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February 21, 2019

WPTavern: The State of CSS 2019 Survey is Now Open

The makers of the annual State of JavaScript survey have launched a new survey for developers who work with CSS. In September 2018, Sacha Greif and his collaborators sent out the State of JS survey for the third year running but dropped the CSS libraries category in favor of keeping it from getting too long. The new State of CSS survey takes up this category and expands upon it.

The success of the State of JS survey has brought valuable information to the industry for developers, employers, startups, project maintainers, and even those who are just beginning their coding journey and wondering which frameworks are worth learning. The 2018 State of JS survey received more than 20,000 responses. Results showed that React was once again the most popular front-end framework and Vue.js received the highest satisfaction rating. The detailed results are influential in helping framework maintainers know how the development community perceives their projects.

The new survey for CSS developers was created to help identify the latest trends in the rapidly changing CSS landscape. It includes the following topics:

  • CSS Features – Grid, Flexbox…
  • Tools – preprocessors, frameworks…
  • Environments – Browsers, devices…
  • Resources – Blogs, podcasts…
  • Opinions – How you feel about CSS
  • About You – Experience, salary…

The State of CSS Survey is powered by Typeform and all questions are optional. It is quick to scroll through and can take as little as 10 minutes to complete. Participants can leave their email to be notified when results are published.

by Sarah Gooding at February 21, 2019 04:35 AM under css

February 20, 2019

WPTavern: New Wapuu Dashboard Pet Plugin Displays WordPress Site Health

Wapuu Dashboard Pet is a new plugin from Kayleigh Thorpe and the team at WordPress hosting company 34SP.com. It is essentially a WordPress Tamagotchi, or digital pet, that resides in your dashboard and monitors the health of the site.

The plugin checks to make sure WordPress has been updated (plugins, themes, and core) and backups have run. Wapuu’s appearance will change based on these factors. Thorpe used her illustration skills to create the images, which indicate if wapuu is feeling dead, happy, sad, sick, or very sick. The threshold for a dead wapuu is 10+ updates. The example below is a “very sick” wapuu on a site with five or more updates pending.

After updating, the happy and healthy wapuu is displayed, as shown below.

The Wapuu Dashboard Pet is featured at the bottom of every page in the admin. It also comes with an option to enable weekly email notifications that will only send if wapuu is feeling sick (has one or more updates available). This feature can help site administrators who don’t log into their dashboards very often, resulting in more updated and secure WordPress sites.

The plugin is currently very effective in its simplicity but there are a lot of interesting features that its authors could add. It could be set up to check for PHP and MySQL versions, similar to what the Health Check plugin offers. It would also be useful if wapuu could detect whether or not any of the necessary updates are security-related, which might inspire administrators to act faster on the emails. There may be other useful applications for forks of this plugin, such as a wapuu that helps bloggers stay on track with their monthly posting goals.

When wapuu is feeling unwell, the image displayed is a pathetic-looking creature that appears to have been left out in the rain. Wapuu-conscious site admins will not be able to look at that image in the dashboard without feeling the need to improve wapuu’s condition. These visual indicators of site health may be just the type of prompt necessary for admins who have become desensitized to WordPress’ many update notifications.

by Sarah Gooding at February 20, 2019 07:33 PM under wapuu

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 4.2.0 Maintenance and Security Release

BuddyPress 4.2.0 is now available. This is a security and maintenance release. All BuddyPress installations are strongly encouraged to upgrade as soon as possible.

The 4.2.0 release addresses two security issues:

  • A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability was fixed that could allow users to send malicious code in the content of private messages. Discovered and reported independently by Kieran Munday and Tim Coen.
  • A privilege escalation vulnerability was fixed that could allow users to reply to unauthorized private message threads. Discovered by Kieran Munday.

These vulnerabilities were reported privately to the BuddyPress team, in accordance with WordPress’s security policies. Our thanks to the reporters for practicing coordinated disclosure.

BuddyPress 4.2.0 also fixes 4 bugs. For complete details, visit the 4.2.0 changelog.

by Boone Gorges at February 20, 2019 04:00 PM under 4.2.0

WPTavern: Yoast CEO Responds to #YoastCon Twitter Controversy, Calls for Change in the SEO Industry

Yoast CEO Marieke van de Rakt published a post yesterday, addressing the controversy that dominated the #YoastCon hashtag on Twitter in the days leading up the the event. Several parties from the SEO industry began circulating old tweets, along unsavory videos depicting Joost de Valk partying with promotional models. de Valk issued a public apology on Twitter before YoastCon officially kicked off.

In her post, titled “Let’s create a more female-friendly world!”, van de Rakt characterized the incident as an attack and cited examples of how Yoast is actively working to improve the position of women:

We were all hurt. We really don’t understand why the company Yoast is being attacked, why the #yoastcon is being used for something the person Joost did 10 years ago. Our company and our company culture is nothing like the tweets imply.

van de Rakt also referenced a post from Gisele Navarro, a woman who has been working in the SEO industry for 10 years.

“I totally agree with Gisele that the SEO industry was not welcoming to women ten years ago,” van de Rakt said. “And although some things may have changed, I still think that the SEO industry has a long way to go. I also think that the problem is much bigger than the SEO industry.”

After the tweets and videos began circulating on the #YoastCon hashtag, the @yoast Twitter account was quietly scrubbed of potentially offensive tweets. The total tweet count for the account was 44.1K on January 31, 2019.

On February 8, 2019, the account’s total tweets were slashed to 10.7K. Approximately 33,000 tweets have been deleted in the wake of this controversy.

Some of the tweets were still available via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine during the height of the controversy and screenshots were shared widely.

One recipient of the tweets, Lisa Barone, dismissed them as “friends being stupid,” but de Valk’s wife, Marieke van de Rakt, admitted in her recent post that the tweets and videos were hurtful to her. Since the tweets were public, many onlookers said they felt uncomfortable reading these types of interactions within a professional context.

Navarro’s post described how the tweets made her feel as an outside onlooker working in the male-dominated SEO industry:

I don’t know the story behind the ‘friendly and consensual sexual banter’ (as someone called it) of those tweets so I’ve got zero context on how the conversations led to Joost saying things like:

‘I bet you’d look good, even when pregnant ;-)’

‘Ahem, why are you not naked indeed?’

‘Nothing beats a yummy young mummy :)’

When I read those tweets, that was all I could think of – Decades of obscenities been pushed on me by men who thought that was normal, acceptable behavior.

I thought about how much it would have crushed me back then if someone I respected were to have said something like that to me. I wondered if I would still be part of the SEO community had that happened.

I imagined how would I have felt if before or after that tweet, I were to have been an attendee at SEOktoberfest surrounded by Playboy escorts who touched themselves looking at the camera while I was having a beer in a corner, trying to network my way to a job interview at an agency I loved.

After the tweets and videos began to get attention on the #YoastCon hashtag, many in the SEO industry dismissed the content as an attack orchestrated by trolls who they alleged are also guilty of harassment. Several spoke out against David Cohen in particular, who had originally started the controversy by unearthing the old content, describing him as the person behind other troll accounts known for sending harassing tweets.

Regardless of how the old content came to light on Twitter, both Joost de Valk and Yoast CEO Marieke van de Rakt have admitted that the tweets and videos are indefensible and not representative of their company’s current push to empower women.

Navarro’s post calls readers to look at the tweets and videos from the perspective of someone working in the SEO industry, wondering if they should attend conferences after seeing leaders and role models behaving this way:

To those of you who are defending the SEO personality that is Joost: remove the so-called SEO trolls and #YoastCon from the picture, go through the tweets and ask yourself how would YOU feel if someone you look up to says those things to you on a public forum. Would you feel comfortable attending a conference knowing this person would be there? Would you want him to be your boss? Would you feel safe around this person? Would you have anybody to talk to about what happened and how you felt? Would you even bring it up?

The #YoastCon Twitter controversy has had the positive effect of highlighting behavior and public communication styles that need to be addressed in order to create a more welcoming and diverse SEO industry. In spite of the recent challenges, van de Rakt said she is hopeful that her company can continue working towards creating “an atmosphere at conferences that is friendly for all people, regardless of their gender.” On this Navarro and van de Rakt both agree – the conditions for women working in the SEO industry are ripe for improvement.

by Sarah Gooding at February 20, 2019 05:22 AM under YoastCon

WPTavern: Alex Mills Ends His Battle With Leukemia

Today, we are reminded that life is fleeting and that plugins, themes, and WordPress itself is built and maintained by humans. Alex (Viper007Bond) Mills announced that he is ending his fight with Leukemia.

Due to liver inflammation and GvHD, the liver is too damaged to continue with treatment and there are no further options. I don’t want to spend the rest of my time in the hospital so I am choosing to remain at home where I can be comfortable with family and friends.

Alex Mills

Mills is encouraging members of the WordPress community to fork and maintain his open-source plugins. Mills thanked his co-workers, members of the WordPress community, and his car friends for enriching his life. It’s a somber read knowing it’s coming from a person who is still alive but knows that their time is near.

I want to thank everyone who has given me moral support through these difficult times. It has meant a lot hearing all of the love and support pour in from my friends and colleagues from around the world. I have been so grateful for all of the opportunities that have been given to me in my life, professionally and personally.

Automatticians have really helped me grow professionally by giving me an amazing career for the past nine years. My car friends have helped me grow socially and provided me so many good memories and life experiences. The people that I have gotten to know in the WordPress community have been very supportive as well. I am amazed by how many friends I have made and how much they have been there for me. They all have enriched my life and helped me grow as a person.

