Episode 3: Introduction to the social pillar of sustainability

Sustain WP podcast cover
Sustain WP
Episode 3: Introduction to the social pillar of sustainability

Welcome to Sustain WP, a limited podcast series about digital sustainability and WordPress. I’m your host Nahuai Badiola and in this episode I will be talking about the social pillar of sustainability with 8 amazing guests.

In the previous episode we introduced the environmental pillar of sustainability from different points of view and we will do something similar for the social part.

Some of the guests were already introduced on the previous episode so I’ll just mention their name and I will give a bit more of context to the ones that are new for the podcast series.

I start talking with Hari Shanker, who is Open Source Program Manager at Automattic, Full-time WordPress Contributor, currently leads the WordPress Contributor Working Group and works on improving Five for the Future. He uses a nice example to explain what social sustainability means to him. He also mentions the importance accessibility, privacy and DEIB.

I was nice to see how Tim Frick also touched on accessibility, inclusion and privacy. He also reflects on how digital products impact people, so if we are creators we should have it in mind.

Continuing with things that people don’t usually link to sustainability, Tom Greenwood talks about creating a humane web and share some ideas, that could go against the mainstream trends, but that could help to make meaningful connections.

The next guest, Nora Ferreirós, who is a responsible UX/UI Designer, also   thinks we should keep humans in the center. She talks about using best practices (like avoiding deceptive patterns), thinking about humans instead of users, so we create digital products that find a balance between business success and social sustainability.

Then Nora goes an extra mile to explain why the social part is so relevant inside the sustainability.

In the same direction Juan Hernando also mentions the importance of having a diverse group of people in all the positions. He also reflects on the convenience to stop sometimes so you can  re-think some processes. 

We also talk about how to improve process with our next guest, Courtney Robertson. She is Open Source Developer Advocate and WP Training Team Faculty Member, sponsored by GoDaddy. She talks about the importance of the project health and what we can learn from the CHAOSS community. Then I ask her about the metrics dashboard proposal, which can help improving, among other things, the accountability of the people that pledge their time on the 5 for the future project.

Now we go back to Tim Frick so he can explain what a B Corp is and also how going through the B impact assessment, even if you don’t end up certified, can be an eye opener experience.

In the last part of the episode we will see more clear than ever how the 3 pillars are intertwined, specially the social and economic parts. 

We start this last part with, Birgit Olzem, WordPress Professional and DEIB advocate. She mentions how the 3 pillars are vital, the importance of DEIB, how intertwined are the social and economical parts and the importance of getting underrepresented groups founded.

She talks about some bottle necks on key parts of the project, which have few people maintaining them and the importance of having the maintainers well supported.

Next we hear Courtney referring to the same topic and talking about a recent example. 

We close the guest participation with Julia Golomb who stresses out how intertwined are the 3 pillars.  

Those we pretty interesting ideas, don’t you think?

You will be hearing more opinions of these guests and some others in the next episodes.


Taking about the guests, I feel like they were, again, really on point. They covered a lot of ground so I’ll try to summarize the main points.

A common point was the importance of paying attention to accessibility, privacy and inclusion. Expanding in this last point we talked about DEIB, that stands for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. All of them are important specially if we want to have a healthy WordPress community. 

We should treat each other with respect and create a culture were everybody feels welcome and part of it. 

I guess this is common sense, but sometimes we have to say obvious things, that happens quite a lot on sustainability area too.

There were also some reflections on how software transforms society and how, as creators, we should build digital products to serve humans using best practices. And ideally strike the balance between profit and been ethical.

We also touched on how having community health metrics could help us with the sustainability of the project and a new proposal on WordPress that aims to bring more transparency.

We ended up reflecting on how intertwined are the social and economical parts and the importance of having the maintainers of the project well supported.

I’m sure that we will continue talking about this topic in the next episode.



Audio transcript


00:00:13 Nahuai Badiola 

Welcome to Sustain WP, a limited podcast series about digital sustainability and WordPress. I’m your host Nahuai Badiola and in this episode I will be talking about the social pillar of sustainability with 8 amazing guests. 

00:00:27 Nahuai Badiola 

In the previous episode, we introduced the environmental Pillar of Sustainability with different points of view and we will do something similar for the social part. Some of the guests were already introduced on the previous episode, so I will just mention their name and I will give a bit more of context to the ones that are new. 

00:00:47 Nahuai Badiola 

For the podcast. 

00:00:48 Nahuai Badiola 

Serious. I start talking with Hari Shanker, who is open source program manager and automatic full time workers contributor currently leads the workers Contributor Working Group and works on improving 5 for the future. He uses an example to explain what social sustainability. 

00:01:08 Nahuai Badiola 

Means to him. He also mentions the importance of accessibility, privacy and Deb. Let’s hear it. 

00:01:17 Hari Shanker 

That’s a great question. So. 

00:01:20 Hari Shanker 

Well, I have a very interesting matter for this. So if the world is a big playground with a lot of schemes, the social sustainability, social sustainability means everyone in this playground gets a chance to play, feel safe to have fun no matter who they are. I think that’s what. 

00:01:40 Hari Shanker 

Sorry, social sustainability is so. 

