Seriously, that just happened. But the “bar” is our Advanced WordPress Facebook group. I’ve mentioned it a few times, and that’s no coincidence. Besides WordPress itself, this little Facebook group (of about 8,800+ members now!) has been one of the most instrumental tools in my web development shed. Why? Three simple reasons:
OK, that’s just two, but the Community part is super important.
So, yesterday, when the AWP admins saw a little alert that said:
I — and several others — kinda went bats&*! crazy. You have to understand. In a Facebook group, there’s really no rules. I mean, we try to admin to our best abilities, encourage people to keep it civil and whatnot. But there’s 8,000 people in there, and about 90% of them never say a word. That is until the Founder of WordPress shows up. I’m certain Mr. Mullenweg knew what he was getting into, largely because he dove in head first, with class.
Matt said: “How Can I Help?”
You see, our #1 rule in Advanced WP, is that you bring value to the discussion. We asked everyone to share what they are learning and doing and be a bit vulnerable in their learning, quite honestly. Matt got that immediately. When I pinged him and joked that we ask all new members to share their biggest code failure, he went for it.
But more than that, he started his own thread asking folks, quite honestly: “How Can I Help?” What ensued was an extremely valuable discussion.
The Troll Responded: “What’s Your Favorite Pizza!?”
Mr. Mullenweg is basically the Steve Jobs of CMS’s, but we’re a Facebook group! We want to connect to folks. So of course someone’s going to want the 30 year old millionaire to act, well… human. The thing is, just like you and I, Mullenweg likes pizza too.
The Coder Scoffed and Said: “Who Cares about Pizza!? When is WordPress Going to Fix the Bug I Reported?”
One of the things I love the most about AWP is that everyone is donating their time there. EVERY. ONE. Any one who is being helpful, or giving valid criticism is providing free and valuable advice that I really can’t find anywhere else on the web at the moment. The thing I love about WordPress is how it embraces the Open Source mentality so fully that everyone involved can be a Core contributor in one way or another. AWP members love writing up “trac tickets”, or contributing to solving them. This is the system used in WordPress to make it’s code public and to crowd source improving it all the time.
So when the Founder of WordPress shows up, the guy who oversees trac, all the AWPers who have committed time to trac and don’t have their tickets resolved want to know what’s up. Mullenweg didn’t pull any punches. Your ticket is probably important, but is it “top priority”? Maybe not.
Then Matt Bought Everyone a Round, Because “Free, as in Beer!”
Another thing about AWP, is that we’re up ALL NIGHT. Every once in a while, I’ll be coding late Friday night (I know!), and I’ll just pop in to AWP and say “Role Call! Who’s still working here instead of enjoying a night out!” 25 or 30 people chime in within 15 minutes. We’re also fairly global, so even though Mullenweg is in California (PST), our European and Asian group members woke up early to see all the posts and had to chime in too.
Mullenweg stopped answering questions at a modest 8pm PST. But the most impressive thing was that when I logged in at 7am the next morning, he had already tagged just about every person that asked him a direct question and gave them a brief answer. Wow.
I hope Mullenweg drops by again in the future. I hope he writes up something on this little adventure. For him it may have been a quick dip into the WP Community. But for boat loads of WordPress developers, it was the highlight of the week. I mean, A LOT of developers in that thread asked a question then said something to the tune of:
Thanks Matt for building WordPress. It’s changed my life and my families life
It sounds cheesy, but it’s really true. I’ve always said WordPress isn’t a blog platform, or a CMS, or a web development tool. It’s a community first and foremost. All the code comes after that. Twas a great night for the community tonight. Thanks Matt!
- For those in AWP, here’s the link to the thread. If you’re not in AWP, ask to join, it’s a great group.
- Syed Waseem Abbas of Cloudways Hosting wrote up a very detailed account of the conversation if you want to get a lot more insight on Mullenweg’s comments.
- Jeff Chandler at WPTavern also has a great write-up on the event, and a nice little link here. Thanks Jeff!