Lynne D’Autrechy, president of /buzzquake marketing of Ellicott City, Maryland, was among a dozen women who attended an inaugural users group meeting focused on troubleshooting WordPress core and peripheral software held on March 1-3 in Washington, DC.
“The purpose of the meeting was two-fold,” said D’Autrechy. “It was partly training on troubleshooting problems – and I learned some things about fixing broken sites, but it was also about empowering women to be more involved in the WordPress community.”
The program focused on common errors (white screen of death, 404s, syntax issues, etc.), CSS fixes, software conflicts and hacks and viruses.
The event was open to DC-area female WordPress developers. An announcement for it included a warning for men: “Remember, this workshop is only being offered to women…even the best, coolest, awesomest guy in the world will kindly but firmly be sent home if he tries to sneak in.”
“I was the UX lead for WordPress core from 2008-2013. Last summer I changed my focus to community development, and am now working on getting more people involved as contributors to the WordPress project, especially women and members of other underrepresented groups,” said Jenifer Mylo, the meeting’s organizer.
“It was a safe and supportive atmosphere where participants felt free to ask for and give help,” said D’Autrechy.
In keeping with WordPress’s volunteer culture, attendees spent time answering WordPress Forum questions posted by less experienced users.
“Every user is on a continuum of expertise. The WordPress community has a tradition of helping one another. I liked it that time was set aside at our troubleshooting collaborative for this,” said D’Autrechy.
Facilitators included Mika Epstein, head of the WordPress.org support forums contributor group, Amy Hendrix, an independent WordPress consultant, and Sheri Bigelow, who is focused on custom design offerings and CSS support. Before the custom design project, Bigelow worked for several years as a Happiness Engineer providing front-line help and troubleshooting for WordPress.com users.
A similar event is scheduled to take place in San Francisco in late March or early April.