00:01:44 Hari Shanker 

But in terms of how it looks like in the world of digital sustainability, it means fair access, which means everybody gets equal access irrespective of who they are, where what part of the way they are from? Definitely privacy. Privacy is extremely important in this very complicated world where we are all interconnected and absolutely inclusion and belonging. 

00:02:05 Hari Shanker 

Deeb Diversity, equity inclusion and blogging, that’s a key part to social sustainability. 

00:02:10 Hari Shanker 

We live in a world where everyone is different, but everyone is connected and everyone should be equally considered as well. So there’s so many pillars that you know are part of social sustainability. But if I were to summarize, as I mentioned, fair access, privacy and inclusion, those are the three important points that come to mind. So. 

00:02:30 Hari Shanker 

Those should really that’s I think that’s what social sustainability is all about at the end. 

00:02:35 Nahuai Badiola 

It was nice to hear how Tim Frick also touched on accessibility, inclusion and privacy. He also reflects on how digital products impact people. So if we are creators, we should have it in mind. 

00:02:50 Tim Frick 

I think if you’re talking specifically through the lens of digital, like if you’re really looking, you know, specifically through digital. 

00:02:57 Tim Frick 

That to me, that’s things like prioritizing, you know, accessibility, prioritizing inclusion, inclusive language and say, websites and stuff like that and really thinking about like, all right, well, how do the digital products and services I either use or create impact people. 

00:03:17 Tim Frick 

Where are we and where are the? Where are the things that that we’re weak on or what are the things that we’re not doing very well? 

00:03:24 Tim Frick 

I think on the same in the same regard like data privacy is another thing that to me that is a social aspect of digital that you know, people’s personal data being spread across the Internet or being released to people who maybe shouldn’t have it. I think I think about those kinds of things when I’m thinking about what the social aspect or social pillar of sustainability. 

00:03:47 Tim Frick 

Needs and you know, to many people, I think still even in 2023 when when we’re recording this. 

00:03:53 Tim Frick 

That data, privacy, accessibility, are are not front of mind when they think of sustainability. You know they’re still really thinking about energy and and and environmental impact. And so I think we have a lot of work to. 

00:04:02 Nahuai Badiola 

Yeah, yeah. 

00:04:06 Tim Frick 

Do to kind. 

00:04:06 Tim Frick 

Of help bring people along to the fact that it is much more than just, you know, the. 

00:04:11 Tim Frick 

Things that we just talked about. 

00:04:13 Nahuai Badiola 

Continuing with things that people don’t usually link to sustainability, Tom Greenwoodtalks about creating a humane web and search some ideas that could go against mainstream trends, but that could help to make meaningful connect. 

00:04:30 Tom Greenwood 

Yeah. So my colleague, marketer and I have been talking a lot in recent months about. 

00:04:36 Tom Greenwood 

Like trying to create a more humane web and and that’s really us trying to kind of shift our thinking into the the social side of things. But in a more holistic way. So there’s lots of. 

00:04:47 Tom Greenwood 

There’s a lot of topics within the digital space that are really important, kind of individually, things like privacy and accessibility and inclusivity, but they’re often kind of talked about separately and then you’ve got the environmental piece separately. 

00:05:03 Tom Greenwood 

And actually, I think increasingly as we’re seeing. 

00:05:08 Tom Greenwood 

We’re just seeing digital technology transform society in profound ways, and some of it’s fantastic and some of it is is really worrying, particularly in terms of like the impact on mental health and and. 

00:05:19 Tom Greenwood 

And how in in many ways it sort of disconnects us as much as it connects us and and actually we’ve been sort of doing this thought experiment in the idea of what would a what would a web that was truly like built to serve the best interests of humans look like and it and it’s it’s kind of nice because then you you you pull yourself away from like individual. 

00:05:41 Tom Greenwood 

Topics like privacy and the. 

00:05:43 Tom Greenwood 

Environment and just start thinking like, OK, I’m a human. You’re a human. Like, if we if we weren’t designing the web to maximize clicks and conversion funnels and search rankings and and all of these things, what would it be like? And actually it might be quite different. It might like we for example. 

00:06:03 Tom Greenwood 

We all think that speed is good on the Internet. Everything’s got to be fast and I think, yeah, it. 

00:06:08 Tom Greenwood 

Speed is good in terms of not making people wait for the. 

00:06:11 Tom Greenwood 

But actually. 

00:06:13 Tom Greenwood 

We don’t want to be hyper stimulated all the time. It would be nice if the web was a relaxing place where we could. 

00:06:18 Tom Greenwood 

Slow down. 

00:06:19 Tom Greenwood 

And take our time to like, you know, meander through important, you know, information is really important to us and. 

00:06:28 Tom Greenwood 

And we want it to be beautiful. 

00:06:29 Tom Greenwood 

And we want. 

00:06:30 Tom Greenwood 

To make real meaningful connections with people. 

00:06:32 Tom Greenwood 

And we want we want to increasingly we’re going to want to know like. 

00:06:38 Tom Greenwood 

What’s what’s really human and what’s generated by AI and things like this. So I think it. 

00:06:46 Tom Greenwood 

The social side is getting increasingly interesting for me because I think it’s it’s how we pull all these things together in one holistic view and say actually like, let’s just try and create things that are good for humans and and actually serve our needs kind of. 

00:07:00 Tom Greenwood 

Not just physically, but also kind of mentally and emotionally as well. 

