How do we give back? We all want a community of creativity, cooperation, and contribution — how do we get there?
Estimated reading time: 42 minutes
In this episode, Dan and Ny talk about WordPress and giving back. Giving, making, creating… Looking at the search results for “Make WordPress” and “the firehose” of Make WordPress Slack where the #docs channel was having their weekly meeting, Dan and Ny look at the wide range of options there are for new contributors.
Mentoring and organizing Meetups is a topic that comes up again. That’s where Ny feels she has been given the most and most enjoys giving back. However, there are barriers to getting people engaged with the WordPress project — and to work for free.
Dan asks what needs to be done to reach younger people. Ny talks about the barriers from a BIPOC perspective, where sensitivity to history and personal stories matters. Dan relates that to an inner city gardening project he volunteered with that had an all-white leadership team. If contributing is a privilege, how can we help elevate more people to that level of privilege?
- How does the older open source culture of contribution (not) translate to the contemporary culture of the “creator economy?”
- Dan’s initial experience with trying to onboard himself in #docs.
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Mentioned in the Show
- Make WordPress
- WordPress Slack
- Daniel Schutzsmith’s Tech Roundup (last week’s)
- Josepha Haden Chomphosy says a new WordPress mentoring program is in the works
- Dan’s post on languages of contribution and creation in WordPress and the Creator Economy
- The WordPress Briefing: Episode 36: Beginner’s Guide to Contributions 2.0
- The WordPress Briefing: Episode 27: Is WordPress Made for Me?
- Nyasha Green, Editorial Director at MasterWP (Twitter)
- Dan Knauss, Editor for Post Status (Twitter)
- Olivia Bisset, Web Producer intern for Post Status (Twitter)
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DONE How do we give back. A community of creativity, cooperation, and contribution
DONE How do we give back. A community of creativity, cooperation, and contribution
Dan Knauss: [00:00:00]
Good morning Ny.
Nyasha Green: Good morning, Dan. How are you?
Dan Knauss: All right. It’s an earlier one than, than we usually do, but that’s good. Start the day. Um, yeah, so I thought we could, we could talk about, um, contribution and contributors and, and what that means in the, in the word. community where, um, I don’t know, you, we probably both have about the same level of outside in kind of experience with it.
So, um, I’m not the expert or anything, but, um, mm-hmm, , I could tell you what my, my experience is and how I’m, I’m looking at that. And some of the discussions that are going on about what it, what contribution means or could mean. And, um, Yeah, how’s that sound? What’s what’s yours? What is it? What comes to mind when, when you hear that word in the [00:01:00] WordPress context?
Nyasha Green: Um, I guess, uh, the same it’s, it’s the same when I hear it in like, you know, outside in life contribution means giving back. It means helping, it means providing, um, and, uh, you know, it’s the same in WordPress. So definitely down to talk about this today, and I’m very interested to hear your thoughts.
Dan Knauss: Yeah, it’s I, I think it’s, um, it’s the core part of the, the project that is the oldest, um, feature of it.
The oldest foundations of it, that’s very, very open source, very old, um, old part of open. As Matt has said in, in some talks, like give a penny, take a penny kind of, kind of ethic. Um, really kind of going back, I guess, to like Linux and the seventies [00:02:00] and early and earlier generation. And I wonder sometimes if like after millennials or so if, if that’s things have changed a lot and that’s not.
Understood. There’s kind of a, a reciprocity there. You use the software, it’s free. It’s open. Um, how are, how can you, the more you get engaged with it as a user, as a developer, um, someone maybe profiting from it. How, how do you give back and does that, does that just happen naturally through the relationships that arise?
Or not. And how do we move really? How do we move the, the project forward? And, um, I was just looking this morning. Like if you, if you, um, I was, I was just Googling make WordPress. So there’s the whole make.wordpress.org, um, page where you get the list of all the core core teams and, um, [00:03:00] If you search for make WordPress, you get three ads.
First, first for WP engines, WordPress page builder, wordpress.com WordPress page builder element, or for WordPress, create it with Elementor, um, the create and build language. So, uh, most people these days, um, and, and they’re targeting what people wanna do. Uh, how do you just make something with WordPress?
Create and build. But I’m looking for the old school. How do I contribute back? Where, where the you’re budding developer designer, just helping, like helping out. We’re always looking for people to help make WordPress even better. Um, and there, what you can give back goes into all these teams that, uh, we now have a performance team.
It hasn’t changed a ton. It’s, it’s rare for them to add. So we got the core and that’s really like the fundamental. Thing here, if we don’t move word breast core [00:04:00] forward, how much does anything else matter? But there’s so much else people can give and do that really is essential too. You don’t don’t want to deemphasize that design mobile mobile team is now been more explicitly defined as that’s open source that.
That’s not, um, that’s not something that is tied to jet pack or.com. And you, you wanna work on iOS and Android apps, Java objective C swift. Um, that’s a, that’s a whole nother section accessibility. Polyglots multilingual, uh, translation, WordPress support, uh, support forums. What,
Nyasha Green: uh, what stands out to you the most out of all of those?
What, what do you think? Like, not what’s most important, but, um, cuz that’s subjective. Um, which one would you be like most interested in contributing to? Yeah. Which one do you think speaks to you the most? When you read through the list? [00:05:00]
Dan Knauss: Yeah. And I was, I was, I’ve been thinking about that. So then there’s documentation and that’s where I’ve been trying to kind of learn, figure out how to get in.
