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How a WordPress contributor day changed my mind about the Gutenberg editor

I’ve been trying to become more involved with the WordPress community lately, so I was excited to see that the East Bay WordPress Meetup group was hosting a contributor day, where volunteers can come and learn how to contribute to the WordPress project.

Before the contributor day, I was well aware of Gutenberg, a block-based content editor slated to be merged into WordPress core in its 5.0 release, and had done a little testing with the plugin. However, I had read some critical blog posts about the new editor, so I wasn’t that enthusiastic about getting involved.

At the contributor day, it became clear pretty quickly that Gutenberg was the thing to work on. The meetup group set up a test site, and everyone was setting up accounts on the site and playing with the new editor. I grudgingly went along and quickly started to find bugs. I worked with one of the meetup organizers on filing our first GitHub issue (related to the inability to add or edit tags as an Author). Then I continued testing and submitted a few more of my own issues. By the end of the contributor day, I had submitted 3 issues on the Gutenberg GitHub repo, and our meetup group had submitted about a dozen in total.

When I got home, I noticed that someone had already confirmed one of the bugs I had reported. By the next morning, another issue I had submitted already had a pull request. I went to the contributor day with the goal of contributing to WordPress, and I ended up feeling like I had actually made a contribution, however small. And, surprisingly, my attitude toward Gutenberg went from apathetic to sympathetic. Sure, Gutenberg is a controversial project among the WordPress community, and I’m not sure what I’ll think of it once it’s merged into WP core. But I do appreciate that it’s an active project, and the more people who get involved in its development – even if you just submit a GitHub issue or two – the better it will be.