As 2022 winds down, I’ve started thinking about what 2023 will bring for the WordPress community. Sure, we’ll see version 6.2 at some point, along with a few subsequent major and minor releases. And we’ll undoubtedly get a more refined experience in both the block and site editors.
I always look forward to new features and technological advancements. But the focus of this article will be more on how the community works and interacts with itself and the WordPress project.
In my view, people are the most valuable asset WordPress has going for it. Those of us who, build, use, and make a living from the software drive its continued growth into all corners of the world.
With that in mind, here are a few things I’d love to see happen in the new year.
Improved Communication from Project Leadership
The communication between the WordPress project and the community is broken. Perhaps the best example of the gap came this year when active install growth data was unceremoniously pulled from the WordPress.org plugin repository.
Plenty of discussions followed among plugin developers and other concerned parties. And while WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg chimed in on a Trac ticket asking for the data’s return, his responses didn’t shed much light on the situation.
The overarching question was why the data chart had been removed in the first place. No official answers were forthcoming. Eventually, an explanation came from core contributor Samuel Otto Wood, who was privy to a private conversation regarding the data that had taken place months earlier.
I can’t help but think that some outreach to the developer community could have prevented much of the drama that ensued. Instead, a lack of a clear answer just fanned the flames of frustration. The missing data became secondary to the absence of productive dialogue.
To be fair, we shouldn’t expect Mr. Mullenweg to personally answer every question. But it seems like there’s an opportunity for the WordPress project to offer official statements concerning decisions like this.
If it impacts the WordPress community, there should be communication to go along with it. Here’s hoping for some real progress on that front in 2023.
WordPress Product Makers Working Together
The lack of communication made one thing clear: WordPress developers must make their own way. They can’t wait for the WordPress project to remove any obstacles.
However, that doesn’t mean they have to go it alone. The WordPress community is known for happily sharing knowledge – and this extends to theme and plugin developers as well.
Even in a competitive marketplace, collaboration can be beneficial. Businesses can learn from each other on all manner of subjects.
Developers of new products could solicit advice on sustainable revenue models. Best practices could be established for UX and marketing. And the interoperability between products could see a boost. These are just a few areas where working together makes sense.
The WordPress ecosystem will always be vast and far-flung. But by collaborating on shared interests, there’s an opportunity to make things better for product owners and end users. It would be great to see, even if things start on a relatively small scale.
The Return of Small WordCamps
The pandemic put a serious dent in our ability to come together for in-person events. Thankfully, 2022 saw the return of some major WordCamps. And those who attended seemed grateful for the renaissance.
Still, many of us missed out on a chance to participate. Travel costs are high and events such as WordCamp US were limited to a small number of attendees. That left a lot of community members out of the loop.
And while (as of this writing) the 2023 schedule isn’t looking quite as robust as years past – it’s getting better. That’s good news for those who haven’t made personal connections in a while.
The big confabs in the United States, Europe, and Asia are certainly welcome. But I’m also hoping to see some of the smaller events make a comeback.
For instance, the Lancaster, PA event near me was something I looked forward to each year. A more intimate setting and plenty of familiar faces made for a great time. And watching the event grow has been a source of local pride.
Plus, these regional camps offer a great way for community members to gain public speaking experience. I have personally benefitted from the opportunity and I know others have as well.
Maybe 2023 will be the year that many of us get back on the WordCamp circuit.
Continued Stability in the Community and Platform
It’s probably not a stretch to say that we are living in a time of upheaval. One only needs to survey the news to get a glimpse of war, political instability, and economic distress. And some of us are caught squarely in the middle of these events.
Relatively speaking, WordPress has served as a counter to much of that. That’s not to say we don’t have #WPDrama, or that things are perfect. But both the platform and its surrounding community have been a stabilizing force for many.
The software continues to empower people to share their thoughts and make money. And the community has been there to offer support and solidarity to those who are facing tough times.
WordPress has become a lifeline to bloggers, business owners, and web designers. It has helped countless communities grow and thrive. This is what separates it from run-of-the-mill software.
I certainly don’t expect this to change in 2023. But I hope we can take time to remind ourselves of the good that can come from a stable community and platform. It’s simply too important to take for granted.
What Are Your Hopes for 2023?
Now it’s your turn! What are you hoping to see from WordPress in the coming year?
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