A few questions and suggestions related the organisation and "work ethic" of CP

I have a few important questions and suggestions in relation to CP and its organisational structure, plans to survive, and plans to thrive.
In no way my post here should be taken as an attempt to offence, while it might sound like I try to attack with my writing, this is not my purpose, my purpose is to bring clarity into the doubts, and bring the project forward. I am just critically thinking and picking the structure apart.

Several discussions with other members of CP community and my own experience have contributed to my motivation to write this up in the public forum, because I believe it requires a public interaction and feedback

I’ve read here the general purpose of CP’s leading team but also that CP is a decentralised structure where teams can take decisions and implement things, as well as members can and should interact, propose, and be ready to roll up sleeves.
Well, me and several other members of this community are ready, but I feel we have not been given the full opportunity to deploy our potential, leading into frustration and even some people leaving the project behind.

So here are my concerns, questions and suggestions, in no particular order and without intention of directly hurting or criticising anyone. However, I expect some improvements or at least response to these concerns, and again, as many probably know already, I am ready to help wherever I can.

At any point I might miss or misunderstand something, thus, I apologise ahead if that is the case, and please do not hesitate to correct me if necessary, or harshly criticise - I can take it.

  1. I think that “thread” (like so many others) or at least a summary thereof should be within the “about” of CPs website, so everyone can quickly learn how things work. I needed to google “how does ClassicPress standing committee work”, got another, external blog post, which then linked to @BlueSkyPhoenix’s post. Too many “documentation” threads are on the forums. This needs to change, I believe, and forums shall be only “discussions/asks/support”. Regulations, How To’s, and the like, have to live somewhere in the site, directly accessible thru links that are discernible. It shouldn’t take long to do that when we publish stuff. If will however now take days to gather the spread out information and put it to a centralised place, not to speak of all the sudden redirects or 404s that such “reordering” would provoke :frowning:

  2. It says in the same post theres shall be 12 members of the committee, at any time, at least.
    I see Only 9 here.
    Who are the other missing 3 members?

  3. I do not see the majority of those standing committee members being very active in CP.
    This might be due to a lot of things going on in the background, but then, if that is the case, I would say “I miss a public report of those committee members outlining the goals, progress and achievements of the past [month,quartal,semester,whatever]”.
    At least one of the committee members actually officially “left” CP.
    In at least some cases, I see regular members of this project being exponentially more active at least in the publicly visible face, than the members of the committee.
    However some of these very active and invested community members have been building up a feeling of wasting their time because their contributions where/are stalled with “will [maybe] do/will do once[…]”, which does then not happen (example: docs, social groups, etc).
    This ended in some of those very invested members to actually “leave” CP. Which is not good at all. It also contributes in still active members becoming sceptical of the actual “will” and “reason” behind CP.

  4. This brings me to my point, I do understand that we are all volunteers, but I believe a committee members should take on more responsibility and commit more than a regular member.
    Thus, it should be of less importance what else tasks the committee has outside of CP and CP should be their main focus.
    This is only possible if there is time free to be invested.
    And when there is time, the project can grow faster, and in more directions.
    Thus my suggestion here is that there should be a rule added, that standing committee members do have to have a certain guaranteed time at disposal to invest for CP.
    Letting CP slowly choke because our other (real?) jobs take too much time would not be a acceptable “thing”, IMO, for a committee member.
    I am not asking to work 100% for CP for free. No one can and will do that. But at least a weekly report, or meeting, would maybe contribute to a more felt “it is alive” than “CP is dead anyway”.
    It also would probably speed up things generally, if a meeting is expected weekly, because to have a meeting you need to have things to present, discuss and announce.

  5. This brings me to: where can we see updated, open reports of sponsored finance usage, progress updates, plans and roadmaps for CP?
    In a democracy, all process and investments should be continually communicated and if possible in a central place accessible to anyone.
    It is the death of every democracy when bureaucracy, disorganisation or lack of actual information obfuscates the facts, or facts are not made visible at all :slight_smile:

  6. In the current standing CP Committee Members list I cannot see if any of those members is actually team lead of something.
    I know some of them are actually team leads, I know someone does not have to be team lead to get committee member, but I think it would be helpful to link to their team or profile, at least, and also the public report of progress (if any) written up by the single members (weekly, monthly or whatever it will be), which I believe every democracy should have, mandatorily.
    It is one of the main concepts of any anti-totalitarian motivated community (such as democracy) to transparently communicate what was, what will and what maybe shall be done. I cannot see such reports of any of the teams, unless scarce occurrences spread thru forum and/or blog.
    Also it would just be nice, to have a list of prior members, and current members, in a “view”, with avatars and links as mentioned to profile or engagement reports.