Alex Mills

Mills is the author of the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin, has been a long-standing member of the WordPress community, and is the founder of FinalGear, a forum community fan site devoted to Top Gear. The community may have played a role in bringing the show to the US.

Members of the FinalGear community are weighing in on the news.

FinalGear has been a big part of my life for just over 13 years now, that’s damn near half of my life. It’s an incredible community that we’ve built up over the years, spawned from Viper’s work.

I’m really thankful that I stumbled across the community all that time ago and was able to get to know him, even having the pleasure of spending a weekend with him at the Ringmeet in 2015. Thanks to him, petrolheads who would otherwise probably never have met are regularly traveling the world together and he’ll always be there.

Fuck. Cancer.

Matt2000

A huge number of us owe Alex a massive ‘thank you’ for the FG Community. I speak from the heart when I say I have made lifelong friends from across the globe and enjoyed trips and experiences that I couldn’t have dreamed of 10 years ago. None of that would have happened had I not been searching for an obscure piece of music from a TG episode and stumbled into this place.

MWF

Some of you may remember the Viper’s Video Quicktags plugin created more than 10 years ago. It was essentially the precursor to native oEmbed support that arrived in WordPress in 2016.

If you have benefited from Mill’s code, work, or have been positively impacted by him in any way, please let him know by commenting on this blog post. Mills is in a unique position to see, read, and hear how much of an impact he’s had on so many people throughout his life and we’re in a unique position to tell him.


Alex, thank you for your contributions to open-source, for being an early member of the WPTavern forum, and a supporter of the site. Throughout all of these years, I pronounced your nickname as Viperbond007 instead of Viper007Bond. It rolled off the tongue easier heh. I wish I could have gotten a ride in that sweet Viper you picked up a few years ago. Getting that Viper is something that I know was a lifelong dream of yours.

Please enjoy the time you have left with as little pain as possible and I’ll meet you on the other side. Please leave the light on for me.

by Jeff Chandler at February 20, 2019 12:24 AM under leukemia

February 19, 2019

WPTavern: Bootstrap Patches XSS Vulnerability in Versions 4.3.1 and 3.4.1

Bootstrap has released versions 4.3.1 and 3.4.1 to patch an XSS vulnerability (CVE-2019-8331) that was reported to the Bootstrap Drupal project by a developer and then responsibly disclosed to the Bootstrap development team. The vulnerability specifically affects usage of the tooltip and popover features:

Earlier this week a developer reported an XSS issue similar to the data-target vulnerability that was fixed in v4.1.2 and v3.4.0: the data-template attribute for our tooltip and popover plugins lacked proper XSS sanitization of the HTML that can be passed into the attribute’s value.

The fix includes a new JavaScript sanitizer that allows only whitelisted HTML elements in the data attribute. Developers can modify Bootstrap’s sanitization implementation or customize their own function. In addition to patching the vulnerability, Bootstrap has published new sanitizer documentation for versions 4.3 and 3.4.

According to data from BuiltWith, Bootstrap is used by approximately 16% of the internet. It is also used widely in WordPress plugins and themes. There are hundreds of listings in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory that implement Bootstrap in one way or another. Many of them have not been updated for months or even longer than a year. It’s tough to say which ones may be affected by this vulnerability, as it depends on how the plugin author has implemented Bootstrap and, in some cases, what the users have decided to output to the frontend. If you have a plugin or theme that uses Bootstrap, it may be worth getting in touch with the author to see if a security update will be necessary.

by Sarah Gooding at February 19, 2019 07:54 PM under security

Dev Blog: WordPress 5.1 RC2

The second release candidate for WordPress 5.1 is now available!

WordPress 5.1 will be released on Thursday, February 21, but we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.1 yet, now is the time!

There are two ways to test the WordPress 5.1 release candidate: try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want to select the “bleeding edge nightlies” option), or you can download the release candidate here (zip).

For details about what to expect in WordPress 5.1, please see the first release candidate post.

This release includes the final About page design. It also contains fixes for:

  • New WordPress installs not setting the database table prefix correctly (#46220).
  • A HTTP error occurring when opening browser developer tools (#46218).
  • The legacy media dialog having incorrect pagination link styling (#41858).
  • The comment form not appearing when clicking “Reply” on comments loaded via Ajax (#46260).

Plugin and Theme Developers

Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.1 and update the Tested up to version in the readme to 5.1. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure those out before the final release.

The WordPress 5.1 Field Guide has also been published, which goes into the details of the major changes.

How to Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.


WordPress Five Point One:
It’s so slick, shiny, and new.
Lands in a few days!

by Gary Pendergast at February 19, 2019 02:58 AM under 5.1

February 18, 2019

Post Status: Children say his superpower is love: an interview with Topher DeRosia

DK: How did you first got into programming, the web, and WordPress?

TD: Getting into programming is a long slow story. Someone mentioned the other day how they learned HTML through View Source, and I did that as well, but then it occurred to me that I learned how to do that through WordPerfect’s “View Codes.” Same idea, different platform.

The college that I went to had a VAX/VMS computer network for the whole campus. Dumb terminals with either green or orange letters hooked up to a computer that was probably five feet tall, eight feet long, and about four feet wide. It could do email so that we could send an Electronic Message all the way across campus!  It was incredible. Then I was told we were going to be connected to The Internet. I remember where I was standing, and who I was talking to when I said the words “What’s the Internet?”

A year later we got a World Wide Web client installed, called Lynx. It took me a while to figure out why it was better than Gopher, but then I loved it. One day a friend said, “Hey, look what I made!” and he had made his own web page. I was floored.  He said, “You should do it too!”  I said “No, I could never figure that out” to which he responded, “Sure, let me show you.”  That right there summarizes how I’ve tried to treat new people in my profession.

He showed me how HTML worked, and I learned every single HTML tag in about an hour.  There were only about 30 tags, and the H tags were six of them.

Within a year people were paying me to build web pages.  (Here’s a screenshot of my first paid web gig.)

I did plain HTML for a number of years. Server Side Includes came and went. In 1997 someone asked me to build a site with PHP/FI 2.0, so I went home from work, went to devshed.com and looked up an article on how to do that, thus starting my career as a PHP developer.

A couple of years later “cascading style sheets” looked like they were here to stay and I picked those up and became a “full stack developer” though no-one used that phrase back then.  I was a Webmaster.

When WordPress was first released, I was working at a University, teaching a class on the side for fun.  It was Intro to Web Development. Each student had to do a project, so I decided to take one on as well.  I built a blogging system to compete with WordPress. To my knowledge, one other person used it, ever. But I used it for about ten years. I didn’t really like WordPress back then because it really WAS “just for blogging.” Trying to make it do other things was hard.

But then came WordPress 3.0 with Custom Post Types, and everything changed. WordPress morphed into a real CMS with that one version.

In 2010 I went freelance (on purpose!) about the same time 3.0 came out, and I immediately started using it, and haven’t really used anything else since.

DK: I’m curious, how did you come by the nickname “Topher?” Is there a good story there?

TD: When I was three, my Aunt was babysitting, and she asked me if I knew what my middle name was.  I knew my first name was Chris, last name DeRosia, and full name Christopher DeRosia, so I assumed Topher was my middle name. She laughed and wrote it on the fridge notebook and called my Grandma etc. I still have the paper she wrote it on. People called me Topher very occasionally until college when there were four Chris’ on my dorm floor. We each picked something, and I’ve been 100% Topher ever since. When I was young and vain, I considered making it a mononym, but… such a nerd.

DK: What have you learned from HeroPress over time? Did it surprise you in any way, what people had to say? What do you think about people and groups on the “fringe” of the WordPress community today? Who/what are we (North Americans) least attentive to/aware of?

TD: I read your question about what I’ve learned from HeroPress over time and then sat in my chair for a good ten minutes just thinking about everything. HeroPress has become so pervasive in my personal relationships with people that it’s hard for me to separate these days. I never thought I would be such close friends with people so far away. People I laugh with, cry with, talk long into the night, have days-long conversations on Twitter.

Most times when I approach someone about being a contributor I have some idea of their background, so while surprises happen they’re not usually too big. One time that really blew my mind though was at WCUS in Philly. A speaker looked like a good candidate, and so without knowing anything about her, I approached her in the hall and introduced myself. I asked if I could tell her about my project, HeroPress, and she agreed.  About 20 seconds into my pitch she started sobbing. Deeply and loudly. I was literally speechless. As it turns out she had a story that needed to be told, a story that started with a family leaving her country of origin when she was very young, and all the things that happened to her after that. I cried then with her, and I’m crying a little bit now as I write it. I will always say that HeroPress has affected me personally more than anyone else in the world.

I’ve learned that people are diverse, so I can’t say anyone is like X or wants Y because of my perception of where they live. Some poor people want money.  Some don’t. Some people want freedom. Some never think about it. It doesn’t matter where they live or what they have; I can never assume about them.

I have noticed that wealthier people tend to forget they’re wealthy and take it for granted. They usually don’t feel wealthy. One WordPress person might say “I’m a little short on cash this year, I’ll only go to one WordCamp.”  Another WordPress person might say “I wish attending WordCamp didn’t cost two years salary.” Or perhaps “I wish people I don’t know didn’t think I was a terrorist, so I could go learn.” I feel so flippant sometimes. I want to learn something, so I spend $100 on an online class. My friend wants to learn the same thing, and $100 is six months salary. Even in wealthy nations like America, where our poorest are among the richest internationally, WordCamp is a couple of months rent, or gas, or electricity.

