Four Things I’d Like to See in This Year’s State of the Word

This weekend, WordPressers from far and wide will descend upon Nashville, TN, for WordCamp US. One of the highlights of the event is Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word. Last year, Mullenweg shared a variety of statistics, made a few announcements, and plotted a new course for WordPress development.

As the event draws near, here are some things I’d like to see addressed in this year’s State of the Word.

Will There Be A Renewed Effort to Make Calypso Plugin Aware?

During the 2016 State of the Word, Mullenweg announced that Calypso became plugin aware.

Plugin Aware Calypso
Plugin Aware Calypso

The idea was that plugins that are actively installed on more than 1 million sites could participate in an experimental program that would add meta box support and other plugin specific features to Calypso. To this day, this has not materialized and I’d like to know what happened and if there will be a renewed effort in 2018.

An Update on WordPress Foundation Supported Initiatives

Last year, we learned that WordCamp Central became its own Public Benefit Corporation while the WordPress Foundation maintained its non-profit status. In addition, the Foundation announced support for like-minded non-profits such as, Hack the Hood, Internet Archive, and Black Girls CODE.

I’d like to know how much money the Foundation has contributed to these causes and if any progress has been made on providing educational workshops in underdeveloped countries.

An Update on WordPress’ Development/Release Strategy

A year into WordPress’ new development and release strategy, I’d like to know what challenges he and the team have faced and overcome. I’d also like to know if the results he has seen thus far warrant continuing the experiment in 2018.

Take an Opportunity to Explain What Gutenberg Really Is

Last year, Mullenweg surprised the community by announcing that the WordPress post editor would be revamped. Since then, we’ve learned that the project’s name is Gutenberg and it’s about more than just the editor. I’d like to see Mullenweg take this unique opportunity to provide a deeper explanation into what the project is and why it’s pivotal for WordPress’ continued success.


This year’s State of the Word will be presented on Saturday, December 2nd, at 4PM Eastern. If you can’t see it in-person, you can watch it for free via the livestream.

13 Comments


  1. I’d love to hear that the Foundation was truly separated and independent from Automattic, but I’m fully prepared to be disappointed.

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    1. This. I’m tired of seeing Automattic having too much influence over the direction of .org.

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      1. Overall I believe Automattic is good for WordPress (org).

        However, I don’t like how they’re pushing Jetpack and the login more and more aggressively. At times it does feel like their long-term strategy is to commercialize WordPress (org) to a much larger extent than we today can imagine.

        Investors want their ROI at some point, you know:) And WordPress.org is a huge market.

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    2. Howdy Aaron! The Foundation has an independent board, I’m the only person that’s involved with Automattic that’s on the board. Was there something else you’d like to see happen as a result of the Foundation being separated and independent? Do you think the Foundation would do something different than it does today?

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      1. Hi Matt,

        Would you be so kind as to tell us:

        * Who else is on the board of the foundation?
        * What position’s do you hold?
        * Are any employees of Audrey Capital, or other organisations that you/Automattic/Audrey financially support, or part own, involved?
        * What is the election / re-election / selection process and tenure?

        * Could you also point us to where we can find information about the basics that other OSS projects do?

        example: Joomla!
        https://www.opensourcematters.org/organisation/directors.html
        https://www.joomla.org/about-joomla/the-project/leadership-team.html
        https://www.opensourcematters.org/organisation/faq.html#11-who-oversees-the-board

        Example: Drupal
        https://www.drupal.org/association/board
        https://www.drupal.org/association/board/committees

        Example: Mozilla
        https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/leadership/

        Example: Apache Foundation
        https://www.apache.org/foundation/board/
        https://www.apache.org/foundation/#who-runs-the-asf

        To be clear, I’m not trying to catch you out here brother. I think the foundation does great work, and 2016 should see turnover get close to $3m which is insane!!

        But given the sheer volume of hats that you wear, all of which kind of seem to have the final say on things, it’s hard to feel like there is transparency as to which Matt/Orgaisation/Project is making decisions.

        I hope you have a great time in Nashville :)

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      2. Sure, a lot of this is in the form 990 that the Foundation files with the IRS this year. Currently besides me Mark Ghosh and Chele Chiavacci are on the board; Rose Goldman is also in the filing as she helps out with taking notes for the meetings, and coordinating the outside accounting and legal firms that make sure everything is tip-top, but she’s not on the board. I don’t know exact terms of board membership, my guess would be it’s voted on by current directors.

        As you can also see from the filings, the Foundation has no employees and pays no one a salary, there are no board expenses or reimbursements. Its only goal is what’s state on the Foundation website. Most of the revenue comes from the PBC subsidiary of the Foundation which runs WordCamps, and will have about 4.2M in revenue this year.

        It feels like you’re looking for more how WordPress is run. (People often confuse the Foundation with WP-the-software and W.org.) Best place for that info is on make/core and here:

        https://wordpress.org/about/
        https://make.wordpress.org/core/handbook/about/organization/

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  2. Hey, Jeff! πŸ™Œ
    Thanks for posting this. I am right there with you β€” a bit more aligned towards the following two points.

    > I’d like to know how much money the Foundation has contributed to these causes and if any progress has been made on providing educational workshops in underdeveloped countries.

    I’ll be interested in that too, as I made a couple of efforts to try and help sponsor a few local initiatives in the universities and to get WordPress introduced to the local software engineering students.

    But all efforts met a straight no from the community and not one of the meetups or conferences we conducted received any sponsorship from the foundation.

    It’s not something that I’d do normally, but after reading about it in the last year’s State of the Word β€” I figured I had never asked foundation for help along those lines. I did, though, nothing much came out of it.

    On the other hands, more than 15 WordPress companies (E.g. GravityForms, Kinsta, and all the WPCouple partners) as well as large enterprise like GitHub and DigitalOcean helped us with this β€” while we conducted meetups and workshops on WordPress this year.

    I also didn’t hear anything about it in the mainstream WordPress community news β€” so, figured I should point that out, and looking forward to hearing more about that.

    >Gutenberg, Gutenberg, JavaScript, React.js

    Definitely interested in learning more about the project Gutenberg. I have had to delay a premium SaaS product that I had been building in 2016 β€” because of Gutenberg β€” but even after a year I’m still not sure where to go from here. I suppose there is some sort of general consensus on not abandoning React.js β€” but would love hear more about it.

    A more definite timeline for the Gutenberg project will also help a lot of people in the community.

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  3. I’d also like to hear more on Gutenberg. Specifically his response to the harsh criticism it has received. As a leader, he needs to acknowledge the concerns of the community, show he listens and cares, and set a direction we can all believe in.

    PS, I really like this too:
    “I’d like to know how much money the Foundation has contributed to these causes and if any progress has been made on providing educational workshops in underdeveloped countries.”

    Beautiful – and yes, would be good to hear more about.

    Oliver

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  4. “The idea was that plugins that are actively installed on more than 1 million sites could participate in an experimental program that would add meta box support and other plugin specific features to Calypso. To this day, this has not materialized.”

    I’ve still heard nothing about this program (UpdraftPlus, passed a million currently active installs around a year ago).

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