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Make WordPress Core

Opened 7 months ago

Last modified 7 weeks ago

#46057 new enhancement

Remove self-references ("we") in text in core

Reported by: johnbillion Owned by:
Milestone: Future Release Priority: normal
Severity: minor Version: 5.0.3
Component: Text Changes Keywords: dev-feedback has-patch
Focuses: docs Cc:

Description

There are many text strings in WordPress core that reference the mysterious collective "we". Some examples:

PHP is the programming language we use to build and maintain WordPress.

Note to users of assistive technology: if you experience usability issues with the block editor, we recommend you continue to use the Classic Editor.

This format, which we call WordPress eXtended RSS or WXR, will contain your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags.

To learn more about what data we collect, and how we use it, please visit ...

If they don’t respect the WordPress license, we don’t recommend them.

Sit tight for a few more seconds while we update them as well.

Some could pass as acceptable given the context (such as those on the About page), but most reference an unknown entity, and some cause switches between the grammatical person.

Some just plain don't make sense:

The update cannot be installed because we will be unable to copy some files.

The ssh2 PHP extension is available, however, we require the PHP5 function %s


Text strings that reference "we" should be re-phrased so they no longer need to. For example:

PHP is the programming language that's used to build and maintain WordPress.

Note to users of assistive technology: if you experience usability issues with the block editor, you should continue to use the Classic Editor.

One counter-argument might be that it reduces the personality of WordPress, but I think there are better ways to add personality to software than to reference a collective, unknown entity.

Feedback welcome.

Attachments (1)

46057.diff (2.4 KB) - added by Shital Patel 7 months ago.
text changed

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (7)

#1 @SergeyBiryukov
7 months ago

  • Component changed from General to Text Changes

@Shital Patel
7 months ago

text changed

#2 @Shital Patel
7 months ago

  • Focuses docs added
  • Keywords has-patch added

#3 @Shital Patel
7 months ago

  • Version set to 5.0.3

#4 @desrosj
7 months ago

  • Milestone changed from Awaiting Review to Future Release

#5 in reply to: ↑ description ; follow-up: @marybaum
2 months ago

If it's a choice between we and using a passive verb, I'd rather use we. At a minimum, we can often refer to the reader and the writer -- you and me.

I agree that in cases where we are making a policy decision, or the copy needs to make clear that a specific person or team, or contributors in a meeting, we (you and I) should specify who is doing what.

Perhaps writers and copy editors could experiment with using you and I in place of the generic we, especially in support and error contexts. Of course, any time an error message starts referring to itself as I in any form, that starts to sound a little too much like the mission computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey 😜

Replying to johnbillion:

There are many text strings in WordPress core that reference the mysterious collective "we". Some examples:

PHP is the programming language we use to build and maintain WordPress.

Note to users of assistive technology: if you experience usability issues with the block editor, we recommend you continue to use the Classic Editor.

This format, which we call WordPress eXtended RSS or WXR, will contain your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags.

To learn more about what data we collect, and how we use it, please visit ...

If they don’t respect the WordPress license, we don’t recommend them.

Sit tight for a few more seconds while we update them as well.

Some could pass as acceptable given the context (such as those on the About page), but most reference an unknown entity, and some cause switches between the grammatical person.

Some just plain don't make sense:

The update cannot be installed because we will be unable to copy some files.

The ssh2 PHP extension is available, however, we require the PHP5 function %s


Text strings that reference "we" should be re-phrased so they no longer need to. For example:

PHP is the programming language that's used to build and maintain WordPress.

Note to users of assistive technology: if you experience usability issues with the block editor, you should continue to use the Classic Editor.

One counter-argument might be that it reduces the personality of WordPress, but I think there are better ways to add personality to software than to reference a collective, unknown entity.

Feedback welcome.

#6 in reply to: ↑ 5 @SergeyBiryukov
7 weeks ago

Replying to marybaum:

If it's a choice between we and using a passive verb, I'd rather use we. At a minimum, we can often refer to the reader and the writer -- you and me.
...
Perhaps writers and copy editors could experiment with using you and I in place of the generic we, especially in support and error contexts.

Just wanted to note the post & comment guidelines in make/core handbook have this recommendation that I think applies to any core messages as well:

The make/core blog is the official voice of the core team. As a result, you should keep your personal thoughts out of the body of the post, leaving them for the comments. Furthermore, first person pronouns should be avoided.

Similarly, the word “we” should be avoided in posts, unless its made very clear which group is speaking. An example of this is listing attendees of a meeting and, in the summary post, noting that “we, those present at the meeting” made a decision or agreed on a plan of action.

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