00:07:05 Nahuai Badiola 

Yeah, it’s super nice to hear that. At least someone is thinking with this frame. 

00:07:10 Nahuai Badiola 

It might. 

00:07:11 Nahuai Badiola 

Because if not, you have the feeling that we are. Yeah, go going in a hurry and trying to convince the robots that our website is the best things. Like if you step up for a bit it’s like are we really going in the right direction or are we just going mad and trying to arrive to whatever? 

00:07:31 Nahuai Badiola 

We think we have to arrive so and I think there is a lot of space in the design part to change the. Yeah, let’s say the, the, the mainstream. 

00:07:42 Nahuai Badiola 

The same pattern, so it’s nice to see that there is a group of people thinking, OK, how would we be design this if we don’t have these factors into account and we have these others that maybe are more humane and maybe less in a hurry, more calm. So yeah, it’s it’s super nice to hear. 

00:08:02 Nahuai Badiola 

Yeah. And there is a lot of space. So it’s I think it’s quite interesting to to do some research of course. 

00:08:10 Nahuai Badiola 

One of the nice things you do in in whole grain digital is that you share part of the process. So other people that are interested can also, yeah, yeah, jump in and say OK, then that makes sense. Maybe I start applying this ideas to my assignment. 

00:08:25 Tom Greenwood 

Yeah. Yeah. And and equally, if it doesn’t make sense, like let’s have some discussion and some put put ideas on the table and share. 

00:08:33 Nahuai Badiola 

Them. Yeah. Yeah, that’s true too. 

00:08:36 Nahuai Badiola 

Yeah, having feedback in general is a good a good thing, yeah. 

00:08:40 Nahuai Badiola 

Our next guest, Nora Ferreirós, who is a responsible UX UI designer, also thinks we should keep humans in the center. She talks about using best practices like avoiding deceptive patterns, thinking about humans instead of users. So we create digital products. 

00:09:00 Nahuai Badiola 

That find a balance between business success and social sustainability. Then Nora goes an extra mile to explain why the social part is so relevant inside the sustainability. 

00:09:13 Nora Ferreirós 

Yeah, about this matter. 

00:09:14 Nora Ferreirós 

I I I think I’m really influenced. 

00:09:18 Nora Ferreirós 

Because I am a designer, so the most interesting part for me or the most important part for me about social sustainability intake is working on. 

00:09:30 Nora Ferreirós 

What I feel are best practices about how we make people consume through our digital products in websites, in whatever, even in communication. 

00:09:43 Nora Ferreirós 

So in social power are really concerned about privacy, about that patterns about. 

00:09:52 Nora Ferreirós 

I don’t know. I feel we professional. 

00:09:54 Nora Ferreirós 

Have to make the change to make consumers change to. 

00:10:00 Nora Ferreirós 

Towards detail sustainability, anything is important because with this social power, with thinking on people as people, as human and not users, we are contributing in a social sustainability, but also in consequence we are improving in sustainability. 

00:10:21 Nora Ferreirós 

Or in financial fees or in diversity. So I am really interested in this. 

00:10:27 Nora Ferreirós 

Part of it all. 

00:10:28 Nora Ferreirós 

So touches the accessibility part. I mean I am really concerned about how I create digital products, how I design it and how we create strategies in order to to make business succeed. 

00:10:48 Nora Ferreirós 

I feel we can, uh, reach balance between business, succeed and social. 

00:11:00 Nora Ferreirós 

Sustainability. I I know it’s really a topic, but it’s my motivation in working in in social stability. 

00:11:10 Nahuai Badiola 

Yeah, that sounds really great indeed. So I think we both are idealist. So we really think we can strike that balance between profit and being an ethic human and treat the other human as another human. Yeah, and not only money or whatever it is. So. 

00:11:29 Nahuai Badiola 

It’s really great to hear that there is designers that have still that pure spirit and they want to change some some. 

00:11:39 Nahuai Badiola 

Yeah, let’s say. 

00:11:39 Nora Ferreirós 

Not, not not many, but. 

00:11:42 Nora Ferreirós 

I suppose I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. 

00:11:45 Nora Ferreirós 

I’m one tipping. 

00:11:47 Nora Ferreirós 

This this way. 

00:11:48 Nahuai Badiola 

And this is the extra mile I was referring earlier. 

00:11:52 Nora Ferreirós 

Yeah. I just wanted to say something. I always say in any. 

00:11:57 Nora Ferreirós 

Activism. I am part of. 

00:12:00 Nora Ferreirós 

It’s a message to people that are already. 

00:12:05 Nora Ferreirós 

Involved in sustainability or concern about it, it is that you have you, you cannot. 

00:12:13 Nora Ferreirós 

UM, forget the social bar. It’s OK to try to be as sustainable as possible in an environmental way, but sometimes people cannot because system does not allow them to be. So be patient. Let go step by step. 

00:12:33 Nora Ferreirós 

Don’t try to be perfect and don’t blame on people for not being sustainable. Each of us has our own realities and we have to we have to make people confident about this and and not. 

00:12:41 Nahuai Badiola 


00:12:52 Nora Ferreirós 

You know, blame on them because they are not sustainable. So please take have your mind always the social part and remember, not everybody have as not everyone is as lucky as you are. Not everyone has the time. Not everyone. 

