EP463 – Not that kind of block

September 15, 2023

On this episode of WPwatercooler, the discussion centers around the WordPress community, its leadership, and the challenges faced by its contributors. Sé Reed talks about her recent “kerfuffle” with Matt Mullenweg on Twitter/X and why she thinks he designated her as the only person he’s ever blocked in 17 years. The crew also discusses the significance of WordPress’s open-source nature and the increasingly noticeable conflicts with Automattic, including Mullenweg’s demoralizing approach to leading the WordPress project. Sé highlights the challenges faced by the Make WordPress marketing team, including their inability to properly develop wordpress.org’s SEO. Both Jason Tucker and Jason Cosper chime in throughout the conversation, emphasizing the value of community involvement and historic context. The episode wraps up with encouragement for listeners to actively contribute to making all of WordPress better, and a call for accountability across the WordPress project.


00:00:00 Intro
00:05:00 Background of the WordPress Community
00:10:00 The Role and Influence of Matt Mullenweg
00:15:00 The Evolution of WordPress and its Ecosystem
00:20:00 Challenges in Open Source Projects
00:25:00 The Importance of Community Feedback
00:30:00 The Dynamics of WordPress Leadership
00:35:00 Sé Reed’s Personal Experiences and Observations
00:40:00 The Future of WordPress and its Direction
00:45:00 The Role of WordPress and its Challenges
00:51:28 Sé Reed’s Initial Thoughts on WordPress Community
00:53:15 Discussion on WordPress Governance and Leadership
00:55:10 Sé’s Experience
00:57:32 Sé Reed’s Concerns about Matt Mullenweg’s Leadership
01:00:23 Importance of Open-Source and Community Voice
01:02:12 Challenges Faced by WordPress Marketing Team
01:04:05 Sé’s Advocacy and Efforts in the Community
01:06:15 Jason Tucker and Jason Cosper’s Insights
01:08:40 Encouragement for Community Involvement
01:13:17 Discord
01:15:41 Outro


Episode Transcription

[00:00:00] Sé Reed: Better than ever.

[00:00:08] Jason Tucker: This is episode number 463, not that kind of block.

[00:00:12] Sé Reed: Whoops. Not that kind of block. Oh, you have to say it.

[00:00:19] Jason Tucker: I’m Jason Tucker. Go to my website at jasontucker.blog.

[00:00:25] Sé Reed: I’m say Reed. I make WordPress. Preach request, teach WordPress at Reed Media on all the things.

[00:00:33] Jason Cosper: And y’all know who it is. It’s your boy, Jason Cosper, AKA Post4MassiveMullen, back at it again on the world’s most influential WordPress podcast.

[00:00:42] Jason Tucker: of that podcast, go find us wherever a good podcast can be found and come hang out with us in the discord.

[00:00:49] Sé Reed: although that’s not where all the tea is happening these days, apparently.

[00:00:53] Jason Tucker: How you doing folks?

[00:00:54] Sé Reed: I apologize for making us all late. I realized I have a new computer and I forgot to set it up for this.

[00:01:00] Jason Tucker: It’s all good.

[00:01:01] Sé Reed: Also, I was busy deciding on a T-shirt to wear. There’s just so many options.

[00:01:07] Jason Tucker: Well, we can’t see the t shirt. It’s just

[00:01:08] Sé Reed: Well, I just

[00:01:09] Jason Tucker: the hood. So

[00:01:09] Sé Reed: I just went, I just went with word, wocus.

[00:01:12] Sé Reed: I just went with wocus. Just like, you know, I was there, it was three weeks ago, three weeks ago, I’ll just, can we just, just run right into it? We all know why we’re here. We all know why we’re here. We all know what we’re talking about

[00:01:25] Jason Tucker: my, but my birthday is not until January. Is that what we’re doing today?

[00:01:29] Sé Reed: It’s a, it’s a

[00:01:30] Jason Cosper: Yeah. Surprise.

[00:01:31] Jason Tucker: Hey,

[00:01:33] Sé Reed: going to talk about

[00:01:34] Jason Tucker: new iPhone day. Everyone. Happy

[00:01:36] Sé Reed: No, I am, I am going to talk about the kerfuffle. We’re going to talk about the kerfuffle. And I love the word kerfuffle. It doesn’t need everyone to know that. and it was indeed a kerfuffle. first of all, before I start monologuing, I just want to check in with you guys.

[00:01:51] Sé Reed: See how y’all are?

[00:01:52] Jason Cosper: I just want to check in with you. I want to check in with you. Yeah. Are you okay?

[00:01:59] Sé Reed: I’m actually fine! I had a lot of people, check in on me yesterday, in the community, which I feel is just incredibly awesome. Like, very heartwarming. Felt really good to get all that love from the community. A lot of the love was on in public, which I really appreciate, because that’s people putting their You know, they’re, they’re words out there, and not to say that I don’t appreciate DMs.

[00:02:24] Sé Reed: I understand so keenly the balance required by so many of us in this community to, you know, we’ve talked about sponsored contributorship a lot, but to balance that line, even on the show, with our jobs, our day jobs, and,

[00:02:44] Sé Reed: with speaking out against someone who, You’re welcome to come on the show if you want, by the way. So, just let me know. You know where I am! so, yeah, like a lot of people feel, scared, to be honest, to speak up, against, or just to speak up. Not even against. I don’t feel that my comments yesterday were against anyone, to be, to be quite frank.

[00:03:07] Sé Reed: I feel that my, comments were pointing out what I am witnessing and what I have witnessed, since I joined the community in 2012, which was a really long time ago. Yeah, I, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve seen things. Attack ships on fire. No, that’s the wrong movie. that was a, that was a Blade Runner reference for anyone who needed that reference.

[00:03:26] Sé Reed: yeah, so, should we just get right into it, really? Right? Because I know people are,

[00:03:30] Jason Tucker: do go for it. All

[00:03:31] Sé Reed: I know people are, are a lot of times not able to say things because, Matt has literally called people’s jobs. And threaten to them, people’s bosses. and usually when something like this happens, it tends to be with an employee of Automatic, and then it’s really easy to say, oh, we can’t talk about that because, there are personnel issues and everyone’s like, oh, yeah, right, HR, HR, they probably did something terrible.

[00:03:58] Sé Reed: A cool thing though, about me. One cool thing. There’s a couple of cool things I guess you could say, but the cool thing in this instance about me is that I, I am my own employer. I have been since 2003, which is 20 years. So, I’m not going to fire myself for speaking up. or even like put me on suspension.

[00:04:18] Sé Reed: Nothing. and my, my business partner also, also, also not going to fire me. and, I don’t, I don’t work for a WordPress company and, and Matt can’t call my clients. I mean, he could if he wanted to, they’d probably think it was funny. ironically, they’re mostly arts organizations, so that’s funny. maybe he would want to donate money to them, like he’s donating money to the, Bay Bridge, because I know that art is very important.

[00:04:43] Sé Reed: To Matt specifically, so maybe he would appreciate that. No one knows. so let’s, let’s get into it. Yesterday, there was a conversation that I was not initially a part of on Twitter, Zwitter, X, whatever you want to call it. I call it Twitter and I will forever. That pointed out that the, com, wordpress.

[00:05:06] Sé Reed: com, was copying, is copying, is cloning the org repo. And that it is, not able, or that it is outranking com in most instances, outranking. com is outranking. org in most instances, in all the instances that I’ve seen. and people were like, what’s that about? and I didn’t even comment on that specific chain, but everything that I said in my tweet, if you’ve read it, which we can reference here and put in the show notes, there was an unroll thread app.

[00:05:36] Sé Reed: I got my, I think that was my first. Someone unrolled my thread. Thanks. Thanks, Jeff. but, I was quite literally at the time that I was reading. Those tweets about the dot com repo was telling a contributor. This was actually about the mobile team. This wasn’t even about the marketing team, although it’s very related.

[00:06:00] Sé Reed: I was telling a, a would be contributor in the mobile make Slack that, their app or their idea for an app, their app that they’ve actually created, which is a WordCamp app, which allows people to see when all the… see what all the,speaker sessions are and see who’s attending and, you know, like a conference app, they exist for other entities.

[00:06:21] Sé Reed: So, so they’ve actually made one and, they were commenting on a thread, that I had put into mobile about some ideas for the mobile app, because I am very, bullish on the mobile app. I think it’s one of the most important components of our, our platform. And it is. So,WordPress is severely neglected, for a multitude of reasons, which are all very relevant to this conversation, actually, because we could talk about the whole Jetpack WordPress split and the fact that both the WordPress mobile app and the Jetpack app are managed by the same company and the people working on it are, they’re not necessarily the same people, but, The, the main people working on the mobile app are indeed automaticians and, and automatic employees.