And that’s, that’s kind of where it, it isn’t that easy. It isn’t that easy. maybe, you know, some people or if you have a deeper connection, but from that straight outside in it’s it’s tricky documentation, themes, plugins, community. Training test TV marketing, CLI WordPress CLI the VP CLI uh, hosting tide, open verse photos for performance.
Um, there’s really a lot of different skill sets that could be attractive. And a lot of things you could do, but to be honest, the, um, my, my experience is, um, I haven’t really done like. Contribution in the form of little patches and bug reports and stuff since way back, like, you know, they’re still using tra have you, do you have much SVN experience?
that’s what we were all using like 20 years [00:06:00] ago on source project. WordPress is still using. Um, so, so yeah, there’s all these, all these different teams that are maybe attractive to different skill sets you may have or different people, um, May have, and, um, core is really at the center of it. And there’s all, all these other things orbiting around that, um, or orbiting around the community and, and serving it or around mobile app.
Um, and yeah, finding your way into it, I think is, is. Is the trick. Um, once someone gets interested in, in doing that and bringing, bringing new folks in and smoothing the onboarding, um, is probably, um, something we need to pay more attention to. It’s tough. I, Brian mm-hmm Brian cords was, was writing about [00:07:00] that.
Did he, um, So he, he talks about his experience. I’m, I’m kind of doing the same thing. Try, can I put in a few hours a week, I’ve been trying to follow, just look at the docs program, you know, cause writing, editing that’s mm-hmm, , that’s probably the easiest thing for me. I’ve I’ve done little bug reports and patches and, and things before.
And I go back a long way. So SVN or, you know, was something I was using way before GitHub existed get was a thing. Um, but it’s, it’s. It’s quite amazed of, of things and a lot of customs and etiquettes and rituals, parts of the culture to, to understand, um, to get started. So I feel like there’s like a long watching, reading, learning, asking questions, maybe getting mentored, um, phase you have to go through, um, have you taken a look at like the.
Would make [00:08:00] WordPress slack at all.
Nyasha Green: I have not. And I’m going to be completely honest. Um, I will eventually, I am just in so many slack channels right now. I don’t think I can. I don’t think I can possibly take on that one. Um, I’ve heard it’s it’s a lot. I, I just cannot do it. I’m in like work slacks. I have like my mentoring slacks that I do official mentoring with.
I have like slacks I was in before I, um, got. Um, tech and I still help people there. I just, uh, if I join one more, I think my head will explode. Yeah. But please enlighten me to what usually goes on
Dan Knauss: here. Well, I’m not an expert, I’m trying to figure out the same as you and, and, and Brian and, um, yeah, I think the reality is, is yet they call it the fire hose for reason.
It’s, it’s probably, one of the busiest slacks and consistently for so long, this major, um, Of [00:09:00] information and cooperation. Um, so it’s daunting, it’s intimidating to, um, to look at how to get into, um, but it there’s there’s method to the madness and what I’ve learned, just kind of following along and looking at, at things in a, in a pretty traditional way.
I, I assume the. Other teams work like this, but like docs. Um, we have a, um, a meeting every Tuesday morning at this time. So 8, 8, 8 am. I’m kind of following, um, on my phone here and people kind of check in. I can make it, I can’t make it. Um, melanic cap is, um, one, the leader there and one of the leaders and you’d probably like her.
She’s a ump developer. Um, who’s kind an advocate. For PHP as well. Who’s been doing docs for a long time. So you developer literacy is really important if you’re gonna write [00:10:00] docs and guides for, for things that directly deal with that. But there’s so much else you don’t have to be. You don’t have to have any particular code depth.
There’s so much other documentation going on. Um, and that’s probably starting to overlap some with the training materials that are another team. That’s a. Newer thing that will help onboard people, I think, to have training and then also mentoring happening all these meetups that are relatively new, um, community.
Yeah. Is that I’m not sure what group that’s what if that’s happening under the community team? I think that’s all that’s under the training team. Mm-hmm uh,
Nyasha Green: what the meetups,
Dan Knauss: oh, that you’re talking about. Yeah. They’re make they’re they’re coming out of the core. So they’re, there are, um, Hannah tab. For this somewhere.
Nyasha Green: Organizing the meetups, which is what I’m doing in [00:11:00] Columbia, South Carolina. And I always say the city and not the state and Charlotte, North Carolina, mm-hmm um, falls more under community. We’ve been all over there. Yeah. Trying to get things, uh, settled for it. Um, that’s that’s my area of export.
Expertise, but it’s still really, really hard. Um, , I I’ve, I’ve organized a lot of things and this might be the hardest honestly. And I don’t know if, if it’s, you know, because it’s so specialized or what, but, um, still really excited. And I just I’m, I just can’t wait to, you know, have that set up as my contribution and like spread it.
That’s like my goal for it. Yeah. That
Dan Knauss: Def that would be under, under community. Um, Yeah, it’s actually is I guess, something you could get into and start doing in your own, um, in your own city and a lot happens outside of slack, outside of, um, Outside of this, but that there’s the community team. And mm-hmm
I was, I was speaking of, um, the, the newer meetups that [00:12:00] are sponsored by learn, um, WordPress. So there’s, there’s probably some increasing overlap between community and training, which is a good thing. There, there are all these meetups that are happening as virtual. Um, there’s a schedule, there’s a calendar on here where people like, um, um, People who are directly involved in working on Gutenberg.
