It was a treat for me to see some folks in-person and online at Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word on December 14th. For me, the thrill of his annual keynote is hearing his perspective of the year and what questions it raises in the community. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to all of the questions! We only had a handful of pre-submitted questions which I’ve included along with their answers in my post below. After those, I’ve listed all the questions that were received during State of the Word (with the exception of the banana shake questions 😉
How do we do this?
All unanswered questions have been assigned reference numbers (Q1, Q2, Q3, etc) and any corresponding answers that come in the comments will be labeled similarly (A1, A2, A3, etc). Just like twitter, but slower! 🙂
Matt, me, and my team are building a decentralized publishing infrastructure to bridge WordPress users to Web3. We hope to help content creators leverage blockchain to reach the end goal of democratic publishing. Especially for heavily censored places where people don’t have the freedom to distribute and access information. What do you think WordPress would evolve in the Openverse/metaverse, and how could we deliver the right tool to the WP community? Thanks for answering my questions, and if there’s a chance, I would love to get in touch for a follow-up conversation with you or the team.– Phoebe Poon
Web3 is currently a collection of ideas, aspirations, and technologies and, in this context, refers to a decentralized web built on cryptocurrencies and the blockchain.
It’s important to note that decentralization is not exclusive or inherent to the blockchain and crypto. Solid, a project from Tim Berners-Lee and MIT, is an excellent example of this. Self-hosted, open-source WordPress sites are already a great example of decentralization on the web, where users already own their data. The blockchain itself may be trustless and decentralized, but the gateways to access it and abstract it for users might not be. Openverse is an open-source, centralized tool to enable the discovery of openly-licensed media that challenges proprietary libraries of stock photography, licensed audio, and more. – Zack Krida, Openverse project lead.
I’m curious how many people use WordPress Block Editor vs. Classic Editor, raw numbers, and percentages. I’m looking forward to tuning into the event on Dec. 14th.– Mathew Wallace
The Gutenberg plugin has over 300,000 active installations, while Classic Editor plugin has over 5 million. It’s hard to draw any specific conclusions from these numbers since each plugin serves a different purpose. Having the Classic Editor plugin provides users and clients with a choice of how to create their content, so folks who have that plugin installed could still be publishing primarily with the Block Editor.
My question is about the plugin review team: This is a very special team. It is closed, has only two members, and although we have nearly 60k plugins now, 100+ more coming every week, the team never got more members. The team has power (reject plugins, closing plugins, ban users, etc.), and it has no rotating policy, although the work is very stressful. WordCamp organizers have a rotating policy; why do we have no rotating policy for the plugin review team? And/Or how can we prevent misuse of powers here?– Torsten Landsiedel
Great question. We have had several people on the plugin review team at various points. Unfortunately, there have been cases of legal threats and illegal harassment against the team’s members, and I will not expose community volunteers to that. That said, there are other community teams involved in reviewing disputes about blocked accounts, and there are plans in place to automate any checks we can, so humans are involved in the parts humans do best. – Josepha, WordPress Project Executive Director
I am afraid that the block editor is dividing the community we are so proud of. As a long time community member, many people come to me as a “representative” person (WordCamp & meetup organizer, speaker, moderator, GTE, etc.) and complain about Gutenberg. Devs are complaining about the fast moving target, the incomplete documentation, and the changes. Users complain about full screen mode and UX problems (especially with older themes). How can you help us volunteers or the people in general to have a smoother transition?– Torsten Landsiedel
Although the recommendation is to build themes as block themes and migrate existing themes to blocks, older themes are still supported. In this direction, the Widgets Editor was released in 5.8 to support Legacy Widgets in the Block Editor and add native blocks in Widgets Areas. However, it is recommended to implement migration paths from Widgets to blocks.
With the advent of FSE in WordPress 5.9, the new Site Editor will supersede the Customizer, hidden by default. Still, whenever WordPress detects hooks that need the Customizer in themes and plugins, it will be available automatically. Further, companies participating in the Five for the Future initiative are increasing the number of sponsored contributors focused on developer advocacy and documentation to help smooth this transition. – Matías Ventura, Gutenberg project lead
PHP is a foundational language for WordPress, so many people in the ecosystem already know it deeply. That said, it’s always smart to know your software’s tech stack well. The WordPress project has benefitted so much from the PHP project and community. This sponsorship is giving back in the way that I hope companies in the WordPress ecosystem give back to our project—think of it as a proactive Five for the Future contribution to PHP. – Matt Mullenweg, WordPress project lead
Q1. Can we curate the content on WP.org? It’s hard for the good theme/plugins to rise to the top, and I think a little help would go a long way. It’s been talked about for years, but nothing has ever come from it. – Nick Hamze
Q2. Any plans to go public this year? Via SPAC, maybe? Before it’s too late! If not, why? And what’s the long-term vision of the company? – Emre Sokullu
Q3. What are you doing to make WP enterprise Dev Ops ready for multi server setups? Code migration for entire db and theme settings? – WapTugDotOrg
Q4. Are patterns responsive? – Yashwardhan Rana
Q5. I’d love to see the WP community, which is committed to freedom of speech and freedom of the press, to take a stand in support of Julian Assange – Leo Germani
Q6. [Will] the Classic Editor plugin will be phased out next year? – Tanisia Greer
Q7. What are the tradeoffs of doing the Collaboration phase before the Multilingual phase? – Ian Dunn
Q8. Can we talk about the timeline for implementing that core implementation of multilingual support? Speaking as someone who works for nonprofits in a bilingual country, this is essential for growth. – Autumn Corvus
Q9. Is the idea that by the end of phase two, Gutenberg will make it easier to switch themes without as many styling headaches ie. by retaining the same block layouts? – Anthony Church
Q10. Blocks play a huge part in CMS. Recently Shopify released their opinionated framework Hydrogen for higher customization; what are your thoughts on this? Could we see something similar coming from WP? – Arthur Ferreira
Q11. Are there any updates on Tumblr? Also, to follow up on my question at the last in-person WCUS in 2019, what do you think is the biggest challenge for Gen-Z and younger people to get into WordPress, especially with social media, other website builders, and other content management systems being distractions, plus not many into traditional blogging or owning their sites? Thank you! – LemonadeCode G
Q12. What’s in the roadmap for multilingual support? – Ricardo Alday
Q13. What can WordPress do better to improve diversity, not only in gender, color, but to increase the number of contributors from unusual countries? – Allyson Souza
Q14. When will the theme directory preview be fixed to show a great preview, not the same block posts – Maz Ziebell
Q15. Would [you] unblock woo commerce for free WP? – Mohmmad Hossein Ghorbanian Deilamy
Q16. How are we going to convince designers that it will be easy to bring their work to life? (especially designers outside WP universe) – Luis Rull
Q17. What can be done to improve the accessibility of the front end output of WordPress sites to ensure they work better for people with disabilities? – Amber Hinds
Q18. Is there something expected after Gutenberg? Abdullah Ramzan
Q19. With Gutenberg being the center of WordPress development, who do you believe will be the biggest WordPress user base in, let’s say, 5 years? – Ellen Bauer
Q20. What is WP doing to keep up with the development of PHP? – Taco Verdonschot
Q21. Will there be a place for writing themes from scratch in the future of WordPress, like with HTML, CSS, and JS? Or will designers jump straight to the block editor, making developers obsolete? – Paul Fernandez
Q22. Have you considered any possibilities of leveraging Web3 technology for the WordPress project or open source software governance? – Aaron Edwards
Q23. [Will] Gutenberg be moving toward trying to be the operating system of the web?- Christopher J. Churchill