00:13:11 Nora Ferreirós 

That’s the the education. So be patient and we want everybody to join this sustainable party. So think in a social way. 

00:13:21 Nora Ferreirós 

When you you propose everything, anything or whatever. 

00:13:26 Nahuai Badiola 

In the same direction, Juan Hernando also mentions the importance of having a diverse group of people in all the positions. 

00:13:34 Nahuai Badiola 

He also reflects on the convenience to stop sometimes, so you can rethink some processes. 

00:13:42 Juan Hernando 

Well, I think it’s. 

00:13:44 Juan Hernando 

All about opportunities and and trying to to get the. 

00:13:50 Juan Hernando 

Diverse equity and and. 

00:13:55 Juan Hernando 

All these terms that are surfacing like like you said right now. 

00:14:01 Juan Hernando 

And translate it to to the people who are around us that don’t have the opportunities that many of us have. So I think it’s important that that any project we do. 

00:14:18 Juan Hernando 

Is we have to take care of who is there, who’s making decisions, who is represented? 

00:14:28 Juan Hernando 

And sometimes we just go ahead doing what it’s been done forever and and you’re not looking, who’s not in the room. So I think it’s important for us to to stop and think about this. 

00:14:44 Nahuai Badiola 

Yeah, this this is the second time that you bring up the. 

00:14:48 Nahuai Badiola 

Stopping and thinking idea and I really love it. I I mean, I feel like we. 

00:14:53 Nahuai Badiola 

Are with yeah in a hamster wheel that we used to say in the day daily work and also it also happens sometimes in the projects that they carry on with the synetic, which is good because it goes forward. But sometimes we have like we are in a hurry to arrive to some point. 

00:15:13 Nahuai Badiola 

And sometimes it’s good to just stop and think about how we want to the yeah, choose the direction we want to. 

00:15:23 Juan Hernando 

Yeah, I I see it. Just one thing just for keep talking about that. But I I I really see it when when organizing events or organizing teams that many people just want to do what they know it works and and it’s cool and I’ve I’ve been. 

00:15:43 Juan Hernando 

Guilty of that because it’s nice it, you know, it works. You know, it’s going to happen. 

00:15:49 Juan Hernando 

But you’re probably missing something, so that’s why you need to to stop there and say hey, who can help us or who we are. We are not reaching everyone, of course. So how can we bring more people in here and you need to have. 

00:16:08 Juan Hernando 

Other inputs and and it’s very important to listen to everyone. 

00:16:13 Nahuai Badiola 

Yeah, yeah. In this sense, I think we could also learn more about other projects, open source projects that they have a thriving community like, I don’t know Drupal or maybe Joomla in some sense. 

00:16:25 Nahuai Badiola 

So and I I’ve been thinking about it also because sometimes we are doing what we know what we do and we need new impact, new input let’s say to yeah, to try to change things. So we also talk about how to improve processes with our next guest, Courtney Robertson. 

00:16:45 Nahuai Badiola 

She is open source developer advocate and WordPress training team faculty member sponsored by GoDaddy. She talks about the importance of the project health and what we can learn from the cows comma. 

00:17:01 Nahuai Badiola 

Then I asked her about the metrics dashboard proposal, which can help improving, among other things, the accountability of the people that pledge their time on the fight for the future initiative. 

00:17:14 Courtney Robertson 

Yeah. So I would like him into project health and go over, for instance, ideas like the bus factor when. 

00:17:23 Courtney Robertson 


00:17:24 Nahuai Badiola 

Can can you explain the best factor? I I know about it and it’s. Yeah, I mean, it’s funny. The term is not the the concept, but yeah. 

00:17:24 Courtney Robertson 


00:17:32 Courtney Robertson 

Yeah. So I think this actually goes back to the 90s or early 2000s at the best and I believe it was in the Python community that the term came up. It basically means that if you were to get hit. 

00:17:44 Courtney Robertson 

By a bus. 

00:17:45 Courtney Robertson 

Which we wish nobody has happened, but if you. 

00:17:47 Courtney Robertson 

Were to get. 

00:17:48 Courtney Robertson 

Hit by a bus, what would be the impact upon the things that you were giving yourself? 

00:17:52 Courtney Robertson 

Into before that. So you’re incapacity incapacitated in some capacity, right in some amount. You are no longer able to do this. 

00:18:04 Courtney Robertson 

We don’t want to be in a position where all of the knowledge of how to do the thing rides on one person or all of the work. Expectations rides on one person. We want to have redundancy so that if you need to go on vacation, just take some time off right that that you can do that, that we like that for each other. 

00:18:25 Courtney Robertson 

Gosh, as an American, I think often about how the European culture is 6 weeks in the summer time and and craziness for for the American brain to process, but. 

00:18:36 Nahuai Badiola 

That idea. 

00:18:37 Nahuai Badiola 

For me it’s the other way around. It’s craziness. 

00:18:40 Courtney Robertson 

There have to be so dependent upon, yes, but yes, that idea of project health. And so there are other factors similar to this. I had attended open source summit. 

00:18:52 Courtney Robertson 

In May, which is put on by the Linux. 

00:18:54 Courtney Robertson 

Foundation and within that there are many projects, not just Linux itself, that use the Linux Foundation as kind of their host foundation. 

00:19:03 Courtney Robertson 

For these little or. 