I could write for a long time, but it has been impressed upon me the difference in life choices between the haves and the have nots.

DK: How do you look at your freelance career now? What kind of work did you do? And how did that path lead to Sandhills, Modern Tribe, and now BigCommerce?

TD: I started freelancing in college, though I didn’t know that’s what it was called, or even that people actually did it for a living. I was just picking up odd jobs. After I graduated, rather than get a Real Job, I just kept taking contracts. A few months after graduation I took a three-month contract with Kellogg’s and built their first intranet web site. Netscape 3 was the hotness at the time.

After that, I took a real job at a hosting company of sorts, and I was there until 2000 when I took a job at my old university running their radio station websites for ten years.  I never quit freelancing on the side though. Always there was someone emailing me saying “Hey, my brother’s wife’s uncle’s nephew says you do internet. Can you help?” Or worse “Hi there, someone told me you know web stuff, my username and password are *****. Can you help?”

Over Christmas break in 2009, my wife and I were talking, and I realized I had spent all of every evening working on side work for two years solid. I was spending eight hours a day at work making $25/hr (granted, with benefits etc.) and three hours every evening making $65/hr. We reasoned that if I got that day job out of the way and managed four billable hours a day, we’d be in about the same position.  Except I wouldn’t be at the office eight hours a day (nine if you include driving) and I’d get my evenings back.  What’s not to like? So in February 2010, I was done.

People often ask me “How do you know when it’s time to freelance?” The answer is, start now, on the side.  When you’re making enough that the day job is getting in the way, fire it.

As for what kind of work I did, there’s some irony. Before 2010 I did all custom PHP/MySQL/HTML/CSS stuff. 2010 is when WordPress 3.0 came out and changed everything. I did only WordPress after that. So the metric I had based my freelance career on changed as soon as I started full time.  But it worked out.

I wasn’t very good with WordPress when I started, but I was a very good PHP dev, so I quickly learned how to mess with custom post types. Most implementors didn’t know how but needed them, so I did a lot of work for other WordPress devs. I would say the majority of my freelance work since 2010 has been building doodads for other WordPress developers, as opposed to building websites.

Somewhere around 2011, a client talked me into joining their startup. I become CTO, and it was sort of a Real Job.  Then we took investment and became a really Real Job. Varsity News Network is still going today. While there I built a monolithic plugin that did everything I could think of — it was ridiculous.  It was my first plugin, and it showed. It was decently secure and whatnot, but I didn’t fully understand hooks and filters, and the whole thing was a bit of a mess.  But who doesn’t look at their code from eight years ago and cringe?

I didn’t really enjoy my time there, and my partner knew it, so in the summer of 2013 he took me out to breakfast and fired me. It was awkward because that meant I didn’t have a job or insurance anymore, but he was right, I didn’t want to be there. It also meant I had to go tell my wife that we were out of work.

There were some upsides, however. My partner went to bat for me with the board and got me my stock options, without having to work six more months to vest them. Also, there was a New Thing in the WordPress world: agencies. I’d been hearing about one called 10up, and I knew there were others. By this time I knew some people in the WordPress world, and I felt pretty confident I could get a job fast. I emailed a friend at 10up, and he said, “You need to talk to Jake.” So a few minutes later I was talking Jake at 10up.  He gave me some advice and gave me a test to take to see if I’d fit in there. I’m going to skip ahead here, because the next few months are an interesting story in and of themselves, and it would make this tome even more epic.

Long story short, I started a trial with X-Team in November of 2013 and went full time in January. I worked there until the fall of 2013 when Dave Rosen, the owner of X-Team/XWP approached me about starting HeroPress. HeroPress took about four months to fail, and during that time several people approached me and said “If this doesn’t work out, come see me,” which was a very nice safety net.

Of course, it did fail. I went and saw Pippin Williamson and worked for him writing docs for about a year and a half. In the spring of 2016, I wasn’t very happy writing docs. Pippin was great, the company was great, but I just didn’t fit well. I heard Peter Chester from Modern Tribe talk about how they work, and getting back to coding sounded like just the thing to me. I worked there for about five months. Some miscommunication during hiring put me in a position I was ill-suited for, and it wasn’t good for either of us.

After that, I joined with Tanner Moushey for about a year to spin up a WordPress agency. In typical startup fashion it was a lot of hard work and not quite enough pay for either of us, so we ended that at the beginning of 2018, and I had to decide what I wanted to do next.

I freelanced for about six months. What I really wanted was a community job — something where I did a lot of shaking hands and kissing babies.

Then at 11:33 PM on June 11th, my friend Luke sent me this in Slack:

This may come as a surprise to you, but I WAS interested. A week later they made an offer, and I accepted. I started at BigCommerce on my birthday, 17 July.

DK: So do you get to do a lot of shaking hands and kissing babies as a WordPress Developer Evangelist?

TD: A lot of shaking hands, not too many babies yet, which is sad, I love babies.  🙂 I’ve been tasked with going to twenty WordCamps in 2019, and I travel in person to at least one Meetup per month. On top of that, I spend a ton of time talking with people on Slack, Twitter, Hangouts, etc.

DK: Tell us about the good news of headless eCommerce.

TD: The joys of headless eCommerce are many.

  • You build the presentation layer of your store in whatever language you’re most comfortable with. With a good enough API, the language really doesn’t matter. PHP, .Net, React, Rails, whatever you want. If you change your mind two years later, fine, your store is all still there with everything important still configured.
  • It makes your website much more modular. By this, I mean that you can build a website and connect it to your store.  Then you can build another website and also connect it to your store.  Then a mobile app. Then Amazon, or eBay, or Facebook.
  • It leaves the hardest parts of eCommerce to people who do nothing else but that. They know all the intricacies of PCI compliance, they have entire teams dedicated to security, and there’s 24/7 support
  • A SaaS typically has quite a bit of leverage with third-party services like shippers and credit card processors. This means they can not only get solid integrations but also at prices you can afford. For example, BigCommerce has a deal with Braintree to offer the lowest PayPal rates anywhere. A SaaS has the power of volume when negotiating on your behalf with third-party services.  There’s huge value in that.

DK: Is BigCommerce unique in the WordPress space?

TD: Depends on how you define it.  🙂  There are other eCommerce plugins, and there are other SaaS plugins.  There’s even a Shopify plugin that works over API just like BigCommerce. That said, Shopify’s API handles two requests per second out of the box, whereas BigCommerce’s does 400 per second.  I think if you want to look at the purely SaaS angle, plugins like OptinMonster and Kraken.io started the movement.  I think larger companies like BigCommerce are going to help turn the tide toward heavy SaaSification (that’s a @Mor10 term).

DK: Are developers or site owners hesitant to move inventory to an API-first service where pricing is based on fixed API call limits?  Or is this what the future of WordPress looks like, as a Digital Experience Platform?

TD: We haven’t seen that with the developers who use our platform most. The most traffic we’ve ever gotten is a small fraction of what our theoretical limits are on the API, so there hasn’t been any concern there. Mostly what we’ve seen is excitement about being able to break out of our built-in Stencil framework and build without limits, while keeping the core power of the eCommerce platform. (Here’s a simple example.) There’s a simple form where you can put in your weight and skill level, and it will tell you your surfboard volume. In WordPress, that’s ridiculously simple, but in Stencil, on BigCommerce it would be really hard.  Putting WordPress on the front end of BigCommerce gives the benefits of both platforms.

Something that has really surprised me is the excitement of agencies that have been working in Stencil on BigCommerce for years. Most of them also do WordPress sites, and they are thrilled at the possibilities. I know of more than one agency that is giving up all other eCommerce options (like Magento or Shopify) to go exclusively BigCommerce on WordPress. It’s very exciting.

DK: What do you do when you’re not working to relax or to decompress when you’re off work?

TD: I typically spend time with my family watching TV or playing games. I do have a personal vice; I play a few video games. I don’t consider myself a gamer, but there are a few I like, and I’ll occasionally take a few hours in the evening and play.

by Dan Knauss at February 18, 2019 10:30 PM under Planet

WPTavern: Amazon Introduces Blog Blueprint to Deliver WordPress Posts as Audio on Alexa

Last week Amazon launched Alexa Skill Blueprints that allow anyone to publish new skills to the Alexa Skills Store without having to have any coding knowledge. The blueprints are templates that provide a starting point where users can create a new skill by filling in the blanks and then publish it to the store for US customers.

This first round of blueprints is targeted at content creators, bloggers, and organizations. It includes blueprints for personal trainers, flashcards, facts, quizzes, and a fable blueprint for storytellers. There are also new blueprints available called University and Spiritual Talks for live and recorded audio content from institutions and organizations.

Amazon has also created a blueprint specifically for WordPress blogs. It works in connection with the Amazon AI Plugin for WordPress to read blogs aloud on Alexa-enabled devices. Setup is not trivial but it is much easier for users than having to create their own blueprints from scratch.

How to Get Alexa to Read Your WordPress Blog Aloud

According to Amazon’s announcement, the new WordPress blog blueprint converts posts into speech and creates an audio RSS feed:

The Amazon AI Plugin for WordPress is a sample application that enables WordPress bloggers to easily convert their blog posts into speech by leveraging Text-to-Speech (TTS) and translation tools provided by Amazon. Bloggers can generate an audio feed (RSS feed) for text-based blog content, and simply add this to the new Blog blueprint to create and publish their own Alexa skill.