[00:07:02] Sé Reed: and so I don’t know that there’s a huge, incentive to make the WordPress mobile app into something awesome because it would compete with Jetpack, but assume good intentions, right? No, assume, assume that we are not operating with malice, which I think sometimes. I don’t know, but it might be used as a cover up. Like, you know, assume good intentions, i. e. don’t say anything that could be possibly a problem. But, Nonetheless, I was assuming good intentions and putting ideas for the mobile app into mobile, ideas that are in the github for marketing. and those ideas, incidentally, which you should all be interested in, are putting learn content on the mobile app and putting WordPress news in the mobile app. Not super complicated stuff, but would definitely make the mobile app more useful.

[00:07:56] Jason Tucker: That’s a little section on the dashboard of WordPress. You know, when you’re logged into your WordPress site, here’s the meetups that are going on, here’s all that stuff.

[00:08:04] Sé Reed: it’s in our dashboards.

[00:08:05] Jason Tucker: of duplication there. Yeah.

[00:08:06] Jason Cosper: the, the, the, the big thing with the meetups that are going on, something that gets referenced and we can talk about a little later was, Matt did bring up in, all of this stuff that’s been going on about how, meetup attendance has been declining and has been declining, like a way to get people back into meetups would be

[00:08:28] Sé Reed: tell them when the meetups are happening.

[00:08:30] Jason Cosper: Yeah.

[00:08:31] Sé Reed: What? That’s a crazy idea. so anyway, I was doing that, just, you know, contributing, contributing my little heart out, like I like to do. and the, the cognitive dissonance that I was experiencing between, Matt saying, oh, it’s no big deal, we can just SEO. org and SEO should probably be fine and it doesn’t matter.

[00:08:51] Sé Reed: it’s not just that I had to explain to this person that the mobile app. The WordCamp mobile app coming from outside was probably not going to happen. Like, I don’t even know, I don’t even know how to start to tell that person what lift would be involved to do something like that. To like, make that a community app.

[00:09:09] Sé Reed: Cannot, cannot even fathom how to get from point A to point B on that. And truly, that’s a problem. I also spent last week, telling another contributor who was at WordPress Contributor Day, WordCamp US Contributor Day, who was, commenting, rightly so, about when you look for how to contribute to WordPress, you come up with all these third party videos that are made by companies.

[00:09:34] Sé Reed: Kinsta, for example, one that Ali, Nimminz made, comes up, some by, some of the folks who are actually, Robin, who’s one of the co leads. For the marketing team, has a video from his company about how to contribute. so there’s, there are videos out there about how to contribute, but there’s nothing official, right?

[00:09:51] Sé Reed: There’s nothing coming from WordPress. And of course we, the marketing team and, some of the, basically the marketing team created or, or manifested recently the contribute page. And I am, Also very adamant, obsessed with making a contributor flow, a contributor onboarding floor look. You wanna, you wanna contribute to WordPress?

[00:10:14] Sé Reed: Here’s how you do that. So, funnily enough, a video, like a little text video, or a little graphic animated video that could be dubbed in multiple languages, would be really helpful for that, as opposed to a LearnTalkingHead video where people are like, blah blah, you know, this stuff. Not as exciting, really hard to dub into different languages, really hard to update.

[00:10:36] Sé Reed: just not a great onboarding experience for one of the biggest open source projects in the world. Right? Like we’re sitting here talking at contributor day for two straight days about how we need more contributors, what the contributor experience is. And, you know, I have to tell this person who, you know, has, wants to like bring people in to do this.

[00:10:59] Sé Reed: I’m like, well, you can’t, you can’t just make a video. Right? You can’t just be like, here’s a video and now it’s going to go out on WordPress. com because, first of all, it won’t. Because the marketing team holds none of the keys, none of the accounts, no access whatsoever to any of the WordPress accounts, social media, YouTube, you know, Twitter, whatever.

[00:11:22] Sé Reed: All of that, we have access to none of it. We have… Indirect access to it via the, marketing team members who are full time sponsored automaticians. They have an in house. org, organization called Stargate and that is automatic. coms. Team that is our marketing team. Now, there’s lots of issues with this and I have been neck deep in it and I have been very kind about it for the whole year.

[00:11:51] Sé Reed: I was definitely trying not to raise a fuss before Community Summit because I thought we could talk about these issues. I said com. Yeah, I’m saying com or whatever com. If I say com and org incorrectly,

[00:12:04] Jason Tucker: Then that’s the problem.

[00:12:05] Sé Reed: I’m sorry,

[00:12:07] Jason Tucker: That’s literally the problem is, is what it is.

[00:12:09] Sé Reed: problem, right? This is the problem. I’ve been in this industry for 11

[00:12:13] Jason Tucker: compete with ourselves. That’s, that’s pretty much what’s happening here. Let’s

[00:12:16] Sé Reed: seriously.

[00:12:16] Sé Reed: So anyway, the point is, there’s, there’s so much that should be done, could be done, but we are also not allowed, excuse me, until WordCamp Europe, this year in June. the, we were not allowed any access to WordPress stats. We get a very mild update. from the Stargate team in the weekly meeting where we get a little narrative about some stats.

[00:12:39] Sé Reed: Those aren’t actionable. they’re not, there’s nothing we can do with that information whatsoever. it’s nice to know. It’s like, great, okay, we have a 1. 73 increase in engagement.

[00:12:50] Jason Tucker: seems to be a recurring, recurring theme here when it comes to, WordPress, the project, and just the, the ideas of Matt wanting to, kind of gatekeep those stats.

[00:13:01] Sé Reed: turns out data is powerful.

[00:13:03] Jason Tucker: Yeah, it kind of is. I

[00:13:04] Sé Reed: you can make decisions with it and stuff like, should, you know, who’s coming to com? Where are they clicking? Where are they going to? Where are current contributors going? Where do people go after they go to the make. wordpress. org homepage? These are very simple questions that are very basic marketing SEO questions.

[00:13:24] Sé Reed: Super basic. And I had multiple people come to the WordCamp contributor day, and this is just. A very in person example, very relevant, recent in person example, but this is just an example of all of the conversations that I’ve had over the past, literally like, I’ve, like maybe 10 to 9 years that I’ve been actively contributing.

[00:13:45] Sé Reed: is that they’re like, well, can we see some of the data so we can make some things on where people are going? And I’m like, well, No, we don’t have that. So I literally had the folks writing down, what data do we need? Because at WordCamp Europe, there was a switch to, Google Analytics 4. And with that, some folks got access that are not part of the locked in Stargate team.

[00:14:08] Sé Reed: The, the locked in automatic team. I don’t want to lose those people. And that access, which is literally not even access, it is me secretly asking people for screenshots of data reports. Like, what are we

[00:14:24] Jason Tucker: page actually getting traffic or not?

[00:14:26] Sé Reed: Yeah, no, I was like, can I have some data on the contribute page that we just launched?

[00:14:30] Jason Tucker: Like, how do you do marketing? If you don’t know what the, like, what don’t do marketing,

[00:14:36] Sé Reed: on the head, Tucker. That’s exactly the problem.

[00:14:39] Jason Tucker: I used to do a marketing show here on this network. I kind of understand a thing or two about marketing.

[00:14:44] Sé Reed: you know, it turns out data and knowing where, who your customer is and where they’re going is kind of important to marketing, I don’t know, it’s wild stuff, as all the plugin developers will be happy

[00:14:53] Jason Tucker: How do you make decisions if you don’t know what the numbers are?

[00:14:56] Sé Reed: You don’t, you just guess. Right. That’s why everyone’s

[00:14:59] Jason Tucker: cool if we made this blue.

[00:15:00] Sé Reed: That’s why everyone’s still upset about the active install situation,

[00:15:04] Jason Tucker: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:15:05] Sé Reed: to see, Oh, are my downloads going down?

[00:15:07] Jason Tucker: Are my, or am I, is my plugin more popular, less popular, the same popular? Nobody knows. It’s just, just coding in the dark, just putting stuff out there just for fun. you, if you want to watch that episode, we did it. We, we did a whole kind of deep dive on that on episode 23 of, of DevBranch. links will be in the show notes so you can take a look at that. Hmm.

[00:15:28] Sé Reed: okay. So the point is you can’t do marketing. And until I came on board this year, the marketing team was taking notes and having meetings. That’s, that’s what the marketing team was doing. Nothing else, like literally nothing else. So, as I’ve come on board, I’ve been trying to enable action for people to do things specifically to market WordPress to the community.

[00:15:53] Sé Reed: Let alone new users, just so that the community knows what’s happening with WordPress. and of course right now, I am actively the, one of the co leads for WordPress 6. 4, one of the marketing communications co leads for that. and I am seeing even what we’re experiencing in terms of release marketing, which is literally something that goes out to every WordPress install across.

[00:16:16] Sé Reed: The world, every single one, except for WordPress. com, probably. the, so, you know, what, what’s happening in those things is actually impacting all of those people. So the contribute page, the get involved tab that we put in that install, that’s important. That’s a big journey, but we can’t SEO that page. We can do some on page SEO.

