State of the Word Idea: Remembering Those We’ve Lost in the WordPress Community

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Later this week, nearly 2,000 people will be in Philadelphia, PA to attend WordCamp US, the annual conference devoted to WordPress. One of the event’s highlights is Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word presentation. In it, Mullenweg shares data on WordPress’ growth throughout the year and gives insight to where the project is heading.

About a week before his presentation, Mullenweg asks members of the WordPress community for feedback. Questions include:

  1. What are the things you’re most proud of WordPress or people in the community doing over the past year?
  2. Have there been people who you feel have influenced the project in a big way, including yourself, and how?
  3. What do you think we should focus on and work on the most in the next year?
  4. Any stories you’ve heard with or around WordPress that you think deserve being highlighted?
  5. Anything else?

This year, the most important question he asks is number five. Each year during the State of the Word, Mullenweg highlights new and existing contributors and we as a community cheer and celebrate them. This year, we’ve lost some incredibly talented and important people in the community.

I suggest that Mullenweg adds one slide to his presentation that remembers the lives of those lost in the community this year. The slide should have Gravatars or photos and the names of those who passed away. Here are a few people who would be on the slide.

If you’re in favor of this idea and know someone in the WordPress community who passed away this year, please leave a comment with their name and if possible, a link to their obituary.

WordPress is a 12-year-old open source software project that will likely survive long after the people who help maintain it pass on. Adding a slide to the State of the Word that remembers contributors who passed away during the year is a small price to pay. It also humanizes the software and serves as a reminder that without contributors, WordPress wouldn’t exist.

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