If you want to get this working for your WordPress blog, the first step is to install the official Amazon AI Plugin for WordPress. Follow the instructions on the Blog skill blueprint page. The plugin will generate an RSS feed that you will enter into your skill content section. It also needs to be configured with the AWS access key, secret key, and AWS region. There are options available for specifying a post type, enable logging, audio player settings, the ability to exclude certain tags from generating audio, translations, audio excerpts, and more.

After setting up the plugin, you can complete the blueprint by customizing the welcome messages, naming the skill, and publishing it to the Alexa Skills Store, as demonstrated in the video below. Anyone with an Alexa-enabled device can then have Alexa read your RSS feed to them.

Amazon also introduced a new blueprint for creating flash briefing skills, which include short-form content in the form of an audio feed. This format lends itself well to local weather reports, news and sports updates, and other information that can be quickly communicated via an audio update. This may be another option that WordPress news site owners may want to consider. The flash briefing skills page has instructions for creating one and there is also an unofficial WordPress plugin called WP Alexa Flash Briefing that has its own Alexa skill already set up.

If you want to go one step further and manage your WordPress blog with Alexa, the unofficial Blog Helper skill will enable you to log new drafts and moderate comments. It’s available on GitHub.

by Sarah Gooding at February 18, 2019 09:46 PM under amazon

February 14, 2019

WPTavern: Matt Mullenweg Publishes TED Talk on the Future of Work, Prepares to Launch New Distributed.blog Website

Matt Mullenweg is teasing out a new website at distributed.blog with the tagline “The future of work is here.” It’s not clear yet whether subscribers to the mystery blog will be on board for blog posts, a new podcast, or a book promotion, but the site has piqued curiosity.

Mullenweg recently recorded a talk for TED’s new video series, The Way We Work. Over the past 14 years since founding Automattic, he has become an expert and an industry advocate for distributed work, having grown the company to more than 800 employees. In the video he said he prefers the term “distributed” over “remote,” as remote implies there are some people who are central and some who are not.

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Why Working from Home Is Better for Business

This company is so dedicated to remote working that they literally don't have an office. Here's why a "distributed" workforce is better for business — and employees:

Posted by The Way We Work on Monday, January 14, 2019

When I first started working as a developer from home in 2008, many of my friends and family didn’t believe I had “a real job.” People would often say things like, “Remind me what it is that you do at home all day…?” Sometimes I would even receive honest questions from incredulous friends, asking, “Why don’t you go find a real job?” The culture of remote and distributed work is still not widely understood 11 years later but it is slowly improving.

“I think a distributed work force is the most effective way to build a company,” Mullenweg said. “The key is that you have to approach it consciously. I believe that talent and intelligence are equally distributed throughout the world but opportunity is not.” Large tech companies, along with more traditional style companies, still struggle to get on board with this way of working.

Mullenweg’s TED talk explains a few advantages of distributed work. He also anticipates responses from managers in traditional work environments, who might say, “Sure, that may work for all you fancy tech folks but not for us.” Mullenweg outlines a few tips for getting started, such as documenting everything, increasing communication online, and experimenting with collaboration tools.

Automattic was the first WordPress company to operate a completely distributed workforce. Many other product companies, hosts, and agencies have followed suit. Remote and distributed teams have now become so common in the WordPress ecosystem that many who have experienced this way of working can never return to their old way of life.

by Sarah Gooding at February 14, 2019 07:02 PM under distributed work

WPTavern: WPBrigade Patches Critical Vulnerability in Simple Social Buttons Plugin

WPBrigade, the developers behind the Simple Social Buttons plugin, have patched a critical privilege escalation vulnerability. The security issue was discovered by the team at WebARX. Developer and researcher Luka Šikić summarized the vulnerability in a post published this week:

Improper application design flow, chained with lack of permission check resulted in privilege escalation and unauthorized actions in WordPress installation allowing non-admin users, even subscriber user type to modify WordPress installation options from the wp_options table.

Simple Social Buttons is a plugin that makes it easy for users to add social buttons to posts, pages, archives, and, popups, fly-ins, and custom post types. More than 40,000 users have the free version of the plugin active on their sites. A commercial version is also available through the developer’s website.

The plugin’s authors released version 2.0.22 the day after WebARX disclosed the vulnerability, but some site owners and agencies may not have heard about the security issue. Not everyone checks for updates automatically or even once per month. WPBrigade has not yet alerted users to the vulnerability on their blog or Twitter account. The only mention is in the plugin’s changelog, which states: “Enhancement: Fix security issue.” Users who see an update notice in their dashboards are advised to update immediately.

by Sarah Gooding at February 14, 2019 06:04 AM under security

February 13, 2019

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 345 – The Relationship Between Corporate Cash and Open Source Software

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I discuss a thought-provoking post published by Morten Rand-Hendriksen that takes a deep look at equity in open source software. Morten suggests that the mantra of decisions are made by those who show up be changed to decisions are made by those who can afford to show up.

We talk about the relationship and influence money from businesses can  have on open source software, especially if they’re employing someone to contribute to that project full-time. We discuss the pros and cons of financial contributions and whether or not WordPress could fall victim to progressing only at the whims of corporate sponsors.

Near the end of the show, John provides an overview of what’s new in Sugar Calendar 2.0.

Stories Discussed:

PetersenMediaGroup is Relaunched

https://www.petersenmediagroup.com/

WordPress 5.1 Field Guide

Gutenberg 5.0 Adds New RSS Block, Amazon Kindle Embed Block, and FocalPointPicker Component

Gutenberg Blocks Design Library Offers Pre-Built Page Designs Using Existing Core Blocks

Google+ is shutting down in April with some APIs shutting down in March

Sugar Calendar 2.0 Beta Released

The Dark Mode plugin developed by Daniel James is no longer a featured plugin.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, February 20th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #345:

by Jeff Chandler at February 13, 2019 11:09 PM under sugar calendar

WPTavern: Ultimate Blocks Plugin Adds Schema-Enabled Review Block

Ultimate Blocks, one of the many Gutenberg block collections that have sprouted up, launched before WordPress 5.0 with eight blocks. The collection has since doubled in size, adding features like accordions, social sharing buttons, tabbed content, a progress bar, and star-ratings. Many block collections are loosely organized around serving a specific user demographic. This one is aimed at bloggers and marketers.

Ultimate Blocks’ latest release includes Reviews, a new Gutenberg block that is unique to this plugin. It allows users to easily add rows of review criteria and will automatically calculate the cumulative star rating. Users can also edit the title of the review, author name, review summary, and call-to-action button.

One of the most interesting features of the plugin is that it is schema-enabled, which means that the reviews use a standard schema for structured data that can be easily read by applications like Google, Microsoft, Pinterest, and others. For example, when Google finds a schema-enabled review, it can display it as a rich review snippet with stars and other summary info. These snippets may appear in search results or in Google Knowledge Cards.

It’s important to clarify that this block is for the site owner to write their own reviews. It’s not a block that adds a frontend form for visitors to leave reviews. It’s more useful for site owners who want a nice way to display their own reviews for books, movies, restaurants, or any other type of information.

After testing the plugin, I was impressed by how the star rating calculations all work live inside Gutenberg while setting up the block. The back and frontend styles also match fairly well. The Reviews block is generic enough to be used for virtually any type of review a user wants to display. It would even more useful if the author expanded it to support frontend review submissions, which would allow users to create their own community review sites.

by Sarah Gooding at February 13, 2019 08:34 PM under Reviews

WPTavern: Speaker Applications Now Open for 2nd Annual JavaScript for WordPress Conference, July 11-13, 2019

Last year Zac Gordon organized a free virtual JavaScript for WordPress conference and the event drew 1,200 live attendees. With attendance numbers higher than most WordPress conferences and hundreds more views on the videos published afterwards, Gordon considered it a success and committed to organize another event this year.

The next edition is set for July 11-13, 2019, and has been expanded to feature three free days of talks, workshops, and contribution focused on JavaScript and WordPress. The goal for the event’s contributor day is to improve Gutenberg documentation. Applications for speakers and sponsors are now open and attendees can reserve their seats by signing up on the event’s website.

“The conference aims to cover intermediate and advanced topics (not so much beginner),” Gordon said. “Most of the talks are about latest trends of how JS and WP can be used together. Accessibility is really important, as is diversity in speakers. I’d love to have more folks share about cool things they do at work.” He said topics like headless WP, Gatsby, React, state management, Gutenberg, and blockchain are a few examples that seem to be popular in this space right now. Testing and internationalization are two topics that still need speakers.

Gordon teaches both beginner and more advanced courses on JavaScript and Gutenberg development, giving him a unique window into the landscape of JavaScript education. After Gutenberg made its way into core, Gordon said folks “finally have a tangible reason to learn JavaScript.”

“Also, I think folks are finding it easier than first thought,” he said. “A lot of folks have taken my Gutenberg Development Course with zero React or tooling experience and that served as a good introduction to it all.

“At first Matt said, ‘Learn JavaScript Deeply.’ But at the last WCUS he said, ‘Learn Blocks Deeply.’ Luckily, I think it is becoming easier to learn what we need to know with JS and React and tools to get by.”

by Sarah Gooding at February 13, 2019 03:39 AM under javascript

February 12, 2019

WPTavern: WordCamp Nordic to Host Workshop for Kids on March 7

photo credit: Ivan Gatić

WordCamp Nordic, a new regional WordCamp taking place in Helsinki, is just 23 days away. Organizers have published a list of 26 speakers and their sessions this week. Topics include content design, entrepreneurship, security, leveraging AMP, WooCommerce, internationalization, Gutenberg, and general WordPress development.

