John James Jacoby launched an Indiegogo campaign today with the goal of raising $50,000 to fund six months of full-time work on WordPress’ three sister projects: BuddyPress, bbPress, and GlotPress. While WordPress core has many contributors who are sponsored by companies, the sister projects have yet to receive this kind of investment from the community.
Jacoby is a longtime WordPress developer/contributor and the project lead on BuddyPress and bbPress. WordPress depends heavily on the continued maintenance and improvement of the sister projects and he believes that they can benefit from having a dedicated developer.
BuddyPress is the plugin that powers the 16 million WordPress.org profiles, activity stream, and badge system. The WordPress.org support forums, along with the thousands of plugin and theme support forums, are all powered by bbPress. GlotPress is a BackPress-powered application that enabled WordPress, BuddyPress, and bbPress to be translated into different languages. Improvements to GlotPress are critical for WordPress’ global mission to democratize publishing.
“WordPress is more community than software, yet the software that powers the community has nobody working on it full time,” Jacoby said. “I want to change this.”
The campaign came about after developer Jenny Wong made the suggestion during events surrounding WordCamp San Francisco. Wong has been instrumental in organizing community contribution days and has a passion for bringing people together. “I think a lot more would be done if there are dedicated people all over the community,” she said.
Jacoby had considered the idea before but didn’t think there would be enough people interested in supporting it. With the suggestion and support from Wong and others at WCSF, he decided to give it a try. “BuddyPress, bbPress, and GlotPress came up so frequently, and I was pulled into so many discussions. I felt happy for how important those projects are to everyone, and sad that I haven’t found a way to truly dedicate myself to them,” Jacoby told the Tavern.
“Near the end of the first day of the contributor summit, I was more emotional about it than I expected to be, and had a hard time translating that into words. Thankfully, Jen Mylo (who has always been super supportive to me) summed it up really nicely, and Jenny Wong followed up with the idea of raising money via Indiegogo.”
Jacoby’s aim is to work on the projects “while remaining an independent and impartial entity with a dedicated period of distraction-free time.” Specifically, he plans to target the following items:
- Query and caching performance improvements to both BuddyPress and bbPress (to help them power the almost 20 million user profiles and the immense amount of activity going into them from all of the support forums)
- Media and Attachment support in BuddyPress
- Per-forum moderation in bbPress to help with plugin and theme moderation on WordPress.org.
Progress on the sister projects has been slow, since current contributions are all volunteer-driven from folks who have other obligations. Jacoby was originally reluctant to attempt a fundraising campaign but recognizes the necessity of having the money available for distraction-free work. If the goal is not met, he will prorate the funds and will work in a dedicated capacity on the projects for as long as the funds allow.
Within the first few hours of launching the campaign, Jacoby has already surpassed 20% of the goal. Check out the video and donate to the campaign if you want to support a talented developer in giving WordPress’ sister projects a chance to thrive.