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  • Jen Mylo 2:07 pm on April 24, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment

    Categories: Meetups ( 9 )

    Meetup.com Update — April 24, 2014 

    Good news on the meetup.com front: the personnel change that had us in flux has turned out to be a good thing. Now that Laura at Meetup.com is handling the chapter program, she has agreed to let us do existing group roll-ins monthly rather than quarterly. This is great news, because the once-every-3-months thing was a pain in butt logistically, and sometimes meant that dues came up for renewal before the next roll-in (though meetup.com has generally been good about prioritizing people in that situation). With this new schedule, we can keep forward momentum going a lot easier from the moment someone applies to join the program.

    Emails were sent from meetup.com to everyone on the current quarterly roll-in list. So far in this round, these meetup groups have been added to the WordPress account:

    These groups were sent the opt-in form at the same time by meetup.com on 4/21 but have not yet responded.

  • Jen Mylo 6:48 pm on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment

    Categories: Meetups ( 9 )

    Meetup.com Status Update 

    The quarterly roll-in is a little behind. For some reason we didn’t get confirmation of our payment until April 8 (about a week later than expected), and the person who does the roll-ins of existing groups hasn’t been in touch (normally that happens immediately upon payment of the quarterly bill). I contacted that person and the person who runs the chapter program yesterday expressing my nervousness about the timing, especially since a couple of the groups joining the program had expiring dues and were marked in red on the spreadsheet. I’ll do everything I can to make sure no group has $$ trouble because of this delay.

    There are 18 existing meetups waiting to be rolled in (some were from the last time who filled in the application so close to the end that they didn’t make it in that round). There are about half a dozen new meetup (no existing group) applications in process.

    • Jen Mylo 9:37 pm on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Heard back, the person who was managing the chapter program is moving to a new role, and the person who used to handle the roll-ins is taking that job, so there’s a little flux over there. I’ve been assured that our roll-ins will be addressed on Monday. I reiterated my concern about the couple that had expiring dues.

  • Jen Mylo 11:57 pm on April 17, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: , orientations   

    Categories: Meetups ( 9 )

    Meetup Orientation Hangouts Schedule 

    We’ll try a few different topics and time slots over the next couple of weeks to see what works best.

    For organizers of existing groups who want to join the chapter account (or have questions because they’re not sure):

    • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 23:00 UTC (4pm Pacific, 7pm Eastern) Event page

    For people who want to start a new group on the chapter account:

    • Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 17:00 UTC (10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern) Event page
  • Jen Mylo 3:27 pm on April 3, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment

    Categories: Meetups ( 9 )

    Team chat today, topic is meetups. If you’d like a meetup-specific topic on the agenda, please leave a comment on this post.

  • Andy McIlwain 5:09 pm on April 2, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment

    Working around split audiences for local meetups. 

    Many WordPress meetups around the world are facilitated through Meetup.com, especially in larger cities. Meetup.com is also how we’re handling the chapter program.

    But other sites, like Eventbrite and Facebook, are also used for arranging and managing local events.

    So, how do we bring a local WP community together when folks don’t want to depart from the service they’re already using, or who don’t want to sign up for another site? e.g. they’re interested in attending WordPress meetups, but they don’t want to sign up for Meetup.com to do it?

    • Andy McIlwain 5:11 pm on April 2, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      An excerpt from a convo I was having today:

      “…It could also be a case of a central mailing list (e.g. MailChimp) and you just set up “satellite” events on Facebook, Meetup.com, etc. As long as everybody knows when and where to go, you’re good.”

    • therealkazia 6:48 pm on April 2, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I like the mailing list idea as well.

      I’m in a smaller town, we have a Meetup group set up, and we’re also able to use the platforms from other community organizations (Library, writers groups, techies) to get the word out. Connecting with other community groups is a great way to connect and build the WP community, they will help get the word out without having people have to leave the service they are already happily using.

    • Jen Mylo 3:25 pm on April 3, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The real answer is to centralize on wordpress.org and syndicate out, as we said in an earlier meeting. In the meantime, I don’t know that trying to standardize on a different 3rd party (mailchimp) would bring any greater benefit. People are already allowed to use whatever service they want for organizing, so if some communities really want to use facebook and nothing else, until we have something on WordPress that is project-run, I don’t know if there’s really a good reason to try and get everyone on the same platform, whatever that platform is.

