I’m proud to be a member of the WordPress community. I’d like to think I’ve been a part of it since I started using WordPress a few years ago.
That said, there’s an idea I’d like to explore. WordPress isn’t a community.
Communities are funny things
For a little while I attended a small religious school in my hometown, at the time pursuing a degree in philosophy. Now as you can probably imagine, aspiring philosophers at a conservative religious school become pretty cynical. Of course, the ironic part is that most of what we were cynical about was how we were regularly encouraged to be “a part of the community.”
Since we sat in the back and wrote critical editorials in the college paper (hard to believe I did that, right?) we weren’t considered a part of the campus community. We were looked down on for not “fitting” into the community.
But they were wrong. We were a part of the campus community. It was just that the community was so large, it wasn’t a single community.
The WordPress communities
WordPress, as a community, is much larger than my college was. It’s much larger than anyone’s college will ever be. And oftentimes we fall into the same trap, of thinking we are a single community.
WordPress isn’t a community. It’s too large for that. WordPress is many communities. It’s possible, rather it’s likely, that I’m a part of a WordPress community that isn’t the particular community that you’re in.
What communities? The beginner crowd. The freelancing community. The core development community. Theme and Plugin communities. The GPL community. The non-GPL community (yes, that’s one too). I would say WPCandy is a community as well, though there are plenty of WordPress folks who aren’t a part of it.
Phrases like “in the community” or “part of the community” or “for the community” are sometimes used to ostracize people who don’t fit into a certain community. But in this large WordPress universe, we have to be more careful throwing around restrictive statements about who can be a part of the WordPress community. What flows for one of the WordPress communities might not flow for another.
There’s already a great thing in place to counteract the fragmenting of communities: WordCamps. WordCamps pull together all sorts of WordPress folks that wouldn’t otherwise meet one another. This is a good thing, and helps to promote general unity amongst the different communities (most of the time).
What else can be done to help unify the communities? What WordPress communities are you a part of (besides the WPCandy community, of course!)?