Picture of three people cheering with coffee mugs, by Nathan Dumlau

When we mention the word “WordPress”, in general we refer to the free open source “platform” or “content management system” (CMS) that allows you to create websites of all kinds (blogs, forums, company websites, online stores, etc.) with written content, photos, multimedia and much more. In order to create a website with WordPress you need a domain name and a hosting service to host your website and install “WordPress,” which you can download from WordPress.org. Currently, a large majority of web hosting companies already offer you the service with WordPress installed.

But WordPress is not just the CMS. In the WordPress.org themes directory you have more than 3,500 free, GPL-licensed themes that you can install and customize on your website. You’ll also find more than 56,000 free plugins that you can download and install on your site to give you absolute control of your website.

The WordPress Community

And why am I telling you all this? Well, for the simple reason that WordPress is what it is thanks to a great community—more than 500,000 people around the world—who dedicate many hours to the project’s advancement and evolution.

2020 WCEU Family Photo
If you were a fan of looking for Waldo, here is the WCEU 2020 family photo.

How does this community work? Don’t worry, this is not some kind of exclusive closed club or sect. The WordPress community is nothing more than this huge network of volunteers who contribute to the WordPress project in an “altruistic” way. And I put this last word in quotation marks because contributing to WordPress can bring us many benefits, as David told us in this post.

Let’s take a look at how this community is organized, what you have to do to become part of it, how you can contribute your bit and have fun regardless of your profile.

How The WordPress Community Is Organized

As you can imagine, coordinating more than 500,000 volunteers with a common goal is impossible if it is not done in an organized way. For this reason, the WordPress community is made up of two transversal structures: on the one hand, the teams (currently 18) that contribute to the WordPress project and, on the other, the community-level teams (global, national, and local) that are part of the previous ones but are organized “separately” (because of language, locality, and other similar reasons).

In other words, the 18 teams have a global team in which all communication and work is done exclusively in English. But some of them, as I will tell you later, also have their “sub-teams” at the national or local level (they can be in English or any other language) and in this way, we make sure that WordPress is a universal platform available to everyone.

In either case, the two structures are led by a core leadership team led by Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress, and its current CEO, Josepha Haden, who are responsible for coordinating and guiding the efforts of the various teams that make up this entire ecosystem.

Let’s see below how these teams work.

The Global Project Teams

Before explaining what each of the 18 teams do, I’ll tell you a bit about the operation and general organization of all of them.

Each WordPress team has a site within the make.wordpress.org network to communicate with each other about the work they are doing. Additionally, each team chooses its one, two (or even more) representatives (often abbreviated as reps) who represent the team to the rest of the project, ensure that issues are raised and addressed as needed, and efforts between teams are coordinated. Here you have the representatives of each of the teams.

On a team’s site you’ll also find a manual with information about what the objectives of that team are, how they are organized, who are the people who contribute or have contributed to that team, how is communication within the team (everyone has a channel Slack you can subscribe to), how you can collaborate, etc. Also, each team has regular meetings through Slack where you can attend (if only to understand a little better what is going on in each of them). Some teams also use Trello to organize the different tasks to be done and some use GitHub to manage their development.

July meetings of WordPress project teams
July meetings of WordPress project teams

Joining any team is as easy as creating a profile on WordPress.org, joining the Slack channel on each team’s make.wordpress.org page, and starting to participate in any of the meetings they host. But if you haven’t been able to attend the meetings, each team transcribes the Slack meetings on their site. Also, keep in mind that you can sign up for the ones you are most interest in and contribute to more than one team without any problem.