    • Andy McIlwain 4:07 pm on April 3, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Sorry, I wasn’t implying that we standardize around a 3rd party service. It was more about identifying viable, short-term solutions/approaches while the ideal solution — something wordpress.org, as discussed before — gets created.

  • Andrea Middleton 6:01 pm on March 13, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: ,   

    Team Chat Agenda, March 13, 2014

    • meetup mentorship proposal
    • wordcamp mentorship proposal(s)

    @jenmylo has no internet access and thus won’t join us today. I’ll facilitate in her stead.

    Edited: DST! UTC! Other three-letter abbreviations! We’re sticking to the 19:00 UTC schedule today, despite some countries observing daylight savings anew this week.

  • Andy McIlwain 1:59 am on March 11, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  
    Categories: Meetups ( 9 ), Mentorship Programs ( 11 )

    Proposal re: mentoring new meetup organizers. 

    Here’s my first pass at how we could tackle mentorship in the Meetup.com chapter program.

    Please beat it up. :P


    IMO there are two major groups that we can help through the mentor program:

    1. Primary audience = Completely New Organizers. They’re pumped up and excited to get goin’, but they don’t know where to start.
    2. Secondary audience = Existing Organizers: They’ve run some meetups before, but still stand to gain from the opinions/experiences of others. e.g. ideas for different meetup group activities.

    Mentor/Mentee Google Hangouts

    The first big piece is similar to what Andrea’s been doing with WordCamps. We’ll provide new Meetup organizers with a series of orientation sessions spread over four weeks. Topics to cover:

    1. Meetup.com 101 (Ninja Edit: Focus on the tools in this step, friendly reminders about the Spirit of WP + level of commitment.)

    • Representing WordPress: Embrace the spirit of WP!
    • Commitments: Friendly reminder that Meetups take a lot of effort.
    • Using Meetup.com: The tools at your disposal.
    • Organizer Levels: Co-organizers, event hosts, assistants, etc…

    2. Planning & Preparation

    • Selecting a Venue: Transit, parking, capacity, directions, accessibility, et al.
    • Content & Activities: Presentations? Social? Workshops? What’re you doing?
    • Setting RSVP Limits: The delicate balancing act.
    • Supplies & Equipment: Making a list and checking it twice.
    • Handling Expenses: Saving Cami from going insane with receipts.
    • Communication: Keeping your members in the loop.

    3. Day-Of

    • Signage & Access: Where’s the door, and how do I open it?
    • Registration/Signing In: Identifying the no-shows.
    • Welcoming Attendees: e.g. Tell them where the washrooms are.
    • Recording/Streaming (if possible): More good stuff for WordPress.tv.
    • Follow-Up House Cleaning: e.g. post video, send out slides, contact the no-shows.

    4. Ongoing

    • Growing & Adapting to Your Local Community
    • Diversifying Activities: Something for everyone.
    • Bringing In Other Organizers: Share the load!
    • Larger Initiatives: Getting involved with the WordPress project.

    Support Material/Documentation

    Think of this next piece as a “Starter Kit” for organizing meetups.

    These are assets that we’d create. They should be short n’ actionable. Some ideas to start:

    • Organizer’s Checklist: A “cheat sheet” that helps you prep for a meetup.
    • Templates: For Meetup groups & individual event pages. Could include:
      • Image Templates (header art, group image, images for event pages)
      • Boilerplate text (for harassment policies and other such things)
      • Project spreadsheets (similar to the budget template for WordCamps)
    • Organizer Tips: Advice from other organizers, clean n’ simple. (Inspiration)

    There’s more that we can do, but this list seems long enough for now. :) (I once joked with a friend about preparing Meetup.com tote boxes, but the shipping costs might make that a bit unreasonable.)



    • Jen Mylo 2:16 am on March 11, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Meetup Starter Packs (in boxes) is totally still on the table. :)

    • Sudden ImpactWebDesign 2:49 pm on March 12, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d like to get involved in discussions and volunteering where possible. The volunteer form link at the top of the page for the blog doesn’t work. Can anyone please suggest a URL to get started appropriately? Many thanks.

    • Andrea Middleton 6:20 pm on March 13, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Assets/starter kits: one thing I hear from a lot of people when I suggest they start a meetup before trying to organize a WordCamp (so this convo happens more than once a month) is that they don’t know what kind of activities/content they “should be” providing/programming. For those people I think a list of different kinds of content/formats meetups use, with some concrete suggestions within each format, would be really helpful.

