ClassicPress is a democratic community-led fork of WordPress that enables all stakeholders to shape the direction that the project takes. This page aims to explain how we handle this process to ensure that power doesn’t become centralized and that every voice can be heard. Before continuing, please familiarize yourself with the terms we will use.

Our Democratic Structure, Rights & Responsibilities

Below you can see the groups within the ClassicPress democracy and their functions, rights and responsibilities.

No single person within any of these groups has the power to force through a valid Topic which affects ClassicPress. This ensures that we stay true to our goal of being a community-led fork.

General Public


A person who is not affiliated with ClassicPress or registered with ClassicPress on any official systems.

ClassicPress Rights

  • To make a suggestion on the petitions site
  • To register as a Voting Member
  • To vote for and comment on  suggestions on the above site

ClassicPress Responsibilities

  • To act in good faith
  • To follow the ClassicPress Code of Conduct

Voting Members


A Voting Member is anyone who has registered to vote on a Topic. Anybody may register as a Voting Member, but they must use their real identity and only vote on a topic once.

ClassicPress Rights

  • To cast a vote for any Topic, whether it be a Petition or a Referendum.
  • Plus all other Rights given to the General Public

ClassicPress Responsibilities

  • To stay up to date with upcoming votes
  • To understand the Topics and the pros/cons of each
  • To vote in good faith
  • To recuse themselves if they feel there is a conflict of interest
  • Plus all other Responsibilities required by the General Public

Committee Members


These are the current members of the committee. Their main responsibility is management of the community democratic process and to ensure that topics accepted for public vote are clearly communicated to all stakeholders. Committee Members have a term limit of one year.

ClassicPress Rights

  • To put a Topic to the Committee that must be considered for a referendum
  • To nominate members to the Committee
  • Plus all other Rights given to ClassicPress Voting Members and General Public

ClassicPress Responsibilities

  • To ensure any Petitions that achieve the Support Threshold are created as a Topic
  • To ensure all Topics are presented in an unbiased way
  • To ensure all Topics are promoted and shared with the community as effectively as possible
  • To ensure all Topics are opened for a Vote
  • To ensure the decisions made by the community are acted on in a timely manner
  • Plus all other Responsibilities required by the Voting Members and General Public

Founding Committee Members


The Founding Committee Members are those who formed the initial committee for ClassicPress. These initial committee members were chosen by Scott Bowler (Director) and were also nominated by existing committee members. Founding Members can make decisions prior to the launch of v1 without a public vote. This is largely to make sure we can get v1 out the door quickly. Past v1, decisions made by this Founding Committee can be overruled following the democratic process of ClassicPress.

ClassicPress Rights

  • To nominate the removal of a Committee Member if they are not acting in good faith. There must be a majority in favour of this removal from the other Founding Committee Members.
  • Plus all other Rights given to ClassicPress Voting Members and General Public

ClassicPress Responsibilities

  • To keep up to date with the ClassicPress project
  • To ensure Committee Members are acting in good faith

Company Directors


The ClassicPress Initiative is a nonprofit organization registered under section 501(c)(3) of the United States IRS code. James Nylen (President), Michelle Coe (Vice President/Secretary) and Wade Striebel (Treasurer) maintain oversight of the ClassicPress Initiative nonprofit organization.

ClassicPress Rights

  • To put a Topic to the Committee that must be considered for a Referendum
  • To have full administration access to all ClassicPress systems
  • To make decisions as allowed in relation to the business
  • To be involved in the day-to-day running of the business
  • To nominate Committee members
  • Plus all other Rights given to ClassicPress Voting Members and General Public

General Rights

  • The Directors retain all the rights reserved to a Director of a nonprofit organization registered under section 501(c)(3) of the United States IRS code.

ClassicPress Responsibilities

  • To ensure that ClassicPress has the resources required to function to the best of its ability
  • To support the democratic process and lead ClassicPress based on the needs of the community

Making Your Voice Heard

Anybody can make a suggestion for ClassicPress via our Petition website. Once you’ve made your suggestion it will be open to comment and initial voting by the community. If it reaches the Support Threshold it will be converted to a Topic and opened to a Vote. If the majority of the Voting Members vote in favor, your suggestion will be implemented.

It’s important to note that anybody can become a Voting Member, so you can also make your voice heard on existing suggestions.

