What’s Next?

First, I’d like to repeat my comment to Sarah:

Sarah, you are amazing. Your insightful writing and journalism has been a gift to the WordPress world, and shaped how the project has evolved for the better. It’s a key and major contribution to the community. Thank you, deeply, and I can’t wait to see what you do next. Ten years… wow!

I’m sorry I haven’t had the time to find a new writer for the Tavern in the time between when Sarah gave her notice a few weeks ago and now. There’s never a dull moment in tech and my priorities with WordPress core and Automattic ended up taking more time than I expected. Funding and supporting the Tavern to do independent WordPress journalism is an important part of the WP ecosystem—we need a site that covers our space without care for affiliate links.

If you have:

  • Impeccable integrity
  • Relentless curiosity
  • A blogger’s hustle
  • Passion for news and technology
  • Technical ability to tinker with WordPress, plugins, and themes

Please send an email to matt at my last name dot com, with [wptavern] at the beginning of the subject, and the following things in the email:

  1. Why you think you’d be best in the world for this job.
  2. Links to three things you’ve written that you feel represent your style well.
  3. A link to your homepage and any social media you keep up with.
  4. Link or attach a resume, but don’t worry too much about this, the first two are more important.
  5. Your W.org username, and sign up for the Slack there so I can ping you.

And please send in the application by November 24th! We’ll take this week off but hopefully come back blazing after Thanksgiving. I’ll review everything over the weekend when I have some time off planned.

We’ll try out a number of folks on an hourly contract ($25/hr, same as Automattic) as a trial, and if that goes well we’ll aim to hire two full-time writers by the end of the year. A full-time offer also includes generous benefits including full coverage on health care and 6% 401k matching. You’ll be an employee of Audrey.

The job is to write frequently about the goings-on in the WordPress world and foster a healthy discussion and community here on the site. If you’re doing your job well, it should be reflected in traffic and comments on the site. You will set the tone and discussion in the WordPress community, and drive the narrative. Every post will be syndicated to every wp-admin in the world. You don’t have to start out a WordPress expert, but you’ll become one. You’ll have a ton of autonomy, so need to be self-driven and able to manage yourself. (You can ask previous writers how much I was in their hair. 😀)

Midjourney prompt: a stunning landscape scene with a tranquil atmosphere. The foreground showcases a calm, crystal-clear lake reflecting the serene blue sky above. On the horizon, a majestic mountain range rises, covered in lush, green vegetation. The central focus of the image is the sun, just starting to rise above the peaks, casting a warm, golden glow across the entire scene. Its rays create a mesmerizing play of light on the water’s surface, symbolizing hope, new beginnings, and the promise of a brighter future.


28 responses to “What’s Next?”

  1. It’s nice to hear that you will be finding new people to take over the reins at the Tavern!

    Editorial integrity does seem to be quite strong at the Tavern, despite a theoretical conflict of interest. Thanks for giving the writers the freedom to express things rather than pinning them down, as so many others would try to do in the same situation.

  2. Are you hiring for two or more positions or just one?

    Traditionally, the Tavern has had two writers since Audrey purchased it. When Justin Tadlock left in May 2022, a job listing for his replacement was posted but never filled. So that was 18 months when the flagship WordPress news organization was reduced to one person. People noticed. It was concerning.

    There are just a handful of equally small sources of serious insider and industry news for WordPress left. Independent WordPress journalism has been dying for a while, and it is hard to see the Tavern as either independent or healthy. This should matter if our purpose is to democratize publishing.

    Being owned by Audrey technically keeps The Tavern at arm’s length from Automattic and your influence, Matt, which you say is a boundary you’ve respected. By all accounts, that is true, but also the least we should expect. You’ve also made it clear that these positions have gone unfilled and The Tavern neglected because you personally haven’t done the hiring, which you’re going to do yourself in one push over the Thanksgiving weekend. This sounds like nobody else is involved in overseeing The Tavern. If you do the hiring, presumably, you do the firing. Recently, you made it clear on Twitter that you make hostile judgments (some informed by gossip or hearsay) against WordPress community members you disagree with or personally dislike in some way. The chilling effects of that and related incidents were reported here at The Tavern, which again is admirable. Still, it certainly does not build trust in The Tavern as “independent” to have you as the sole decider on who works there. That’s not an arm’s length relationship with an independent media source. It’s also not the level of care and delegated oversight The Tavern needs and deserves.

    Where is the vision for what The Tavern could be? Or an understanding of how journalism and news organizations actually work, how writers generally like to work and work best on such things, and so much else? The Tavern deserves a small, collaborative team with an editorial process, and the community deserves to be involved in it through an editorial board and reader panel.

    The WP Tavern should also be where great writing about WordPress and open source is incubated and grows. You’re right, it is a tremendous form of community contribution. We need a news ecosystem that produces writing and insight that moves around but stays within the ecosystem, nourishing it. The Tavern could and should be central to that kind of culture.

    I’m saddened that none of this seems to be in the cards for The Tavern.

    • He says “and if that goes well we’ll aim to hire two full-time writers by the end of the year”

      And as for something bigger, I don’t know that it is a fair ask to basically say “bankroll a bigger team’s salary”. Writing about WordPress isn’t profitable, hence why most WP blogs are owned by companies selling something specific or are seas of affiliate links.

      I hope the Tavern will continue to be a cornerstone in WordPress news as well, but I think we also have to temper our expectations and be patient.