  7. I cannot find any occurrence of members voting to committee for the year 2021. I can find it for the year 2019 (list of candidates to be voted for 2020), but same seems to be missing for 2020 > 2021. Perhaps it is hidden somewhere, or I miss something.

I know above is a rather messy mix of complaints, questions and suggestions, let me state again:

  • I am ready to help with whatever work necessary where possible, and so are other members of this community. I think the opportunities however are rather restricted, slow motion, or not existent/considered.

Again, this shall not be any offence, it is intended to make CP better, and to keep it alive.
I do not like the current common statements made mainly in slack repeatedly that “CP is basically dead”.
If it is dead, then let’s delete this project and focus on things we can actually maintain.
If it is not dead, lets stop saying that, and make it go great, possibly before WP 5.8 is a thing of reality

This brings me to my last closing point.

Relying on “When WP will [do x] we will get more users” is not really a sustainable approach.
No one will leave WP behind for a project that is not even objecting to “CP is dead” phrases in its own slack channels :slight_smile:, even if Block Editor nukes WP into pieces.
CP needs to distance itself so to give an incentive as of why to leave the trusted and sucessfull WP behind.
This can only be done by doing those things better that WP is not good at, one of those is “accepting new input”.
WP leadership is (often) dead stuck on old dinosaurs opinions like “nothing wrong, it was like that for the last 12 years”. I think we need to “sell” this aspect of CP more.
Of course there are many other things to attract users, such as having stable themes and plugins made for CP, and unfortunately that takes time (because users expect plugins like full fledged page builders, not small “do single task” plugins). But this is topic for another discussion and requires active work (which is in progress, as I know and see). Lets hope that with a more active “core” of CP, we can speed all this up.

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Update on my own post:
I found Q1 2021 - Directors Report and ClassicPress governance proposal, and also https://forums.classicpress.net/c/team-discussions/15

This answers some of my above questions and doubts. But it also shows that we are actually behind ourselves. So the committee is gone. Then why does the footer of this page feature a committee link, with actual “active” sentiments and lists on it :slight_smile:
And it still does not resolve, or perhaps even worsens, the fact that any one with greater power of decision should be as well featuring greater amount of time, for the CP project to grow.

However, great I found those posts, and forum section, it clarifies some details which truly puzzled me.

I am not in any position to answer any of the points raised about the committee / leadership structure of ClassicPress.

However, I also cannot disagree broadly with any of the statements you’ve made about the progress ClassicPress has made in the last 3 years. Momentum is the key word for me here, and there just isn’t enough of it.

ClassicPress is not seeing an influx of developers who come along and stick around, there are a good number of people who have been here for a while and then moved on. As a project my feeling is that things need to be seen to be happening in the core code to encourage developers and users to join ClassicPress and stay here.

I have made many contributions to the code base and I’m please to say that in the last week a lot of changes have been made to the core code now, the next step is to make a release when it looks stable and all the pieces are in place.

I cannot deny I have considered moving my sites back to WordPress again, but this last week has put those plans on hold for a little longer at least.

I really hope we will see a new version of ClassicPress before then end of July - with code you cannot wait for perfection, you need to pick a date and ship, and fix issues in the next release. It has worked well enough that way for WordPress for years.

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100% agree with some of the comments you made above. To be honest, I don’t have the time to address each point, but the TLDR version Michelle, James, and I were struggling with the committee/team leads for a long time. Every decision needed endless discussion at the end of which no action ever came. Which is why we ultimately put together the ClassicPress governance proposal.

If someone has time to update the website copy to reflect the current state of things that would be amazing. I think @smileBeda you already have access if you have time.

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I hope in part it is because of the decision to just start moving forward again, and I hope you aren’t the only one. I do believe in this project, and I really appreciate the help you and @omukiguy have given me in picking up some of the work with core.

This is the timeline I want to hit, I think the biggest roadblock now that we have burnt through many of the pending PRs is the release process itself. We will figure it out, but that is the only thing in my mind that could block that timeline.

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Forgot to mention, I am happy to share the 2020 reconciled financials, and any quarterly ones I have finished. I think this should go on the website though in a dedicated page. Happy to get those over to you if you could add them somewhere on the site.

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You bet that the recent increase commit activity has reignited my hope and excitement that ClassicPress can survive and then grow.

I agree that releasing might be hard work, I’ve looked at the scripts and it seems like some permissions might also be needed in the ‘release’ repository - lets get a clear milestone first and can then work on the release process.

