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At the time of this publication, thirty-thousand plus eyeballs have landed on John Blackbourn’s tweet that has sparked an event that goes well-beyond #WPDrama this week.

It seems WordPress.com has publicly replicated the .org plugin pages. My peers at WP Tavern and The Repository have covered the many aspects of this debacle. I’m out of energy this week for anything more in-depth, so I’ll leave you with these two things:

  1. Listen to my latest interview with Jon Clark of StellarWP. We’re chatting about marketing automation, YouTube creation, and video games!
  2. The following text is are my thoughts on leadership and future of WordPress…

There are many leaders in the WordPress space, doing great work, and that work quickly gets washed away through a storm of scathing outrage. When Josepha asked the community in her WCUS 2023 talk, “Why is it important that we are thriving?” The answer was, “because WordPress can change a life.”

Words can also change a person’s life.

Simple words like developer meeting can make a WordPress power user feel like whatever’s going on at that table, isn’t for them. WordPress entrepreneur can cast a vibe of WordPress but with Shark Tank, and who wants that? Words that attack or summarize a persons worth through petty insults, that can change a life, immeasurably.

For WordPress to thrive people must want to contribute. Contribute to code, to design, to meetings, and above all else, to the conversations about our beloved software. It’s not about your code, your profits, your 5%, or your lowercase P — it’s that you recognize how open source WordPress empowers us.

It empowers us to do everything I just said — code, profit, 5% — and through this, it creates opportunity.

Opportunity for you, and the people that you impact, through your work, with WordPress. This has a ripple effect. The more people that discover opportunity through WordPress, the wider that ripple spreads to the next person, and to the next person.

Though there’s an odd juxtaposition this week:

A 100-year plan announced at WordPress.com to ensure your life’s work is preserved for a generation to come. But, will WordPress last 100 years like this?

To ask for a hand in helping WordPress thrive across members of our online and offline community in favor of spreading the larger mission: Democratize Publishing. But is that really the mission we’re all on?

You have to want this for yourself and for WordPress.

I’ve been a critic of WordPress for a while. Not to be confused with being outright critical of WordPress. My angle has always been perched at the view of, what I call, the blue-collar digital worker.

When a leader de-value’s someone’s position in a community, they aren’t knocking down one person, but an entire group of people, that feel like their worth is being ripped from them. “If that person isn’t good enough, how am I?” They might ask.

When a leader mocks the accomplishments of one person, there’s another person standing right behind them trying to find footing to reach that very same height of success. “Why should I continue if this isn’t good enough?” They might ask.

This is not thriving, this is soul crushing. Leadership loses the very thing they need in order for WordPress to thrive: Trust.

Trust that people want to wake up and go do WordPress. Whatever doing WordPress means to them.

Trust that we’re all on the same shared mission of The Four Freedoms and to Democratize Publishing.

Losing trust means you lose belief from the people on the mission with you. Sure, people will continue to write Iines of code for WordPress, because they need to survive. WordPress isn’t going to get replaced anytime soon, and most humans aren’t going to walk away from it as a means to their survival.

But they will fall out of love for it, what it meant, and what it could be. There’s no parade for leaders at the of this mission. We arrive home, shut the door, and put our laptops away.

How was your day with WordPress?

Two people started WordPress. Thousands of people have contributed lines of code to WordPress. Tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands!) have spread the good word of WordPress — faults and all.

WordPress is amazing because it can change a life. I believe it. I am it. You are it.

But after this week, I can’t help but ask: Will WordPress thrive, or simply survive the next 100 years?

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