C O M M U N I T Y
I wanted to talk to you today about the WordPress community, what it is and what it can be. And right now you are probably asking yourself -who are you?
• customer support technical lead for Copyblogger
• former freelancer / premium plugin provider
• book author (WP AIO 4 dummies)
• popular blog author (wpmututorials.com)
• wordcamp speaker (NYC, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, San
• community ambassador for WP
Well, this is me:
customer support technical lead for Copyblogger
former freelancer / premium plugin provider
book author (WP AIO 4 dummies)
popular blog author (wpmututorials.com)
wordcamp speaker (NYC, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco)
community ambassador for WP
That last one is a self appointed title. You can do that in WP. When I say WP can do pretty much anything that's one of those things.
And when I look at this list, and think of the things I've been able to do, the places I've been able to go because of WP and because of the people I've met in the community, I am amazed.
because of community
a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing
common characteristics or interests and perceived or
perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the
larger society within which it exists
When we talk about the WP community, who do we mean?
a social, religious, occupational, or other groupsharing common characteristics or interests andperceived or perceiving itself as distinct in somerespect from
the larger society within which itexists
For this talk, I mean the community as in “people who wish to make WP better”, whatever that means to you. Pretty much everyone in this room.
I like WP, I use WP, I also work with WP every day.
And that is my role in the WP community – spreading the WP love, helping users and developer actually use WP, paying attention to pain points, passing those on to the
core team where possible, paying attention to changes and delivering those upstream so when an upgrade comes out there's no surprises.
As part of this community, I come in contact with probably hundreds of people daily. I've been involved with wp and the greater community for at least ﬁve years. In that
amount of time, I've made quite a few observations -some good, some bad, but generally good – which is why I'm still here.
The one thing I have learned is that THIS community is one of the best there is. And there is room for anyone and everyone.
You might see yourself in any of these stories, like mine. I started out with an impressive list of WP related accomplishments. What I didn't mention was my lack of
experience. I have no web development or design degree. I don't even have a degree – I quit college with my Mrs. Degree. I had my children young – three by the age of
22. I spent most of my pre-WP days as a housewife.
And I just got into it. I ﬁgured stuﬀ out about css in themes. I started helping others, I got a crazy idea to build a blog community for homeschoolers which is how I found
multisite (back when it was MU) and i started a blog for that because there were no docs and that lead to me being asked to co-author a book which between that and
the volunteering I did answering support questions caught the eye of Brian Gardner at Studiopress which is where I wound up working full time.
And to top it oﬀ I get to travel, speak at wordcamps and meet even more new people.
All because I stuck my neck out and saw things I could help with. Things that weren't even code things. I'm not a coder. Maybe you're not a coder and you're wondering
what you can do in the greater WP community.
Enough about me – let's talk about some others!
This is Mika. I call Mika my WP BFF.
We met when I released a cheesy not very well designed theme (based oﬀ the old Classic template) called Sense and Sensibility.
She forked it and called it Sense and Sensibility & Monsters – which I thought was hilarious.
The more we talked and got to know one another, the more she got sucked in. She started doing more code and is now not only on the plugins review team, she quit her
job at a large bank, moved halfway across the country and works for Dreamhost.
That's what WP is doing for her. Pretty darn awesome things.
This is Siobhan. I can't even remember when I oﬃcially met her online but just like Mika, I feel like I've known her forever. From her early writing days to working for
Audrey capital and writing the history of WP to her WC Europe organizing, all i know is when I saw recently that she was expecting, I was SO happy for her my eyes
started to leak. My ﬁrst thought was which baby quilt was I going to ﬁnish for her.
This is Helen. I think we met somewhere after she started working for 10UP, back when it was a new company. I had met Jake in New York when he was a college
student. Helen is now a core contributor. And yes -she got a baby quilt too. trained classical pianist
This is Angie. I think we all know Angie here. :) We've also known each other online for what seems like forever, done business together, worked together, had her nag me
to come here year after year till I ﬁnally cave.. and Angie's doing a great job putting this wordcamp on for I don't even know how many years in a row.