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@wadestriebel - i don’t have any access to any of the “backend” cp instances at all
If I’d … :tada:

My first thing would be a cleanup.
Second thing a menu cleanup and update to both main and directory site.
Third a full doc section.
Then a reorganization of what’s in forum but should be in main site.

Maybe pm tegu slack about this?
I’m of course eager to help with this.

It says you do :slight_smile: You just need to sign in using your forum account. I can give you access to docs site too.

There is no access to directory site, that is a Laravel based application, and the only permission right now is full admin.

I’ll have a final go through the directory documentation this weekend and we can look to get that properly published.

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Yay!
Yes, works.

I have drafted a thread for changes I want to made, so community can approve or object.
Hope that’s fine.
I will give it some 12 or 24 hours or so to be discussed and do over the weekend.

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@smileBeda and @MattyRob – I’m in the midst of several personal and professional challenges but I wanted to at least tell you both that I’ve seen this message thread and do intend to respond, at least to what I can.

I expect to be able to respond more completely in early August and I appreciate your patience as I tend to my family and my business.

Thank you.

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@BlueSkyPhoenix - Family, personal and health matters should and must always take priority over volunteer activities, take the time you need with my (our) best wishes and we very much look forward to seeing you soon.

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I also no longer have the kind of time I used to have in order to move ClassicPress forward. I plan to stay on as director but it’s time to make sure other people have what they need to keep the day-to-day things moving forward.

Much of the content on our main site about how CP governance works, or is supposed to work, is outdated. The current status is that the directors (Wade, Michelle, and myself) oversee the project, and work is supposed to happen under various “teams”. This is not really working so I agree it’s time to let things happen more organically. We also need to update or remove that outdated information from the main site.

As far as the official websites (main and docs), they definitely need some updating for this and other reasons. However, please keep in mind that we link to all of those pages from various places, and search engines also re-index them from time to time. Whenever a page is updated or rearranged there needs to be a reasonable redirect put in place from the old URL.

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Thanks @James, as it is probably obvious meanwhile I am more than willing to help, but I hit one rock after the other, which ultimately results in my free time gone to *&%, because I spend much time discussing and iterating issues that should not be issues.

Thus nothing but happy to get some access where needed and make things happen, because I want to move CP forward, and as stated, have a certain amount of time and resources that I can invest.
Also when I say I “volunteer to do this”, what I actually mean is that I “will do it”.
I think there are some other people on this community that are very invested as well, and have long been ignored, or put off to “yay, nice, we could…[]”. And then nothing ever happened. This frustrates people. It made at least 2 people leave CP. This needs to change. Otherwise, “community driven” has no meaning.

Let me make an example, from real life:
My GF is a volunteer vet.
If she says she comes in to volunteer and then she doesn’t, animals will suffer. And the vet will go to find another of the gazillions of the willing volunteers.
I see it the same way with CP. If I say I volunteer, I will - unless force major stops me - be there.
There is a difference between volunteering, and contributing. A contribution is made whenever we happen to make it. A volunteer work, is work. Just that it isn’t paid. At least, that is how I, and said vets, see the situation. They even make you sign contracts, because volunteering is a legal matter. it needs insurance, which you will pay yourself, and it needs attendance, and so on and forth.

This is of course not intended as a critique to anyone, it is meant as a statement as of how I approach commitments of the volunteer nature. Not how others should approach them.
However when we say I volunteer for position or responsibility XY, well, I think it can be expected that the volunteer will have the time required for that work to happen. Otherwise, there is no point in volunteering for it.

This is just my opinion, which is one of the core things that drove me to initiate this thread.

About for the updates on main site, I did most of the crucial ones already, the ones I could at least.
As redirect only needs to happen when a slug of a page changes, there is no need for them as far my work on main site goes.

Of course, to eventually add redirects, one will need either code access, or at least a plugin installed to add those redirects. The intention alone won’t be adding them :slight_smile:
We can currently not add plugins, or change code, on at least the doc site. On main site, I do not have (and do not want at the moment) main admin access, and for publishing or correcting content, the access I have is enough.

Thus, what really needs to happen, before we can worry about SEO, is the sites’ technical infrastructure needs to be manageable, which IMO it is not, as of now.
BTW, on said doc site, redirects are needed, 28 of them, I have the list locally, from<>to. It just needs the code to be added, or a plugin added to manage this.

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These specific issues are both solved now.

Getting back to the original issue raised in this thread, I hope this will help: Further changes to ClassicPress governance (July 2021)