  • Jen Mylo 6:47 pm on March 6, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: ,   

    Team Chat Agenda, March 6, 2014

    • meetup program status check
    • any questions/suggestions from meetup organizers on good things we can do to support events

    Playing it a bit free and easy this week as we catch up from last week.

  • Amy Hendrix (sabreuse) 1:02 pm on February 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  

    This week’s meeting topic is: All things Meetups! Thurday 1900 UTC in #wordpress-getinvolved

    If you have updates, either for the update post or you won’t be at the meeting, post them in comments here. And don’t forget to weigh in on some of the ongoing comment discussions on this blog. Thanks!

    • Jen Mylo 11:46 pm on February 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      • Sent annual organizer survey to all 67 chapter account organizing teams. Invited them all to join chat/follow blog.
      • Sent annual member survey to all 67 chapter account members who were subscribed to receive organizer announcement.

      This process was so annoyingly cut-and-paste manual for every email that it took me a full day to do these. The meetup.com chapter program just doesn’t have any tools built in for their chapter programs, and it’s really tedious to communicate with our groups. Will need to brainstorm better ways of doing stuff like this, like tying meetup activity to .org profiles or something so we could use BuddyPress groups to do stuff like this maybe.

      • Andy 3:55 pm on February 6, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Would using a 3rd party service like MailChimp work as a short-term solution? I agree that something more WordPressy — like BuddyPress — would be better in the long run.

        • Jen Mylo 5:57 pm on February 6, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Not really, since the blocker here is that meetup.com doesn’t reveal email addresses but forces you to send messages through their system. If we could get the email list to put into Mailchimp, I could just as easily put it into my wordpress.org email client.

          We were talking about getting meetup activity from the meetup.com API into wp.org profiles yesterday with Scott Reilly from the meta team, so that’s why I mentioned the possibility of hitching onto that (since profiles already run on BuddyPress).

    • Jen Mylo 6:08 pm on February 6, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Amy won’t be at the team chat today. Here’s the agenda:

      • introductions if meetup organizers/new folks attend
      • quick status update on meetup.com chapter account program, surveys
      • brainstorm things we can do to help the meetups get more involved with the open source project (contributor drives/tutorials via hangout, school/college outreach, etc)
      • what do we do when there’s a problem organizer
      • what can we do to help new organizers get started with their groups
      • does anyone want to volunteer to help with any aspect of the overall meetup program
      • Q&A/open discussion
    • Manuel Schmalstieg 4:20 pm on February 7, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Has that IRC meeting been logged? Couldn’t find it here: https://irclogs.wordpress.org/chanlog.php?channel=wordpress-getinvolved&day=2014-02-06&sort=asc – Wasn’t a good time window for me, but I would love to skim through the logs.

      • Jen Mylo 5:08 pm on February 7, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The logging got messed up when we changed channel names and we didn’t notice until yesterday. It has now been set up, but yesterday’s meeting wasn’t logged. I grabbed a transcript from my irc client, and I’ll post notes from the meeting later today.

    • Andrea Middleton 10:04 pm on February 7, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Past weeks:

      • approved Calgary, Buffalo, Kansas City, Ventura County, Portland ME, DFW, Vancouver, and San Diego for pre-planning
      • added Philly, Austin, Kansai, Nashville, and Denmark to the official schedule
      • ordered WordCamp lanyards and arranged shipping to events through March
      • removed DC, Philippines, and Tampa from the planning list due to planning dormancy
      • met with organizers/teams from NYC, Austin, Asheville, Seattle, and Mumbai
      • held our third WordCamp Organizer’s Orientation hangouts (can I call them WOOs, or too confusing? :) )
      • requested bids for a special event insurance blanket policy for WordCamps
      • finishedd those tl;drs for plan.wordcamp.org
      • posted year-end stats for WordCamps in 2013

      Coming week:

      • keep drilling down on the IRS rules around sponsorship for WordCamps
      • Asia/Pacifica scheduled WordCamp organizers orientation Feb 18/19
      • interview new organizers in Sydney & Mexico City
      • keep nagging WordCamps that have not yet posted their videos to WordPress.tv
      • keep advising and supporting WordCamps all over the world
      • post a list of content suggestions for WordCamp sites to plan.wordcamp.org
      • post a list of types of WordCamp sessions to plan.wordcamp.org
  • Jen Mylo 7:03 pm on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment  
    Categories: Events ( 4 ), WordCamps ( 24 )