There's people in this very room at diﬀerent stages in their WP journey. Some are new and just beginning, putting their toes very timidly in the water. You know who you
are. You can jump in, water's ﬁne – some of us will catch you. Right now is a good time to say hi to the person nearest you, if you like. This is what wordcamps are for –
meeting people , saying hi! “networking”
The community at wordcamps is especially wonderful. Go to at least one and you'll have stories about it that start “This one time? At wordcamp?” A lot for me revolve
around food, of course.
Food stories here -
SF -chinese & breakfast
monteal – portuguese food, bbq
miami – La careta
These are the things that bond us together, these are the fun times, and this weekend I hope you'll have great stories and meet people that will start a lasting friendship
as part of this community.
Memes and in jokes - #wpbreakfastcrew #wppaincrew
Eventually maybe someday someone will turn you into a meme.
But the really great part about our community is how we bond in rough times.
How the community comes to my rescue when I was ﬂying back home from Denver a couple years ago, got caught in those tornadoes across the midwest and was
stranded in Detroit for three days. Without my luggage. Rebecca drove almost an hour to pick me up and take me to Target to buy clean underwear. Then we were
hungry so we drove around in the rain looking for this tiny whole in the wall Chinese food place. It seated maybe 8 people, but it was really good.
How when Amanda had a client bail, was caught short, on funds and the community rallied around her so bills could get paid.
How when Kim went missing over last Christmas, a small number of us – and I say US, the community that loved her – we insisted on ﬁnding out what happened. From
chat messages to twitter DM's to contact with people who drove to her house.
I don't know how many people might be aware of some of the details, but at the time I remember thinking the internet is making it possible for us to communicate this so
quickly, to help, to notify, to get some resolution.
And ﬁnally after a ﬂurry of messages a silence.
Then news we didn't want to hear, didn't want to read. From two of our own community that really did not want to be there but were brave enough to go anyway.
That's our community.
And that's how some of us had to ﬁgure out how to pass on bad news respectfully, how to act with dignity not drama. Because we had to.
Kim's place in the community left such a large whole for such a tiny woman. Tiny, but mighty. Her work on inline docs has become invaluable to the WP project. This was
her mark on the community – not just in the software, but in our hearts.
On twitter, she and I would joke when things got out of hand, we would just #wpmom them. That's what we bonded over, her and I. As older members, we did have a
place but we felt so motherly towards others. Calling out bad behaviour and also caring about people, reminding hardworking devs to do things like at and sleep and get
oﬄine away from the screen for a change.
All of these stories – all of these people illustrate the best of our community. From diﬀerent walks of life with diﬀerent backgrounds, when we all come together we create
a patchwork of community. A quilt, if you will. One that isn't ﬁnished, but one where each piece in the quilt, each person has a place and a spot to be. So the whole is
complete and functional and beautiful.
Reember quilting bees? the whole community came together to work.
So, back to you. You can be a part of this too. Tomorrow will be a contributor day and even if you have no idea how you can help, if you are in anyway interested, you
should go. Someone, one of us, will help you ﬁnd a spot, a way to start.
There's a number of diﬀerent teams now, since the project is so big.
videos from wordcamps
Each of these branches into even further subsections. And these are just ones integral to the core project .There's also releasing your own themes and plugins, writing
tutorials, doing videos for users, volunteering to help at wordcamps, showing your neighbour how to use WP, or even showing your kids and spouse how to use WP.
Although as someone who did introduce their programming spouse to WP, I feel the need to warn you, he could eventually outshine your own accomplishments. There's
even a small but growing section of the community of WP spouses – where both are involved in some way and both work together. Sometimes we also call this
So this community of ours is growing but we are ready to grow more. I remember when my husband was a core guest contributor and when 3.0 was released, we
watched the download counter. I also had props in that release, and we both sat there, amazed. The counter just kept going. 30 million, I remember seeing.
30 million. All those zeroes. And we had a hand in that.
That is an amazing feeling, and now it's something that powers 24% of the entire internet which is also getting larger as we speak. That feeling is something I want to
share with all of you.
T H A N K
Y O U
This has been my time, but now it's your time.
You can also talk to your kids about wp. I know a number of camps have had very successful workshops for kids. It;s super educational – kids can start writing, improve
their writing and communication skills by using WP, improve general computer skills, so needed today, and if you wind up like my family your kids might become
programmers and web developers themselves.