At its best, the WordPress community is truly amazing. In my experience, it is both giving and nurturing. People from all over the world have come together to build software and an ecosystem that benefits us all. That’s pretty special.
But like any community, we aren’t perfect. Differences of opinion can turn ugly. Kindness and inclusiveness can temporarily give way to some of us digging in our heels. Words matter – and we don’t always take the time to consider their consequences. We even have a name for it.
The term #WPDrama has been around for years. It’s a catch-all for the hot takes, power struggles, and head-scratching moments we witness. Yes, it’s a social media addict’s fever dream. And some of us can’t wait to find out what happens next.
I’ll admit that it’s occasionally exciting. But it can also be incredibly stressful. Whether you’re watching from afar or jumping into the fray, it’s all too easy to be consumed by the back-and-forth.
The question is: should the rank-and-file WordPress freelancer care about any of this? Let’s talk about why our involvement isn’t always a necessity.
Most WordPress-Related Arguments Don’t Involve Us
Much was made when WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg called hosting giant GoDaddy a “parasitic” company in a (since deleted) June 2022 tweet. The gist of his comment was that the company was reaping the rewards of the WordPress ecosystem, while not necessarily giving enough back to the project.
Predictably, people took sides. Some fully agreed with Mullenweg, while others firmly backed GoDaddy. Still, others were wondering what the heck just happened.
And while it’s fair game to criticize Mullenweg’s communication strategy, most of us aren’t privy to what led to his comments. Sure, you could follow the initial Twitter thread – but the story likely goes much deeper. He said as much over in the Post Status Slack community:
“Also keep in mind that people might not be aware of actions happening in other parts of the company, for example the pressure from their new activist investors.”Matt Mullenweg
One could conclude that the whole kerfuffle was a private frustration that spilled over into public view. Perhaps his choice of words wasn’t ideal. But beyond that – what impact should this have on our daily lives?
In the end, both parties gave their response and moved on (publicly, at least). The world didn’t end. I still had my daily work and family to tend to. I’m betting the same was true in your neck of the woods as well.
Choosing the Right Ways to Chime In
If an instance of #WPDrama doesn’t directly involve us, it stands to reason that our hot takes aren’t very productive. There are exceptions – such as calling out harmful behaviors. But the everyday squabbles over relatively minor issues don’t require all of us to chime in.
Even if our efforts are well-intentioned, hot takes can have a negative impact. They can turn a minor blip on the radar into something big enough to appear on the Matt Report. Kidding aside, giving oxygen to the little stuff benefits no one (except maybe our own Matt Medeiros).
However, it’s also worth noting how passionate the WordPress community is. Many of us care a great deal about what’s going on and want to make our voices heard. Thus, if you do want to chime in, it’s important to do so with purpose.
For instance, a Twitter rant may go viral – but can it bring about positive change? What if it’s taken out of context by someone who doesn’t bother to read your entire thread? It’s simply not a great place for a nuanced conversation.
WordPress was born as a blogging platform. That’s very convenient, as it may provide the best medium for communicating your thoughts. A post can be as long as it needs to be, and there’s plenty of room for context.
This also gives you the time and space to think about what you want to say. You’re less likely to resort to hot takes and have a better chance of making a well-reasoned argument.
Not every subject needs our input. But when we do decide to contribute, we can take steps to ensure we do so in a productive way. That makes for a healthier community. And it may help you sleep better at night.
It’s Only Dramatic if We Make It So
We are a tight-knit group. So many friendships and business relationships have developed through WordPress. And so, it’s only natural that we take ownership of what’s happening.
At the same time, we also have a choice to free ourselves from the stress of hot-button issues. Particularly when it comes to those that haven’t harmed anyone or had a negative impact on daily life.
So, the next time you see some #WPDrama percolating online, ask yourself if it’s truly worth the emotional investment. If so, consider the pros and cons of getting involved.
Otherwise, it’s OK to maintain silence and move on. Your brain will thank you for the respite.