      Currently, I’m just glad it’s not being shut down.

    • The plan is to get a number of people writing on the site on a paid trial, and then narrow it down to two that receive a full-time offer. I was involved in hiring the previous people, so you can judge that, and I hope you also look at how the new people do. If their coverage isn’t up to your standards, then stop reading the site.

  3. Would love to see more news about WordPress, there are billions and billions of plugin and theme reviews and we don’t need more. But what we do need is more NEWS about WordPress, what the future brings, what is going on, what they are working on.

    • A lot of those plugin and theme reviews are on commercial sites, and many I see use affiliate links, which gives me pause and readers should consider that now. I think having a non-commercially-motivated place that add-ons can be reviewed would be an awesome contribution. In fact, the reviews should probably be cross-posted to the W.org plugin review forums.

  4. I applied to WP Tavern with the hope that it could transition towards a more dedicated approach in covering block themes and plugins, while also actively promoting the adoption of the Full Site Editing (FSE) approach. In my view, the resistance to embracing block themes is primarily attributed to the limited availability of comprehensive information about them. Many blogs continue to promote classic themes primarily due to affiliate commissions. I believe WP Tavern has the potential to serve as a beacon of change in this regard, akin to Justin Tadlock’s prior contributions.

    In my perspective, WP Tavern should consider redefining its focus by reducing the promotion of commercial plugins and themes. Instead, it should pivot towards championing what is new, innovative, and unbiased within the WordPress community. This shift could breathe fresh air into WP Tavern’s mission and align it more closely with the evolving needs and trends in the WordPress ecosystem.

      • I hold a strong belief that adopting this approach would be highly beneficial for the community, and it would certainly cater to the interests of WP Tavern readers, especially considering the evolving direction of WordPress, its ongoing developments, and the myriad possibilities that the block editor presents.

      • With WordPress 6.4, I now feel that block themes are production-ready.

        I’ve been reading the documentation on WordPress.org, and the process of customizing a block theme is now much more clear.

        I’m also reading about building a custom block theme, which could use presets to create a theme framework. Basically, theme.json incorporates elements of object-oriented programming.

        WordPress blocks are quickly becoming a highly useful and intuitive way to build websites. They’re akin to the pattern/style libraries that web designers use CSS to create.

        • I concur that block themes are indeed production-ready. Nevertheless, a recurring challenge in this domain has consistently revolved around the availability of comprehensive documentation. Many users install block themes and subsequently find themselves in a situation where they are left to speculate about how to effectively use them. This can be a source of frustration, which is entirely understandable.

          Basic tasks such as switching headers or footers are often left unexplained, causing users to invest additional time in searching for solutions or even resorting to reverting back to classic themes. Unfortunately, this can lead to negative perceptions about WordPress and block themes, with users mistakenly labeling them as problematic.

          As a theme developer with two themes released on GitHub, I am genuinely fascinated by the possibilities that block themes offer. It is remarkable how block themes can be extended and designed to provide users with a high degree of flexibility while also delivering faster performance.

          • Your description is much closer to how I perceive the primary issue with FSE. All the features are there (and production ready) but the Site Editor interface that brings everything together is still lacking. Don’t get me wrong. It’s getting better with each update but it’s still lacking.

            So a new user can easily understand the content page editing but when they want to change a site header or footer, the Site Editor is like a completely different world that’s completely disorientating at first glance and not very intuitive.

            For example, Squarespace is probably still easier to use in comparison, even though WordPress in my mind has better and more flexible features now. Once the Site Editor’s usability and user experience gets fully ironed out though, I think there will be a massive shift of users to WordPress from other platforms.

    • Great to hear.
      Sites like WPbeginner are really really annoying me. Every article there days for the most part recommends one of their family of plugins as a solution.
      Don’t get me wrong, some of their plugins are really good at what they do and are leaders in specific areas but come on.
      Talk about conflict of interest.
      Also what drives me crazy about their posts. Is they only cover the “Happy Day” scenario and leave out the million things that will cause you to hit a brick wall.

      • To be entirely candid, I share a similar approach when it comes to reading blogs. Personally, I tend to prioritize WordPress official news and documentation as my primary sources of information. From there, I prefer to engage in hands-on experimentation. I have noticed that many blogs tend to follow a common formula, often focusing on the “top 10” or similar listicles, which can be less informative and more geared towards promoting their own products or third-party affiliates.

        I completely understand your sentiment regarding the lack of comprehensive information, especially when it comes to Full Site Editing (FSE) and block theme development. It can indeed be disappointing to find that some blog posts fail to fully delve into the nuances of innovation in these areas. However, I share your hope that the landscape will evolve, with more blog posts shifting their focus toward FSE, block themes, and block plugin development, offering deeper insights and fostering a more diverse and informative WordPress ecosystem.

    • I’m particularly curious about the specific applications and potential challenges that FSE might present, and additional articles could shed light on these aspects. As someone keen on staying informed about the latest developments in web development, I look forward to reading more about FSE and gaining a better understanding of its nuances.

      Thanks to the author for initiating this conversation, and I hope to see more insightful articles on FSE in the future. #FSE #WebDevelopment #CuriousMind

    • I think this is a huge step forward to the WP community. As a former Wix designer, I am excited to see WP’s shift towards a more FSE approach and the possibilities of moving towards block themes. Despite being new to the WP community, observing this familiar approach is making my transition more welcoming. I would love to learn more on the subject.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Subscribe Via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.