00:19:05 Courtney Robertson 

Open source projects and littler compared to the size and. 

00:19:09 Courtney Robertson 

Say Linux or the size and scale of WordPress, even one of those groups that I came across was chaos, which stands for community. 

00:19:16 Courtney Robertson 

Health analytics, open source software and this group has everything from metrics about events to sustainability to all sorts of things. But they have. 

00:19:28 Courtney Robertson 

Three that I. 

00:19:29 Courtney Robertson 

Thought really interesting. That might be fun to to. 

00:19:31 Courtney Robertson 

Test with some of our teams. 

00:19:33 Courtney Robertson 

Bust factor, which I’ve explained. 

00:19:36 Courtney Robertson 

Pony Factor, which means that we’re riding on one person to do. 

00:19:42 Courtney Robertson 

Often they liken it to commits. Now, if you’re in other teams, that might be something. 

00:19:45 Courtney Robertson 

Else so the pony factor that we might see is that over in the core team we’ve got an amazing contributor, Sergei who emerges nearly everything that comes in now. Sergei is amazing at this and we have other people that are capable, but we just need to be aware because a pony could quickly turn into a bus. 

00:20:06 Courtney Robertson 

Is is the catch and. 

00:20:07 Courtney Robertson 

Also have another one called an elephant. 

00:20:09 Courtney Robertson 

Factor in the elephant in the room would be in the WordPress space. I love my friends at automatic, but it would be automatic. One company that has the bulk of the work of sponsored contributors and what is good for the. 

00:20:25 Courtney Robertson 

And all of those things, and I would say that no one would argue that we would like more contributors and to diversify so that we don’t have an elephant in. 

00:20:34 Courtney Robertson 

The room, but. 

00:20:35 Courtney Robertson 

That is an actual metric, and they’ve got great documentation about that over in chaos dot communities website. So there are some different ones that are out there. 

00:20:45 Courtney Robertson 

And I think a lot of those relate to the health overall of a project, yeah. 

00:20:50 Nahuai Badiola 

Yeah. That, that’s. Yeah, I knew about the bus factor. I didn’t hear about the other two. Yeah, that’s. But I think that they are really. Yeah. Visual. And also it’s easy to understand the the problem. So. So thanks for for sharing that. I will leave the the link to to to this resource in the in. 

00:21:08 Nahuai Badiola 

Have not, and I’ve been listening to the podcast of cows community since you were. Yeah, you came up with the proposal of the dashboards that we can tackle after if you want. And it’s really interesting knowing how other open source projects are already trying to manage. 

00:21:28 Nahuai Badiola 

Those metrics. So if if you want you can yeah explain a little bit what’s the idea behind the the metrics. I think I fear that the proposal. 

00:21:39 Nahuai Badiola 

It’s going to be close for comments, but I’m sure that it’s going to be ongoing conversation. So if you could just explain the idea behind it and how we can take examples from other communities. 

00:21:51 Courtney Robertson 

Yeah, so originally this kind of came out from the Meta team. Ian was a driver for that one in 2021. 

00:22:00 Courtney Robertson 

Steve and I had actually been serving as a team Rep on the training team at that time and was in a conversation with Andrea about the administrative overhead that I was facing simultaneously running meetings, doing the work, opening coffee hours for the team so they could get to know each other. So it’s community building, it is administrative things and now on. 

00:22:21 Courtney Robertson 

Top of that, how can I possibly track? 

00:22:24 Courtney Robertson 

Every little nuance of how the whole team has been contributing that was problematic, and from that conversation later we see this dashboards type of proposal because it wasn’t just a unique thing to the training team, it’s to all the teams. We’re all struggling with what more could be automated in an elegant manner so we don’t have all of this manual. 

00:22:44 Courtney Robertson 

Work and we don’t want anyone to get overlooked if they have contributed, they should be recognized for their contribution. So some of the ideas that kicked off in early 21 about this were around simplifying some of that activity. And where would we, what would we measure? 

00:23:00 Courtney Robertson 

Later conversation began on firming up a little bit more of five for the future. So as a team Rep. 

00:23:06 Courtney Robertson 

If I were to look on make.wordpress.org/training on the right hand sidebar, there’s this thing that says so many people have pledged to this team. It’s supposed to be like 1500 people or something right now, where are these people? I haven’t seen them. How do I reach out if they said that they wanted to contribute a specific thing so anyone could go and pledge that they’re contributing to whatever. 

00:23:26 Courtney Robertson 

Team they would like. 

00:23:27 Courtney Robertson 

But there’s no accountability for that, and there’s no way for a team to call in and say you said that you would like to be somebody to proofread our content before it publishes. Would you come do that? We have this right waiting not to nag people, but to really match them with their specific interests. Right. And to stay in. 

00:23:44 Courtney Robertson 

Touch with them. 

00:23:45 Courtney Robertson 

So there’s a lot of that data that just it’s it’s sort of there, but it’s on the honor system and it it’s spammy and we need to clean it up. Some people are contributing more than. 

00:23:55 Courtney Robertson 

40 hours a week to. 

00:23:56 Courtney Robertson 

The project it just. 

00:23:57 Courtney Robertson 

Doesn’t add up in any way. 

00:24:00 Courtney Robertson 

So out of that. 

00:24:04 Courtney Robertson 

Flash forward a little bit since the support team and the community teams have looked at maybe some of the metrics that they would like to see some data. 