Like, uh, Nick Diego, I saw I had had one coming up, um, uh, will be doing live workshops so you can go and get, get some knowledge from, from people who are directly working on, um, on newer parts of, of WordPress and. so some of that is higher, higher level stuff for, um, developers, designers, and some of it is oriented towards people who might be really new to using WordPress in different ways.
So training’s [00:13:00] close to mentoring and close to community building. So that’s kind of a neat area where, um, where people can. Brought in and, um, connected. And I would say you’re contributing by learning. Like if you’re, if you’re learning in community, , that’s like step in mm-hmm um, for a lot of people, um, I noticed that, so we have this weekly thing that Daniel Chut Smith is doing, um, for us where he’s rounding up.
Um, What’s going on and what’s catching his eye, uh, design and development. And this, his last Roundup was mostly stuff coming from.org from make, create your first app with Gutenberg data. So using react. Um, so Adams Linsky put together a nice tutorial. That’s showing you how to do that. That’s a link to, um, developer, the developer section of word, wordpress.org.
Block theme builders, Figma [00:14:00] of building a workflow from Figma Figma to your block theme. You’re trying to create, that’s a learn WordPress online workshop. So that’s, that’s one of these things I’m talking about. That’s a meet up. So, um, you can sign up and, and do that. There that’s an intermediate level for an audience of builders.
So people who may not be high, um, Deep into code, um, high level development stuff. That’s okay. This is, um, working from Figma to your block template. Are you, are you doing anything, any front end stuff like that, or mostly have these database backend projects you’re working on.
Nyasha Green: I’m doing everything. But, um, mostly right now I am working with the database.
Um, mostly when I talk to my mentors and they want me to show them, like, I always get the question. Uh, can you show me what you do at work or a day in the life of you? Mm-hmm and, um, I don’t show them my [00:15:00] calendar. I don’t wanna scare them away, but, um, uh, usually it’s front end work with them, um, because that’s what, you know, they learn first and most are interested in, so.
Surprisingly, I have not gotten away from front end work because that’s the first thing that newbies wanna see. Oh yeah. How it works in WordPress. And I think, uh, WordPress is great for front end development. So that’s my way of trying to get them into the community as well. So I throw in my community stuff like, Hey, you know, we’re gonna have meet up soon.
If you want to come and learn more about the community and that’s my sales pitch. And that’s how I, that’s how I get. That’s how I’m getting people into the community.
Dan Knauss: Yeah. It’s great to see that there’s so many levels like, yeah, we’re gonna reach out to builders, to people who are totally new to it, to people are maybe doing freelance or agency work.
Um, I was hinting earlier, like when you, if you search for this, like the way that, the way that a lot of companies, including, um, wordpress.com and automatic or. [00:16:00] Presenting WordPress to the world is to the creator economy and to, to people, I just wanna build something. I wanna start my business online. I, and, and their first thought is I don’t not to understand anything about open source or that there’s a community behind that or what, that, that, there’s this, uh, culture of contribution and open source.
That’s a long, that’s a long way up later. Mm-hmm and , I wrote something where I, I, I feel like, you know, we really have. Embrace that. And I see that happening on the marketing level, on the commercial side to a lot of WordPress companies. Um, and I, I even noticed like, as, as the.com, um, I, when they did their first price change, I got the bargain and I up upgraded my longstanding account.
I have a.blog blog and a bunch of other sites there. And. Um, you can, there’s the marketplace there. You can install and do a lot in.com. Now you can install Elementor I’ve not seen that [00:17:00] before. So you could, you could pop that in on wordpress.com and start building with that if you want. And they’re very oriented towards a, a builder, um, creator economy approach, but getting people inside is like the key thing.
Like, however you come, however you come, come, as you are. I think like that needs to be more of. Our approach. And as cuz people aren’t gonna, the average person, isn’t gonna go to.org, the make thing there, and look at these core teams and, and, and go like, okay. Yeah. I, I see where I fit. Like I, you and I would, would struggle with that.
Like it’s gonna, it’s gonna take weeks and, and months to probably get, um, to get comfortable. And that’s, that’s cool. That’s fine. That’s how you build relationships, but it’s not. It’s not like on the instant gratification level of, let me build my site today, which you wanna do as quickly as as you can. Um, [00:18:00]
Nyasha Green: I think it’s even, um, even for people like me who will sit down and take their time, um, when things are presented to them, It’s so much to go through sometimes depending on what you want to do.
And like you said, like it’s not an easy thing to jump into. It’s it’s making that time too. I know, like for me right now, I get asked every week, like, how are you doing everything you do? And sometimes, I don’t know, but, um, like. I think it’s easier for me to still contribute because like, I, I didn’t go into this.
Like, Hey, I have to make myself fit to one of these. I went into this as, this is what I already do. This is something I’m good at, how can I connect this with WordPress? So I think that’s an easier way. And then like that allowed me to like, okay, I can make time to, you know, set this. I have a partner helping me.
Um, Ken, yeah. Elliot is helping, um, well, he’s the mastermind. I’m helping him. Um, and, um, I think that’s a easier way, but I agree with you a hundred percent. [00:19:00] Um, that’s, you know, just when you were reading them off, I’m like, this is a lot. And then when you get into them, it’s like, you have to break it down and that’s a lot.
So I think if we have like more. I guess people like me or you cuz you did it too. When you talked about how, you know, you’re a writer and documentation probably would be your strongest point and you’ve done some of it before. I think people getting people like us to talk to people and say, well, this is how we did it.
