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Make WordPress Core

Opened 3 years ago

Last modified 6 days ago

#46057 new enhancement

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

Reported by: johnbillion Owned by:
Milestone: 5.9 Priority: normal
Severity: minor Version:
Component: Administration Keywords: has-patch commit
Focuses: ui-copy 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 (2)

46057.diff (2.4 KB) - added by Shital Patel 3 years ago.
text changed
46057.1.diff (8.2 KB) - added by audrasjb 4 weeks ago.
Administration: Remove self-references ("we") in text in core.

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (14)

#1 @SergeyBiryukov
3 years ago

  • Component changed from General to Text Changes

@Shital Patel
3 years ago

text changed

#2 @Shital Patel
3 years ago

  • Focuses docs added
  • Keywords has-patch added

#3 @Shital Patel
3 years ago

  • Version set to 5.0.3

#4 @desrosj
3 years ago

  • Milestone changed from Awaiting Review to Future Release

#5 in reply to: ↑ description ; follow-up: @marybaum
2 years 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
2 years 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.

#7 @garrett-eclipse
21 months ago

  • Component changed from Text Changes to Administration
  • Focuses ui-copy added

#8 @johnbillion
21 months ago

  • Version 5.0.3 deleted

@audrasjb
4 weeks ago

Administration: Remove self-references ("we") in text in core.

#9 @audrasjb
4 weeks ago

  • Focuses docs removed
  • Keywords dev-feedback removed
  • Milestone changed from Future Release to 5.9

46057.1.diff refreshes the previous patch and applies the changes to site-health screen.

Moving for 5.9 consideration.

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #core by audrasjb. View the logs.


6 days ago

#11 @audrasjb
6 days ago

  • Keywords commit added

Reviewed during today's bug scrub.
Marking this as commit candidate.

#12 @peterwilsoncc
6 days ago

I did a regex search in vscode for we[^a-z] and found a few additional strings containing we:

After your Privacy Policy page is set, we suggest that you edit it.

Don&#8217;t you wish all software came with these freedoms? So do we! For more information, check out the <a href="https://www.fsf.org/">Free Software Foundation</a>.

Every plugin and theme in WordPress.org&#8217;s directory is 100%% GPL or a similarly free and compatible license, so you can feel safe finding <a href="%1$s">plugins</a> and <a href="%2$s">themes</a> there. If you get a plugin or theme from another source, make sure to <a href="%3$s">ask them if it&#8217;s GPL</a> first. If they don&#8217;t respect the WordPress license, we don&#8217;t recommend them.

If the root directory of your site was <a href="%1$s">writable</a>, we could do this automatically, but it isn&#8217;t so this is the url rewrite rule you should have in your %2$s file. Create a new file, called %2$s in the root directory of your site. Click in the field and press %3$s to select all. Then insert this code into the %2$s file.

If your %1$s file was <a href="%2$s">writable</a>, we could do this automatically, but it isn&#8217;t so these are the mod_rewrite rules you should have in your %1$s file. Click in the field and press %3$s to select all.

If your %1$s file was <a href="%2$s">writable</a>, we could do this automatically, but it isn&#8217;t so this is the url rewrite rule you should have in your %1$s file. Click in the field and press %3$s to select all. Then insert this rule inside of the %4$s element in %1$s file.

It seems we can&rsquo;t find what you&rsquo;re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.

Need more help? <a href="%s">We got it</a>.

Sorry, we can&#8217;t load the video at the supplied URL. Please check that the URL is for a supported video file (%s) or stream (e.g. YouTube and Vimeo).

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

This means that we lost contact with the database server at %s. This could mean your host&#8217;s database server is down.

We already have a ping from that URL for this post.

We can&#8217;t find that audio file. Check your <a href="%s">media library</a> and make sure it wasn&#8217;t deleted.

We can&#8217;t find that file. Check your <a href="%s">media library</a> and make sure it wasn&#8217;t deleted.

We can&#8217;t find that image. Check your <a href="%s">media library</a> and make sure it wasn&#8217;t deleted.

We can&#8217;t find that video. Check your <a href="%s">media library</a> and make sure it wasn&#8217;t deleted.

We couldn’t locate %s. Please try another nearby city. For example: Kansas City; Springfield; Portland.

We have suggested the sections you will need. Under each section heading you will find a short summary of what information you should provide, which will help you to get started. Some sections include suggested policy content, others will have to be completed with information from your theme and plugins.

We send your registration email to this address. (Double-check your email address before continuing.)

We were able to connect to the database server (which means your username and password is okay) but not able to select the %s database.

We would also suggest reviewing your Privacy Policy from time to time, especially after installing or updating any themes or plugins. There may be changes or new suggested information for you to consider adding to your policy.

We&#8217;re backing up this post in your browser, just in case.' 
'We&#8217;re going to use this information to create a %s file.

Welcome to WordPress. Before getting started, we need some information on the database. You will need to know the following items before proceeding.

WordPress grows when people like you tell their friends about it, and the thousands of businesses and services that are built on and around WordPress share that fact with their users. We&#8217;re flattered every time someone spreads the good word, just make sure to <a href="%s">check out our trademark guidelines</a> first.

In docs I also found the we in the following files:

  • src/js/_enqueues/vendor/README.md
  • src/readme.html
  • CONTRIBUTING.md
  • SECURITY.md

There's quite a few comments with we in it, so there is a good chance I have missed a few instances.

If we (the people discussion the phrase on this ticket) wish to commit what we have and come back to some of these strings, then that works for me.

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