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B-san's Blog

The work and life of a Community Education Manager in Japan

Getting Ready for the Trial – Part 2

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Hi all! In my last post, I mentioned a few things I had been doing in preparation for the Trial starting soon. I briefly mentioned how there are some new plans offered on WordPress.com now and that these changes seem to have taken effect within the last few weeks. According to snapshots taken by the Wayback Machine, it seems the 29th of March this year (or thereabouts) is the magic date these plans started getting advertised.

When I had a look at the page offering the different plans, I realised I hadn’t actually checked out WordPress.com’s official website before. I don’t think I have checked it out ever! I created my WordPress.com account in 2015 when setting up Jetpack on a self-hosted site I was running. Ever since then, whenever I access https://wordpress.com/, it has taken me directly to my WP.com dashboard or account login page.

So, as part of my preparations for the Trial, I decided to checkout the WordPress.com site and see how Automattic advertise their products.


Overall, the WordPress.com site has a modern feel and a colorful slick design. According to WhatCMS.org, it uses WordPress version 5.1.1, the most current version of WordPress released at the moment. (Duh! I knew it would be, but I thought I would just make sure??) Of course, it has a responsive design, a few interactive elements that move/change while you navigate through pages and a good handful of colorful photos with heaps of smiling faces! So I see, the Happiness Engineering process begins here, before you even start creating your site…

WordPress was created with the goal to democratize publishing in an open-source platform. WordPress.org advertises the software as “both free and priceless.” But in general, to use WordPress, you need to sign up with a host provider to host your site for you. What Automattic has done through WordPress.com is provide free hosting, too! You can use the essence of WordPress for free, forever! Each plan offers additional features you can pay for, but basic hosting (and all the technical setup and security related to that) is provided for free. WordPres.com offers completely different services to a “normal” host provider and the site presents that information in an exciting way.

While I was visiting Wayback Machine, I decided to also have a look at the sitemap for WordPress.com. Though I won’t go into details, it was interesting to see most pages at the domain “wordpress.com” actually fall under the subdomain “wordpress.com/go/,” which is WordPress.com’s blog. The second prominent subdomain was “jetpack” and the third, “domains”. The colorful representation of the sitemap was interesting, so I decided to put a screengrab of it here.

Happiness Engineers

WordPress.com offers a ton of features. While the site does an excellent job of showcasing these, I can see how it would still seem daunting to someone who is not familiar with website terminology or doesn’t have experience with WordPress. The website offers promises of huge potential to every site creator. But how would you actually get there?

Out of all the employment positions at Automattic, I could only find Happiness Engineers get a mention on the website. Actually, almost a dozen mentions! On almost every page, there is some sort of comment about the support customers can get and many of those comments mention Happiness Engineers as the people who will be helping them. We (?) are a very prominent part of the services Automattic provides to its customers.

From the footer of the site, I managed to find a chart showing the monthly count of support requests HEs get. The chart starts all the way back in October 2006 and doesn’t miss a month, right upto March 2019. It is interesting to see the fluctuation in support requests over the years. But it is also interesting to note requests have been steadily increasing from about december 2017. I can’t wait to join the team to help with these!!

Support Requests from https://wordpress.com/activity/misc/ (April 11th, 2019 )

Wrapping Up

I have had a few reading assignments given to me from the Hiring Team to complete before the Trial starts. Between the public info at WordPress.com and the internal documentation at Automattic, there is just endless stuff I could read through. I have given a good few days (as well as the last few months) trying to read as much of this as I can, but I have come to a point where I am content. I plan on taking the next few days to give my brain and body a break, so I am refreshed and charged up again next week to finally take on the Trial…

Thanks for reading!

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