That would definitely help people a lot because it’s a little overwhelming.
Dan Knauss: Yeah. It, it is. And yeah. Well, if what I, what I found is that it’s probably your own sense of, um, my own sense of in, in, uh, you don’t want to be ask of the dumb question, but, or, you know, You have to put yourself out there. So they’re very encouraging.
Like who’s got questions who needs help. You know, you, you, people will take the time and, and show you. And I’ve, I’ve got like an accumulated list of tabs and, and links where I need to, I need to take some time and watch this UN WordPress TV. Right. I need to read through this and figure it out. [00:20:00] I, um, a couple weeks ago, I, you know, figured out how they’re using good Gutenberg on, um, GitHub, a little deeper and, and how to, um, How to submit, um, changes on, uh, there’s there’s documentation, that’s written into code, uh, in WordPress.
So, and sometimes it’s wrong or, or changes. So you have to, you have to actually commit, um, changes to comments that are embedded in PHP code somewhere. Um, Things like that there’s a wide range of, of stuff, but how all these workflows and things work and it just takes some time to, to learn. And it’s, it’s pretty satisfying once you figure it out and you are like, okay, I fixed, I fixed that.
Nyasha Green: Yeah, it definitely
Dan Knauss: is. Yeah. And in the process you might find some more bugs or things and stuff like that to, to put in. Um, but just a little here and there is, is, um, is really a good thing. [00:21:00] Um, I, I. People on the whole are, are really welcoming. It is, it is just getting past that fire hose and here, here’s what I need to forget all that other stuff.
Here’s what I need to focus on. And it’s probably cool doing the meetups or mentoring, which, um, is gonna become more and more a part of the training and community. I, um, I don’t have, I’d like to get more details on this, but I, I see SFA has been, been saying things about mentoring as. Becoming a more explicit form of contribution, mentoring, how to do word camps and, and so on.
And mm-hmm , and that they, there is probably some mentoring program coming down the line, along with training. So if you’re doing, you want to go and do, um, a meetup, um, tutorial of some kind or do that in the context of your own meetups, totally contributing. And then I that’s, that’s probably accessible to a lot of people cuz most of the work is.
Gonna be, I would assume relationships and [00:22:00] stuff like in your community. So you don’t like, you don’t start from slack, you don’t start from, from all that. That’s kind of where you go to maybe get support. And, um, the main, the main thing is really the people stuff. So if that’s, that’s what turns you on and, and motivates you?
Um, yeah, that’s totally essential contributing out there in. Real life relationships, um, locally where you’re, you’re starting. How’s that going with? Um, Greenville and, um, or green wait, Greensboro.
Nyasha Green: no, not Greenville. Um, not Greensboro. Um, I think you’re, you’re getting me nice or green mixed up with those I’m I’m joking. Um, so char Charlotte and Columbia. Okay. I don’t know where Columbia .
Dan Knauss: Go ahead. Sorry. I used Greenville in my head like Greenville, South Carolina, you know, I used to live [00:23:00] in Raleigh mm-hmm Durham, chapel hill area.
Actually. I don’t know if you know that area that well, Carrie and Carrie and table mm-hmm . Yeah. Um,
Nyasha Green: yeah, I, I really love that area actually. Um, uh, you, uh, now there was a, uh, Greenville, uh, WordPress meetup for a long time. Um, and I think like a lot of people in Columbia, even though there was one in Columbia at one point, I think a lot of people in Columbia had to go to Greenville for that one.
So you may be thinking about that. Cuz Greenville, I think had a longer, a one that lasted longer than ours. In Columbia. Um, but we’re right now, if we were to start one in Columbia, to my knowledge, cuz I always check out Greenville, Columbia, Charleston, the big major cities, to my knowledge, we would be the only one in the state right now.
I’m gonna double check on that. But the last I checked a few months ago. Yeah, we would be the only one. So I. It definitely would help. And like, we really want to spread the knowledge because Columbia’s in the, in the middle of the state. Right. That’s why I chose Columbia, not just because I [00:24:00] was from there, but it’s in the middle of the state.
Mm-hmm, , we’re an hour and a half to almost anywhere in the state, maybe two max. And so if people have to make that drive, which, you know, if they can, that’s fine. If they can, we still wanna do it, uh, in a way that will. You know, semi virtual and recording recorded. So we’re setting that up as well. Um, cuz we know South Carolina is very rural and we don’t have great public transportation.
So, um, it’s really going to help a lot because it’s going to reach all throughout our state, which is not known for tech at all, Charleston and Greenville, more Southern Columbia. So. It’s going to help a lot and it’s going really, really well. Um, we have a place, um, we have food, uh, so many different companies reached out to me because they saw what I was doing and wanted to help goad wants to feed us.
You know, my company master WP wants to feed us and master WP is actually sponsoring our, um, sponsoring us and taking care of our venue. Um, we [00:25:00] have people offering to send us. Things to give out to newbies. Um, I have Courtney Robertson, which is, she’s been such a great help who has just offered to give out so many learning materials.
Yeah. Um, I ju just the outpouring of support and then we can take that and spread it. It’s just been, it’s been a community effort, so it definitely meetups are definitely community. I see why it’s under that label and I’m just so excited. Like I’m going to like spam everyone’s Twitter when. You know, get up and running and we have pictures and video and things like that because, um, I think, you know, I agree with Josepha Josepha is really, really great to talk to, and I love how she answers questions and it’s always very transparent.