[00:16:37] Sé Reed: We can do that because we, some of us can access those pages and write content, but that is not, that is the, that is the de minimis. That’s a word that was used yesterday. That is the de minimis of what should be done for SEO. On page SEO is like, literally… The lowest rung of SEL, like put your words in your content, right?

[00:16:57] Sé Reed: Like, okay, great. Thank you. so really I’m just trying to make, at the end of the day, I’m trying to make a contributor onboarding flow here. That’s where this all came from, to get people to contribute to WordPress.

[00:17:09] Jason Tucker: So then what happened?

[00:17:10] Sé Reed: about com, taking org In this case, it’s about the absolute cognitive dissonance between someone over here saying, Oh, org can go ahead and SEO itself because, you know, com’s, you know, we’re putting engineering hours over there and com’s just this tiny little site over here, cloning your content.

[00:17:30] Sé Reed: It’s no big deal, but the fact of the matter is, is we are not allowed. To market the website. We are not allowed to market wordpress. org. We are not allowed to market make. wordpress. org. We have been actively prevented from doing that. And when I say that, I mean, I have asked and I have been told, no, I have been said, I have asked, how can we talk?

[00:17:54] Sé Reed: How can we approach SEO? And it’s like, don’t bring it up. Matt doesn’t want that. That’s basically what I’m, what, what my response is. The

[00:18:03] Jason Cosper: Wow.

[00:18:04] Sé Reed: yeah,

[00:18:05] Jason Tucker: are the mini gates that are being kept is what’s happening here.

[00:18:07] Sé Reed: There, I’m not even at the Matt gate. Matt can claim whatever plausible deniability he wants, but

[00:18:12] Jason Tucker: It just, yeah.

[00:18:14] Sé Reed: gates keeps pointing up and saying, well, project leadership doesn’t want this.

[00:18:18] Sé Reed: Project leadership doesn’t want that. Okay, well, project leadership isn’t anywhere around here, because the project leadership, some of the project leadership, says on their, Says on their profiles that those people are pledged 40 hours a week to meta and marketing, for example. I am on both of those teams.

[00:18:35] Sé Reed: I facilitate the meta meeting and I am at, I, I am one of the leads or the reps for the marketing team. and they’re not there. They’re not having those conversations. Perhaps they’re in the marcoms, but that’s a whole different world. And, without even getting too far into that… I have lost two sponsored, two sponsored contributors off of the marketing team, who were basically fired from Automatic for, being too friendly to the community.

[00:19:03] Sé Reed: One of those people was told that they were not able to contribute more than four hours a week to the community, even though on their profile, five for the future pledge

[00:19:13] Jason Tucker: Four for the future.

[00:19:14] Sé Reed: 40. 4 for the future. It’s 4 for the future. that, that they were pledged 40 hours a week. So those numbers about how many people, how many hours everybody puts in, those are inaccurate.

[00:19:25] Sé Reed: And I talked about that at the community summit. You know, whether or not anything will come about that, I don’t know. But I’m talking about it now, too. cause that’s just not true. It’s, it’s incorrect. Inaccurate information and at the summit, when I brought that up, one of the folks at the summit who was one of, not one of the people on my team, but on another team who is also a sponsored contributor said, Well, there’s a lot of invisible hours that go into the work. Invisible hours. What that means is, is there’s a lot of work that happens for automatic that is being, or doc, I don’t know if it’s dot com or automatic. I don’t know. Cause it’s all a bit secret cabal over there, but that those invisible hours are being used with an agenda that has nothing to do with the community.

[00:20:09] Sé Reed: Is not being told to the community is, is completely. invisible to the community. And so, you know, a great 40 hours are being put in or those other six, 36 hours are being made to like, I don’t know what, make the podcast briefing, the WP briefing or something. I’m not sure what all the words are going into.

[00:20:28] Sé Reed: but they’re not open to the community. The community cannot participate in that. The WP briefing is completely produced by Automatic, completely produced by that team, whatever it is. as is. You know, the project page, all of that stuff is very much completely inaccessible to the community. So I, I not only have my marketing gatekeepers who say, no, you can’t do that.

[00:20:53] Sé Reed: No, we can’t do this. Then they, they just point up and say, well, this person said no. And then those people just point up and said, well, Matt said no. And, or Matt doesn’t want to. And that’s it. That’s, that’s how this works. So.

[00:21:05] Jason Cosper: So why, why even have a marketing team if the only thing that marketing is getting is effectively output from a black box, right?

[00:21:16] Sé Reed: well, actually the marketing team, it was actually in discussion that the marketing team would be disbanded before I came along and started making a bunch of noise, because why would the biggest project, open source project in the entire world need, I don’t know if it’s bigger than Linux, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s the biggest one in the world.

[00:21:33] Jason Tucker: why would it need a marketing team? I don’t know. No one should do marketing. Only automatic should do the marketing for WordPress, obviously. Is it the two separate things?

[00:21:42] Sé Reed: Yeah, they’re super unbiased, too. Super unbiased

[00:21:44] Jason Tucker: They’re two separate things, but they copy each other’s stuff. I don’t know. It just, it’s such a weird, it’s such a weird, I keep going back. Like time and time again, keep going back to like, could, could Ford Motor Company have a org?

[00:22:00] Sé Reed: Could it what?

[00:22:01] Jason Tucker: Could like Ford Motor Company have a org?

[00:22:04] Jason Tucker: Like, how would this even work?

[00:22:05] Sé Reed: for them? I mean,

[00:22:06] Jason Tucker: You know what I mean? It’s just like, I don’t understand how this would work for another organization. It

[00:22:11] Sé Reed: doesn’t. This is a very, you know, and I am, I have on this show, I have said many a time, I’m not an apologist, I never have been, however, I understand the benefits of a public private partnership.

[00:22:23] Sé Reed: It is a very… They are a big component in society right now for cities to partner up with private development. Private development makes, for example, here in Long Beach, they needed a new city hall, a new library, all that stuff. So they took a giant, they took a giant, plot of land, tore down the old city hall, gave part of it to a hotel developer, and then said, hey, hotel developer, you go ahead and make us a new city hall and a library, and we’ll let you have this land.

[00:22:48] Sé Reed: They did it! The library’s gorgeous, the city hall’s amazing, and now they’re building a hotel. So, like, I mean, there’s definitely problems with that also, with that model, but it exists. It is beneficial, maybe, possibly, you know, that hotel’s never going away, that building’s there forever, but… There’s a cool library.

[00:23:06] Sé Reed: So

[00:23:06] Jason Tucker: up being like a sponsor, essentially.

[00:23:08] Sé Reed: it’s like a sponsored thing. It’s like how there’s also a new park here in Long Beach that was built. It has dinosaurs in it and there’s logos from Jurassic Park, right? So Jurassic Park has a marketing campaign is building playgrounds with dinosaurs, which, you know, I like dinosaurs. Kids like dinosaurs.

[00:23:24] Sé Reed: They’re not looking at the logo. But the logo is there. There is a Jurassic Park logo. It is like, this was made by whatever. So, you know, Jurassic Park, the, the brand is doing these public private partnerships. I’m not arguing against the model. I’m not, but if the dinosaur Jurassic Park was, I don’t know, I don’t know how to make an analogy of this, but if they were also, oh, if your kids play here, they’re now like, you know, they now work for us.

[00:23:49] Sé Reed: Or if it was like, you come to play for this park and all the energy that the kids use on this little, like, swing gets given to the Jurassic Park people or something. Like, I’m not sure what the exact analogy is. The point is, it’s okay. Like, it is an okay And I have never been a, I have never even bothered to say we shouldn’t have wordpress.

[00:24:13] Sé Reed: com or automatic should, you know, buzz off or any of that. In fact, my company had a contract with wordpress. com with automatic. To create a pilot program to promote and spread WordPress, via wordpress. com, to, small businesses across Los Angeles County, and whatnot. It was, it was a terrible experience, because, you know, the wordpress.

[00:24:39] Sé Reed: com UI was, like, in a real fun changeland, so every time I would give a presentation, I, my presentation materials would all be out of date with whatever people were seeing. That’s the

[00:24:50] Jason Tucker: Yeah. We, we thought classic press was a thing, but that you still have wordpress.com to, to do its fork in its whole like

[00:24:57] Sé Reed: yeah, although, okay, so this is actually relevant, also yesterday as part of this fun little, experience, In one of these tweets, Matt was talking about how he wants, his main mistake was Calypso. Totally. and that,by, by having Calypso, it separated the UI of com and org. And now he’s hoping to bring the com back into the org admin interface look, which is great.

[00:25:22] Sé Reed: it’ll be even more confusing for everybody. Awesome. again, I don’t even, whatever. Like, that’s not the point here. The point is… Again, this is just getting back to what the point is. The point is, Matt says, we can SEO WordPress. org to, you know, beat com or we can do whatever we want on org, but we cannot.

