The last 7 years of my life have been all WordPress, all the time. In that time we went from powering around 2 million sites to many tens of millions. Today, W3Techs says:
WordPress is used by 23.6% of all the websites, that is a content management system market share of 60.8%.
I wish that sentence had a semicolon instead of a comma, but wow. Drupal, by comparison:
Drupal is used by 2.0% of all websites, that is 5.1% of all the websites whose content management system we know.
Sometimes, people like to pit WordPress and Drupal against each other, as if we are fighting each other, rather than fighting proprietary software. At WordCamps, meetups, or any professional gathering where someone asks a question (or makes a snarky comment) about Drupal, I point out that we are far more similar than we are different. “Open source CMS built with PHP” describes us both, as does any description of the contributor model, or even the economic models — how many times have I heard Acquia is to Drupal as Automattic is to WordPress? (A lot.) We’ve even shared booth space at the OSCON expo.
To drive the point home I often say that if you were stuck in an elevator/sitting next to someone on a plane, how psyched would you be to be sitting next to a Drupal person, who would totally get all your references and be able to have a conversation you’d enjoy? That usually gets a nod or two. Because, yeah, we’re a bunch of open source geeks who care way too much about things like software licenses and commit status and number of props. We are, in short, both ridiculous in the grand scheme of things — we’re not curing cancer or ending world hunger. At best we are powering the websites of those who are, and if we ceased to exist tomorrow, it wouldn’t be the end of the world (just of us). But free software is awesome, so yay! Let’s all be friends!
At conferences, people sometimes have been confused if I’m hanging around with Amye or other Drupal women I know and like. They ask, “Aren’t you rivals?” And then we laugh at them. Cue the more-alike-than-different stuff.
So I was kind of bummed today after all those years of defending Drupal and claiming kinship to see it pissing* all over WordPress today. But I should backtrack.
For years, people in the WP community have wished there was a way to pay the more advanced contributors to work on core full-time. Sure, Automattic, 10Up, Human Made, and other companies have been contributing some people, but there are only so many donated employees a company can float. We all get that. For a while people talked about the WordPress Foundation as a way to pay people to work on stuff, but that didn’t wind up being possible. So when people started doing things like Jtrip’s Indiegogo, it was a natural evolution, though it seemed not very scalable.
So when I saw Ruby Together a few weeks ago, I thought it was amazing.
Then came the Drupal 8 fundraiser, and I thought that was pretty cool too. Matching donations and whatnot!
And then I saw this:
I smiled, recognizing several people I quite like. But that one in the lower left, what?? I clicked through and saw this:
I was like, “What?”
Then I was like, “No, really, what?!”
I get it, this person thought this shirt from a previous Drupal event was funny and would fire people up to donate. But really?
That shirt is so completely tasteless I am horrified that the Drupal community endorses it.
And now we’re back to Drupal is pissing on WordPress.
I’ve given so many talks at WordCamps with a component about how it’s important to be nice, respectful, and welcoming — including the use of appropriate language and imagery — to the point that some people would really like to tell me to shut the fuck** up (or have!). I have extended that “let’s be nice” spiel to talking about Drupal multiple times. I would never design a tshirt that showed the W pissing on the Drupal (and I’ve designed a controversial WordCamp shirt or two in my time) because it’s not funny, it’s just tasteless and disrespectful. So that Drupal shirt makes me sad. I know that probably none of the people I know and like had a hand in making it. But it bums me out that as a community they seem to think it is okay, good even, if they’re willing to put it on the front page of the fundraiser.
“You can feel good about our project without putting down other projects, so let’s keep it clean.” I said something similar (s/our project/yourself) to my nieces and their friends when they were in 9th grade and had a habit of putting down other girls to feel better about themselves (as so many adolescents do). I hope more people will remember this in the future, and just because you can think of a snarky/sarcastic/mean/tasteless joke that elevates your side and pushes down the other doesn’t mean you should.
In any case, one person’s misstep shouldn’t be cause to demonize a whole project community. Assume good intentions. Reach out when something is awry instead of devolving into one-upmanship. Competition is healthy but there’s no reason to be jerks to each other. And also? Thinking there are sides is really silly. We’re all ridiculous open source CMS geeks. We’re all one side. Let’s stand together, y’all.
It looks like little Johnny’s or Susie’s interest in the drums, or sax, or bass…
Or guitar, or piano, or clarinet, or flute, or didgeridoo…
Or that cute little triangle thingie they used to give you if you couldn’t play anything else, has lasted through elementary and middle school.
And now it looks like that cute little hobby that was supposed to stay a hobby has grown up and maniacally land-war’d itself into Potential Vocation territory, crushing the once-safe provinces of Medicine, Engineering, Nursing, Plumbing, Law, Accounting, and/or Fashion Merchandising along the way.