And, um, it’s, it’s awesome that she’s going to expand that because we can definitely take these materials and, you know, help with that and make sure people can do it in their states. Maybe their states don’t have any work camp meetups or WordPress meetups.
Dan Knauss: Yeah. Yeah. There’s probably, uh, It’d be interesting to look at a, a Pinboard, you know, [00:26:00] map of, you know, where we, where there’s activity and yeah.
Some are very established and been around a long time. Some come and go. The, I know the local Edmonton one. Um, yeah, pretty much ended just around the time I, I moved here. There’s one in there’s, one in Calgary. Um, and I’ve talked with some people there about, about all that. Um, you know, it, it’s a, it’s a takes a lot to.
To get things, uh, rolling again, but there’s wherever you go, there’s kind of an existing WordPress builder community. I, I, I sense there’s a lot of people freelancing or, and there’s a bunch of agencies and my, this was true even when, before WordPress was that adopted probably at that level. And I was doing more with, um, with June law and some other DRAL and other, other CMS, um, related things.
That a lot of people just get in to scratch their rich and build something. And, and then they [00:27:00] start doing that as a job and maybe they develop an agency or something. And so there’s, there’s a bunch of people who are like an unorganized, the lump and proletariat of word press, who are like, uh, they’re not organized into, um, into a, a regular meetup.
Exactly. Um, but the potential is there mm-hmm , maybe it comes in and goes at at times, cuz there there’re people who would fit the kind of WordPress professional or the line between the hazy line amateur and, and professional and doing this for myself and or which often turns into this is my job. Um, but it’s, it’s often secondary and I think that’s an, that’s been tough for the.
The project. And I wonder if there’s, if there’s a, that’s kind of where contributor language gets gets complicated. And I wonder if we should like focus more on creativity and creation and there’s all these people who are sort of [00:28:00] on the outer edges, who, who are very versed, inward press or using it in some significant way, but they haven’t really connected deeper.
Into the community. And they’re definitely contributing in the sense of, um, teaching and informing and expanding the market and expanding the brand, but, um, how they find their way into. These other, um, layers of the onion towards core contribution. Um, it’s, it’s tough cause you don’t wanna make it sound like, well, what you’re doing isn’t worth as much mm-hmm um, cause it it’s as they’re all different, but to drive things forward, you do need people to come in who get more of that kinda leadership level to organize, meet up.
Mentor people, um, submit patches, um, get involved in, [00:29:00] in actual software development, which yeah. Is hard not to, not to privilege. Cause that’s really a key, that’s what we’re all using. That’s what either falls behind or, or innovates and yeah. What do, what do you think about that? Do you, are you think there’s ways in our language that can be kind of offputting?
Sometimes it’s like this inner circle of, of people who give back and are. Are you adequate is it can maybe be an easy feeling of, uh, of inadequacy or imposter syndrome that’s RI and, and things, and, and that language can kinda land heavily on, on you.
Nyasha Green: Oh, yeah, definitely. Um, especially, you know, that’s something that goes beyond tech, but, um, when we’re talking specifically about us right here. Yeah. That can be off putting you. You have to think. Um, I do a lot of community service. because that’s just how I am. That’s just how I was raised. That’s just me as a person, but I’m smart enough also to acknowledge [00:30:00] it’s tough to get people to work for free.
Yeah, it’s tough. Um, that’s something that’s drilled that was drilled into my head from, um, From a young age. And we talked a little bit about that on one of our other podcasts, like how American slavery, like is affecting people to this day. And it’s like, there’s no way anybody in my family from the oldest members, my great aunts to the youngest, my little baby niece, none of them would just sit and smile.
If I told them I was working, doing anything for free outside of C. Help. So , and it’s like, it doesn’t even have to be that deep for a lot of people. People are just not working for free mm-hmm, , we’re in a very capitalist society. Um, we, things cost money. You know, things are high right now. Um, but again, not even getting that deep, it’s just hard for some people to just work for free.
And also for people who want to do it time. Time is such a big constraint. So you may have people that are out there. They’re like, I wanna do this. Yeah. But I [00:31:00] don’t know how I wanna do this. And I don’t have the time. And now these people are telling me that I’m not enough. If I’m not doing this, man, I’m not doing it.
So, you know, I, I see how it can lead there. Um, I, I, I definitely see that. Um, sometimes, you know, I, I it’s, it, it is, it does seem like that at times, but it’s just going to depend on you as a person, like stuff like that. Won’t bother me personally, because if I can’t do something, I can’t do it. Yeah. I don’t have the time.
I don’t have the time, but I, I get it. I definitely get it. Um, I, I’m not sure though how. I’m not sure how to pull people in, who may be feeling that like it, they may have that imposter syndrome now. Um, is there just like extra reassurance? What do you think? What, what do you think could be clarified in the language to get those, to, to kind of pull those people back?
I, I think that
Dan Knauss: the more channels, the more way, ways in the, the better off you are, if it, I feel like in the past, it’s [00:32:00] like, that’s the only thing, like.org make page. You either figure out how to get into a team here, you hit the support forum. You, you, you find you come in through some local group. Um, there are only a couple, couple ways to do it and it, uh, it is all in this open source contribution code, committing focus, and that’s become less and less.