00:24:11 Courtney Robertson 

That that team. 

00:24:12 Courtney Robertson 

Would like to have so we have a. 

00:24:14 Courtney Robertson 

Request from the teams. 

00:24:17 Courtney Robertson 

That has been surfaced multiple times and I have brought it up again at word camp Europe this past year I asked Matt during the Q&A. 

00:24:26 Courtney Robertson 

That I had heard from some folks that work in the agency space, in particular someone that works for American Eagle, not the clothing company, but a very large web agency that they would like to bring in their staff between, say, US Thanksgiving and Christmas, because that tends to be a low in the North American. 

00:24:46 Courtney Robertson 

Agency space in terms of client project work and a great opportunity to contribute, but the problem is. 

00:24:53 Courtney Robertson 

Just getting through onboarding and figuring out what needs to be done is confusing for them. 

00:24:58 Courtney Robertson 

And my question to Matt was largely around. 

00:25:01 Courtney Robertson 

How could we set? 

00:25:02 Courtney Robertson 

Up sprints and a Sprint in the agile environment is often tied to scrum. It it just basically means like during this chunk of time, whatever you decide, that chunk of time to be, we’re going to go do this thing and by the end here is the outcome that we will get and then we’ll talk about what worked and didn’t work. 

00:25:19 Courtney Robertson 

After that I asked Matt, could we set up things like that? 

00:25:24 Courtney Robertson 

On behalf of the teams so that when we have groups that would like to swing in for a set period of time, they could pick up the thing, do it and be done. And we know that they’ll come back later, but that they’re not going to be in every week situation because that would make more sense in many agency type of places and even honestly in the the extender system. So our plugins. 

00:25:44 Courtney Robertson 

Themes, folks, they face different lulls and so that that would be amazing times for them. How could they maybe intertwine? Those was basically my question to that and he resurfaced the stats dashboards initiative. And so we saw another post hit meta about this. 

00:25:59 Courtney Robertson 

And I love my folks in the Meta team. In fact, these days I’ve been helping facilitate their meetings because they need someone to facilitate. 

00:26:06 Courtney Robertson 

Meetings so I. 

00:26:07 Courtney Robertson 

Do it. 

00:26:10 Courtney Robertson 

Engineers will engineer. 

00:26:12 Courtney Robertson 

And again, I deeply appreciate it. Meta is like DevOps, they they take care of the servers that keep all of wordpress.org’s websites and so much more running behind the scenes, do great work and we depend upon them. But I think that the idea of identifying what are the key metrics that the teams need. 

00:26:32 Courtney Robertson 

That perhaps the organizations that wish to sponsor people to contribute would want from this. 

00:26:38 Courtney Robertson 

This is a question I faced internally at GoDaddy. What’s the value of sponsor and contributors? What’s our ROI? Because we have board members and shareholders and these other things that smaller companies can just say, oh, we understand this. But when we have to go to a board and say the value of contributing is that we are able to help influence the project. 

00:26:58 Courtney Robertson 

And we have intimate first hand knowledge of things before they come to the surface. 

00:27:05 Courtney Robertson 

Sometimes that even no matter. 

00:27:06 Courtney Robertson 

What you do, it’s just it’s hard to grasp the concept of funding open source. So what kind of data can we provide? What kind of data can we provide about the teams that need work to happen? What kind of data would organizations wishing to help either send staff or sponsor non staff members to do that work? 

00:27:25 Courtney Robertson 

What kind of data would benefit the team reps, right. There’s a lot of different stakeholders in this. What kind of data would benefit our top WordPress project leadership? What do they need? 

00:27:36 Courtney Robertson 

And so how do we look at that holistically? 

00:27:40 Courtney Robertson 

Becomes, I think, a challenge that might be unique for us. So things that we could automate would be, you know, GitHub activity. 

00:27:48 Courtney Robertson 

We could, it’s. 

00:27:49 Courtney Robertson 

Already slightly automated, not so much comments, but if you open an issue that will get tracked to your.org profile, as does track TR AC itself. 

00:28:00 Courtney Robertson 

Activity publishing a post that’s easy to track. What’s harder is in docs and training. We have people editing and revising the actual WordPress website. 

00:28:11 Courtney Robertson 

That becomes a little blurry. They didn’t write it originally. They’re revising it. 

00:28:15 Courtney Robertson 

So how do we account for all of? 

00:28:17 Courtney Robertson 

These little individual bits along the way, and then how do we turn it into something meaningful and who needs which information? And rather than debating this endlessly, where do we even just begin a small pilot? 

00:28:28 Courtney Robertson 

Test so a lot that that we’re sort of chewing on and I’ll say that. 

00:28:36 Courtney Robertson 

I’m in conversations closely with Hari Shankar about a lot. 

00:28:39 Courtney Robertson 

Of this as well. 

00:28:41 Courtney Robertson 

Collaborating together on some of these idea. 

00:28:44 Nahuai Badiola 

Now we go back to Tim Frick so he can explain what a Big Corp is and also how going through the big impact assessment even if you don’t end up certified can be an eye opener experience. 

00:28:58 Tim Frick 

For mighty bites, especially being AB Corp has been a real key driver to so many of the things that we’ve done in digital sustain. 