    WordCamps, Meetups, and Everything In Between 

    Once upon a time, when there weren’t as many people attending them, WordCamps had lots of different formats, and lengths, and styles. I remember a WordCamp in Australia about 5 years ago that had 75 people in one room and that was it, and it was amazing. These days, they tend to follow certain patterns based on expectations that organizers have based on the events they’ve attended, which have been getting bigger and more homogenous — these days many people don’t even consider 75 people a WordCamp, which is a terrible shame. It’s kind of a vicious circle.*

    So now there seems to be a prevailing trend that folks think it’s not a WordCamp unless it has hundreds of people, multiple tracks of content to appeal to both bloggers/end-users and developers/industry professionals (plus other segments), elaborate catering, fancy name badges, brand name speakers, a high-end venue (this is often tied to the hundreds of people part), and any number of other trappings that have become the norm. Being responsible for a massive event like this can be fun and amazing, but it’s not what everyone wants to do. Those giant events also aren’t necessarily the ones that tend to enable the most personal connections and community growth (because they are so overwhelming), so how do we empower enthusiastic community members who want to organize more narrowly-focused events that fall somewhere between the 2-hour meetup and the full-on something-for-everyone WordCamp?

    A couple of options:

    1. Call them all WordCamps, no matter the focus. Run WordCamps with more specific programs, and use modifiers on the WordCamp name, like they did at the Toronto Dev WC, or any of the WC Real Estate or WC Higher Ed events. Pros: One name to rule them all, and we don’t have to change any policies or infrastructure. Cons: The names are kind of clunky, there might be resentful people who aren’t getting “a WordCamp” in their city that matches their interests, and overcoming the existing perception the WCs must be all things to all people is hard.
    2. Call them different things within the WC program. “Hackathon Weekend: a WordCamp Event,” for example, where “A WordCamp Event” can get different visual treatment and placement as needed. Pros: Infinitely scalable, event names can be very descriptive, people can organize the exact kind of event they want, the “Upcoming WordCamps” page would be more interesting, and it gives a clear indication that something is an officially approved/sponsored event. Cons: Would anyone still do big something-for-everyone WordCamps, since the smaller/more focused events tend to be easier and more fun to put together?
    3. Add a few more specific event types to the roster. Keep WordCamps as they are, don’t slap the WordCamp label on anything else, just start facilitating more event types that have their own names/segments of the program.

    Eventually, as more meetups open up to allow all members to create events, this may wind up being redundant, but in the meantime, let’s figure out how to support more events without forcing everyone to do the same kind of content. For example, the contributor day event that @siobhan posted about earlier today sounds very similar to the contributor-focused WordCamp that I’m talking to some people about doing in Portland. What’s the difference? Is it just a name?

    I like the idea of being able to support more official events (not that every event has to be official; people can still do unofficial events whenever they like), and I like the idea of using WordCamp as a banner under which they can live to denote the official status rather than only the name of one event. So I am leaning toward #2 on the list above as a way to integrate more events into the program. What do you all think?

    Here are some of the event types that have come up so far based on actual events, queries, and/or ideas:

    WordCamp (all-purpose WP conference), unconference, hackathon, workshop/training, Q&A/help desk, workalong, charity build, brown bag lunch, potluck screening (wp tv videos, meetup presentations from afar, etc), lecture series (like many meetups now), social meetup, flash talks/ignite, contributor day/drive/weekend, retreat, coworking, developer conference, blogger conference, community summit, [your idea here].

    What other event types can you think of that it would be good for us to support? And how do you think we can best deal with the issues identified above around the word “WordCamp” carrying so much baggage when it comes to more specific events? Your thoughts in the comments, and we can discuss at the team meeting on Thursday.

    *For example, the one I organized in NYC in 2009 set a bar (look at this awesome-yet-ridiculous schedule) that a bunch of organizers in other cities (who’d attended NYC) tried to meet or even outdo, and then the people who attended those events (Boston, Phoenix, etc) tried to match them, and so on.

    • Chip Bennett 7:43 pm on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I like One Name to Rule Them All, and see #1 and #2 as two sides of the same coin.