[00:25:41] Sé Reed: So it is literally being held up as, it’s just more opportunities for people to come on. But as everyone on Twitter has deconstructed, no, actually, when people index stuff or are looking for stuff for WordPress and com indexes higher, people go there. And then they sign up for that plan. Like, we’re not dumb.

[00:26:01] Sé Reed: Like, that’s,

[00:26:02] Jason Tucker: all the time.

[00:26:03] Sé Reed: yeah, it’s called onboarding new customers. And you know what? Everybody does it. It’s okay to want new customers. What’s not okay is to lie about it. That’s what’s not okay. What’s also not okay is to say that org is on a level playing field. Because we are not. com does have people who can do all the SEO they need to.

[00:26:25] Sé Reed: org is literally prevented from competing with com by com. That’s not fair. That’s not an open marketplace. That’s not okay. Like there was a video recently made in, that was put out on the official channels. It was not made for, Matt’s WordCamp US, talk. That video was also made, but that was for Matt, right?

[00:26:48] Sé Reed: So I’m fine if Matt wants Matt’s people to make his video for his talk. Great. Spend your money on whatever you want. It’s your talk, it’s your people. However, when that video, a video prior to that was made, and put out as official, WordPress. On the official WordPress channels. And I had to ask when that, when that came out, it was shared by one of the marketing folks from Stargate.

[00:27:09] Sé Reed: And I was like, where’d this video come from? Who made this video? They, didn’t answer for a day. And then the next day, one of the people who was cited as the people who did it, they suddenly had a WordPress. org account. That’s so cool! It just, like, popped up. That guy happens to make videos for, like, Gap, and he happens to work with a very expensive looking,video, I don’t know, agency, that made the video. Okay,

[00:27:39] Jason Tucker: Wow. Hmm.

[00:27:39] Sé Reed: Fine! We have a nice, cool video showing off blocks. But it had nothing to do with the community. The community was not involved. And, in fact, I was told by some of those marketing people that marketing, the Stargate team of marketing, Inautomatic didn’t even have anything to do with it, that’s what I was told.

[00:27:55] Sé Reed: they were asked for, to like proofread it or something, to make sure there are no errors. but they were not involved in making it. So… I mean, I don’t know what’s what, but I also have had over the past week to tell people, no, it’s going to be really difficult for us to make a contributor video because we don’t have, we don’t have access to that.

[00:28:15] Sé Reed: If we made it, if we created it through the community, I could probably finagle us through pressure to get that posted on org, but it would have to be approved by Matt first. And that’s just, everyone knows that. and then, you know, for the From Blogs to Blocks campaign, the 20 year anniversary, that, seems like a no brainer, right?

[00:28:36] Sé Reed: That we would post all of that on the wordpress. org page. Marketing came up with a campaign, it’s putting out prompts every day for 20 days, hyping the WordPress birthday, the 20th anniversary, that’s huge, right? We had to, I had to specifically DM and ask and pressure people to put that up, and they didn’t put it up every day, they didn’t put it up on the day, they put it up later than the day.

[00:29:00] Sé Reed: You know who did a better job promoting blogs to blocks the wordpress. org account?

[00:29:07] Jason Tucker: That

[00:29:07] Sé Reed: The GoDaddyPro account. Cool. Cool.

[00:29:12] Jason Cosper: an interesting, an interesting thing and something that came up during this whole, thing about the clone of the org repository, on com was, basically. it being seen or, Matt proposing it as a net good, because, you know, oh, it gets more installs. It gets, you know, all of this. and he even said, and there were some readings of this that, that I saw around that, Any hosting company could come around and make a dupe of the org because it is open source.

[00:29:55] Jason Cosper: They could make a dupe of the org plugin directory and start sharing away with that. so basically.

[00:30:03] Jason Tucker: good for him.

[00:30:05] Jason Cosper: Yeah, let, let a, let a thousand plugin directories bloom, let Bluehost have a plugin directory, let WP Engine have a plugin

[00:30:14] Jason Tucker: Oh my gosh.

[00:30:16] Sé Reed: still, com, org doesn’t need to, doesn’t have to do any SEO. Don’t worry about us over here.

[00:30:21] Jason Cosper: Right.

[00:30:21] Jason Tucker: interesting about

[00:30:22] Sé Reed: SEO, man.

[00:30:23] Jason Tucker: that. What’s interesting about that is that all of these different companies have their own collections of plugins and themes that they would just slap on the top of it. Just like essentially they

[00:30:34] Sé Reed: Oh,

[00:30:34] Jason Tucker: the

[00:30:35] Sé Reed: you mean like

[00:30:35] Jason Tucker: put all.

[00:30:36] Sé Reed: slaps all of its plugins at the top of

[00:30:38] Jason Tucker: they would take all the jetpacks and all those, all those things and just throw all their stuff on the top of it.

[00:30:43] Jason Tucker: So I don’t know. It just,

[00:30:45] Sé Reed: You know what really gets me about this whole thing? And I haven’t even gotten into the public defamation of my character.

[00:30:51] Jason Tucker: yeah, yeah. And you got some time still. You’re

[00:30:53] Sé Reed: Yeah, what really gets me about this whole thing is just that it’s, it’s so, it’s so disingenuous. I’m like, this is just, this is, it’s just not accurate. It’s just not true.

[00:31:04] Sé Reed: And I am not against automatic making money. I’m not against Matt making money. I’m not against WordPress. com. It offers a free version. I, once they get rid of Calypso, life will be a lot better for everybody over there. But like, that’s, no one’s, no one’s preventing him from doing that. No one is, no one that I know of is saying that.

[00:31:25] Sé Reed: Everyone says, go make your money, dude. Go do it. We appreciate you. We appreciate what you’re doing here. So I don’t know who he’s fighting against. I think it’s Tumblr, personally. I think he’s taking out. So, so this is a little parenting tip, right? So kids, toddlers. When they’re upset, they can’t regulate their, their emotional status, right?

[00:31:47] Sé Reed: They tend to get more upset and let their upset out with their parents or with especially their primary caregiver because they feel safe there, right? They don’t act up with the person who’s making them feel nervous or whatever. They act up later with their parent.

[00:32:03] Jason Cosper: Mm hmm.

[00:32:03] Sé Reed: And it, it occurs to me that perhaps there is some redirected anger from some of the insane Tumblr hate that has been happening.

[00:32:13] Sé Reed: If you haven’t looked at it, you can, you know, maybe we’ll put some in the show notes. but there is some real not kind things that people say to Matt on his personal blog on Tumblr. they’re mad. They’re really mad. And they, roast him. They roast him constantly. But you know what we don’t do here in our community?

[00:32:30] Sé Reed: We don’t roast Matt. We never have, and I don’t know who does. I don’t. Not even my tweet yesterday was roasting Matt. My tweet was saying, hey, hello. I’ve, I’ve freaking invoked Burning Man principles for crying out loud.

[00:32:44] Jason Tucker: Hey, you dug deep for that one. I give you

[00:32:47] Sé Reed: did dig deep for that one. I happen to

[00:32:48] Jason Tucker: knew your audience.

[00:32:50] Sé Reed: Well, I thought I knew my audience,

[00:32:52] Jason Tucker: Ooh.

[00:32:53] Sé Reed: Matt, who was at Burning Man, which happened right after, Word, WordCamp US. I really thought that we might be able to, like, I don’t know… See eye to eye on that, but I don’t even know if he got that far in my tweet thread. You know, maybe he blocked me after the first one because he’s like, whatever was say, even though at the last time I talked to him, which is at the Smithsonian at the WordCamp US after party, we talked about how in his talk he said, we can’t be carrying around 20 years of baggage.

[00:33:23] Sé Reed: It’s gonna be too heavy. And I, I talked to him about it and I said, hey Matt, I, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll let water be under the bridge if you will. And he said, okay. And we shook hands, and then you know what we did? We hugged. And I said, Matt, I think we should hug now. And he said, we could have always hugged. And I was like, probably not.

[00:33:39] Sé Reed: But then we hugged. So, so much for that water under the bridge. Because then, he, I, I speak my mind. I say what’s happening. I talk about that cognitive dissonance. Ask him to protect the thing that he goes out there and talks about. And champions all the time. And in that same tweet, acknowledged. How much money and time and effort he puts into this, but he’s not, he’s not protecting the open source part of WordPress.

[00:34:08] Sé Reed: He is not protecting the community, but that is what my request was. And that, apparently, is, is cause for not only blocking, which, hey, you know what, block whoever you want, you want to block me? Fine, block me. It’s really weird to block one of the leads on your software’s, like, marketing communications team.

[00:34:30] Jason Cosper: I don’t know why you didn’t just ignore me, Matt, like you usually do. there’s, there’s a mute, there’s a mute button, which.

