The Advanced WordPress FaceBook group is going to enforce admin-approved posts only. This is a major shift in the group which, up to now, has allowed anyone to share content, as long as it follows the group’s guidelines and is WordPress-focused.

As one of the administrators, I was part of the conversation for the change, and got to put in a vote for whether or not we should go through with it. I was one of 6 out of 28 that voted “no”. I’d like to use this post to explain why: It’s not the dev, it’s the toolset

It’s not the dev, it’s the toolset

Our fearless leader, Matt Cromwell has a really good explanation on why this is an important move for the community in this post. You’ll notice that a lot of the reasons revolve around tooling:

“Our options for improving the quality of the group are few because of the limited tools Facebook provides for Groups.”

And: “our current mode of moderation is reactive.”

For me, and as I mentioned in the WP Tavern article I was interviewed for, I view the FaceBook group as an extension of our physical meetup, which is an open table group. Instead of having curated presenters who lecture to a group, everyone is encouraged to bring in new concepts they’ve learned, struggles they’re having, wins they’re having, news, and anything else that they’ve experienced with WordPress in the last month. I know that if the group wasn’t structured like this, I wouldn’t have been as excited to see what everyone else had been working on, nor pushed myself to present something that was more impressive than my last share. I’m sure I would not be the caliber of developer I am today without this group.

As I said in the admin discussion about this switch: “You want curated content? Go to Torque, listen to WP Weekly. You want to share that you just realized a method you’ve been using for years has a parameter you never noticed, come to AWP.”

Experiment, analyse, adapt, recurse

Unfortunately, Matt is right. FaceBook does not give us a platform that promotes the unique benefit of the AWP meetup group. With almost 30k members (and a 1:1000 ratio of moderator to potential poster), we can’t keep up with the spammy posts.

I’m always for experimentation, analysis, and adaptation. This is a new experiment we will analyze closely. I share the rest of my fellow admins’ hypotheses that this will increase the quality of content in the group, and I’m glad that the feedback we’ve gotten so far has been in favor of the decision.

Don’t forget that posts are still encouraged! I guarantee that the bug you’re struggling with, the solution you just found, the new theme framework you discovered… they have all been solved, documented, reported, and/or reused by someone else. That doesn’t mean it’s not valuable information that will help someone else get to the next level as a WordPress-er. So keep coming to AWP with the content you’ve found and don’t stop pushing yourself to be better than you were yesterday.