Free Software Contributions

The CUNY Academic Commons team is proud not only to use but also to contribute to a number of free software projects.

Commons In A Box

Commons In A Box (CBOX) is a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to configure a WP network that has an appearance and a feature set similar to the CUNY Academic Commons. The core Commons In A Box plugin, as well as the theme and many of the constituent plugins in the Commons In A Box package, were originally developed, and continue to be maintained, by the CUNY Academic Commons team. CBOX has been funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the NEH Office of Digital Humanities.

WordPress plugins

Our development team has written a large number of popular WordPress plugins, which are freely available at We also develop and maintain a handful of plugins that are not available on the repository. See for some examples. The popular BP Reply By Email plugin was also written for the CUNY Academic Commons.


BuddyPress is the WordPress plugin that powers the social functionality on the Commons. Two members of the CUNY Academic Commons development team, Boone Gorges and Raymond Hoh, are members of the BuddyPress core team, and a number of other members of the Commons team have contributed to BuddyPress as well.

Improvements originating with the Commons frequently trickle up into the BuddyPress project. These contributions are difficult to describe exhaustively, since improvements are merged into a larger system and don’t typically have the explicit provenance of the WordPress plugins described above. That said, below is a representative list of some past and ongoing contributions to BuddyPress that originated with the CUNY Academic Commons:

  • #7698 GDPR compliance tools
  • #3246 Improved access control behavior
  • #3695 Visibility settings for extended profile fields
  • #5839 Better profile-related filters for user queries
  • #4988 More sophisticated syntax for activity filters
  • #3659 Caching for widgets
  • #3778 Drag-and-drop reordering of profile field options
  • #5885 Including group membership request message in admin notification email
  • #5879 Improved email notification text for group detail changes
  • #5880 Create activity item when group details are updated
  • #5935 Improved text on group membership screen when no members are found
  • #6535 Improved feedback when invalid data is entered while composing a message
  • #5451 Performance improvements for group queries


The Commons uses bbPress to powers its discussion forums. The following bbPress issues have risen out of Commons work:

  • #2599 Improved syncing of bbPress forum privacy with BP group settings


A number of members of the Commons development team have also contributed to the WordPress project, including Commons lead developer Boone Gorges, who is a member of the WordPress core team. The following issues can be traced back to work originally done for the CUNY Academic Commons:

  • #19810 Autocomplete for adding new users to sites
  • #28150 Improved language for “deleted blog” error message

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