WP Briefing: Episode 39: Contributor Stories Live from WordCamp US!

In the thirty-ninth episode of the WordPress Briefing, hear contributors at WordCamp US share stories about their why for using WordPress and attending WordCamps.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.


Editor: Dustin Hartzler
Logo: Javier Arce
Production: Santana Inniss and Chloé Bringmann
Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod


Topher DeRosia
Jen Miller
Courtney Robertson
Kathy Drewien
Alex Stine
Courtney Patubo Kranzke
Dustin Hartzler
Ricardas Kudirka


WordPress Translation Day September 28, 2022
WooSesh October 11-13, 2022
All Things Open October 30-November 2, 2022


[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:00:00] 

Hello, everyone! And welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of some of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project and the community around it, as well as get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. 

Here we go!

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:00:41] 

For folks who are new to WordPress in the past couple of years, you may have heard people talk about WordPress events with a sort of passion that really is hard to describe. For me, I know our events are the dark matter of what makes this global, fully distributed, multifaceted project come together so well in the end.

But I also know that WordPressers have so many different reasons for coming together. So we took a little wander through WordCamp US to get their take on why they use WordPress and also why they go to WordCamps.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:01:13] 

So WordCamp US is back in person for the first time since 2019. What are you most excited about?

[Topher 00:01:19] 

I am Topher.

Seeing everyone, the interpersonal relationships, the communication, the expressions on people’s faces that you don’t get via email or Slack or whatever. Just being near people again and enjoying each other’s company.

[Jen Miller 00:01:35] 

My name is Jen Miller.

I was most excited to see my friends. It’s been a long time to try to maintain connections via social media and, you know, texting and phone calls. But being here and being a part of the WordPress community has made everything great.

[Courtney Robertson 00:01:54] 

Courtney Robertson.

Contributor day, of course, that’s how I got really connected to the WordPress community. And I am hoping we have a great turnout.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:02:02] 

How long have you been a contributor to WordPress?

[Kathy Drewien 00:02:05] 

Hi, I’m Kathy Drewien.

I started in 2008 by attending my first WordCamp. Two years later, I was part of the organizing team for WordCamp Atlanta. I have been on that team for one role or another. Well, I can’t tell you how many years now. From then, until now.

[Alex Stine 00:02:24] 

My name is Alex Stine. About six years now.

[Topher 00:02:28] 

About 12 years.

I started going to WordCamp, then working in the support forums, and just grew from there.

[Courtney Robertson 00:02:24] 

I started checking guests in, at my first WordCamp in 2009, which I see as one avenue of contributing. I joined a team officially in 2014. 

[Courtney Patubo Kranzke 00:02:47] 

My name is Courtney Patubo Kranzke.

I have been an on-and-off contributor to WordPress since like the mid-2000s, but I’ve been a sponsored contributor since 2016.

[Dustin Hartzler 00:03:02] 

My name is Dustin Hartzler.

I started a WordPress podcast in 2010. And I did like 500 episodes in a row without a break and without a week worth of rest. So I consider that my contribution to WordPress. I have a couple of core contributions, like I, I fixed a little bug here, a little bug there in a couple of releases, I think back in the four eras, 4.1 or 4.2 or something.

2010 is when I really got started in giving back, and, like, sharing my knowledge with the WordPress community.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:03:28] 

Why is it important for you to attend WordCamps or contribute to the WordPress project?

[Ricardas Kudirka 00:03:33] 

My name is Ricardas Kudirka.

Basically, for everyone who’s using WordPress, it’s really important to understand how big the community is that we have here. So the community is an important and crucial part of WordPress.

And for it to grow, you need to attend the WordCamps, you need to share knowledge, and you need to meet people. So networking here and while meeting the exciting people who are developing WordPress or who are contributing to it, who are providing the services, who enable people to use WordPress.

That’s a crucial point for everyone to attend.

[Kathy Drewien 00:04:05] 

It’s important to attend them because it’s very hard to describe them. We are not like any other thing you have ever done in your life. You have to be here to get it. And then once you get it, you wanna do more of it. It’s magical. It’s magical. There’s no way to get that experience without being here.

In terms of contributing, it’s a responsible thing to do. You want to give back instead of get, get, get. In the beginning, we’re all about the get, get, get. And then you go, oh my gosh. I didn’t know. I didn’t know I could do this. I didn’t know I had to write code. I can actually just stand around and talk to people and contribute to the project.

[Jen Miller 00:04:50] 

Well, it’s a community effort, and so if we want it to progress and grow, we need to put our own individual effort into the community.

Plus, we make friends, we make connections, and we find people who we can help and who can help us.

[Alex Stine 00:05:07]

I feel it is important to support the community that got me my start in technology and make sure that people understand that accessibility is very much a requirement.

You know, we need to make sure we keep the community inclusive for all.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:05:21]

What is your favorite way to WordPress?

[Courtney Patubo Kranzke 00:05:24] 

I started with WordPress as a personal blogger. So it continues to be my favorite way to use WordPress. But, my use has evolved to using it for work as well as a place to share my photography and food blogging.

[Courtney Robertson 00:05:42] 

My favorite way to WordPress is through the Training team. Most of the things that I write these days are on make.wordpress.org/training and or learn.wordpress.org.

I love teaching people about WordPress, helping people at all skill levels advance, and that’s where you’ll find me around the WordPress Training team.

[Dustin  Hartzler 00:05:59] 

My favorite way to WordPress is just building cool things. Like I have a website, my wife has a couple of websites, and me just trying to learn things and trying to do them myself. Yesterday, there was a session, a 15-minute long session, and I learned how to customize the options available for different core WordPress blocks.

I didn’t realize that you could just make a button and like make a default like here’s the style for the default button. So every button’s exactly the same on the site. Like how cool is that? I like the side of customizing WordPress to make it easier for people who are non-techy like me to use my site, like my wife, and whatnot.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:06:30] 

How do you use WordPress in your day-to-day life?

[Topher 00:06:32] 

It’s sort of a universal tool for me. I blog, and I do podcasts.

I enjoy drinking whiskey, so I built a rating system for it. And I use it as a notepad, a scratch pad. I use it as my photography backup system. Just kind of as a universal tool for everything

[Alex Stine 00:06:53]

So I currently am one of the Accessibility team reps.

I’m a core contributor, Guttenberg contributor, the occasional meta contributor, and the occasional training team contributor.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:07:05]

Well, if that doesn’t convince you to go to a WordCamp or start your own meetup group, I just don’t know what will. Big thanks to everyone who sat down with us there in San Diego.

[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:07:23]

And now it’s time for our small list of big things.

First thing, WordPress Global Translation Day is coming up next week on September 28th. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the hard work that goes into translating all of this software for folks all around the world. If you want to learn more about how you could contribute to translations, I’ll have a link in the show notes for you.

The second thing is that WooSesh is coming up on October 11th through 13th, 2022. This one is not an in-person event. It’s a WPSessions event, but it specifically talks about how to get some eCommerce going on your WordPress site. So if you’ve been thinking about how to get a shop on your site, or just making your current shop a bit more complicated, then this is the event for you.

And the third thing on our list today is All Things Open. They are hosting a hybrid event this year from October 31st through November 2nd. This event isn’t specific to WordPress, but it is specific to open source and one of the best resources for learning some OSS basics. So if you’ve been interested in learning more about how this whole open source thing is an idea that will change our generation, then set your sights on that event. I will have a link in the show notes there as well.

And that, my friends, is your small list of big things. Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. And I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

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