Quillette and Waking Up

Just signed up to support Quillette and Sam Harris’ Waking Up on a regular basis. Both are publishing important, intellectually demanding work, on par with or exceeding traditional news publications.

Most recently, I enjoyed “The Hysterical Campus” in Quillette and Sam Harris’ interview with Yuval Noah Harari. And, if you want more of the  backstory on Quillette, listen to Tyler Cohen’s interview with Quillette founder Claire Lehmann.

Blogging’s missing piece

One core mechanic lacking in modern blogging: knowing who is reading your work.

With an email newsletter, the writer has reasonable confidence their work is delivered to a known audience. With a blog, the best the writer has are comments and Twitter, both which are totally broken.

There should be better tools for the writer to publish to a specific audience (say, <50 people), for the audience to receive the work through their preferred means (e.g. email at the end of the day vs. RSS), and for both to engage in a productive dialogue that evolves over time.

Oh, and one more important piece: a “Start Here” point of entry for those new to the conversation, so they can painlessly get up to speed. 

“Growing Tualatin” housing presentation for Tualatin BAC

“Growing Tualatin” housing presentation for Tualatin BAC. Michael Andersen, now of the Sightline Institute, gave a great presentation to the Business Advocacy Council contextualizing our local housing shortages with the economic trends of Washington County, and then identifying the solutions other cities are already applying. Watch the video or, easier still, read the transcript I painstakingly edited this morning.

Update on Try Gutenberg blockers

“Try Gutenberg” is an initiative, currently scheduled for WordPress 4.9.8, to drive more usage of the Gutenberg editor plugin. A while back, I left an offhand comment listing issues I saw as blockers (those that caused data transformation that would be hard to recover from at scale). This comment apparently received more attention than I expected it to, so now we’re partially focused on making sure those blockers are resolved.

And have we been fixing blockers! A non-exhaustive list includes:

The two remaining problems that cause me the most hesitation are:

  1. Unexpected content changes toggling Classic editor from Text to Visual to Text – When post content includes blocks (i.e. you’re opening a Gutenberg post in the Classic Editor), TinyMCE can mangle the blocks within the post. The solution is TBD; needs additional research.
  2. Gutenberg breaks “classic” posts w/ shortcodes by carelessly wrapping shortcodes into paragraph tags – This was partially fixed by correctly handling multi-line shortcodes in a block conversion. However, these multi-line shortcodes still end up with paragraph tags around them. The current suggestion to explore is running wpautop() and shortcode_unautop() on the server instead of TinyMCE.

If you’d like to save a point of reference, I have a working GitHub issue documenting these two and some other issues around block conversion, tables, and galleries. Help appreciated!

Wedding weekend marathon

Friday night: solo parent at Justin (my cousin) and Justine’s wedding. Charlie was one of three ring bearers, and Ava one of nine flower girls. Ton of fun getting to spend so much time with my kids.

Saturday night: kid-free at Jane and George’s wedding. Leah gave a wonderful maid of honor speech. Much debauchery followed this picture.

Next up: Maggie’s wedding in August!

Four short links – July 3, 2018

Universal Basic Income, machine learning, Fusion post-mortem, and opioids.

  1. Waking Up Podcast #130 – Universal Basic Income (Sam Harris with Andrew Yang) — Best possible explanation of the underlying economic forces justifying UBI.
  2. Ways to think about machine learning (Benedict Evans) — Imagine what you could do with a million ten year-olds.
  3. Univision Is A Fucking Mess (Special Projects Desk) — Colorful post-mortem of what went down with Fusion. Previously.
  4. A primer on fentanyl(s) (Mark Kleiman) — Comprehensive yet approachable overview to the history and current policy implications.

What we need: more social innovation

The reality is that no one is more concerned about the impact of AI on society than the people who are building it. Almost always, the more someone knows, the higher his or her concern level is.

Some might ask, “Isn’t it their fault? Aren’t they the ones building the technology that is going to replace workers?” But technologists, VCs, and entrepreneurs are simply doing all they can to push their companies and products forward. It is not their fault that the gains are being concentrated in the hands of a very few, and it’s nearly impossible for them to know and account for the downstream social and economic impacts. It’s OUR job—that is, it’s the responsibility of our government and leaders to account for the impact of innovation on human well-being.

Unfortunately, we are decades behind. And we need to speed up fast.

One investor said something to me on Tuesday that struck me as profound. “At this point, we don’t even need much more technological innovation. We could be busy for a long time just applying the tech we already have. What we really need is much more social innovation.” He’s on to something. He’s a good man who is supporting my campaign. And there are many others like him.

Andrew Yang – Yang 2020

Help with the Gutenberg Migration Guide at WCEU

This was originally posted on make.wordpress.org/hosting.

Looking for something to do at Contributor Day? We could use your help!

The Gutenberg Migration Guide is a crowdsourcing project to document WordPress Classic Editor customization points and their Gutenberg equivalents (if such exist). media_buttons is the quintessential example; whereas you might’ve used this action previously in the Classic Editor to register a button, it no longer exists in Gutenberg and the block inserter is its direct equivalent.

We want the migration guide to be as comprehensive as it can be. This is defined as:

  1. Identifying as many integration points as we can find. For instance, there are already 14 actions / filters listed. Some are commonly used, while others are not. As long as we have a good example for how the integration point is used, it makes sense to include in the guide.
  2. Whenever possible, documenting how feature parity can be achieved with Gutenberg. Some integration points do already have Gutenberg equivalents. Others don’t yet, and that’s alright.

You can help make the migration guide more comprehensive. If you don’t have any examples of your own to include, here are a couple of places you can start looking:

Everyone can contribute to the migration guide, regardless of skill set. All you need to do is open a new GitHub issue and report the incompatibility you’ve found. Screenshots and GIFs are tremendously helpful. If you know the underlying problem, then please include that too. If all you know is that a given plugin’s feature doesn’t work in Gutenberg, no worries; simply open an issue and we can help track down the cause. Identifying examples of breakage are what we need help with most.

Feel free to join #hosting-community in the WordPress.org Slack if you have any questions, etc. Thanks for your help!