[00:34:37] Sé Reed: could have just, just

[00:34:39] Jason Tucker: You don’t even have to pay extra for it either,

[00:34:41] Sé Reed: but you didn’t. And not only that, you came on to like, came back to tell me that it’s my, I’m the only one out of 17 years. Okay, so what? So something I said must have, you know, been a little too accurate, too true. And maybe what I’m getting, maybe, maybe the lead of that, maybe where that leads to, that conversation leads to, is that there really is some sort of nefarious plan here.

[00:35:05] Sé Reed: Maybe he really is taking org stuff and trying to put it on com. Maybe he is making that. He did, at the WordCamp US, talk about his com plan. So blurring that line between com and org, which, you know, there was smatterings of applause for that. I think everyone was kind of like a little confused. About why we were talking about org plans at, or com plans at the org event.

[00:35:27] Sé Reed: but really, I, I, I, I don’t know what the endgame here is. I’m not even accusing him of that. This wasn’t

[00:35:34] Jason Tucker: of hats to wear.

[00:35:35] Sé Reed: What?

[00:35:36] Jason Tucker: He has a lot of hats to wear

[00:35:37] Sé Reed: He does have a lot of hats to wear. By his own design, he’s put all the hats on. So like, if he wants to take off some hats, you know, I’m sure he can do that. but… This is not, you know, if this should have been regulated to a community summit discussion or, you know, a community discussion or I can just rant on Twitter and it can go into the void.

[00:35:57] Sé Reed: So, but in this case, that did not happen. But what I’m really, the real problem is, the problem that arose here, and it’s not that Matt blocked me, although that’s just, it’s, it’s just kind of lame, but the real problem is, is that he then implied that I have done something, I have

[00:36:18] Jason Tucker: and then other people were even chiming in saying the same.

[00:36:21] Sé Reed: outside of this thread, outside of this conversation that they, people don’t know about, and he’s just had it with me because of all of this unspoken stuff. But that’s a bunch of bullshit. It’s an absolute, complete bunch of bullshit. I have said not a single thing. To anyone about Matt, including on this show, that I wouldn’t say to his face, or to anyone’s face, or on this show, not at all. And I’ve asked him, in post status and on Twitter, and to whatever little weird troll people are like agreeing with him that have like 14 followers, Can someone tell me what we’re talking about here?

[00:36:57] Sé Reed: Because I don’t know what it is we’re implying that I’ve said or done. And that’s where I have a problem. That’s when… This becomes an abuse of power. That’s when Matt is now saying, Oh, I am, I’m going to diss this person and damage my reputation. With no evidence, with no citation, with not even hearsay to back it up.

[00:37:19] Sé Reed: Knowing that the community, mostly of other white men, will probably believe him because I’m an outspoken woman. I’m sure I’ve said something, right? Like everyone’s sure, oh she’s probably run her mouth. The problem with that is, I am particular about what I say about people. That is a personal principle. I am personally very, very aware of when I speak about other people.

[00:37:45] Sé Reed: And if I wasn’t, I might be worried that he would have something on me. Maybe I said something, but I didn’t because I don’t as a matter of principle. And so until he put that up there, I wasn’t really upset. I was just like, oh my God, this is ridiculous. And we should talk about this as a community because I care about the SEO part.

[00:38:07] Sé Reed: I care about WordPress. org, I care about us being able to promote WordPress, the open source project. But now he’s done this wild implication that I am, you know, whatever I am, and that is personally damaging. He is intending to personally damage me by doing that. And his, his implication was so abstract that it could be, the plausible deniability is like just…

[00:38:33] Sé Reed: Like, oozing out of it, right? He didn’t say me, he said sometimes, people sometimes say some things that aren’t in this thread or whatever, right? Like, we all know what you’re saying. Like,

[00:38:45] Jason Cosper: that’s some, that’s some Trump bullshit. Sometimes people say this thing when,

[00:38:51] Sé Reed: many people say

[00:38:51] Jason Cosper: come on. Yeah.

[00:38:53] Sé Reed: say that? Why don’t you cite it then? I’m here. I’m listening.

[00:38:57] Jason Cosper: I hate to, I hate to compare the two of them because one is very clearly worse. However,

[00:39:06] Sé Reed: That’s a technique. It’s

[00:39:08] Jason Cosper: I, I just.

[00:39:09] Sé Reed: technique. It’s also something that many a CEO uses when they’re brought into Congress. You know, there’s like, it’s, it’s a picking apart of words. And if that’s what we’re doing here, like. Why are we doing that? Like I, I’ve literally done nothing, but bring, bring energy and time and my own money to every WordCamp, except for literally this year, I’ve paid for myself to go, to attend, to stay at every single WordCamp that I’ve ever been to and put in plenty of money organizing and speaking, then all of that, I’ve given tons.

[00:39:43] Sé Reed: And now he’s going to sit there and just like off the cuff, imply this stuff. And not only that, but do it also in post status. After I asked him about it, well, you haven’t said those things to me. Okay, that’s because he doesn’t want me to put our personal DMs out there, I guess, right? Because at least now we know it’s someone else said something to him about me.

[00:40:03] Sé Reed: But guess what? That’s not true either. And, I welcome anyone bringing any evidence whatsoever, even anecdotal evidence to the contrary, because I am interested in it. But this is now my problem, because I was not mad before. But this is an abuse of power. This is Matt now abusing his power. I am not his employee.

[00:40:25] Sé Reed: He cannot hide behind personnel issues. He cannot fire me. Like… What, what, what? Say the next thing then. That’s what I want him to do. That’s what I would like him to do after this. I would like him to say what it is that I have said that makes me so worthy of the only person to be blocked. I want to know what that is.

[00:40:47] Sé Reed: I really do, because there’s nothing. So

[00:40:49] Jason Tucker: of being petty. Yeah.

[00:40:51] Sé Reed: he’s, he’s literally, he has crossed the line from being Just, you know, kind of a jerky leader, right? Or, at least a mercurial leader who has moods. Whatever. I have moods. I’m a Gemini. It’s great. He’s an Aquarius, so I get it, right? Air signs. We’re kind of moody. but you can’t go around disparaging people’s character.

[00:41:14] Sé Reed: And you can’t go around doing that. without any backup whatsoever. So, yeah, I, I’m, I got a little upset about that one. I don’t, I don’t, my feelings aren’t hurt, like, he can’t hurt me. I’m not worried about it, but what I really want is, it’s funny because, you know, we’re talking in post status or whatever.

[00:41:34] Sé Reed: We’re just moving on with our days. Everyone’s like, how’s your weekend? What are you doing this weekend? We’re just gonna all move on because Matt abusing his power like this and punching down, and it wasn’t just to me, by the way, he bashed everybody. Who was talking about who commented on my feed or said

[00:41:50] Jason Tucker: Oh yeah.

[00:41:51] Sé Reed: supporting me, he went off on some people.

[00:41:54] Sé Reed: He said, really, really rude and. Unnecessary and hurtful things to people. Like, he didn’t even hurt my feelings that much, other than this insane implication that I’ve done something. But like he was, he was at really, that’s, that’s not okay. So it’s not just me either. This is him doing this to multiple people in the community who have done literally nothing to him.

[00:42:18] Sé Reed: That is an abuse of power and that is a problem. And I don’t know what we should do about it necessarily, because let’s be real. Matt holds all the keys. He does. He has his hosts. He has all the code. He has all the keys in the community. He owns all the accounts. He has all of the access to the press, who he can tell his entire story to.

[00:42:37] Sé Reed: So, we’re just like, what, at the mercy of Matt and we just have to deal with it? Like, he’s the king. He’s literally like the king. And he was joking around making some other guy king of the plugins directory. The community’s over here going, we need this and we can do this. And can we SEO this? And can we have these?

[00:42:55] Sé Reed: And this will help the plugin developers. And this will help the users. And then some dude comes on and is like, you should put me in charge of the directory. Cause I got a lot of cool ideas. And

[00:43:06] Jason Tucker: this, this, this so sounds like early, Twitter acquisition.

[00:43:11] Sé Reed: It does, it sounds like early Twitter acquisition, but

[00:43:13] Jason Tucker: When all, when all the, when all of the, when all of the Tesla drivers are coming out, coming out, going like, Oh, anything for you, I’ll drop off all the waters you need over at, over at the headquarters. I’ll do whatever I can do for you. Like, it’s just, it’s,

[00:43:27] Sé Reed: oh my god, I’m sorry, I just realized, Matt, you’re watching this show right now, do you want to come on? Because you can, if you want. You want to jump on? We’ll send you the link. You want to have the conversation? You want to have the conversation next week? Let’s have the conversation. And also, I would happily join you at your camp at Burning Man next year.

[00:43:44] Sé Reed: But, before we do that, we need to have some conversations about what the principles of Burning Man are. Because you haven’t responded to me talking about the principle of common effort. Which is what I was talking about in my tweet to you. So I don’t know if you read it, I don’t know if you ignored it.

