One of the most difficult tasks I see for the WordPress project in the next 1-2 years is creating a place to harness the power of the WordPress community into a central location. In my opinion, the WordPress community is like peanut butter, spread across the web really thin. You have to be subscribed to a bunch of different blogs throughout the community in order to get a grasp as to what is happening with the WordPress project. Other than enthusiast sites, you have to know which mailing lists to subscribe to, the developments prologue site, attend the developer chats, and occasionally read a WordPress centric blog post or two from one of the core developers in order to figure out what is going on. I don’t like this situation. Instead, I would love to see a community portal developed on the WordPress.org site that contains the tools necessary to create a collaboration hub.
I hesitate to mention another project on a WordPress focused site but I believe there are lessons that can be learned from how Joomla has handled this situation. Joomla has a site called http://community.joomla.org/. The front page of this site acts as a portal to vital aspects of the project including team member blogs, events, featured articles, translations, etc. It’s as if everything I would need to know or have quick access to is right on the front page housed within this portal.
On the WordPress side of things, you have to dive into the documentation to find the Codex article that discusses WordPress in your language. The site contains one blog, the development blog for announcements specifically dealing with the software. It’s not like the good old days when multiple posts per month covering all aspects of the project would be published here. Now you’re lucky to see two posts or more a month on it. Each WordPress team member has their own blog, most with a WordPress category that is tied into a separate entity called the WordPress Planet that is accessed in the dashboard called Other WordPress News. Not only are the team members added to this site, but so are a number of other projects/sites that are not strictly WordPress related. I realize the team members are busy and some of them contribute to the WordPress project not employed by Automattic but I would like to see more posts published by them focused on the WordPress project. For example, I attend some of the developer chats and I see requests for unit tests or explanations as to how tickets in Trac should be treated yet I don’t see consistent information published to the public explaining this. Sure, the end user facing crowd has no interest in this, but there are a ton of plugin and theme authors as well as enthusiasts who would be. To be frank, I think that if it were not for websites such as Weblogtoolscollection.com and a host of other WordPress centric community sites, a majority of us would have no clue as to the progress of WordPress except for when a release was imminent.
I would love to see is a complete redesign of WordPress.org which served as a portal. A portal that could be visited daily to see posts from team members regarding the project, latest posts in the WordPress forum, upcoming WordCamps, a featured WordPress.TV Video, links to some of the most important pages in the Codex, the 3 or 5 newest themes and plugins added to the repository, etc. This post may be premature though as the best thing that could happen to the site is the redesign, plus the ability to use BuddyPress as a means of creating the collaboration hub of it all. I know the BuddyPress situation is currently being worked on and may end up being a reality some day on WordPress.org but for everything else, there is certainly room for improvement across the board.
What Say you?
First off, what do you think of the current way WordPress.org the project along with the website is laid out? If you had the opportunity, how would you completely restructure the website and team members to turn the site into a collaboration/information hub all about WordPress?