoughts around integrating the memorials with the WordPress.org Profile pages.
TWPM: Do you have any specific goals for the page? What do you hope the community gets out of this?
PP: I like how Matt explained it on Twitter:
Historical Records of WordPress Includes People, Too
As an app, the history of WordPress is well-preserved. You can view changelogs that detail every squashed bug and new feature. And there are blog posts that celebrate each release. You can even download an early version of the software if you please.
But WordPress is so much more than software. It’s created by and for people. And it has spawned a remarkable community.
Therefore, we should remember the people who have contributed to the project’s success. It’s the least we can do.
Here’s hoping that the honor is not reserved solely for official contributions. Many people have helped WordPress grow from the outside as well. And they are no less deserving.
WordPress Remembers is a great initiative. It has a chance to span multiple generations of contributors. And it will be an important piece of our community’s history.
Many thanks to Pablo Postigo for taking the time to speak with us! You can connect with him on Twitter/X.