The event’s organizers are also embracing a growing trend of hosting a kids’ camp alongside the WordCamp to introduce younger attendees to the software. WordCamp Nordic is planning a free WordPress workshop for 20 kids aged 8-14 that will be held Thursday, March 7, from 13:00 to 17:00. It will run at the same time and in the same venue as the WordCamp’s Contributor Day. Attendees will learn how to set up their own WordPress websites, choose a theme, and learn how to add text, galleries, videos, and other elements to the their sites.

WordPress veteran Petya Raykovska is leading the kids’ workshop. She has led similar workshops all over the world, first in Bangkok 2017, followed by events in Belgrade, Sofia, Varna, and other locations. Demand for the kids’ workshops has grown in the past two years and Raykovska started receiving requests from other European WordCamp organizers to lead events at their camps. As a result, she has created an organizer kit for others wanting to host their own WordPress workshops for kids.

WordPress can be a gateway to the open web for the next generation

Workshops for kids are starting to become more common at WordCamps, as there is a growing demographic of WordPress users with children and technology is more accessible than ever before. WordCamp Miami and WordCamp Phoenix were some of the first camps to offer kids’ workshops and since then St. Louis, Cape Town, and many other WordPress communities have hosted their own.

These workshops are important events that will foster the next generation of bloggers, business owners, and contributors to WordPress. Facebook (and soon to be Snapchat) is widely regarded as an “app for old people” and its users under the age of 24 are rapidly declining. WordPress is in a better position, because an influx of older users doesn’t affect the overall experience of the app the same way. However, if WordPress usage isn’t growing among the school age population, it is in danger of suffering the same fate as Facebook – becoming an application that will live and die with its current generation of users. Onboarding new young WordPressers doesn’t just help to ensure the software’s future but it also gives kids a tool that can help them find their place on the open web, a home for their content that will outlast all the ephemeral social networking apps.

by Sarah Gooding at February 12, 2019 11:38 PM under wordpress for kids

February 11, 2019

WPTavern: Gutenberg Blocks Design Library Offers Pre-Built Page Designs Using Existing Core Blocks

Gutenberg Blocks Design Library is a new plugin that provides pre-built page designs, including demo content, using only the default core blocks that come with WordPress. The free version comes with 50 different designs that users can import from the growing Gutenberg Blocks Design Library. These include simple designs for all kinds of page building items, such as text with images, columns with headers, call-to-action sections, team member listings, testimonials, contact page layouts, and more.

The plugin is fully compatible with other Gutenberg themes and plugins, since it simply adds styles to existing core blocks. It can be used in combination with block collections, such as Atomic Blocks, Editor Blocks, CoBlocks, Caxton, Kadence, GhostKit, WooCommerce blocks, and many others.

There are a few major advantages to this approach. Simply adding styles to core blocks means that the plugin doesn’t introduce a bunch of new blocks for users to scroll through in the block inserter. It also ensures data portability. If a user ends up deactivating and removing the plugin for any reason, the content is still there in the default block design.

Although Gutenberg Blocks Design Library is compatible with any WordPress theme that works with the new editor, the appearance of the the pre-made designs vary somewhat across themes. I tested various blocks with different themes and found that it seems to adapt to the active theme’s look and feel. This can be a positive feature or a negative one if the user is hoping for the designs to match the demo exactly.

After installing the plugin, the design library is available by toggling the carrot icon in the menu at the top of the editor. The user is then prompted to import 50 free designs.

The creators of the Gutenberg Blocks Design Library have also built a commercial subscription service to sell “pro designs.” Pricing during the beta period starts at $9/year for a single site. The company aims to have 1,000 commercial designs available to subscribers by November 2019. They plan to release new designs every other week.

The Gutenberg Blocks Design Library is helpful for users who don’t need the more advanced capabilities of a full-featured page builder plugin but still want some simple, pre-built page elements. The placeholder content makes it easy for users to know where to insert their own content. It is much more intuitive than importing an XML file for demo content. This plugin is a great example of the interesting new product opportunities that Gutenberg has introduced by replacing tools that previously might have been built with widgets or cumbersome shortcodes.

by Sarah Gooding at February 11, 2019 09:55 PM under News

February 09, 2019

WPTavern: Open Source Initiative Calls Organizations to Reaffirm Support for Its Definition of Open Source

The Open Source Initiative (OSI) took a strong, unequivocal stance on its definition of open source this week, encouraging organizations to sign a public affirmation of its role in maintaining and stewarding the definition. The organization has been instrumental in combatting issues caused by license proliferation, as many open source licenses cannot be legally combined and this can be detrimental to the open source ecosystem.

The affirmation published this week explains the need for a standard definition of open source:

Without this single, standard definition of “open source,” software development as we know it would not be possible. There is no trust in a world where anyone can invent their own definition for open source, and without trust there is no community, no collaboration, and no innovation.

Recent controversy surrounding Redis Labs licensing some of its modules under the Apache 2.0 modified with a Commons Clause has highlighted the need for an authoritative definition of open source. Salil Deshpande, who helped create the Commons Clause (written by open-source lawyer Heather Meeker), wrote an article for TechCrunch two months ago about how he perceives large cloud infrastructure providers, such as AWS in this case, to be a threat to the viability of open source. He explained why he and collaborators commissioned the Commons Clause:

We wished to define a license that prevents cloud infrastructure providers from running certain software as a commercial service, while at the same time making that software effectively open source for everyone else, i.e. everyone not running that software as a commercial service.

With our first proposal, Commons Clause, we took the most straightforward approach: we constructed one clause, which can be added to any liberal open-source license, preventing the licensee from “Selling” the software  —  where “Selling” includes running it as a commercial service. (Selling other software made with Commons Clause software is allowed, of course.) Applying Commons Clause transitions a project from open source to source-available.

In referencing MongoDB’s Server Side Public License (SSPL), Deshpande questioned the authority and relevance of OSI:

OSI, which has somehow anointed itself as the body that will “decide” whether a license is open source, has a habit of myopically debating what’s open source and what’s not. With the submission of SSPL to OSI, MongoDB has put the ball in OSI’s court to either step up and help solve an industry problem, or put their heads back in the sand.

The Commons Clause, which has no chance of being approved by OSI, was a reaction to cloud-based services making a profit from open source software without contributing much back to the software’s creators. This is a common issue encountered by maintainers of popular open source projects. However, the Commons Clause isn’t a good solution for this problem, because it effectively neuters open source software, removing the vital freedoms identified in the open source definition, including free distribution and no discrimination against a specific field of endeavor. OSI President Simon Phipps called the Commons Clause an “abrogation of software freedom” after Redis changed its license.

In light of these recent conversations, OSI is calling organizations to band together in recognition of its authority to maintain a single, standard definition of open source:

Recently there have been efforts to undermine the integrity of open source by claiming there is no need for a single, authoritative definition. These efforts are motivated by the interests of a few rather than the benefit of all, and are at odds with the principles that have so demonstratively served us well in the past decades. If allowed to continue, these efforts will erode the trust of both users and contributors, and hinder the innovation that is enabled by open source software, just as surely as having multiple definitions of a kilogram would erode and undermine commerce.

OSI reached out first to its Affiliate Members, which includes the WordPress open source project, but not all members have responded in time for the publication of the post this week. The organization is still welcoming new signatories and will add more names to the list as it receives them.

by Sarah Gooding at February 09, 2019 12:18 AM under OSI

February 08, 2019

WPTavern: YoastCon Overshadowed by Twitter Storm: Joost de Valk, SEO Industry Leaders Called Out for Objectifying Women

The third edition of YoastCon kicked off today in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, but for those following remotely the conference has been overshadowed by a discussion that erupted on the #yoastcon hashtag prior to the event. Several parties began circulating tweets and unsavory videos involving Joost de Valk, for which he has since publicly apologized.

The story was complicated and confusing to follow, as many of these decade-old tweets were deleted and the videos made private by the websites that are hosting them. The parties who were publishing screenshots from archive.org alleged that de Valk was sexually harassing women in the SEO industry.

One of the women to whom some of the tweets were directed has publicly stated that she did not perceive them as harassment and that the tweets were taken out of context.

de Valk responded yesterday with a public apology, acknowledging the tweets and videos.

He also provided a statement to the Tavern with more context on the after party videos.

“The videos are of an event I’ve attended over the last decade called SEOktoberfest, which is an SEO conference at Oktoberfest,” de Valk said. “I’m honestly ashamed of those videos when I see them now… It looks bad and I wouldn’t behave like that now, but I don’t think anything I did myself at those events was ever out of line.”

Marieke van de Rakt, who recently took on the role of CEO of Yoast, said she thought the tweets were brought to public attention in retaliation for the company announcing a project to empower women working at Yoast. de Valk left the CEO role to focus on product development at Yoast and his new role of Marketing and Communications Lead at WordPress.org.

