I was reading an interesting post today published on GlobalPost.com regarding the work of a few individuals that were trying to bring the digital revolution to the people of Cuba. Yoani Sanchez has a six-month blogging academy course where she teaches people of all ages the likes of Twitter, WordPress, and Wikipedia in a cramped classroom that is not even hooked up to the internet. There is no degree for completing the course but it opens up the minds that there is more going on in the digital world that the island fails to allow access to. It’s awesome to see this happening not only in Cuba, but in other parts of the world where the freedom of speech is not so free and where opposition to ones ideals can get you killed.
One of the tools being used in the class was WordPress. Now, I’ve been pondering this question for the past week and I can’t decide on what the answer is. What is the mission statement or the end goal of the WordPress software? Is it specifically to allow anyone’s words to be pressed into the digital realm as in the Cuba example up above? Or is it to just be the best publishing software known to man? Is it to become the best Content Management System or is it to become a platform that is so versatile, the only thing stopping you from accomplishing something is your imagination?
If you visit the WordPress.org website and browse around, you’ll notice that there is no end goal described. There is no mission statement that everyone involved with the project can rally around. Sure, WordPress development has been going pretty well despite the lack of a defined goal or mission statement but I wonder if in the chaos of things, would it not be better if everyone involved had a focused idea as to what they were trying to accomplish with their contribution to the project? To try to accomplish something that is enormously bigger than themselves, something that is not accomplish able unless you add up the sum of its parts?
Or, on the other side of the coin, is it better that there is no defined focus or goal of WordPress. Allow things to continue as they are since they don’t appear to be broken and allow people to contribute to each little part of WordPress that they see fit in order to make it that much better as a piece of publishing software.
During my interview with Paul Kim, he mentioned that while working with Mozilla just after the release of FireFox 1.0, that one of the things he learned was how important it was for the project to have a strong leader, a leader that would lead the project to accomplish its defined goal or mission statement. Now, I think Matt is a good leader. Just look at where WordPress is today which is a testament to that fact. However, where is he leading us?
While I think the answer to that question is best served by Matt as he is project leader, I’d like to hear your thoughts on what you think IS or SHOULD BE the mission statement or goal of the WordPress software.