Particle Physics is still hanging on, but it doesn’t look good.
And you know this has happened because your perfect cherub just walked into the room and told you that they want to be… wait for it…
Comments from readers are some of the most gratifying parts of blogging. Someone’s reading! Someone felt compelled to send a note!
Even more gratifying is when a lurker de-lurks and identifies him or herself. Those are times when I’ve re-read my post to see what on earth it was about THAT post that got someone to shed their anonymity, and introduce themselves.
It is very much like inviting guests into your home, and making a connection. And sometimes, making very good friends as they return repeatedly for your hospitality, and you in turn, invite them to return for their good grace.
So how do we make our home and blog inviting? And what it is that keeps people returning?
I’ve found that it’s about making your blog safe–and curating the comments, should people disagree and escalate disagreement into barbs. It’s starting a dialogue in your own post, and then facilitating…
Word prompt: Trust Form: Acrostic Device: Internal Rhyme
Trust or loss of trust as a topic: I’m not particularly interested in delving deep into my psyche and pouring out my heart on my blog in a poetry class assignment, so I chose a topic that has been going around lately that touches on trust (or lack thereof) between people of different genders.
Acrostics: Put a secret message into the poem by linking the first letters of each line. Not to be confused with acrostic PUZZLES like the ones my grandmother used to do when I was growing up. Meh, but okay. I chose a phrase/hashtag that ties in with my trust topic. Also, it’s pronounced uh-kross-tick, not like it says in the daily class assignment.
Internal rhyme: Here there, everywhere, this is free verse, not something with a specific meter, so I just threw stuff in.
This was another poem that I wasn’t really interested in spending much time on because it felt like too much of a contrivance, so it’s not exactly literary journal material, if you get my drift. Still, it’s done!
Now and then I briefly wonder when it was my faith in man was torn asunder —
Or why it was? Because at some point it became clear that there was fear behind the words
That hurt, and taking a man at face value (when his face showed two sides) stopped making sense
As a plan or default setting, because even good intentions sometimes had a cutting edge.
Loving assumptions of feminism stumped me every time when revealed to be false,
Leading and misleading along a pleading path of hopefulness until my trust was lost.
My skepticism, grown from years of tears and schemes and broken dreams of all men friends feeling just like me
Eventually took their toll and now my soul demands that I question all beliefs without relief, forever asking why.
Not that I think men are evil or unjust as a whole, it’s just that now the goal is to trust — but verify.
Word prompt: Journey Form: Limerick Device: Alliteration
A twittering teen down on Tybee
Posts pics of her stuff labeled BUY ME
Her plan is to leave
Her parents will grieve
And then she’ll start over and fly free
My old creative director always used to say, “When in doubt, rhyme or alliterate.”
I didn’t like this assignment. I don’t have a great fondness for limerick, never have, but I tried to stick with the traditional place naming in the first line, etc. One thing in the assignment didn’t make sense to me. It’s cool that they try to make things pretty open ended just to get people posting, but this instruction bugged me a little:
If you prefer free verse over rhymed poetry, your challenge is particularly interesting: can you write a five-line free-verse poem that’s clearly a limerick?
A strict rhyme scheme is part of the defiition of a limerick, so if you’re going free verse/no rhymes, then by definition it is not a limerick, so saying it could “clearly” be a limerick just doesn’t make sense to me.
This bit got to me as well:
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
That’s a lot of Ps! My ear is definitely pricked, but does it mean anything? Hard to say.
It does mean something, and something fairlyspecific (two separate links) at that, so it’s pretty easy to say. Why the diss on Peter Piper? Hrmph.
The topic of journey encompassed all meanings of the word, and despite starting out thinking I’d write a little ditty about that old creative director and how he moved down to Mexico, I wound up with something about a runaway girl. Tybee is a weird place — really poor and really rich all jumbled together on a little strip of sea island (with feral cats). The teens there range from accomplished to apathetic, as anywhere, but because Tybee is so small, it’s hard not to notice the high incidence of drug use among teens, and to see that among the lower economic tier there’s an attitude of giving up before they even hit 18, focusing on Facebook updates and parties rather than trying to get out of the cycle. (Admittedly, Tybee doesn’t do a good job of giving them other things to do there.) Bah, bummer poem.
Being inside a womb by myself, I was never included in group address. Also, I don’t think my parents were the kind of people who talked to the belly or played music to increase fetal development. It was the 70s. While pregnant with me, my mom smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish (her words).
“Be a good girl.”
“You’re such a pretty girl.”
As a very little kid, the only mixed-gender group I was part of was the group with my two older brothers. We mostly were referred to as a group as kids, not guys, so while I was frequently referred to as a girl (and frequently a little girl) when addressed directly, the group address usually ignored gender.
“Boys and girls, stand for the pledge [of allegiance].”