I think that was alwa that’s always, always been a subculture and it’s become probably more and more of one. um, I think younger generations too, are in a totally different space in because it’s social, um, realities, like, I don’t know how much we’ve really addressed that. I mean, there are long term prolonged economic contraction.
Um, not everyone’s doing that. Mm-hmm well, emotionally. With stable income and employment. Mm-hmm [00:33:00] you can’t assume stuff like that there, it we’ve been through the most stressful. Yeah. I, I don’t know if we’re really through it, you know, like you turn on the news and it people all around the world. And even in, in places that are, are fairly affluent it’s, there’s a lot, there’s a lot more stress and tension in, in life.
And people have lost, uh, friends and loved ones either, you know? They’re no longer living. Um, that happens normally, but we just pandemic. Um, there’s but there’s so many, especially as you have a community to ages and, and goes along. I, I think a lot of us who’ve been in there a long time. Um, there’s time of life things.
It’s, I, it would be more sensitive to that all. And, and what you’re saying too about. there’s cultural and, and definitely racial differences that I think are hard to see from the outside. You’re making me think of, um, mm-hmm, how the, a [00:34:00] good metaphor for this is when I, one of the things I did, I did a ton of, I lived in a part of Milwaukee that was, um, and otherwise it’s very second.
Maybe people would say an apartheid city that has some. Entrenched in difficult problems and living in one of really the only area that’s, that’s fairly mixed and, and diverse is volunteerism is a key thing there. And it’s tough. People don’t have necessarily have a bunch, but there’s this huge. They don’t necessarily have the means or whatever, but they.
There’s just such a drive to do community projects together and fix stuff. And gardening became more and more community gardens and stuff like that. Victory gardens. Yeah. Well, when I first started doing that, I was, um, I was doing it with, uh, uh, a church that had an interesting history. And so we had mostly African American kids coming to the summer program and, and trying to make a.[00:35:00]
Lots of vacant lots where stuff has been torn down or burned down over the years and in my neighborhood there. And, um, trying to build a, make a garden and, um, this same, it, it it’s, it wasn’t so much the work for free, cuz we, it was all hitched up to, um, You you come and you work on this, you get paid a certain kind of gift allowance.
And then we like try to explain banking and like walk down the street to the, the local bank on Martin Luther king drive. And like, this is how money works and like save a little. And , uh, give a little back and, and think about what your long term plans are for what you want to get. It was, it was honestly very white, middle class kind of skiing.
very good in very good intentions, but the first barrier is, um, these are kids who have like zero, um, [00:36:00] there in that area. Um, Their, their experience is all urban for, um, probably one or two generations. But before that down the Mississippi deep south, not a good agricultural experience share, you know, share cropping, you know, extended forms of Neo slavery.
Uh, you know, until grandparents, parents came up in the fifties, forties, fifties, and got the last of the good industrial jobs before that all went, went in part. Um, so, mm. I realized and read some things. Um, I never read something. I can’t remember who it was, but there was a, there was a local guy and then someone else rare, uh, voices of African Americans who got on the land and were farming got, you know, as free farmers.
Some people came all the way up here in Alberta and did that Canada. And it’s not the typical voice. And they talked about how hard it is to do. [00:37:00] Things like with the land, from an African American perspective, cuz there’s such an alienation from it some of the time. And so these kids, oh yeah, they would not wear, like they didn’t have grungy clothes.
They would wear like their best white brand new shoes. Like, you know, they didn’t want to get messed up. It was really hard to get people like, get your hands down in, in this. And then like, remember kids would say like, you all look like a bunch of slaves. Like this is a huge barrier. Here cuz there’s not an ability to imagine us working and doing this free labor in any other way.
And like who’s in charge, the white guys like, like, yeah, it totally looks, it totally looks that way. So,
Nyasha Green: um, yeah. Yeah. It that’s a good, that is a good way to put that. Sorry, that that
Dan Knauss: really story. Cause you can express that in a way that is accusatory. and make, you know, make us feel really bad, but, um, but it’s totally valid and, and [00:38:00] there was a disconnect.
And the only way I found around that was like individual relationships and getting like over a couple years and getting to know some of these kids is they were growing up and like they in doing other things with them, like I found a, a bunch of the young men, um, like they never went over to east side.
That’s dangerous. You can’t go over there and there’s nothing there that we would be interested in and, you know, broadening people’s sense of their own freedom and capacity. Yeah, you actually, we can go over here. There’s some cool stuff and food you like and, um, people who, uh, are friendly. So it, I think that kind of everyone does that everyone has their little comfort zone that probably needs to be expand.
But at the same time, those walls exist, cuz people have been hurt or they’ve, um, or there’s something in their history where they see this as a wall that is defended and is dangerous to push [00:39:00] or they, they sense on some level like this is gonna, um, this isn’t what I should, this isn’t for me, this isn’t my people.
That’s just huge that’s people stuff. We have to find, find ways to make many ways through and in. Um, cuz if you keep trying something that doesn’t work, that turns people off, it doesn’t matter how right. You think you are.
Nyasha Green: Oh yeah, you’re right on the money with that. And. just relating that back to WordPress. Imagine those kids that you were, uh, you know, trying to get to do that with. And they’re like, God, like not saying, this is their attitude, but say they walked away with that saying mm-hmm they were trying to get us to do free labor.
They were trying to get us do free work. That’s crazy. And then they. um, they, you know, they get older and they learn code and they learn tech. And they’ve heard that tech is just this, this freedom and it’s this place to make money. And it’s just like, you can elevate, I can elevate my life and they get to tech.