I feel like it started after I was announced CEO and later on talked about a project to empower women working at Yoast. I got some really upsetting tweets. After that it started focusing on #yoastcon. It seems like they want to show the hypocrisy in our statements about women. I never spoke at SEO events before, though I have been to SEOktoberfest. It felt totally welcoming back then. That being said, the pictures and movies aren’t something I particularly enjoy watching. I do think they’re bad, but also a bit out of context. The environment at Yoast is nothing like that. And although my husband likes to party (as do I), I feel he’s always been a strong believer in equal rights and opportunities. I think we all make mistakes and learn from them. At Yoast, we’re really trying to improve inequality with both the diversity fund and my empowerment project.

For those watching the #yoastcon hashtag, the way the situation unfolded it almost seemed like a coordinated personal attack on de Valk, especially given how the SEOktoberfest videos were spliced together with the YoastCon promotional videos. David Cohen, a Philadelphia-based Digital Marketing Director who previously worked at a large SEO agency, started the conversation by publishing de Valk’s old tweets that he had found years ago when researching Yoast and its founder.

“As far as the tweets from Joost are concerned, I’ve known about them since 2014,” Cohen said. “I just never knew what to do with them or how to proceed questioning why that behavior was perfectly acceptable for him.

“As far as the harassment and abuse in the SEO industry, particularly at the SEO conferences, I’ve known about this since 2011 after seeing it firsthand while working at a large SEO agency in Philly, Seer Interactive.”

Cohen said that he began publicly criticizing people he calls “SEO celebs” in 2014, for “saying they are against the SEO harassment and abuse, claiming to be ‘male feminists,’ yet knowingly covering up the abuse and enabling the abusers who happen to also be their friends, peers, colleagues, etc.”

While the discussion on the #yoastcon hashtag seems centered around de Valk’s admitted indiscretions, Cohen said his objective in publicizing the old tweets goes beyond de Valk. He’s calling out other leaders in the industry who he alleges have harassed and abused women for years.

“This started a solo mission to take action as a messenger of questions for the group of SEOs most prominent figures who hold the power of influence over the industry about the 10+ year ongoing issue of alleged harassment and abuse of women in the SEO world, particularly at SEO conferences between 2009 and 2012 era.”

Cohen said the timing with YoastCon was “a mission looking for direct and public answers on this topic once and for all while they were all gathered together at the event.” He began tweeting about these issues well before the event and was using the #yoastcon hashtag to call out other SEO industry leaders for the past few months.

When asked about his motive, Cohen said he simply wants answers from de Valk, Rand Fishkin, his wife Geraldine, John Doherty, Martin MacDonald, Marcus Tandler, and others regarding what he perceives to be hypocrisy in the SEO industry.

“Why has it been totally cool for the SEO celebs, rock stars, ninjas, and conference speakers to be misogynists, to objectify and sexualize women, to hire Playmates for their SEO events, and to engage in behavior that would easily be classified as ‘toxic masculinity?'” Cohen said. He claims that industry leaders have been covering up harassment and abuse that they have known about and have refused to help the women who have been abused. Cohen and several others who have been circulating the tweets claim that victims of this abuse have been contacting them to share their stories but have not yet gone public with them.

“I chose to act on this now because I wanted answers to two questions from specific people: 1. Do you know of alleged harassment or abuse because someone went to you directly and told their story? And if so, did you refuse to use your power and influence to help them at the risk of your own professional and personal interests?” Cohen said.

“As for Joost, going with the ‘if I offended anyone’ apology approach is empty and lacks personal accountability for behaviors that are completely misaligned with words. He had to respond publicly. But the question remains open – why?”

by Sarah Gooding at February 08, 2019 04:42 AM under YoastCon

Dev Blog: WordPress 5.1 Release Candidate

The first release candidate for WordPress 5.1 is now available!

This is an important milestone, as the release date for WordPress 5.1 draws near. “Release Candidate” means that the new version is ready for release, but with millions of users and thousands of plugins and themes, it’s possible something was missed. WordPress 5.1 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, February 21, but we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.1 yet, now is the time!

There are two ways to test the WordPress 5.1 release candidate: try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want to select the “bleeding edge nightlies” option), or you can download the release candidate here (zip).

What’s in WordPress 5.1?

Inspired by Archie Bell & The Drells, WordPress’s theme for 2019 is to “tighten up”, and WordPress 5.1 focussed on exactly that.

With security and speed in mind, this release introduces WordPress’s first Site Health features. WordPress will start showing notices to administrators of sites that run long-outdated versions of PHP, which is the programming language that powers WordPress.

Furthermore, when installing new plugins, WordPress’s Site Health features will check whether a plugin requires a version of PHP incompatible with your site. If so, WordPress will prevent you from installing that plugin.

The new block editor has kept improving since its introduction in WordPress 5.0. Most significantly, WordPress 5.1 includes solid performance improvements within the editor. The editor should feel a little quicker to start, and typing should feel smoother. There are more features and performance improvements planned in upcoming WordPress releases, you can check them out in the Gutenberg plugin.

Plugin and Theme Developers

Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.1 and update the Tested up to version in the readme to 5.1. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure those out before the final release.

The WordPress 5.1 Field Guide has also been published, which goes into the details of the major changes.

How to Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! This release also marks the hard string freeze point of the 5.1 release schedule.

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.


This is my release
candidate. There are many
like it. This is mine.

by Gary Pendergast at February 08, 2019 02:22 AM under Releases

February 07, 2019

WPTavern: Gutenberg 5.0 Adds New RSS Block, Amazon Kindle Embed Block, and FocalPointPicker Component

Version 5.0 of the Gutenberg plugin was released yesterday with a new RSS block. Riad Benguella, the project’s technical lead for phase 2, published a demo of the block and its settings. Users can set the number of items displayed and also toggle on/off the author, date, and excerpt.

RSS is still relevant today as one of the linchpins of the open web and Gutenberg makes it possible to easily place a feed inside a post or page. (This feature was previously limited to widgetized areas.) The creation of this block is part of a larger effort to port all of WordPress’ existing core widgets over to blocks.

Version 5.0 also introduces a new Amazon Kindle embed block, providing an instant preview from an Amazon Kindle URL. WordPress already has oembed support of Amazon Kindle URLs but it was missing from the Embeds section of the accordion in the block inserter.

One of the most exciting additions in this release is a new FocalPointPicker for the Cover block. It allows users to visually select the ideal center point of an image and returns it as a pair of coordinates that are converted into ‘background-position’ attributes. The result is that the user has more control over how the image is cropped. This feature solves so many problems users have experienced in cropping and displaying images in their WordPress themes and content. The FocalPointPicker was created as a reusable component so that developers can use it to build other blocks with the same capabilities, providing an experience that is consistent with core.

Focal point picker

The changes included in Gutenberg 5.0 are immediately available for those running the plugin on their sites but only for WordPress 5.0+. This release drops support for earlier versions of WordPress. The updates in Gutenberg 5.0 are planned to be rolled into WordPress 5.2.

by Sarah Gooding at February 07, 2019 06:32 PM under gutenberg

Post Status: Building Multidots, with Anil Gupta

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Brian Krogsgard.

In this episode of Draft, I talk to Anil Gupta, the founder of Multidots. Multidots is a 100+ person company, and Anil has established a very people-first environment there. We discuss his journey and what he’s learned about building a company.

I met Anil at CaboPress. We had a great chat there, and we did again at WordCamp US, where we recorded this episode. Anil has a great story and a lot of insight. I hope you enjoy it.

Sponsor: Jilt

Jilt offers powerful email marketing built for eCommerce. Join thousands of stores that have already earned tens of millions of dollars extra sales using Jilt. Try Jilt for free

by Brian Krogsgard at February 07, 2019 05:04 PM under Planet

February 06, 2019

WPTavern: Transcript of WordPress Weekly Episode 344

Based on requests from listeners, I purchased a transcription of episode 344 of WordPress Weekly where we discussed the WordPress Governance Project. I purchased the transcription from Rev, a well-known service devoted to captions, subtitles, and audio transcriptions.

For an 87 minute podcast, the turn-around time was 25 hours and cost $87. The transcription came out better than I expected considering the way I speak.

The following is a sample of the conversation that took place during the show.

The WordPress Governance Project is an effort that we booted up to surface all the conversations that are happening behind the scenes around WordPress Governance. If you’ve been around the WordPress Project for more than a couple of months, you would know there’s a lot of ongoing conversations internally in the community around who makes decisions, how are decisions made, who are the leaders, who appoints leaders, where is the direction going and who decides on the direction of this project and so on and so on.

And both Rachel and I have been part of this community for awhile and we’ve seen these conversations crop up repeatedly, and they never go anywhere, but they are really important conversations. And here’s a need in our community to surface those conversations because we are in a position now where we need to start acting, taking on the responsibility of being 34.7% of the web and actually using that responsibility for something other than just saying it as a marketing campaign.

Morten Rand-Hendriksen

The transcript is in .txt format for maximum compatibility and includes the speaker’s names.

by Jeff Chandler at February 06, 2019 11:04 PM under transcript

HeroPress: WordPress Saved My Life

I am thankful for WordPress because without it, I'm really not sure I would have been able to live a decent life.

This probably is the first time I will be telling my story because I have always lived a fairly secret live.

I am from Nigeria where I was born and still live in. I know we are all stereotyped as scammers and thieves but trust me, a lot of us own and operate legit (online) businesses. Just like in every country, there are good and bad people and we are no exception.

I had a great childhood. Everything was fine and rosy until I lost my Dad which meant I had to shoulder the responsibility of my family as the first child. I manage to finish secondary school and was awarded the best Math student.