00:29:07 Tim Frick 

Ability and for any of your audience that isn’t familiar, a certified B Corp is a company that essentially adheres to very high levels of standards for, you know, accountability, transparency, environmental and social, you know, performance, that kind of thing. So you know, we go through a rigorous. 

00:29:28 Tim Frick 

Assessment every three years. 

00:29:31 Tim Frick 

And then you know that that’s to recertify. So mighty bites has been a certified B Corp since 2011. We’ve recertified five times the goal with each certification is to kind of help us bump up in points to be a better company. And so it’s a a really good system for, you know, incorporating innovation and sustainability and. 

00:29:52 Tim Frick 

And better product management and especially better organizational governance into your business. And and it’s really it’s really useful. I found it to be a. 

00:30:01 Tim Frick 

Really good creative tool as well for for thinking creatively and and so much of the work that we’ve done in digital sustainability has really kind of blossomed from our B Corp assessment. It is important to note that you know you don’t have to become a certified B Corp to use the B impact assessment, the B impact assessment is free. All you have to do is. 

00:30:22 Tim Frick 

Sign up for an account and in any organization, even a nonprofit, could use it to measure and manage their. 

00:30:29 Tim Frick 

Impact. And so if you’re working for instance in, you know on a, on A at an agency, let’s use that because that’s that’s something I have experienced with and I know there are literally hundreds of thousands of agencies that use WordPress as part of their toolkit. You know they can use the B impact assessment to go through and and at the very least. 

00:30:50 Tim Frick 

I can pretty much guarantee the first time you go through that, not only are you going to be a little bit overwhelmed because it is rigorous and it is challenging. 

00:30:57 Tim Frick 

However, your your eyes. 

00:30:58 Tim Frick 

Are also going to be opened up to the fact that there’s a lot. 

00:31:01 Tim Frick 

Of things that you could be doing and and which of those things do you want to prioritize. And that’s to me, the whole recertification process is really helpful to kind of understand that there’s been some use that we’ve recertified and we focused specifically on digital sustainability, whereas in other other years, we focused on improving employee benefits or improving. 

00:31:22 Tim Frick 

Our philanthropy practices or or whatever that you know as a as an organization. And the nice thing about it is that you report on that every year. And so we have on our website we have public facing. 

00:31:33 Tim Frick 

Benefit reports of our social and environmental impact that we publish every single year based on what we’re focusing on at the moment. So those have definitely evolved over the years that we, you know, the 12 years or whatever since we certified. 

00:31:46 Tim Frick 

The first time. 

00:31:47 Tim Frick 

Those have definitely evolved and and changed as our you know focus changes and as our priorities. 

00:31:54 Nahuai Badiola 

In the last part of the episode, we will see more clear than ever how the three pillars are intertwined, especially the social and economic parts. We start this last part with Birgit Olzem workers, professional and DB advocate. 

00:32:11 Nahuai Badiola 

She mentions how the three pillars are vital, the importance of the IV, how intertwined are the social and economic parts and the importance of getting underrepresented groups funded. 

00:32:25 Nahuai Badiola 

She also talks about some bottlenecks on the key parts of the project, which have few people maintaining them and the importance of having maintainers well supported. 

00:32:37 Birgit Olzem 

All three pillars of sustainability are really crucial, and but I’m particularly more drawn to the social pillar because it also aligns closely to my accuracy advocacy for DIB diversity, equity inclusion and belonging, especially in the WordPress community. 

00:32:57 Birgit Olzem 

And it’s really close to my heart. As I mentioned sustainability and and being more. 

00:33:06 Birgit Olzem 

Aware and and and about. 

00:33:09 Birgit Olzem 

How we use? 

00:33:10 Birgit Olzem 

Our vital but I’m also a coach for me, is that what really important to. 

00:33:18 Birgit Olzem 

Have a balanced communication for instance, and that we treat each other with respect, not only our nature treating with respect, but also every individual treating with respect and. 

00:33:33 Birgit Olzem 

For the DIB, is the belonging part. For me, something? It’s not just opening doors, but also making sure that people feel valued and included once they’re inside and community community and it’s more about creating a culture where everyone. 

00:33:53 Birgit Olzem 

Fields. They have a seat at the table and that their contributions are generally also appreciated and but also talking about the financial aspect. 

00:34:08 Birgit Olzem 

Of sustainability, especially repress communities close to my heart, and it is really important for me that this open source is well maintained, but also it relies heavily on volunteers who contribute to the system and the ecosystem, and not everyone has the luxury to contribute. 

00:34:28 Birgit Olzem 

To that in their free time or for free, and so. 

00:34:35 Birgit Olzem 

That is my my approach into making sure that underrepresented groups get better financial or access to financial resources, and that is why I’m also focusing on working with the five for the future initiatives. 

00:34:55 Birgit Olzem 

In WordPress as part of. 

00:34:57 Birgit Olzem 

This whole concept to. 

00:35:02 Birgit Olzem 

Strengthen the pillar of social sustainability. Yeah. Yeah. Especially I just like to add this. We have some parts in the workforce ecosystem, for instance, they where are some kind of bottlenecks because there are only two or three people. 

00:35:22 Birgit Olzem 

Maintaining A component or a part of the whiteness ecosystem, and when they fell down because they’re burned out or life changes every every time and those people are not, uh. 