[00:44:02] Sé Reed: You obviously can’t see it anymore since you’ve blocked me. But I think… You saying anyone want to come to my Burning Man camp while you’re actively ignoring Burning Man precepts in the concept, in my tweet thread? Like, what are we doing, bro? You’re just being funny? Like, yeah. Anyway, I would be happy to have you come on this show.

[00:44:22] Sé Reed: You’re welcome. Training your AI models. What are you? Can you put his clips up, please? Because Matt’s literally in the chat of this conversation, like, snarking at me. Like, what are you doing, dude? You want to make weird AI models of my face?

[00:44:37] Jason Tucker: that’s gross.

[00:44:39] Sé Reed: seriously, come on the show, let’s have a conversation.

[00:44:42] Sé Reed: I have never been anything but kind to you, ever, not once. And I have tried to make your company money, specifically. So, I guess I’m just talking to Matt now, since I, maybe it’s not Matt. Maybe, maybe it is a, maybe it is a, maybe it’s a troll. Maybe it’s someone coming on and

[00:44:59] Jason Tucker: Maybe it’s one of the, one of the few people that have access to the YouTube account, who knows?

[00:45:04] Sé Reed: Is it his actual YouTube account? That’s great. Well, I’m glad that we’ve made an impression on whoever, that someone’s willing to come in and troll, or whatever they want to be. We’ll assume that it’s not Matt. Should we, we, we, everyone’s like, did he get hacked again? Is he having a fever? Like, no, this is

[00:45:21] Jason Cosper: Scott says that this is not, the YouTube account

[00:45:24] Sé Reed: great.

[00:45:25] Sé Reed: So if someone’s in here trolling us as Matt, that’s even better. This is super duper fun. look, what, what, what do you think, peeps? Like, is this okay? It’s okay to just go about our day and let our leader continue to abuse people’s power. because again, this is what it’s about, right? Like this is. We’re all here to advance WordPress.

[00:45:48] Sé Reed: org and the open source project. That’s what this show is about. That’s what everyone in the chat is about. That’s what everyone in the community is about. That’s what everyone is at. All the things are about, right? And

[00:46:00] Jason Tucker: Yeah.

[00:46:01] Sé Reed: I don’t know, like, don’t know how we can get out of this problem. Because I’m happy if we can get some access, if we can get some transparency in terms of marketing, in terms of what we’re doing, like, that’s all I want.

[00:46:18] Sé Reed: That’s all I was asking for. I would like to be able to make a contribution video to be on the contribute, journey, because for some reason I want to bring more people into this nightmare. forgetting the whole nightmare Matt part of it. I love WordPress. I love the software. I love where it’s going.

[00:46:35] Sé Reed: There’s cool stuff happening. I’m excited to see what AI does. Look, I’m excited to see where we go with the metaverse stuff that like some of our guests have been on, like there is. Cool stuff happening in technology right now, and the, the problems that we face as an organization, as a, as a community, they’re not insurmountable.

[00:46:54] Sé Reed: We have so much talent, we have so much passion in this community. At the Word, WordCamp US, Contributor Day marketing table, it was all the heads of the marketing departments of all of their companies. They’re not idiots. They’re literally leading nation like, multinational, international companies in marketing.

[00:47:15] Sé Reed: They know what they’re doing. Like, that is the kind of talent and passion and resources we have access to. There should be no reason why org is not on top of everything. There should be no reason why it’s not super easy to figure out what WordPress is. There should be no reason to figure out how to contribute to WordPress.

[00:47:35] Sé Reed: There should be no reason that it shouldn’t be easy to figure out how to contribute to WordPress. But we are blocked from those things. And that is my problem. Even beyond not having a personal problem with me or whatever.

[00:47:47] Jason Cosper: I, I, I have to say, it’s, it’s one of the huge reasons that we are our friends and one of the things that I just love so much about you is that, after the week that you have had. After, the, the things that you have gone through just this past week, I know some weak ass people who would have dropped out and just been like, fuck this project, fuck everything.

[00:48:18] Jason Cosper: I’m not doing this anymore. I’ve given too much of myself. To this, to, to keep pushing forward. And you were like, no, no, not only am I going to keep pushing forward, I am going to try to bring more people into this.

[00:48:37] Sé Reed: such an idiot.

[00:48:39] Jason Tucker: What a dummy.

[00:48:40] Jason Cosper: no,

[00:48:41] Sé Reed: When you put it that way, I’m like, gosh, Dave, what are you doing? You

[00:48:44] Jason Cosper: That is, that is so like, I’m, I’m like, I’m, I’m gonna get wet eyes like that. I, I fucking love that.

[00:48:53] Sé Reed: Thank you. I appreciate that. I, I believe very strongly in the ethos of the WordPress project, even if our leadership doesn’t. and I also believe in those Burning Man precepts, by the way, the principles of Burning Man. I think a lot of those have a lot of value. we could get into like Burning Man and the, the, the, the ethos versus the reality.

[00:49:13] Sé Reed: But honestly, the ethos versus the reality mirrors the world of WordPress a lot. It’s actually, there’s a lot of commonality there between Burning Man and WordPress. I think I should just write a little essay on it, maybe, or something. Anyway, I, I really, you know, my, my, what is my call to action for folks listening to this?

[00:49:32] Sé Reed: all I’ve got right now is please join the WordPress Community Collective. Please come be a part of that. We are slow moving and very slowly getting started because we’re really busy and there’s a lot going on and we, we need more people. That is where we can maybe have these conversations and, have a place that is safe to, to have these conversations because there really isn’t people like, Oh, these conversations shouldn’t happen on Twitter.

[00:49:58] Sé Reed: Well. They’re also not happening at the Community Summit, apparently, because I tried to have those conversations there, and that just went into a void. they’re not happening in person. Tried to have those too. They’re not happening in the Make Slack. So, you know, where can we have these conversations? So we’re going to try to continue to do that.

[00:50:14] Sé Reed: I hope that we can really… Not forget about this and not excuse it. Like, I don’t, I’m not trying to be here. Like, don’t forget about my problems or whatever. It’s not about my problems. This is about not forgetting that this keeps happening. This, I’m not the first person this has happened to. I’m probably not the last person this has happened to.

[00:50:36] Sé Reed: And that’s the problem. The abuse of power. I mean, and I haven’t even gotten into the abuse of employees because automaticians are opting to work there, you know, the. The, the trash talk that they get after they’re fired or let go, the complications that are happening there, that’s an internal issue, but they are very much,bellwether for what we also have happening over here, because it’s the same leadership.

[00:51:00] Sé Reed: It’s the same leader. And unfortunately he’s not much better behaved over here than he is over there. So there are a lot of parallels.

[00:51:09] Jason Cosper: a big, a big problem is that this didn’t just happen to you. The, the people who came to your defense, the people who got. Picked apart, poor, I, who I I’m, I’m trying to remember who it was. I’m not going to name names because the takedown was just brutal about like, you have this, this business that’s not doing anything and this and WooCommerce beat you here and all this.

[00:51:36] Jason Cosper: And I was like, Oh my God, I could not believe how just like. Oh,

[00:51:46] Jason Tucker: How many people came out of the woodwork and said, what Sé’s saying is exactly what I wish I could have said. And I’m glad that someone’s saying it, like all of those sorts of things that were being said. Every one of those threads had somebody like that saying that.

[00:52:01] Sé Reed: Yeah, look, he says it’s fine, it was me, it was fine. I’m gonna, I have to plug my computer in, so, I’m just gonna stop my camera for a second, but I’m still here.

[00:52:08] Jason Cosper: but, but, but remember, remember the way that when his leadership was called into question, and I swear, I am probably going to get some shit at this for work, but when his leadership was called into question, what did he do? He didn’t act with grace. He attacked and that is fucked up.

[00:52:31] Sé Reed: Oh, Cosper’s getting mad. yeah, no, he attacked, he punched down, he was, disparaging to the people in the community, he was definitely disparaging to me, and honestly, he wasn’t even that disparaging to me, like I said, because What’s he gonna disparage? Like, there’s not, like, go, go to town. He doesn’t even know what websites I’ve built.

[00:52:51] Sé Reed: He could go find them if he wants and talk about their performance issues. Go for it. I can get the free site critique from Matt. That’ll be awesome.

[00:53:00] Jason Tucker: I

[00:53:00] Sé Reed: But, at the end of the day… the end of the day,

[00:53:03] Jason Tucker: though.

[00:53:04] Sé Reed: what?

[00:53:05] Jason Tucker: He might need some SEO help though. I mean, there’s like a canonical link that he could just put on like all those pages and then it would just point to like org. It’s not that hard. I mean, you can install Yoast and click like three things and it would do it, you know?

[00:53:18] Sé Reed: I mean, you know, I, I love Joost de Valk and, he was in the part of the conversation in post status about how that he has been allowed to do some of the SEO and marketing. and as it was pointed out, only like the tiniest fraction has been allowed to happen.