And the first thing they see is people saying, Hey, if you wanna be a [00:40:00] great person in this community, you need to do some free work. They all like what? Like they might freak out like what in the world? Why is everybody want me to do free, free labor and, um, that’s, you know, that’s just relating that back.
It’s it’s sometimes that’s. A red flag to people. It’s definitely a red flag to me. Um, because also people are still exploiting people of color women. Um, people who are disabled, they are still getting exploited for low wages or free labor to this day. So that’s still something we have to look out for.
I’ve been asked to do free labor many times, and I’ve had to politely tell people like, no, I’m not doing that. Or, you know, and depending on. What the situation is, maybe talk to others, like what’s going on. Like I have to teach my mentors not to accept like, well, this job, they really gonna gimme the experience.
They said, okay, me an exposure and experience. And then one day I’ll be a big developer. No. Do not let people do that to you. That’s like, I, I always tell people like, no, [00:41:00] you, you deserve to be paid. Now you deserve to be paid fair and adequately. So we don’t have to go back too far. It’s happening today. Um, so of course people are calling it out more and people are looking at it as a red flag.
I hate that people see it as a red flag in WordPress. Uh, some people. Inmate WordPress and giving back. And then I hate that some people just, you know, don’t have the time and they’re turned off by, you know, phrasing about it because it’s, it’s a privilege to have free time. Honestly, these days, isn’t it, it’s a privilege to be able to give back.
And that’s something I never forget. And that’s, that’s something I always tell people as well, like, you know, you don’t have to. You don’t have to thank me. Like people are always like, oh, thank you for this like that. I don’t, you know, you don’t have to thank me. I, I acknowledge that, you know, it’s just a privilege for me to be able to do this for you and that throws some people off, but Hey, it knows what it is, but we, I don’t know how to bridge that.
Especially as a, as a woman of color, who’s been asked to do free things as a woman, as a woman of color, as a [00:42:00] person of color. I get it. I get it. I definitely
Dan Knauss: get. I, I, I was really glad when I, I think it was Josepha my first contact with hearing someone say that it’s a privilege to contribute. Um, and I hadn’t really thought about that.
Um, that does that’s good language, I think, because it, it gives honor to that role and that capacity, but it also understands that that might not be. An individual is at, at that time, then I think you have to extend yourself and go further and, and look at who is underprivileged or who lacks these privileges and how can we raise them up?
How can we open doors? Um, and that that’s, what’s cool about the mentoring and, and the community stuff. Cause I think that’s, that’s what it does, you know, get it will help. It will help. There are other ways to, to give back and. [00:43:00] And it’s, it can take years it’s years of relationships and, and growth where, um, that that’s what’s needed to happen.
And you can’t, you can’t what we’re saying here. You can’t just treat people like cogs. Like they’re not all in the same category. They’re not the same time of life and they’re not the same people. And when you really know, get to know them, um, they’ve unique gifts and capacities and what they’re okay.
Okay. With doing. um, at the moment and it’s okay for everyone to say, and they, they, they need to, like, I need to, I need to step back. I need, um, I think we’ve been, there’s been so much more, um, recognition of that. Um, mm-hmm , uh, someone was tweeting the other day of like, they’re just too much coming at. ’em too much stress.
They’re gonna, they’re gonna give their, um, word camp ticket to someone else. And. Step back from going there. And, um, and a lot of people are [00:44:00] really supportive of that. Like, yeah, it’s tough. Uh, tough call maybe, but, um, it’s okay to it’s okay to say, you know, I I’ve hit my limit here. Um, mm-hmm .
Nyasha Green: That. Yeah, I think so.
I’m gonna backtrack. I think that that’s a great way. That would be a, a big help to helping people letting them know it’s okay. That needs to be more clear if you can’t do this right now. It’s okay. Like you said, like, you know, Joseph said it’s a privilege and you know, letting these people know, like, um, that doesn’t mean you’re not privileged if you can’t do.
You know, that’s just not your time and that’s, and that’s completely okay. Right. And I, I like that. I like that a lot. And I, I really like that. I think also another big thing. We need to get people to see the value mm-hmm and giving back. Because again, like what’s the value. If I can’t make money, if I have to like take time out of my life where I’m missing with my family or my friends, what’s the, what value do I have to, some people like, just knowing it’s going to [00:45:00] improve the life of someone else is not enough.
it’s okay though. It’s okay. Um, but how do we get people to see the value in this? I think community seeing people like me, who, you know, I could not, I could stop giving back tomorrow and be okay and go do other things with my life. But I don’t wanna do that. I like giving back. It’s valuable to. . I have a lot of things I value about giving back, especially in this community.
And if I stand up there and I talk about it and I tell people and I give to them, honestly, I think that’s the number one thing I’ve seen in my life that makes other people wanna give. If they can see the value that other people are getting, that isn’t tangible, nobody’s handing me money to do any of this.
so I think being a, a beacon of that helps, and I think I wish we had more people, but it’s, it’s hard if you’re, if you’re doing all of this and you’re giving your time away, it’s hard to be like, you know, the poster job for that as well. Um, right. We a lot of people have families. I don’t know what I would do if I had children.
I think I would probably just [00:46:00] scrap ’em to my chest. One of those little baby vests. I like those. Yeah. I used to do that in front of you. Yeah. Oh, I love those. I would just scrap ’em to my chest and like, I guess we
Dan Knauss: around and talk. I’m glad to be through that kind of, um, yeah, my, my younger two daughters are, um, on finishing high school now, so it’s pretty.