“Attention, boys and girls!”
“Okay, kids, line up in pairs.”
“Everyone, blah blah blah.”
As kids in school, we were frequently referred to as boys and girls* by adults. Individually, we were just referred to by name. Kids referring to each other used names individually, and I want to say the plural you for groups without an extra noun. /me thinks backs to elementary school and asking a group of kids to do something. Yeah, mostly the plural you. Very occasionally there would be a, “Hey, you gu-uys,” exclamation, but that was mostly imitation of tv, not a form of address that we used with each other in conversation.
All Boys: “Those boys are jerks.”
All Girls: “Those girls are mean.”
Boys and Girls: “What are those guys doing over there?”
As we grew into adolescence, you guys started making more of an appearance, and adoption rates were skyscraper-high. We referred to boys and girls all the time, but in direct address had started adding guys to the lexicon, including when a group included both genders. This was the turning point for the language in my personal history of you guys as plural noun of direct address. Here’s how it seemed to break down.
He, him, that boy, [name]
Them, those boys
She, her, that girl, [name]
Them, those girls
You, boys, guys
You, girls, guys
In some cases we’d still use the specific-gendered plural noun, like to ask, “Hey, boys, do you want to play kickball with us?” But, most often, guys was becoming the norm for male plural direct address and for plural mixed-gender references of any sort.
The Electric Company-style, “Hey, you gu-uys!” got a little resurgence in this period when The Goonies came out, too.
Teens — 40
You guys had come to mean any group of people, regardless of gender. It was used on me all the time, and I used it on others. That said, you guys still also served as a plural of specifically male people. In a mixed group, context would determine the intent.
“Are you guys going to Carolyn’s party after the football game?”
Here, you guys meant all members of the group, any gender. (Because everyone was supposed to go to Carolyn’s party.)
“You guys have it so much easier when you have to pee while we’re snowshoeing.”
Even though the group was mixed-gender, the comment was directed only at the men in the group, based on anatomy and its relation to heavy snow gear. Yes, guys = penises in this case.
Occasionally people used gendered plural terms on me like girls, ladies, or gals. I disliked them all.
Girls sounded like a group of little kids, and by the time I was 16 I didn’t like being called by this label, even though I sometimes still referred to myself (pretty often) or groups of women (rarely) this way.
Ladies had all kinds of specific connotations about class, abilities, and weaknesses. I always hated it, and tried never to use it. Primary exception was a brief stint in 1998 when a group of co-workers (including me) would break into Ladies’ Night on a regular basis.
Don’t even get me started on what an unappealing word gals is. My first boyfriend’s mom used to say gals all the time, and I flinched every single time.
During this period of time, ongoing socialization around the term you guys and experience parsing its intent based on context caused me to take this as a fluid language thing, and I was never bothered by being included in this form address. I certainly used it constantly on others, including all-female groups. Oddly, while I didn’t mind being included in you guys in direct address at all, I really disliked it when default singular male pronouns like him/his were used in a situation that could apply to me. Despite being a hardcore feminist, I couldn’t quite get on the hir bandwagon, because I thought it was kind of dumb — it looked like a typo for hair or his when written, and since no one around me had ever said it out loud, my reader’s vocabulary assumed it was a homonym for either her or here, which was just confusing.
Aside: during the teens and twenties portion of this period (when I was pretty flat-chested), in the handful of times when my hair was cut very short, I was frequently misgendered and called a boy or a man.
Holy moly, gender diversity explosion and feminist apocalypse and mass confusion.
More awareness seeped into the general population (or at least my portion of it) about transgender issues, non-binary gender identity, etc. People (in some circles, anyway) started paying more attention to pronouns and how they fit with gender identity. At AdaCamp, a conference for women in open tech (woman was later defined as, “someone who identifies as a woman in a way that is significant to them,” to be more inclusive) attendees were asked to put their preferred pronouns on their name badges to prevent misgendering in conversation.
The “singular they” became a hot topic, with heads butted between modern grammarians and people referencing Shakespeare’s use as evidence of correctness. I started seeing ze and zir and other gender-neutral pronouns I had no idea how to pronounce. I decided the singular they was a good path when in doubt.
Backlash against you guys started in earnest (again, in my corner of demography). At first, I thought it was kind of silly. For 40 years, you guys had meant any group of people! Common usage, changing definitions, etc. In that same time I’d definitely seen other words change meaning or connotation, so why was you guys being accused of erasing women from the narrative, when it was so harmless and widely understood? That’s what I thought to myself.
