Last night’s PDX WordPress Meetup Group: WordPress Codex Night was a resounding success. In just under two hours, 130 changes were made to the WordPress Codex, the online manual for WordPress Users. On the informal WordPress Documentation Team Task List, 49 “things to do” were added which will become deleted files and pages, redirects, new articles, archives, and updated articles. That’s impressive work for about 30 people working their heart out.
Anyone can edit or add content to the Codex, and last night, the Portland WordPress Meetup Group all became contributors, individually or by committee, learning how easy it is, and how much there is to do that doesn’t require WordPress or code expertise.
The WordPress Codex is used by millions of people annually to learn and improve their WordPress skills on 3,079 articles in multiple languages. Since the beginning of 2004, 115,572 edits have been made on the Codex to make it the best source for in depth information in the WordPress Community, and it continues to grow and expand daily. Yet, few people understand how it all works and who is behind making it work.
I heard over and over again last night how people were fascinated by the inner workings of the Codex and how they could easily contribute. It was a chance for people of all levels of WordPress experience to see behind the scenes, digging into WordPress Trac to find links for reference documentation, hunting through the Codex Categories to ensure a category was on every page, researching related documentation to find links for dead end pages that have no links to other Codex articles, orphan and unlinked pages needing links to and from them, and the huge research project to track down every article in the Codex and match it to a table of contents page to improve navigation. Everyone agreed that this was a powerful way to learn more about WordPress and how WordPress works.
“It’s so addictive!” As many people kept describing their Codex experience. One PDX WordPress User Group member explained:
“It’s instant gratification. I didn’t know how to help nor what to do. I don’t know the code nor even much about WordPress. So I used the Random Page feature of the Codex and started pouring over each document, clicking links to make sure they all worked, fixing some spelling and grammar, little things. Every time I found something to fix, it felt wonderful. Exciting! It is small stuff but I realized that it was the small stuff that matters. Nothing is more painful than thinking ‘this’ is the answer, clicking the link and finding a 404 page error. By fixing these things, I’m making it easier for people like me to get the answers every time.”
The group were supposed to tweet every Codex update or task with the hashtag #pdxwp and there are only a few as everyone was so intent upon their tasks, they forgot about Twitter. Not everyone brought a computer. One group of five surrounded one laptop and had a committee decision about each article they were checking and editing – it was fascinating to watch them all crowded around the laptop offering suggestions and noticing things the others missed. What great collaboration. The concentration of everyone was fascinating to watch as each found their way to a task or problem that needed solving on the Codex.
I’m working on an article about how to create a WordPress Codex event for other WordPress Meetup Groups. In the interim, here is the Slideshare copy of my WordPress Codex presentation so you can begin to consider how to have a Codex Evening for your own group.
Portland WordPress Users Codex Day: Saturday, May 26, 2012
For those living in the Portland, Oregon, area, we’ll be continuing the WordPress Codex love with a Codex Day at my home just north of Hillsboro, Oregon. Carpools and train pickups are available if you would like to join us from 10AM until we’re done. Bring your laptop, tablet, smart phone, or whatever you use to access the web. Free wifi is available, as well as plenty of food for a BBQ day. An amazing cook and friend of mine will be cooking up a storm all day so bring an appetite. Weather reports are that it should be cool and rain-free, but we’re ready for anything with plenty of work space.
Qualifications for participation are hunger, spelling ability, basic English grammar, and familiarity with your web browser such as working with tabs and copying links.
Leave a comment in the comments or use the Contact form for RSVP and directions.
Come learn more about how WordPress works, become an active part of the WordPress Community, and help give back.