Routes to a Vote

There are two ways for a vote to come to fruition:

  1. Via petition: A topic from the petitions site gains the required number of supporters
  2. Via referendum: The committee agrees by a super majority (75%+) that a Topic should be put to a community vote. This Topic does not have to go through the petition process but it must receive a super majority (75%+) in favour of the Topic from the Voting Members in order to pass.

Processing and Executing Decisions

The process for decision making is simple:

  1. A suggestion is made either by Petition or Referendum
  2. The suggestion achieves the required Support Threshold
  3. A Topic is created from the suggestion and made public by the Committee
  4. The Topic is put to vote
  5. If the majority vote in favor, the Topic will be scheduled for action

Code of Conduct

Our code of conduct is simple: Be good to one another, take criticism well and follow the democratic process. 

Background: Forming, storming, norming, performing. These are the generally accepted stages a team will go through. Open source is unusual in that people are joining and leaving teams on a daily basis, which means the team stages are in a constant state of flux.

The most disruptive stage is storming, but it is probably the most important. Relationships are formed, lessons are learned and understanding is gained during this stage. Therefore, we should both expect and encourage healthy debate. The key word here is healthy.

People will hold strong beliefs based on their life experiences. Often those beliefs will be polar opposites and sometimes both beliefs can be correct as they might be a matter of opinion (e.g. “what is the most readable code style”).

When disagreement happens we must fall back to our democratic process. Occasionally you might be on the receiving end of a decision you disagree with. It’s OK to agree to disagree and for the good of the community and the project, you need to be graceful in defeat.

On the topic of inclusion: Every person on the planet is welcome to get involved with ClassicPress, as long as they act in good faith and follow our Code of Conduct. Teamwork, respect and quality are the words we must focus on – not age, race, gender or sexual orientation. Instead, by focusing on the merits of a person’s contribution we can truly be a discrimination-free project.

On the ClassicPress Forums: Please see our Forum Guidelines. This is a supplement to this Code of Conduct and a good resource for conducting online discussions in a positive, productive manner.

Please note: We have a “three strikes” policy — after three official warnings from the Community team lead regarding failure to adhere to our Code of Conduct on any of our communication channels, an account ban may be considered.


As you can imagine, if every decision required a Petition or Referendum, the community would be bogged down with an unmanageable bureaucratic process that would stifle progress. As a result, there are a number of processes and tasks that don’t need to go through the Petition or Referendum process. These include:

  • Decisions and actions required to address security issues
  • Decisions and actions required to fix issues on existing functionality or processes
  • Minor modifications to existing functionality or processes

In addition, certain elements of ClassicPress need a degree of autonomy to function. Day-to-day decisions in the following areas won’t be created as Petitions or Referendum items. However, it’s important to note that the community still has full control over all of the areas mentioned in the following list via Petitions and Referendums to address any issues with the decisions being made.

  • Infrastructure and system administration (e.g. servers and databases)
  • Accounts / finance
  • Purchasing
  • Marketing
  • Human Resources
  • Support
  • Sales & Fundraising

Lastly there are three further exceptions:

  • The legal structure of The ClassicPress Initiative cannot be altered, which includes company Directors
  • Any petitions that are promoting Topics that are illegal in the United States will not be approved
  • The Code of Conduct, as written above, may not be modified.


It’s important to understand the terminologies used in the ClassicPress democratic process.

Rights: The fundamental permissions a person has within the ClassicPress democracy that cannot be taken away or altered.
Responsibilities: The tasks that a person must complete in order to maintain their position.
Petition: A suggestion or idea made on our petitions forum. Petitions can be started by anybody.
Support Threshold: The minimum number of people who are needed to support a Petition or Referendum before it can be converted into a Topic and Poll for Voting
Topic: The descriptive title of a petition that can be answered with a “yes” or “no” response. Topics are worded by the Committee to be impartial and unbiased after a petition has reached the required level of support.
Vote: A “yes” or “no” response to a topic. Voting can only be performed by Voting Members on (coming soon)
Poll: The mechanism which allows Voting Members to cast a vote against a Topic that has been raised via petition
Referendum: The mechanism which allows Voting Members to cast a vote against a Topic that has been raised by the Committee without going through the Petition process. A referendum can only be called if the majority of the Committee votes in favour of putting the Topic forward.