Introduction to The Internet / Web

Back then in secondary school, I had a rich friend who owned a Nokia phone (that could browse the internet) he brings to class which he uses to play games and do fun stuff online even though we weren’t allowed to bring nor use a phone in the class. (Funny right? :D)

I have always been a football lover (called soccer in the U.S). I still play very well and support Chelsea FC. So each time I have the opportunity to use his phone, I always visit Goal.com to read football news especially concerning my team Chelsea FC of England.

Being a very inquisitive person, I wanted to learn how the web works as well as have my own website. I was able to buy a Nokia 3120 classic phone via the menial jobs I did after school.

Nokia 3120

I visited Google and search how to create my wapsite. We refer to mobile phones optimized sites as “wapsite”. The result of my search were filled with site builders like xtgem.com and wapzan.com.

I chose the xtgem.com and discovered I needed an email address to sign up. Didn’t know what that means so I googled it and eventually created a Yahoo email address. Finally registered and built my first website. Sadly, the site is no longer online but I was able to get a screenshot of the site thanks to Wayback Machine.

WAPsite built by Collins

I had to learn HTML and CSS from w3schools to build the site and it came out well didn’t it?

I later moved on to wapka.mobi site builder which allows you to build dynamic websites such as a social network or forum using its own programming language called “wapka tags”. I was able to build a community/forum, sms collection and a file sharing site.

I later came across simple machine forum and MyBB, I learned them deeply and used them to build forums and community sites for interested people.

Meeting WordPress

I came across a Facebook group called BloggersLab and discovered I could make money blogging. Two prominent platform at the time to create a blog was Blogger.com and WordPress. I chose WordPress because WordPress blogs were always pretty.

From my savings, I bought the cheapest hosting plan from a local web hosting here in Nigeria and installed WordPress using Softaculous included in cPanel and started writing wapka.mobi tutorials. See https://w3guy.com/?s=wapka.

I did all this with my Nokia phone.

Here’s how I publish a new post: first I write it on a notebook before publishing on my blog. I was also building mobile sites for people for small amount of money.

I couldn’t go to the university because of my precarious financial situation. I continue to do menial jobs during the day and started learning PHP in the evenings and at night using my mobile phone via w3schools.com. I later was able to get a cheap old IBM Thinkpad laptop which I used in getting eBooks from torrent sites because I couldn’t afford them at the time and also to practice coding. Mind you, I was also blogging about the stuff I was learning on w3guy.com

I later took up a job teaching children at a school primarily because I got tired of the menial jobs and wanted to earn enough to take care of my internet data plan. After a while, I became fairly proficient in PHP and even took up a job to build a school management system which was really slow and ugly.

WordPress Saved My Life

I needed to start making money with the PHP, HTML & CSS skill I had because my blog wasn’t making any money via AdSense. I think I got to the $100 payout on my second year of blogging.

I came across a post on Sitepoint.com that they were looking for writers. I applied and got in. I started writing PHP and WordPress development tutorials and got paid few hundreds of dollars per article. In Nigeria, that’s quite a lot of money. I was able to improve the life and well-being of my family and I. I also wrote for Smashing Magazine, Designmodo, Tuts+ and Hongkiat.

I later got admission into a polytechnic to study computer science and decided to stop writing and try to make and sell WordPress plugins for a living.

I discovered my tutorial on building custom login form on Designmodo was popular with lots of comment so I decided to make a plugin out of it. That was how my first premium plugin ProfilePress was born. I wanted to sell it on Codecanyon but it was rejected so I decided to sell it myself. It was and still hard doing development and marketing at the same time.

Thankfully, after a year, it started making enough revenue for me to live pretty comfortably here in Nigeria because the cost of living here is little.

Few years later, I came across a payment processing library for PHP called Omnipay which included support for many payment providers like Stripe, PayPal. I use 2Checkout as my payment gateway to sell my plugins via EDD and discovered the driver for 2Checkout in Omnipay was old and unsupported so I built one. I figured I could make money building EDD and WooCommerce payment gateways base on the Omnipay and I did and place them on Codecanyon for sale. They didn’t do well sales wise and I had to stop selling them and moved the 2Checkout gateway for WooCommerce to omnipay.io. I have since built an EDD Paddle gateway which I now sell alongside.

My latest product is MailOptin, a WordPress optin form and automated newsletter plugin. I initially built it for my own need. I figured there might be interest in it so I made a free version and a paid version.

I currently live on the revenue from my plugins.

Wrap Up

I am thankful for WordPress because without it, I’m really not sure I would have been able to live a decent life. Who knows what would have become of me.

I am also thankful for the community. I have made lots of friends that has been very supportive and helpful in my journey.

If you live in a third world country like myself and going through hardship, I hope my story will inspire you to be great.

I tell people, life won’t give you what you want. You demand from life what you want. You make these demands by being determined and never giving up on your dreams and aspiration.

If you are poor perhaps because you came from a humble and poor background, it is not your fault. You can’t go back in time to change things. I implore you to be strong, determined and hustle hard.

I will end with this story.

Two guys had become shipwrecked and were directionless-ly drifting on the vast ocean, desperately holding onto a wooden plank.

A big ship comes along. Elated, one of the guys let’s go of the plank and makes a bold move, using his last strength to reach the ship.

The other guy holds the plank and tells himself: “God will save me.”

A few days later he died and is sent to heaven.

In heaven, he angrily asks God: “Why didn’t you save me?”

“I sent you a boat you idiot.”

No one is coming to save you. You are all alone. It’s up to you to change your fortune.

Do nothing, be nothing.

La fin.

The post WordPress Saved My Life appeared first on HeroPress.

by Collins Agbonghama at February 06, 2019 08:00 AM

February 04, 2019

WPTavern: Sending Positive Vibes to Alex Viper007Bond Mills

Alex Mills, the author of several plugins, including the popular Regenerate Thumbnails plugin, published an update on his fight with cancer and it’s not looking too good.

The blood test had been showing a fraction of a percent and then later 3%. That was obviously trending in the wrong direction but the hope was increasing my special medication would keep things in check. It didn’t.

The bone marrow biopsy came back at a spotty 20% (amounts varied by area). This is not good at all as it means the leukemia has morphed into yet some other form that my donor immune system is having trouble keeping in check, either due to a change or being overwhelmed.

Alex Mill

Please join me in sending positive thoughts and vibes to Alex as his battle against Leukemia ramps up.

by Jeff Chandler at February 04, 2019 11:53 PM under regenerate thumbnails

Dev Blog: The Month in WordPress: January 2019

The momentum from December’s WordPress 5.0 release was maintained through January with some big announcements and significant updates. Read on to find out what happened in the WordPress project last month.


WordPress Leadership Grows

In a milestone announcement this month, WordPress project lead, Matt Mullenweg (@matt), named two individuals who are coming on board to expand the leadership team of the project.

As Executive Director, Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune) will oversee all the contribution teams across the project. As Marketing & Communications Lead, Joost de Valk (@joostdevalk) will lead the Marketing team and generally oversee improvements to WordPress.org.

Both Josepha and Joost have contributed to the WordPress project for many years and will certainly have a much larger impact going forward in their new roles.

WordPress 5.1 Development Continues

Immediately after the 5.0 release of WordPress, work started on version 5.1 with some highly anticipated new features coming out in the first beta release. Since then, the second and third betas have been made available.

One of the core updates in this release — a feature to improve the way in which WordPress handles PHP errors — has been pushed back to version 5.2 due to unforeseen issues that would have caused significant delays to the 5.1 release.

Want to get involved in testing or building WordPress Core? You can install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin, follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.


Further Reading:

Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

by Hugh Lashbrooke at February 04, 2019 09:17 AM under Month in WordPress

January 31, 2019

Akismet: Version 4.1.1 of the Akismet WordPress Plugin is Now Available

Version 4.1.1 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available. It contains the following changes:

  • We updated the “Setup Akismet” notice so that it resizes to fit all screen sizes.
  • We improved the Akismet settings page so the “Save Changes” button is only highlighted when a change has been made.
  • We fixed a bug that could have been causing the count of spam comments displayed on the dashboard to be up to an hour old rather than the current count.

To upgrade, visit the Updates page of your WordPress dashboard and follow the instructions. If you need to download the plugin zip file directly, links to all versions are available in the WordPress plugins directory.

by Christopher Finke at January 31, 2019 06:56 PM under General

Dev Blog: WordPress 5.1 Beta 3

WordPress 5.1 Beta 3 is now available!

This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

There are two ways to test the WordPress 5.1 beta: try the WordPress Beta Testerplugin (you’ll want to select the “bleeding edge nightlies” option), or you can download the beta here (zip).

WordPress 5.1 is slated for release on February 21, and we need your help to get there!

Site Health Check

One of the features originally slated for WordPress 5.1—the PHP error protection handler—will target WordPress 5.2 instead. Some potential security issues were discovered in the implementation: rather than risk releasing insecure code, the team decided to pull it out of WordPress 5.1. The work in #46130 is showing good progress towards addressing the security concerns, if you’d like to follow development progress on this feature.

Additional Changes

A handful of smaller bugs have also been fixed in this release, including:

  • TinyMCE has been upgraded to version 4.9.2 (#46094).
  • The block editor has had a couple of bugs fixed (#46137).
  • A few differences in behaviour between the classic block and the classic editor have been fixed (#46062, #46071, #46085).
  • When adding rel attributes to links, ensure the value isn’t empty (#45352), and that it works as expected with customizer changesets (#45292).

