By now most people have heard the buzz about the WordPress development team “taking a release off” to work on the wordpress.org site, plugins, etc. A couple of things. 1. It’s two months, not a full-length development cycle. 2. If any security issues or major bugs come up in this time, a point release would still be produced as usual. The “release cycle off” just means we’re not going to start on new feature development and enhancements for version 3.1 until AFTER this two-month community project sprint.
We’ll be working out the process for projects to be divvied up for mini-dev teams of contributors this week, but in the meantime, we want to hear about the improvements you think would have the biggest impact. We’re considering everything from tiny text changes to major overhaul projects. That said, small, definable mini-projects that make measurable improvements to the community experience are going to be the easiest to work on.
Here’s a list of things (in no particular order) we’ve talked about doing for the past six months. Tell us if any of these sound like they should be a top priority, or tell us if we missed the best idea ever (and then tell us what it is!). If you’re interested in volunteering on one of them, note that in your response too.
- Better UI (including core plugins)
- Add reviews from an appointed/elected plugin review team (text comments, rating, ‘recommended’ label?)
- Allow user reviews
- Create additional fields for former author/leads so that plugin adoption wouldn’t make original/former author links disappear
- Automated system to identify plugins that have not been updated in x amount of time and contact author to find out if they are still maintaining it or if it can be put up for adoption
- A plugin adoption process
- A standardized taxonomy (categories) for general areas so tags can be more specific and useful (i.e., a Media category, a Widget category, etc)
- A form for users to recommend featured plugins?
- Add functionality to the compatibility module to require more info when someone says plugin doesn’t work (comment, other plugins installed, theme in use, etc) to help plugin author investigate
- Make forum threads with specific plugin tag be able to be moderated by that plugin’s author
- Mailing lists and trac for community-developed (vs solo developer) plugins (a la core plugins) to encourage community participation
- Core plugins pilot – health check and post by email
Themes – same as plugins for most part.
- Fix bugs around showing plugin contributions
- Combine with forum profile functionality (follow threads, etc.) so there is only one comprehensive wordpress.org profile per person.
- Add profile fields for interest in volunteering (design, code sprints, usability testing, etc), platforms used, etc.
- Combine forum profile module with the new profiles, so we can use new profiles to follow thread activity etc.
- Make profiles carry over to wordcamp.org
- Create point system for reputation based on contributions/involvement (will need a way to set manually for things that don’t have automated feeds we can use to measure) that can be used to give more weight to activity on site from trusted/high-authority community members (like forum responses, plugin reviews, etc)
- Automated system to run reports each month on .org activity among users, so we can recognize people who are putting in a lot of energy aside from just patches
- Reports on when new user signs up, makes first action on various sections (forum post, trac comment or patch, suggestion, etc) so can send automated email with links to get more involved/provide feedback (or ‘welcome wagon’ can contact by email)
- Use profiles to identify potential mentors/mentees by self-classification of skills and interests
- Create 2-month mentorship template for suggested scope of help and contacts
Web site content:
- Re-organize site IA (move themes/plugins to top level, etc.)
- About/team page – make an actual page/section rather than just a sidebar list to put a more human face on the leads/contributors team
- Change name of dev blog to news or announcements or something, since that’s what it’s used for and wpdevel is more of a dev blog now.
- Move wpdevel to wordpress.org
- Allow image upload on contributor blogs like the UI blog
- Integrate twitter feed (@wordpress stream, @replies and #wordpress tweets favorites by @wordpress account)
- Submission form for planet wordpress blog to suggest posts to feature
- Subscribe to posts/comments functions
- Do something more useful with Kvetch or get rid of it
Mailing Lists – make it clearer what they’re for, how to use them, etc. Mostly just content updating.
- Reorganize forum categories
- Threaded replies
- Make search better
- bbpress plugin instead of standalone install
- Better subscriptions (topic, thread, replies)
- Review suggestions in forum thread
Ideas – Use the new suggestions theme (GSoC porject being worked on by Justin Shreve) and put it at make.wordpress.org/suggestions, have sections for core, plugins, themes, etc.
- Handbooks! Start with series of 4: User, Plugin Dev, Theme Dev, Core Contributor. Could see more specific ones coming later.
- Transition Codex to get rid of the lessony stuff and outdated screen info, make it the repository of all straight reference materials, such as lists of all functions, hooks, template tags, etc. as well as housing the handbooks.
- Do it all in WordPress rather than wiki format.
- Allow users to suggest changes via comments, assign volunteer editors to specific sections to stay on top of things.
- Make handbooks accessible as pages/chapters, single HTML files, or print as PDF (entire handbook or specific chapter).
- Use SVN or media library to manage the screenshots more easily.
- Use wordpress.org login.
- Process for handbook creation: identify 2 tech editors for each, create general outline of what’s needed, find community volunteers to write up sections, have tech editors review for accuracy, have style editor revise for consistent tone/voice.
Training – To go with the handbooks, a series of training materials for each of the 4 audiences.
- Mini-lectures, self-tests/quizzes, practice examples, suggested projects, graded test for each section of handbook.
- Phase 1, just post materials, allow people to use them to teach themselves or others how to use and develop for WP (can also be used to run non-profit/for-profit workshops).
- Phase 2, have online course on learn.wordpress.org (using the gsoc LMS/BP project?) and have completion of courses added to wordpress.org profiles.
Documentation and Training kind of go together, and could have dozens of contributors as opposed to a small team.
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