00:35:37 Birgit Olzem 

Funded well or get enough support if it by resources, by financial resources, by more support, more volunteering support, then this cripples down. It’s like when you see an A clock work. 

00:35:57 Birgit Olzem 

And every little gear in the in the clock is relatable to the whole picture, and if some of the parts fell apart, then the whole system can fell apart. So we really need to make sure that our main. 

00:36:14 Birgit Olzem 

Trainers are well supported in any best way we can support them. 

00:36:21 Nahuai Badiola 

Next, we hear Courtney referring to the same topic and talking about a recent example. 

00:36:29 Courtney Robertson 

I really drill in on the social corollary economic when it comes to ensuring that the project meets the budget that it has and the contributors. 

00:36:43 Courtney Robertson 

Right. So so it comes from the lens of social impact. First, how is the health of do we have enough contributors for what we’re trying to do? Do we have critical points in the project? How can we better reinforce these areas where we might depend upon one or two people more than we should? 

00:37:04 Courtney Robertson 

And how can we elevate the opportunities? 

00:37:06 Courtney Robertson 

To alleviate maybe some stress off of them while they simultaneously can help bring in more contributors and at the time of this recording, I would say the plug and review team has really undergone a lot of that reinforcement on social health. As we would say many in in the WordPress community really depended upon. 

00:37:27 Courtney Robertson 

One person to manage all the plug in repo and that was needing some massive attention and I think that they’re they’re starting to reach a critical mass point where they’ll see that particular part of the WordPress project really improve. So yes, social health. 

00:37:43 Nahuai Badiola 

We closed the guest participation with Julia Golomb, who stressed out how intertwined are the three pillars. 

00:37:52 Julia Golomb 

Yeah, I care deeply about the integration of the three of them. I think 1 without the other. 

00:37:57 Julia Golomb 

One without the other two is not in fact sustainable. 

00:38:03 Julia Golomb 

UMI tend to be most drawn to social and and environmental. 

00:38:11 Julia Golomb 

Components of sustainability. 

00:38:13 Julia Golomb 

When I was in college, I studied sociology. That’s what my major was. So I I’m always interested in the ways in which humans interact with each other and with systems. And then my graduate work was in environmental science and policy. So I’m also deeply care deeply about the the environmental component. But they’re just so intertwined. 

00:38:34 Julia Golomb 

Yeah, I. 

00:38:34 Nahuai Badiola 

Think. Yeah. Yeah. In the in. In other interviews with, with other people. 

00:38:40 Nahuai Badiola 

I think that the pillar term, it’s not the best one. Indeed, I was talking with Hannahs like they are so intertwined that more than pillars, it’s like, yeah, I don’t know. Yes. 

00:38:52 Nahuai Badiola 

Put it in. 

00:38:53 Julia Golomb 

We’re both. We’re both holding our hands up to the camera, intertwining our fingers. I’m thinking of like braiding. 

00:38:56 Nahuai Badiola 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 

00:39:00 Julia Golomb 

Like a rope that’s braided. Yeah. And they’re. They’re braided together. 

00:39:05 Nahuai Badiola 

Those were pretty interesting ideas, don’t you think you will be hearing more opinions of this guest and some others in the next episodes talking about guests. I feel that they were again really on point. They covered a lot of ground. So I will try to summarize the main points. A common point was the importance. 

00:39:25 Nahuai Badiola 

Of paying attention to accessibility, privacy, and incur. 

00:39:29 Nahuai Badiola 

Expanding on this last point, we talk about the IB that stands for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. All of them are important, especially if we want to have a healthy workers community. 

00:39:46 Nahuai Badiola 

We should treat each other with respect and create a culture where everybody feels welcome and part of it. I guess this is common sense, but sometimes we have to say obvious things. That happens quite a lot on sustainability area too. There were also some reflections on how software transforms society. 

00:40:07 Nahuai Badiola 

And how as creators, we should build digital products that serve humans using best practices and ideally strike the balance between profit and being ethical. We also touch on how having community health metrics could help us with the sustainability of the project. 

00:40:28 Nahuai Badiola 

And a new proposal in WordPress that aims to bring more transparency. We ended up reflecting on how intertwined are the social and economic parts and the importance of having the maintenance of the project well supported. 

00:40:45 Nahuai Badiola 

I’m sure that we will continue talking about this topic in the next episode. Thanks for listening. I hope you found the episode and our guest opinions as interesting as I did. You can find all the resources mentioned during the episode. 

00:41:04 Nahuai Badiola 

Show notes. You will also find more information about this episode guests. 

00:41:09 Nahuai Badiola 

I would love to hear your opinions on this topic. 

00:41:12 Nahuai Badiola 

For that you can leave a comment on the website. You can go to sustainwp.com/three the number or share it in the social media platform that you are more comfortable. And if you think that the episode could be interesting to our colleague, please share it. 

00:41:30 Nahuai Badiola 

In the next episode, we will be talking about the economic pillar. I hope you join me there. Bye bye. 

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  • tim frick

    Tim Frick

    Role: President, Mightybytes

    Bio: Tim Frick is the founder and President of Mightybytes, a digital agency and Certified B Corp located in Chicago. He is also a speaker, community organizer, and author of four books, including, Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products and Services, from O’Reilly Media.

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    Role: WordPress Community Team Program Manager, sponsored by Automattic

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