Developer Notes

WordPress 5.1 has many changes aimed at polishing the developer experience. To keep you informed, we publish developers’ notes on the Make WordPress Core blog throughout the release cycle. Subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog for updates over the coming weeks, detailing other changes in 5.1 that you should be aware of.

How to Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! The beta 2 release also marks the soft string freeze point of the 5.1 release schedule.

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.


In just a few weeks
WordPress Five-One will be here.
Your testing helps us!

by Gary Pendergast at January 31, 2019 03:34 AM under Releases

January 28, 2019

Matt: 39 Books in 2018

Here’s what I read in 2018, in chronological order of when I finished it, as promised in my birthday post. I’ve highlighted a few in bold but in general I was pretty satisfied with almost all of my book choices this year. I’ve put a lot more time into the “deciding what to read” phase of things, and have also had some great help from friends there, and have been trying to balance and alternate titles that have stood the test of time and newer au courant books.

  1. Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook by Dan Shapiro
  2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (audio)
  3. A Higher Standard by Ann E. Dunwoody
  4. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin (audio)
  5. The Boat by Nam Le
  6. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  7. Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg
  8. How to Say Goodbye by Wendy Macnaughton
  9. When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön
  10. Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
  11. Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger and Peter Kaufman
  12. Sam the Cat by Matthew Klam
  13. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
  14. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
  15. The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu
  16. After On: A Novel of Silicon Valley by Rob Reid
  17. The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell
  18. How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee
  19. Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
  20. Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed
  21. Darkness Visible by William Styron
  22. Tin Man by Sarah Winman
  23. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
  24. Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard
  25. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  26. Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
  27. The Lessons of History by Will & Ariel Durant
  28. Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
  29. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  30. Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu
  31. How to Fix a Broken Heart by Guy Winch
  32. Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman
  33. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
  34. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
  35. Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most by Steven Johnson
  36. Severance: A Novel by Ling Ma
  37. On the Shortness of Life by Seneca
  38. It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
  39. Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

by Matt at January 28, 2019 05:38 PM under Asides

January 25, 2019

Post Status: An Interview with Ernst-Jan Pfauth of De Correspondent

Stressing subscriptions over scale, De Correspondent launched in 2013 with €1.7 million from 18,933 members. Membership has grown over fourfold since then. Subscriptions and book sales are De Correspondent‘s primary revenue sources. Today The Correspondent is closing on its first 50,000 subscribers with $2.6 million raised in pre-launch funding.

Ernst is a long-time WordPress user, but his vision for journalism led to the creation of a technology company built around a proprietary CMS called Respondens for De Correspondent and now The Correspondent. Respondens’ unique design reflects an ethic where subscribers are treated as a community of people who want to be involved in the production of the news they read. In the future, Ernst hopes to market Respondens to support its development and spread the practice of what we might call “responsive journalism.”

Ernst and his colleagues intend to avoid the churn of breaking news by taking a structural focus on the issues they cover, working in the tradition of constructive, problem-solving, or “solutions journalism.”

Finding solutions as journalists means listening, engaging, and collaborating with readers. In his predictions for journalism in 2019, Ernst told Harvard’s Nieman Lab,

“To really be a reader-driven organization, every journalist that works there should be open to the knowledge, ideas, and concerns of their readers. You can’t outsource that interaction to an engagement editor.”

This approach to journalism slows down and deepens communication by focusing issues around the people and the communities they concern. The constructiveness of this approach may have a lot to do with its calming and humanizing effects.

Ernst has written several Dutch best-sellers, including a Thank-You Book or “gratitude” journal that came out of his efforts to overcome anxiety about public speaking. In his reflections on work, overwork, and gratitude for TEDx, Ernst emphasizes that resistance to “the burnout society” where “creativity is crushed” is a collective task: everyone needs to make daily space for their close relationships where work and media do not intrude.

I am grateful Ernst took some time after the holidays to talk about his experience with WordPress, collaborative online communities, and democratized journalism. Here is the conversation we had.

DK: What are your thoughts about WordPress today? Have you made any connections or maintained relationships with the WP community in other ways?

EP: I started using WordPress in 2006 when I launched my personal blog ahead of an internship at a press agency in the United Nations HQ in New York. The fact that I then, as a twenty-year-old, could start a publication in such an easy way, has been crucial in my career and something I will be the WordPress community eternally grateful for. Since then, I have started several sites, most of them running on WordPress. In 2007 I co-founded the blog of The Next Web Conference, now known as thenextweb.com, in 2009 I started a news blog for the Dutch daily nrc.next, and in 2010, as head of digital at the Dutch quality newspaper (NRC Handelsblad), I switched their main site from ‘Escenic’ to WordPress. The fact that we could so easily build our own plugins (for example, a liveblog feature to cover the Arab spring) was crucial in the success of that news site. Also, the developers enjoyed their work more, since they could give back to the community.

I still run my personal site on WordPress, and even though I don’t publish there anymore, I love to stay in the loop of new WordPress releases and the ever-increasing user-friendliness of the software. In lost moments, I enjoy reading the developers forums and checking their discussions about new releases (I admire the distributed, self-organizing and voluntary efforts of the community) but I’m not in touch with one of the members. I’m just an admiring bystander.

DK: Can you explain when and why you came to see community and membership features as essential to a CMS? What does it look like when the idea of membership/audience inclusion is integral to the software architecture and vision? How are you doing this in Respondens?

EP: The main consideration was focus. We wanted a CMS that only had features for our writers that we deemed important. We didn’t want to create any distraction by having other options available — both to our developers as to our writers. If we build it ourselves, we force ourselves to make conscious decisions about every new feature we add. I.e., we wouldn’t just switch a ‘like’ button on in the comment section, simply because it’s already there. Forcing ourselves to do this made sure we built a laser-focused CMS and publication. The focus and the calm that follows makes it unique. (See “Cultivating calm: a design philosophy for the digital age.”)

Also, our approach to reader interaction — as you mentioned — is a unique asset of our CMS. I elaborate on that in this Medium post, “Reinventing the Rolodex: Why we’re asking our 60,000 members what they know.” We believe in the democratization of the journalistic research process. Anyone could be a source, anyone has expertise and knowledge to share within a specific niche.

DK: How does your model of membership-based journalism change at scale, when you have potentially the largest possible national and international audience? Will you still ask your journalists to spend 30-50% of their time reading and responding to member comments and other feedback? Is this essential (or even possible) to sustain at scale?

EP: The thought that you see your readers as sources of knowledge and expertise is crucial. It works for the local examples you mentioned, but it can also work for global topics. For example, we interviewed Shell employees from all over the world — who we found through our Dutch members forwarding a call-out. (“How reader engagement helped unearth the Shell tape.”) We also created the position of “conversation editor” to help journalists with the scalability of their reader interaction.

Yes, there are scale challenges. We see our journalists as conversation leaders and our members as contributing experts. We notice when a journalist gets more feedback from their sources (their readers), they need a research assistant to keep up — for example by highlighting interesting contributions to them or taking over some interviews. These are tasks that can be easily outsourced, as long as the correspondent remains the main point of contact in the comment sections and guides the conversation.

I don’t see the 30 and 50 percent as time to spend on ‘responding to comments.’ The comments are just a means to an end. The end goal is to involve your audience, so you can get a wider set of sources, become more inclusive and publish richer journalism. We estimate it takes 30 to 50 percent of your time to live up to that mission.

DK: On the other end of the spectrum, does your model have things to teach small, local journalism and other membership-focused businesses that they don’t already know? In the new membership-based local journalism I’ve been watching in the US and Canada — local media startups where there’s no history or expectation of a printed product or advertising — there’s a definite limit on the subjects that can be curated and written (or spoken) about in a deep and penetrating way. Is this a low or slow-growth model that simply must be accepted?

EP: It starts with being open about your mission as a journalist (all our new correspondents publish a mission statement when they start working with us) and then telling your audience what you expect from them. It’s about that personal relationship. The CMS, practices, technology and resources all follow. But it’s the being open to your audience input and being open about your shared goal with them that’s crucial. Anyone can do that. And when you start, it might even be easier to do it on a small scale, but it’s more intimate, and you can scale up as you get better at it.

The Correspondent team

The Correspondent team browses their unbreaking newspaper. From left: Zainab Shah, Jessica Best, Rob Wijnberg, Baratunde Thurston, and Ernst Pfauth.

DK: What do you do to keep sane and whole amid the busyness and stress of work? Are you still a practitioner of journaling and daily gratitude? Have your thoughts on that changed or deepened? 

EP: I still write in a gratitude journal every night and noticed this three-year habit has really made me more aware of ordinary but beautiful moments in life, and also taught me to enjoy the process instead of the end goal. I save my evenings and (80% of) my weekends for family and friends — and always have my phone on DND in those hours. Also: I don’t check my email before I have left my apartment. Setting these clear boundaries and turning them into routines have really helped me to stay sane in the busyness of the campaign.

by Dan Knauss at January 25, 2019 11:00 PM under Planet

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 344 – Introduction to the WordPress Governance Project

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Morten Rand-Hendriksen and Rachel Cherry to discuss the WordPress Governance project. We discover why it was created, its goals, and how it aims to help govern the systems and processes that make up the WordPress project.

Stories Discussed:

WPML Alleges Former Employee Breached Website and Took Customer Emails

The Era of “Move Fast and Break Things” Is Over

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, January 30th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #344:

by Jeff Chandler at January 25, 2019 01:32 AM under wpml

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February 21, 2019 07:30 PM
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