Other developers often criticize me for making suggestions about WordPress core.
The point out on Twitter than I’m contributing ideas without taking the time to contribute code suggestions. The point out that I’m posting to Twitter and my personal blog topics that would be a better fit for Trac or the WP Hackers mailing list.
Sometimes the comments on this site take on a snarky attitude of “well, then why don’t you do it?”
I have my reasons.
Starting with a Blog
Sometimes my ideas are just that, ideas.
I have ideas often on just about everything. Some of the ideas are useful, some are just things that would make life easier for me and no one else. Before I sink hours of coding time into fleshing out a patch, I want to get some validation around the idea.
The number of times I’ve written a patch or a plugin or spec’ed (and built) out a feature, only to have WordPress core take a different direction or to have the community decide that the feature is niche enough to not belong in core in the first place …
It burns a developer out to constantly work on projects for the community only to have the community decide not to use those projects. As a result, I don’t want to pursue one of my ideas beyond the concept stage unless there’s support in the community for that feature’s development.
I’ll post the idea here to start a discussion. Trac is inappropriate for such a discussion of proposed features since it’s our active development site. WP Hackers is … basically a waste of time at the moment. 1
Struggling to Contribute
I work with WordPress daily. I write code that powers millions of websites and I contribute code to themes and plugins used by scores of millions of people on the Internet daily. At the same time, I don’t always feel that there’s a concerted direction for my contributions.
My schedule is such that I can’t commit to leading any specific features. My contributions to feature teams come in spurts when I have a few moments of downtime, or when a feature (or lack thereof) directly affects a client and I can use daytime coding hours to hack on core and prepare a fix.
As a frequent user of WordPress, I often see a lot of the problems my fellow users face – I struggle at times, though, to find a way to contribute to fixing those problems. I see documenting proposed fixes, features, suggestions, and critiques as my way of contributing when I can.
Am I part of the solution? Or am I just conflating the problem even further?
- I strongly believe we should invest significant time into reclaiming WP Hackers as a serious core hacking mailing list. Right now, it’s not a constructive community and while I still subscribe to the list, I read it perhaps once a month and haven’t posted to it in ages. ↩