it can be really hard just to send an email

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Alright, so I’ll do some minor housekeeping and then complain about newsletters some!

First off, I will be out of town this weekend, first in Rochester for WordCamp Rochester where I’ll actually be talking about newsletters. I’m then going to NYC for a few days with my partners So I’ll not be posting a newsletter in a week, but I will probably talk about my trip a few days later!

So, speaking of newsletters, my last two have been a bit of a pain. But I’ll go back in time a little to get there, since it ties into this weekend too.

Back in January I was preparing a presentation for WordCamp Birmingham. My first in person event in three years! I was excited, and excited to share the tool that has made me happy on WordPress, Newsletter Glue. But then NG changed their business model two weeks before the event, pricing out most people that I would share with, including myself if I were not grandfathered in on pricing.

Reworking my presentation was a pain due to how much I included them. But this ended up becoming a moot point, because I got COVID within a week of the event, and had to cancel last minute. Figures on the timing ๐Ÿ˜”

Two weeks ago I noticed that my newsletter didn’t go out at all. I kept trying to find the issue and it was only after talking to a Mailerlite (the tool that I used to do the actual bulk mailing) representative that I learned that in the switch to their new platform, they limited API access for free accounts. I’d been sending normally for about a month before the switch, so this threw me for a loop.

Looking at their pricing, I saw that at minimum I’d spend at least $216/year for them to send out my free, personal newsletter to a small list. No thanks. It’s worth spending some money, but a lot of platforms offer cheaper options.

Instead of just jumping to another free option, I decided to get Sendy, which I’d looked at before as an option when I first setup Newsletter Glue. It involved self setup, which was actually not that bad on their end, but it also involved setting up Amazon SES. This started easy, but got complicated quickly.

I had to prove to Amazon that I wasn’t a spammer to be able to get out of sandbox mode and send emails. This took longer than expected because they kept asking for more information through multiple emails back and forth. Then I sent a newsletter, and I was flagged as suspicious and needed to prove myself again, because I didn’t make it clear how I was going to keep myself from spamming. It was frustrating because I felt that I did all of the right things and had history to show them, but responses were purposefully vague and didn’t give me something clear to respond to. So I just responded to everything.

Finally, I got this cleared up… for now. This is the first newsletter that I’m sending since that second issue, so let’s see if I get flagged yet again.

Sending newsletters while having more control over the conversation and not ceding it to a third party platform like MailChimp or Substack should be easier than it is. I get that bad actors use email for spam. But I want more people to be able to write and share their own things in their own spaces for their own audiences. And when someone who is well versed in the technology has troubles with it, what hope do I have for the people that I want to hear from most?


The Great WordPress Breakup of 2023 – Allie Nimmons

I respect and trust Allie, and absolutely believe what she says. Plus, I’ve personally been in the situation myself of seeing how behind-the-scenes does not match up with the public persona.

Developers Claim Damaged Trust Following Public Confrontations with WordPress Leadership – Sarah Gooding, WP Tavern

This happens everywhere in tech and Open Source, it’s just a shame when it happens in a community that I am so heavily invested in. I hope that Matt Mullenweg makes a public apology and discusses why the type of behavior that he engaged in can harm the project and community as a whole.


The Cult of Velma Dinkley

This is the first time I’ve seen this channel, but I’ve already watched their other videos now. What an interesting deep dive into something ultimately wholesome!

9 Was a Cautionary Tale Against AI

I remember this movie coming out (right around the time as the opera themed Nine iirc), but I didn’t give it a watch. But now I want to give it a watch with this context.

YouTubeโ€™s Science Scam Crisis

I know folks doing the AI helped videos. They don’t have to be scammy, but it’s unfortunate that it’s just easier and more profitable to be scammy and dupe viewers.


How Virtual Worlds Became a Safe Space for Non-Human Identities (Toy Dragon) – 2 Girls 1 Podcast

This published right around the last newsletter but I wanted to save it. I am biased since I introduced the podcast to the guest and vice-versa, but still: I am gushing! Toy Dragon is so good, and even after lots of chatting with them I learned new things in this interview. Thank you internet, for the times you don’t suck.

Why YOU Need a Union with Kim Kelly – Factually! with Adam Conover

This was very timely, not just about unions and how they can raise all workers in all industries, but how it is necessary for them to be intersectional and focus on as many marginalized groups as possible. We shouldn’t be dividing one another when we have more in common, and a common fight.

Perception check

Tom Cardy, nat 20, let’s gooooo

Meg Myers – Running Up That Hill [Official Video]

Not a new video but I’ve been feeling these psychedelic, crayon colors along with this song having a resurgence in the past year.

The Libertarian Theme Park of your Dreams/Nightmares | BEHIND THE BASTARDS

There’s always something new to uncover about Action Park, how can that be the case ๐Ÿคฃ

Ready to leave Twitter? Try Spill instead! – There Are No Girls on the Internet

I haven’t really given time to any newly created Twitter alternatives, but agree with Spill and Kenya Parham that building for the marginalized communities that power culture first is the wisest way to go, both for a business and ethical standards.

If you made it this far, why not share this newsletter with a friend? Or share with me some of the things that you found that you liked this week. Either way, I’m thrilled!

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