Joost de Valk Resigns WordPress Role

When Matt Mullenweg announced last year that Josepha Haden and Joost De Valk would take significant new roles in WordPress leadership, I was excited. My excitement with Josepha is in evidence in a post about some of her public work from February. What I hoped would happen is that the stepping in of two independent people with annointed roles would be the creation of something resembling a leadership structure. Clearly, per Joost’s testimony, that isn’t quite what happened (for his part). I’ll lead you to get the full details from his very good and honest (seeming) post.

But I do want to highlight this bit. I highlight it, primarily, because this is what I’ve expected/known for a while, and it’s interesting (and a little frustrating) to know how true it is:

I’ve not encountered (or been brought into) any discussions about our product vision, something I would need to translate into day-to-day actions. I was expecting there to be some backchannels where these discussions were had and these decisions were made, turns out these simply don’t exist. Matt takes his input from core devchats and lots of other chats and then decides what the roadmap should look like. I honestly think that process needs opening up, even though I do appreciate that Matt has so far been pretty good at bringing the product forward.

I’m not going to read too deeply into this, buried in the middle of Joost’s post. But it seems clear, and has seemed clear for a while, that WordPress isn’t really led. Instead, a few people push in a given direction when they have the time and energy, and are able to muster the political will. This is both understandable, natural, and not the greatest thing to learn if you expect that it is otherwise.

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