About the Half-Elf

( … and what does a Half-Elf have to do with WordPress?)

Mika (実佳) Ariela Epstein is better known as Ipstenu, the WordPress Half-Elf Rogue.

Passionate about code, open source technology, open data, and mindful development practices, Mika may watch a lot of TV but it’s for a good cause. You can find Mika travelling internationally to speak about the intersection of software, fandom, and humanism.

Okay, all that’s out of the way.

I’m Mika Ariela Epstein, better known as Ipstenu, the Half-Elf Rogue of WordPress. One day I made a joke that I wasn’t a Support Wizard, I was a half-elf rogue who snuck up on problems and stabbed them in the back. The joke became my forums title on WordPress.org and from there, my identity in WordPress was that of a half-elf.

Currently I am a Lead WordPress Engineer at XWP. Previously, from 2012 to 2022, I worked for DreamHost in various roles, from WordPress Support Specialist and Manager (aka ‘WordPress Guru’ or unicorn, depending on who you ask), and finally as a WordPress Developer on the managed WordPress hosting platform, DreamPress. Before that I worked at bank, which has nothing to do, at all, with WordPress.

On WordPress.org, I was the volunteer representative for the Plugin Review team from 2013-2023, making sure the directory provided a safe place for all WordPress users – from the non-technical to the developer – to download plugins that are consistent with the goals of the WordPress project. This, sadly, opened me up to a level of harassment that can be staggering to comprehend.

A thank you from WordPress.org after retiring from Plugin Reviews. It's a fake album with my 'greatest hits' marking out how much I've actually reviewed. It's a little staggering.

A dedicated devotee to Open Source and the power of the people to make software, I also speak at events internationally on topics ranging from coding to handling angry users, provide training, and strive to help make the online world better and safer for all.

Oh and I run a website to track queer female characters on TV. Of course it runs on WordPress.

Contact / Hiring Information

I’m not currently available for any contract work. Please don’t ask.

My republishing fee for any articles found on halfelf.org is $500 USD.

WordPress Origin Story

Now, this is a story all about how 
My life got flipped-turned upside down 
And I’d like to take a minute, just sit real tight 
I’ll tell you how I became a guru of WordPress Multisite 

In WordPress bloggin’ born and raised 
In support forums is where I spent most of my days. 
Hanging, helping, debugging all cool 
And all .htaccessing like a fool. 

Till a couple Canadians, up to no good, 
Starting pushin’ MU in my neighborhood. 
I coded one little plugin, my wife got scared, 
She said “You’re writing all this code on your Macbook air! 

I spoke at a WordCamp and then it came clear, 
The job offer was fresh, and it came with good beer! 
If anything I could say that WordPress was fair, 
And I thought, “Hey, just fork it! Yo, homes dye my hair!” 

I logged in to Slack ’bout 7 or 8 
And I said to the meetup “Here”, it was great 
I looked at the make blogs It was finally true! 
I’m a guru of WordPress and Multisite too.