[00:53:34] Sé Reed: And I asked him, to go into his, experience that he had working as the lead, not as a hired person, but as the lead after the growth council, he took over the marketing team, kicked off the people who were there, who I was not big fans of necessarily, but still just literally just, just kicked him off.

[00:53:51] Sé Reed: Unceremoniously, they hadn’t done anything wrong in the marketing component. They just, you know, I wasn’t a big fan. That’s not, that’s personal. That has nothing to do with the community. Right? Just came on, those people all got kicked off and then quit six months later. Again, not mad at Yoast about this.

[00:54:06] Sé Reed: What I’m mad about is us not talking about it. What I’m mad about is us not being honest about it. Because in that, he was like, I don’t really want to talk about that. We talked about it at the time, he and I did, and, the reason, you know, it’s the same reason. I’m not gonna tell his story or say what he is saying, but he quit that effort.

[00:54:28] Sé Reed: The number one person! In SEO, in WordPress,

[00:54:33] Jason Tucker: Right.

[00:54:34] Sé Reed: quit the marketing team because of all of the obstacles that are placed

[00:54:39] Jason Tucker: So maybe the tag won’t show up then. Is that what you’re saying?

[00:54:43] Sé Reed: I don’t, I honestly don’t know, because we can’t even get to it. Like, we can’t get there. I don’t, like, I just, I just want to make a contributor journey. Like, literally, like, some pages that, like, link together that we could, like, track and see where people, like, fall out of the journey and stuff.

[00:54:58] Sé Reed: Like, this is, like, I’m… I’m, I’m not trying to, like, revolutionize the, I mean, on some level, sure, I’m trying to revolutionize the organization, but I’m not over here, following in the wonderful Morton’s footsteps and making a governance thing and saying Matt should be… Whatever. Did I say that? I didn’t. I, I’m not trying to do that because I don’t think that’s possible and we could talk about whether or not it’s necessary.

[00:55:22] Sé Reed: I didn’t think it was necessary, but maybe it is necessary because I, I don’t think we can have someone who is unaccountable, completely unaccountable for their actions. Leading an organization, that purports to be open, purports to have this strong ethos of community. Like, I don’t, I haven’t reviewed the Code of Conduct specifically yet, but does that constitute a violation of the Code of Conduct?

[00:55:49] Sé Reed: If it’s not in a WordPress specific space, it doesn’t, right? But I’ve already had an experience where I didn’t talk about something that a leader in the community did to me, specifically on this show, live, because it didn’t happen in the WordPress space. And I was quiet about that because I didn’t have any way to tell people about it.

[00:56:09] Sé Reed: and that person is still around in the space, was at WordCamp US. I had to walk by them multiple times. And there’s, there’s no recourse there. So if people out, can, can eat people in WordPress, including Matt, can act without any accountability, without any, any accountability, I mean, there’s not another word for it, like any accountability for their actions or their behavior or what they’re doing or what they say, then what is the code of conduct doing for us?

[00:56:38] Sé Reed: What is, what is happening? Like I, I actually messaged Matt in post status when he blocked me, and I said, what the hell, dude? What the hell? Actually, I said, what the hell, dude, after he unblocked me to tell me that I was the only person he has blocked in 17 years, and then re blocked me. So I, I said, what the hell?

[00:56:56] Sé Reed: He hasn’t replied. But I did not do that in Make Slack, nor have I said anything about any of this in Make Slack, because I want to respect the code of conduct, I want to respect the community, I don’t want to bring this trash into our community. But if that person who’s being completely held unaccountable is…

[00:57:17] Sé Reed: In charge, you know, do you think I’m going to be selected for another release team? Do you think that if there’s a community summit that I’m going to be allowed to go? Do you think that, you know, we’re going to have a, the marketing team is going to have an easier time now getting stuff done? I’d like to think that we would, because we’ve pointed out some problems. I’m not so sure, and if we, and by we I mean the community, and I mean all of the community, I mean the project leadership, I mean the people who work for Matt, I mean the people who are in post status, the people who hold power in this community, if everyone is just like, well, just another day, Matt’s popping off, and no one holds him accountable, what is it now?

[00:57:59] Sé Reed: What’s next? Who’s next? Who’s up on the chopping block? Like, I, I, this, that’s the problem. We are not holding our own community accountable. And if we do not hold our own community accountable, there’s no one else to do it. And our community just becomes a shitty place. You’ve heard of Twitter. It’s a shitty place now.

[00:58:20] Sé Reed: Right. It was, no one’s being held accountable. And in fact, they’re being encouraged to go off the rails. And. I don’t know about you, but if a leader in the community can pop off, make unattributed accusations about an active person in the community, and multiple active people in the community, they can just say whatever they want with no repercussions?

[00:58:42] Sé Reed: How is that going to make the other people who want to say shitty things, racist things, sexist things, bigoted things? what about those people? How do we hold them accountable? That’s what we need to come up with. Some sort of way to hold everyone accountable. And I understand that Matt has the money. I understand that Matt pays checks for people.

[00:59:04] Sé Reed: But, Josefa was not on the, not in the room yesterday. I don’t know where she is. I don’t know where Chloe is. I don’t know where anyone is who is, supposed to help the community in these situations. I don’t know where Angela is. No one’s weighing in. No one messaged me. No one said anything. So, I know for a fact that automaticians are extremely aware of this happening.

[00:59:27] Sé Reed: I was messaged by multiple automaticians, as I am a lot, constantly, both current and ex automaticians, who tell me about the issues that they have and also told me about There are different chats that are happening in which they’re like, go say, but I’m like, hey everybody, can I not just be the one on the chopping block here?

[00:59:48] Sé Reed: Like I’m just out here by myself, just literally just one person, just one woman standing here being like, Hmm, this doesn’t seem right. And everyone else is like, yeah, that’s not right. But Hmm. I’m just gonna let it go. We’re just gonna, just gonna go, what is it? Everyone’s been saying, let’s go touch some grass, right?

[01:00:07] Sé Reed: I’m all for touching grass of all sorts. but there’s a, what’s that expression? all it takes is for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Now, I am not saying that Matt is evil. Let’s be clear. I don’t think Matt is evil. I think Matt is misguided. And I think Matt… When I say misguided, I mean, I think he’s guided by the wrong people.

[01:00:29] Sé Reed: And I think he is, he’s changed a lot in his ethos. And, I don’t think it’s acceptable for the leader of a community to bash his community. And I don’t think we should accept that. I don’t know what that means, but I do think that we should hold And if anyone wants to think, oh, I wonder what Sé did, go look, go find it.

[01:00:53] Sé Reed: You tell me. Cause I don’t know. I don’t know what I did

[01:00:58] Jason Cosper: The, the people who are willing to let it go, I am reminded a little bit of, this Upton Sinclair quote from when he was running, for governor of California, which is, it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

[01:01:18] Jason Tucker: Damn. That’s profound right there.

[01:01:20] Sé Reed: And look, I really, I appreciate the difficult position that the people in Automatic are in. I do. I understand that your paycheck comes from this person. and I understand that WordPress. org is dependent

[01:01:32] Jason Cosper: my paycheck inadvertently comes from this person. Like,

[01:01:37] Sé Reed: It’s, it, yeah, like you, your, your paycheck is influenced by this person. If, you know, what happens to WordPress affects everyone who’s listening to this. Like, this is not, like, this is our, this is our community, right? This is our, this is, that’s it. That’s the, it is a community. It’s people who are friends, it’s coworkers, it’s colleagues, it’s professional development.

[01:01:59] Sé Reed: It’s, it’s our careers. It’s our businesses. And. You know, I don’t know what’s going on, but it seems like Matt is taking more and more credit and control over org and really wanting to make it his own and really wanting to make it his by virtue of just putting a bunch of paid people into org and having them do whatever he tells them to do.

[01:02:24] Sé Reed: without being held accountable to the community. Now, post Community Summit, even the automaticians are trying. I see them trying. I see you trying. I appreciate you trying. I appreciate the attempts at transparency, I appreciate reporting, I appreciate us surfacing issues for the actual software itself, and the redesign of the website, I appreciate all of that.

[01:02:49] Sé Reed: so I don’t want to gloss over that and say that people are not responding to that, I know that there are very many individuals Who work for Automattic, who are trying to do that. So, unfortunately, I have a lot of ideas in general, but I don’t have a solution for this one. because it can’t just be me, right?

[01:03:07] Sé Reed: Like, I can’t come up with a solution and enact it. There’s not, there’s not, there’s no possibility here. I do know that the people who are enabling Matt to continue this behavior are the people who are, Mostly in post status, the people who are the heads of agencies, the people who are the head of other companies, those are the people that Matt actually respects.

[01:03:31] Sé Reed: whatever that means. And, those are the people who are going to have He considers those people his peers. I’m sure he does not consider us to be peers in any way, shape, or form. but those are the people who have to hold him accountable. It can’t be the people who work under him. I don’t even know how Jess Josefa is supposed to keep him accountable.