Now that you have a general idea of the organization of the teams, let’s see what each one does:

  • Core: This team, almost all programmers, is in charge of WordPress development (of the CMS). They have a complete guide if you want to collaborate programming, carrying out test tests or generating documentation. Drop by their site if you want to keep up to date with WordPress updates or the state of development of certain features.
  • Design: The design team works side by side with the Core team but focuses on all aspects related to WordPress user interaction: Gutenberg, CSS, etc.
  • Mobile: This team is in charge of developing WordPress apps for Android and iOS.
  • Accessibility: This team aims to ensure that all new or updated code published in WordPress complies with the Web 2.0 Content Accessibility Guidelines at the AA level.
  • Polyglots: This team ensures that the software and its documentation are translated into all possible languages. You can develop tools that help the translation or collaborate as a translator.
  • Support: All WordPress users have a lot of documentation to learn, but they can also ask questions in the support forums or Slack channels. This is a good team to start collaborating and learning from user problems.
  • Documentation: This team is in charge of creating all the Codex documentation (the WordPress manual and the repository where you will find WordPress information and documentation).
  • Themes: This team is in charge of reviewing and approving the submitted themes to be included in the official WordPress Themes Directory.
  • Plugins: Similar to the Themes team, this team reviews and approves the submitted plugins for inclusion in the official WordPress Plugin Directory.
  • Community: This team oversees official events, mentoring programs, diversity initiatives, contributor outreach, and other ways to grow the WordPress community.
  • Meta: This team is responsible for the maintenance and management of WordPress.org sites.
  • Training: The WordPress training team creates course plans and related materials so that they can be used by trainers in real environments.
  • Test: This team assists in testing the entire WordPress ecosystem. They focus on user testing on the WordPress Dashboard and editing experience.
  • Make WordPress.tv: they approve and publish all videos on WordPress.tv and help WordCamps with post-production and captioning of published videos.
  • Marketing: As the name implies, they are responsible for making WordPress and its community known to everyone.
  • WP-CLI: WP-CLI is a command-line interface that allows users to manage their WordPress sites from the terminal. You can apply updates, generate backups, publish new posts and most administrator actions, with a command setup. This team is in charge of developing the tool and writing any documentation, tutorials, and so on about it.
  • Hosting: This team works to improve the WordPress end-user experience in hosting environments through collaboration with providers and user training.
  • Tide: Tide is a series of automated tests that run for each plugin and theme in the directory and then shows PHP compatibility and test errors/warnings in the directory.

Communities Around The World

To make WordPress known around the world, it is very important that WordPress is available in as many languages as possible, that as many events as possible are organized locally to give it more visibility, and that the English language is not an impediment for everyone to contribute. For this reason, and so that communication is not absolute chaos, there are in turn national and/or local teams that are organized and communicate locally.

Let’s see, for example, what we have in Spain. Fernando Tellado in this article explains the details of how the WordPress Spain community works. But in short we have:

  • Community: We hold 54 meetups that are organized locally and 13 WordCamps nationwide.
  • Polyglots: The WordPress community in Spain has the most translators and not only in Spanish, but also to Catalan, Galician, and Basque.
  • Support: there are WordPress support forums in Spanish on updates, troubleshooting, theme and template design, plugins and hacks, advanced WordPress, multi-site, and security.
  • Design: The Spanish WordPress community has a design team that you can join and that is collaborating with the global design team at WordPress.org. The operation of this team is the same as that of global teams.
  • TV: for each meetup or WordCamp there are local teams that record or help in the recording of these events.

I recommend that you walk through the groups that interest you and, if you have not already done so, get to know the team of people who collaborate most actively in each of them. They are all very nice!

And similarly, we have a lot of local or national communities around the world that are creating and participating in teams that then interact with global WordPress teams. In this link, you’ll find the WordCamps that are coming up.

WordCamps that were made in the first half of 2020.
WordCamps that were made in the first half of 2020.

Wherever you live, you will surely find a local community that organizes WordPress meetups and that you can easily join and from there participate and collaborate with WordPress.

What Are You Waiting For?

As you have seen, there are plenty of possibilities for you to join in and collaborate on WordPress. Would you like to give a talk on a topic, help with translations, answer questions that others may have, develop code, help organize events? Whether you are joining a local, national, or global group, remember that you must first:

  • Sign up at WordPress.org,
  • Join the team’s Slack channel that you will find on the make.wordpress.org page to fully understand what is going on there.
  • And collaborate for as long as you want when you have availability.

You’ll have the chance to meet amazing people you can have a great time with!

Featured image of Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.

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