WordPress as a Commons

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Written By Lesley Sim

8 thoughts on “WordPress as a Commons”

  1. A note on foundations and associations that are associated with other open source projects—I have done a lot of research about the various ways that open source projects like ours are supported.

    One of the surprising things I learned early on in my time with WordPress is how different the definitions and intentions are of foundations/associations in the US compared to many other countries in the world. The WordPress Foundation is a not a governing body for the WordPress project, and was never meant to be. It’s initial work was to defend the trademark, and that has since expanded to include an open source education component.

    • Hey Josepha,

      Thanks for your reply.

      This post was REALLY difficult to write because I wanted to add a million caveats and side notes every 3 sentences. But doing so would’ve rendered it unreadable.

      Here is one such caveat:
      It bears reiterating that I only have tremendous respect for you, Matt and everyone else in leadership positions. It’s not easy. Even if you’re successfully juggling 99 things, people will still point to the one thing that needs managing, and say “what about this?” So, thank you for all the work you do!

      To respond to your comment about the goal of the WordPress Foundation:
      Personally, I understand that the WordPress Foundation that exists today does not and is not intended to govern the WordPress project. I’m now regretting I didn’t make that more explicit in my post.

      My point was to open up a discussion on the pros and cons of creating such an independent governing body in the first place. That could take the form of an updated mission for the WordPress Foundation, or maybe require the formation of a completely different organisation altogether. Or maybe we just keep the status quo as a governing body is not even necessary/would cause more trouble than it’s worth.

      I don’t know the answers. I just think these are interesting conversations worth having.

      Thanks again for taking the time to respond and for your clarification on the WordPress Foundation.

      While I’m here, I also wanted to say that I read the transcripts for every single episode of the WP Briefing. The information in there really helped me get my bearings on the landscape of the WordPress Project and I heartily recommend more people listen to it.

      I also listened to you say on the Matt Report that it took some convincing for you to do the WP Briefing. I’m so glad you decided to do it in the end. It’s an invaluable resource. Thank you!

  2. Lesley, thank you so much for your research and for surfacing great questions. I appreciate the many conversations about WordPress as a commons and agree that *something* needs to change — particularly when it comes to who represents/speaks for the WordPress project in light of things like Log4J.

    Speaking of contributions… I’m not sure how to participate in a meaningful way when it comes to answering the questions you posed or pushing forward meaningful change. It feels a little like trying to eat an elephant.

    • Thanks Carrie!

      Like you say, I think trying to push meaningful change can be tough, especially as an individual. Furthermore, it’s also not evident that change is necessary in the first place. Perhaps all that is needed is a better understanding and appreciation of the status quo. Or maybe tiny changes, instead of large ones.

      That’s part of why I only asked questions and encouraged conversation in this post. I think one of the best ways to get the ball rolling is for more people to write and talk about it.

      All this to say… I’d love to read any post you write on these topics! And am happy to be a sounding board if you do decide to write something. You can easily DM me in the Post Status Slack. 🙂

  3. Outstanding post Lesley! This is probably the most important blog post that will be written about WordPress all year. Here’s hoping more than just a few discussions come of it!

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