[01:03:49] Sé Reed: She works for him at the end of the day, right? Like, so, she’s the executive director of this project, but… What, at the end of the day, he’s her boss, that’s complicated, that’s confusing, that’s, that’s a conflict of interest. So who, who can, who can hold these people accountable? That’s really my question. Who can hold Matt accountable?

[01:04:12] Sé Reed: Who can hold the community accountable? I don’t know. Do people have… I don’t know. So are we all just screwed? Can Matt just take the com thing? Can he just, he’s going to make com look more like org? Combine it all together, like, I don’t know what the end game is, I don’t know what the solution is. But I want us to all acknowledge where we are.

[01:04:36] Sé Reed: I want us to not just brush it aside. I want us to not be like, Oh, it’ll be fine later, we’re just gonna ignore it and talk about our weekend.

[01:04:46] Jason Cosper: I did, I did, I did just shrug and, I shouldn’t have because, over in our chat, I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, say, people have been saying strike

[01:04:55] Sé Reed: oh wow,

[01:04:58] Jason Cosper: strikes. Strikes are real hot right now.

[01:05:00] Sé Reed: Strikes are real hot right now. I mean, that’s not a terrible idea.

[01:05:05] Jason Cosper: Yeah,

[01:05:05] Sé Reed: I, I think that would require some organization. Yeah, we’re starting a union. Turns out we have a collective. It’s called the WP Community Collective. Happy to bring that into whatever. Like, I, I don’t know what the answer is, but I know that it’s not just me who’s gonna come up with it. This is a community. This is a global community. This affects 43 percent of the internet. The reason I’m still here is because I think it matters. I think it matters that people can take an open source software and install it and communicate. I think that it matters that people who don’t have money can do that through cheap hosting, through, you know, people in countries with real dictators who have real problems.

[01:05:53] Sé Reed: like, they can maybe get, you know, host a VPN or whatever, get a VPN going and like, get some of the word out about what’s going on in their countries. Like, I think WordPress as a publishing software, as an open source publishing platform, is important. That’s why I’m still here, because that’s what I care about.

[01:06:14] Sé Reed: It doesn’t, contributing to WordPress makes me no money. It doesn’t help my job. It doesn’t help my

[01:06:20] Jason Tucker: It costs me money.

[01:06:22] Sé Reed: Yeah, it costs you money. It costs me a lot of time. It probably hurts my clients because I’m like, oh, sorry I have to go, you know, contribute instead of working on your, your, your projects. So, like, I know that I’m not the solution to this, but I know that we can As a community, I don’t know how we have the collective, we have that.

[01:06:43] Sé Reed: So let’s have this conversation. Let’s, let’s keep talking about it. Let’s have a real community summit, maybe, where we actually talk about the community and not some secret invite list where we’re trying to like, make sure that the only people there are. You know, people who have been selected to be there and approved to be there.

[01:07:03] Sé Reed: Let’s, maybe, maybe that’s what we need. but I really hope that at the end of today, literally at the end of the day, that we don’t just let this go. Because I don’t, I don’t, I don’t envision it getting better. Like, no, none of my mental models say that if we just let this be, it’s just going to get better or just fix itself.

[01:07:26] Sé Reed: So, you know, I’m not necessarily advocating a revolution or a strike. I don’t know. Because I haven’t thought about the repercussions of those or even what the demands of that strike would be. Because what’s the point of striking unless you have an actual specific request? so, my request to everyone watching, to anyone listening, is to let’s get together, let’s have these conversations, and let’s not forget.

[01:07:53] Sé Reed: Let’s not just let it, let it go. Let’s fight for the thing that we care about. Let’s, let’s advocate for this community that we are all a part of. Let’s, let’s do that. Let’s hold each other accountable. And, at the end of the day also, Matt is a member of the community. He is part of our community. And he doesn’t like to think of himself, I don’t think, as part of this community.

[01:08:17] Sé Reed: But he is. And so what do we do in our community to hold people accountable? That is a, that is the problem, I think, that we have all been struggling with across all of the isms. The racism, the sexism, the misogyny. So much misogyny. That’s the problem. We do not have a mechanism by which to hold each other accountable.

[01:08:38] Sé Reed: And if we could maybe focus on that, and if that could be an outcome of, from this, that would be amazing. beyond just a secret Google doc list of shitty dudes who hit on people when they’re drunk, cause you know, hopefully that doesn’t

[01:08:53] Jason Tucker: a, cause that’s a thing.

[01:08:54] Sé Reed: That’s its own whole other conversation.

[01:08:57] Jason Cosper: yeah,

[01:08:57] Sé Reed: I believe in the, in, in our community.

[01:08:59] Sé Reed: I believe in what we’re doing here. So, who, you know, I, I wish I had a stronger call to action. you can donate money to the WPCC. You can be involved in the WPCC. You can get more involved in contributor meetings. You come to marketing and come work on these videos, come work on this stuff. Like, I feel that with, if it’s not just me saying we need these things, then it’s a group of people, we can accomplish that.

[01:09:24] Sé Reed: We made the contribute page. We made the little tool function and work and it’s live on the site. We made the from blogs to blocks campaign. We did all those things. I think we can do more. I think we can own our own community if we all show up and don’t let Matt scare us off with his, like, random thrashing of people.

[01:09:49] Sé Reed: Because that’s what he, I feel like he wants me to leave, right? Let’s get Sé out of here, right? I’m gonna block her, ignore her, I’ve had enough of her, right?

[01:09:57] Jason Tucker: it’s an, it’s an easy way to

[01:09:59] Sé Reed: Yeah, and that’s what everyone does. Everyone leaves because they’re like, I don’t need this crap. I don’t, I’m not paid here. I’m not paid to be here.

[01:10:06] Sé Reed: But I am a glutton for punishment, apparently. This is how I was raised, I guess. no, it’s actually because I believe in the principles. That’s actually why. Anyway, we’re in like triple overtime or something. So, I really, I hope that everyone who, is in the chat today will join our Discord and maybe that can be the space where we have these conversations.

[01:10:26] Sé Reed: I’m happy for Matt to join them too. Matt, you have an open invitation to come on the show and talk about these issues. you are, welcome. To talk about things if you are going to be kind. That’s about it. I don’t know what else I have to say other than, I’d really love to

[01:10:44] Jason Tucker: Hey, we just want to make sure that you,

[01:10:46] Sé Reed: I’ve talked.

[01:10:46] Sé Reed: That’s what I really want to know.

[01:10:47] Jason Tucker: we just want to make sure we’re giving you enough, enough, enough time to say what you needed to say.

[01:10:53] Sé Reed: Well, you know, I’ve been talking for like almost an hour straight.

[01:10:57] Jason Cosper: sure.

[01:10:58] Sé Reed: Is there anything I leave out? I don’t think so. we can talk about it again. We don’t usually talk about, you know, hashtag WP drama on the show. We talk about WordPress because, why? But this was something I knew we had to talk about. And I,

[01:11:12] Jason Tucker: we knew the person that was involved.

[01:11:14] Sé Reed: yeah,

[01:11:14] Jason Tucker: there’s

[01:11:15] Jason Cosper: This, this isn’t drama. This is WordPress. This is WordPress.

[01:11:20] Sé Reed: This is me saying, hey, let’s SEO a page. Let’s make a video. And being told no. So everyone who was shocked about, wait, we can’t make videos and apps? Yeah, no, we can’t. We are not allowed to. It doesn’t have the approval. of our project leadership. so come into the, come into the community, let’s flood make, you know, where it is, you need help getting on board.

[01:11:44] Sé Reed: I can help you with that. we’ve got the mobile team needs a lot of help and get, get contributing over there, the marketing team, we’ve got 102 open issues. The meta team has a bi weekly meeting where we talk about stuff, whether or not that’s effective is a whole other question, but we still, you know, that’s where we can talk about stuff. I’m facilitating those meetings. Like let’s, let’s get deeper into our community and not shun it and build all these other third party outside things, because that’s. What takes away all of our power and all of our control if we leave?

[01:12:18] Jason Cosper: be the change. Be the change. Strap in and fucking contribute and be the change.

[01:12:25] Sé Reed: that’s it. Come in with more of us advocating for wordpress. org and the open source project. That’s, that’s what it is. It’s, you know, power of people. You want to, it’s a meritocracy. Great. Let’s do stuff. And all rise to the top. It’ll be great. We can all rise to the top together. And hopefully that will also make Matt more money. hopefully he’ll be happy about that. I doubt it, but maybe. You never know.

[01:12:51] Jason Tucker: and

[01:12:52] Sé Reed: And grant! That was dramatic.

[01:13:02] Jason Tucker: Drive over there. We’d really appreciate it. And you can find us wherever it is that you find great podcasts, because we are one of those great podcasts. Thank you very much. Have a good rest of your day. Talk to y’all later.

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