Thousands of volunteers make WordPress, while a $10 billion industry powering one-third of the web profits. What drives so many to give so much of their time and energy? OPEN explores the open-source community making WordPress. This is a story about community giving freely of their time, expertise and energy to software driving the online economy.

OPEN was filmed at WordCamps, local events around the world organized by volunteers to further the mission of democratizing publishing. With over 150 WordCamps and 600 meetups worldwide, this grassroots community brings together more than just programmers and bloggers. WordCamps can attract hundreds of local WordPress users, each with their own story of how and why they use WordPress.

suggested reads for November 13, 2019

on putting readers and blog authors on the same page

… lately I’m thinking that one necessary element of a true renaissance will be to get the readers of blogs on the same page as the writers. Everyone who writes a blog for a while knows that one of the best things about it is the way it allows you to revisit themes and topics. You connect one post to another by linking to it; you connect many posts together by tagging. Over time you develop fascinating resonances, and can trace the development of your thought.


But this is not typically how readers read blogs. Not many people read this blog, but those who do typically just read the most recent posts — three days back, max. I add links to earlier posts, but almost no one clicks on them. People don’t click on tags either. And I think that’s because we have all been trained by social media to skim the most recent things and then go on to something else. We just don’t do deeper dives any more. So one of the things I want to be thinking about is: How can I encourage readers of my blog to seek some of the benefits that I get from it? 

Alan Jacobs

A couple of friends have reported on their blog a quote or two from this post by Alan Jacobs on blogging.

More and more people, expecially if somehow educated in ‘computer technology’ are fighting for their right of privacy, respect, transparency, indipendence and full authorship on what they put on the web. Many more just don’t care. And they just passively undergo the technological succession of a platform over another.

But maybe we don’t need any magical fix … if we care we have just to be faithful to our vision, find the first tool at hand – possibly an open source one – and publish our staff, in the ways we like. We have to put an enphasys to the things we do for the good, be open to suggestion, invite people in telling us what they like and what they don’t … and if this does not match to our vision we should avoid conflict and search the things in common that will permit us to build over something, instead of starting again and again the Quest for the perfect.

One example of this is WordPress, now at 34% of the preferences of the people who build stuff for the web, a tool that one can use as an advanced headless CMS or a vanilla grandmom’s recipe diary. A tool that is – believe it or not – shaped by the people that is present and active and supportive in the Community. If you just say no and walk away you’ll have no chances to change anything.

As for bloggin’ … I’m entering the 17th year of activity and will use tags and categories and open comments because they helped me to learn, search, and correlate things. So if you’ll click on them, or go away, it’ll be your choice… not me forcing to experience your navigation.

As ever, I’m open to comments … let me know what you think. It’ll be appreciated!

suggested reads for Oct. 30, 2019

about ‘good’ design

Apple shows us highly stylised manufacturing videos – raw materials being forged into a beautiful new object. Ingenuity we ought to celebrate. We were conditioned to treat the ‘unboxing’ of that precious new object like a quasi-religious experience.

And then, the promise of good design falls short. Little consideration goes into how the object ages, how maintenance could extend its use, or what happens to it when it reaches the end of its life cycle. Apple’s much-touted respect for materiality quickly turns into a liability – your liability.

From that perspective, the ‘good design’ of the AirPods (and most of today’s gadgets) remains a tragedy.

Kai Brach