It’s on their own, but, uh, yeah, that was, that was tough. That was interesting. I was the home parent. Um, and at one point, yeah, they were like, mm-hmm um, four girls they were mostly there with me and yeah, the two close together. Um, yeah. It’s uh, well freelancing and doing neighborhood projects. It, it was, um, it was a lot and yeah.
And mm-hmm it makes you, it makes you sensitive. the fact that you need to, you need to understand people in their context and so that, like you don’t mm-hmm so you can kind of help on your end too. You don’t ask too much or that, you know, you know, how to, [00:47:00] how to phrase, um, you know what they’re, they’re just some conditions like you understand like, oh, this is, isn’t a good, this isn’t a good time or a good person to, to ask to, to help with this.
Or. Or maybe they need, you know, just knowing what the needs are and where you can be supportive to. Um, yeah, just the, the more you get deeper into individual relationships, I think the stronger and more, um, sensitive like community is the, like those go together, the strong and sensitive . Cause you’re, you’re aware of each other as individuals and, um, that holds things nice.
Yeah, that made me, I was one. The last thing I, I was thinking while you were saying that there, there are so many, I think there are so many things people do or don’t do that. Some things need to not be done. that, that contribute so [00:48:00] much. And we know it and, and sometimes it there’s other forms of recognition that are important.
Like yeah. If the, if WordPress cord doesn’t move forward, everything else fails. And there’s like, there’s a level. um, mm-hmm of focus and need on that, that that is is unique, but then there’s stuff that’s farfield from maybe any, any teams that is so important in the ecosystem. And, um, uh, a guy, everyone I think has nothing but prays for it.
Kevin O Hashi who, um, who like Kevin O Hashi, who does the, um, uh, WordPress benchmarks? WooCommerce too. Have you ever looked at those? Uh, there’s kind of neutral third party deep, um, uh, analysis each year of, um, performance on load testing and, and a bunch of other stuff of, of hosts. Who, who, um, partner with them who say like, yeah, here here’s our, here’s a free account [00:49:00] and all of our tiers test them.
Um, never go through those and, and see.
Nyasha Green: I have, um, I have, did I do last year? I have, I have, I I’m like, I’m just going back in my mind, but I have, and I think that is really, really, really awesome. That does that. I’m so sorry. I hear
Dan Knauss: from people a lot about, about that. Like that’s a, that’s a major service because there there’s a lot of data poverty in the WordPress ecosystem.
If your plugin isn’t in the re.org repo, like what do we know? What, what, what do you, what do we know about that whole, um, part of the market? And if you are in it, it’s very limited. What, what data you get out, um, hosting, you know, going way back has always been. A pretty murky place for are these real reviews?
No, Jen . Oh man. So this is like the [00:50:00] one he’s got the one, um, the one shining beacon of reliable, trustworthy stuff. And as, uh, And he, the contribution is largely in what he doesn’t do, which is take money or sponsors in. Um, I, I forget what is, what the, what the revenue model there is, but this is, this is one guy.
Um, this isn’t some growth oper organization. Um, it, those are really difficult things. The things we need to subsidize or help that, um, are. Kind of have a regulatory effect that help protect the space and the commons, um, because they don’t aim at massive growth and they aim at a giving you a really honest signal on, um, you know, how are, how are these hosts doing one, one compared to another, what do you get for this, [00:51:00] this price point?
And. They, um, it’s good for them. They, they know where they stand and how they’re, how they’re doing. I’m sure they have their own data, but it’s a huge incentive to, um, to compete where we want them to . Um, there’s a lot, there’s a lot of different things like that. There’s just certain personalities who give back a ton on, um, social media or in, um, their willingness to, to teach others.
Um, but. Yeah, I don’t know. Do we recognize that openly enough? Um, and I think people doing stuff for the love of it is a huge privilege and it really, it is really is gratifying when people say thank you. So, um, we should do that more and thank you for starting meetups. Interesting. coming on this, on this podcast and, and being a, um, a unique voice in the, in the C.[00:52:00]
Nyasha Green: Uh, you’re so welcome. Thank you, Dan, for having me on here and agreeing to do a
Dan Knauss: no, I didn’t agree to that. depends on what it is, but yeah, I’m looking, looking forward to meeting all there.
I, you picked the song. We’ll see. I don’t know. It’s pens. Who’s watching.
Nyasha Green: I’ll give you a list. I’ll give you a.
Dan Knauss: God love. Uh, yeah. I don’t know nothing by Madonna. I remember bad memories of a friend at a, um, student union at Marquette university who, uh, crazy guy. I don’t think he had even been drinking, but he did, um, Papa don’t preach and acted it out.
Oh, he ended up playing down on a table or something and yeah. Yeah. He was having a, having his baby. Um,
Nyasha Green: oh, now I gotta do [00:53:00] Madonna. I gotta show him up. okay. No Madonna just make me a list of no, the nose. No Madonna. Okay. I have that. I’ll
Dan Knauss: write that down. probably, and Tom waits. I love Madonna. Tom waits. Some.
Nyasha Green: It’s not really singing. Oh, okay. Okay. Okay. yeah. We’re yeah, you’re gonna let me, uh, do, yeah.
Dan Knauss: Right. So, all right. You take care. all right. Thanks.