Then, at the end of a dev cycle that had included several women developers, a male developer said, “Congrats, bros,” when the release went live and I really didn’t like it. Would “Congrats, guys” have been better? I thought so. Guys had clearly acquired an ungendered usage over time (in my opinion), whereas bros was definitely gendered, and in tech was gendered in such a way as to be pretty problematic (read: sexist dude who thinks women’s role in tech = booth babes or video game rape victims), right? So guys was still okay? Guys vs. bros aside, even though though I had been one of the people pushing for more diversity (including welcoming language) in the project, I was too intimidated by the guy (yes, an actual guy) who had congratulated the dev bros, because I just didn’t have the energy that day to defend against the backlash I expected if I were to bring up that bros wasn’t inclusive language. Why was it all so exhausting and complicated? Argh!
Then, at the Community Leadership Summit before OSCON, a woman gave a lightning talk about you guys, and how it made her feel left out/invisible when it was used as a form of address or reference when she was in a group of male developers. That made me think, “Hm. I don’t want to use language that makes people feel bad if I can avoid it.” I tried to stop saying you guys. Holy crap, so hard. Talking with Leslie at the event, she said she likes to use the word humans, but I think that sounds weird when I say it, plus I think of the Community Human Being mascot, which has always totally creeped me out.
(The “epically neutral mascot” is still referred to as he twice in this clip. Yes, sure, they could be referring to the person inside the costume, but grammatically that’s not what they said, so it comes across as default gendering.)
I tried substituting folks, y’all, people, plural you, generic heya, and other variations into my daily expressions. I probably used one of these replacements about 95% of the time. There was about 5% of the time when I forgot, or when I actually was referring to specific people who were male and used the word guys intentionally.
What happened in the 5% times? There have been a few scenarios.
Scenario 1: I caught myself and then fumbled a replacement phrase.
“Hey, you guy — er, you all, sorry, I’m trying to stop saying you guys to mean groups of people that include women — are you ready to leave for dinner?”
Result 1: A little awkward, but good-intentioned. Responses ranged from casual disinterest to nodding approval to weird looks, depending on the group.
Scenario 2: I missed it and no one noticed, including me.
“Hey, you guys, blah blah blah.”
Result 2: No one noticed, or at least no one brought it up, and since I didn’t notice either, it went uncorrected. In these cases it’s usually people who don’t care, so while I wasn’t setting the best example, I also probably wasn’t offending anyone. Unless there were people in the group who were offended but afraid to say something. Bah.
Scenario 3: I missed it, and someone other than me noticed.
Me: “Hey, you guys, blah blah blah.”
Someone Else: “Hey, you said you guys, and it made me uncomfortable.”
Result 3a: Caught! I apologized, saying something like, “Ack! I try not to do that, thanks for catching it and letting me know, it helps me remember.”
Result 3b: What? I was actually referring to a specific set of people who were male, so you guys was totally appropriate! Wasn’t it? Example: I meant Barry and Alek, and referred to them as “the systems guys,” meaning “the 2 [male] guys that handle systems on this project.” I explained this, but the idea that the group to which I was referring would always be male-only was at issue as an undercurrent around expectations of gendered jobs and hiring. My brain could follow this, but at the same time, rebelled at the thought that we have to actually remove guys from the vocabulary altogether to prevent misinterpretation. This was the situation most likely to trigger defensiveness for me.
So where does that leave the well-intentioned liberal intersectional feminist? Definitely avoiding using guys to mean a group that is mixed gender or could be mixed gender. Only using guys to refer to specific guys, and not when using any other descriptors that might be non-specific, thus tainting the specificity? I understand not wanting it used both ways (despite common usage patterns), but what’s the ruling on gender-specific usage?
[I really want to embed “I’ve Heard It Both Ways” from the Psych musical episode, but wow is USA clamped down tight on copyright and video.]
Can you have it both ways? If we say don’t use guys to mean groups including women because it assigns everyone in the group with male gender shouldn’t that mean that using guys to mean men is okay? I find it confusing and exhausting when even the specific use is seen as offensive. The fact that I want to be sensitive to how language affects others just makes it more annoying, because I care about the answer.
What’s even worse — I have typically used dudes interchangeably with guys as both a non-gendered and a gendered pronoun, so I have been trying to stop using that one, too. Even though it is super fun to say! And has a lot of really specific cultural reference points for my generation!
Oddly, when referring to multiple animals of the same sex, I totally say girls or boys instead of guys, but then that brings up a whole different set of confusing language issues around anthropomorphization and infantilization that are far too obnoxious to think about when I should be having brunch.
Have a great Sunday! :)
*Does anyone else think it’s weird that we do that? Boys and girls, I mean. Would we pick any other difference and use it to segment a group of kids (or adults, for that matter, as with ladies and gentlemen)? No wonder we grow up so obsessed with that difference. What if classes were started with, “Attention, short kids and tall kids!” Or fat/skinny, rich/poor, white/black, outgoing/shy, funny/boring, or any other binary that’s really a spectrum? Sorry, tangent.