      I would probably prefer #1, simply because it will facilitate breaking the misconception that all WordCamps msut be of a certain type (multi-track, hundreds of attendees, etc.).

      I think the WC Toronto Dev camp was just as beneficial to the community as the WC North Canton camp that was user-focused. Both catered to the local demand, and benefited the overall WordPress community. Trying to force either of those into a more-inclusive mold might have resulted in a poor end product.

      In fact, I think it might even be beneficial to have *more* camps be “specialized”. A bbPress or BuddyPress-focused WordCamp would be awesome to see – if some local community has enough demand for it, and supply of qualified speakers.

      I don’t really have a preference on naming convention. I don’t know where it shifts from needed branding/cohesiveness to bikeshedding. That said, maybe something as simple as WordCamp [City Name]: [Tagline] would work – where Tagline could be pretty much anything.

      As for other types of events: it might make sense to keep “WordCamp” reserved for events that feature multiple speakers, in one or more presentation tracks. Then again, a “hackathon” or “contributor day”, often a subset of a WordCamp, could stand as a valid WordCamp type all on its own.

      WordCamp Toronto: Developers
      WordCamp North Canton: Users
      WordCamp Metropolis: Contributor Day (Weekend)
      WordCamp Tybee: Community Summit
      WordCamp Someplace: BuddyPress
      WordCamp Cityville: Unconference

      I think these all work.

      • Jen Mylo 7:57 pm on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I agree with what you’re saying. Main thing there is that something like North Canton that doesn’t identify itself as targeted as users, and then people go expecting something else. So adding that designation becomes more important in the one-name model, and we’ve gotten opposition when we’ve proposed it in the past (though it works when they do it). The other thing there is a word for users/bloggers/non-tech people that won’t offend anyone. :)

    • Siobhan 1:49 am on January 8, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I agree that number 2 is the best option. For better or for worse, the word “WordCamp” has become codified to be something that normally follows a loose conference format with presentations, and that may or may not have contributor day, workshops, lightning talks, or something other attached. That’s come to be what people expect out of a WordCamp.

      Also, for new people who are not familiar with the terminology, they might go to one WordCamp and love it, then go to another WordCamp that’s an entirely different format and hate that. It could end up being rather confusing. Using consistent terminology that signals to people what to expect isn’t a bad thing.

      I’ve also thought that having more focused WordCamps (presentation-style) would be a good thing. For example, WordCamp London: Bloggers, or WordCamp London: Developers. People would know what they were getting – a conference-style event focused on a specific niche.

      The other issue about calling every WordPress event a WC is around guidelines. If the community summit was a WordCamp then it would need to be open to anyone, but it’s not. There are other events that might have similar issues. For example, the WordPress event held at Whitehall for the UK government couldn’t be open to everyone because it was a government event. Having a clear set of guidelines for WordCamps, and then a clear set of guidelines for people who want WC central’s public support would be helpful to organisers.

      I like the idea of having some WordCamp branding that can be used at WordCamp-supported event. I’d probably go with something neutral like “supported by WordCamp” or “supported by WordCamp Central.” This will help to assure organisers that WC Central isn’t taking ownership of the event but that it’s offering its support. A scheme like this could also encourage people to start thinking about the different types of event that they can hold. It helps a lot to know that there is potential support available from WC Central if needed.

      • Jen Mylo 1:58 am on January 8, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        As a point of historical note, the govt-focused event in Whitehall probably would have been fine, had it been asked about — it’s not the more common al-purpose WC we think of now, but in the past there were more niche events, including a couple with walled registration. For example, there was a WordCamp at CUNY (City University of New York) that was just open to people within the CUNY system (but open to all within that system, up to venue capacity), and it was great — completely focused on how CUNY was using and could use WordPress to meet its academic goals. That didn’t preclude us having an academic track at the regular WordCampNYC, or there being two other higher ed-focused WordCamps within a year on either side on other parts of the US east coast. Without having to satisfy multiple constituencies, they were able to create a very focused event with lots of educational content.

        As long as no one pretends to be something they’re not, I think we want to be open-minded about events (WCs) and the rules. At the end of the day, every rule should be able to answer three quetsions: 1. How does it help the organizer? 2. How does it help the event and all the people involved? 3. How does it help the broader WordPress community? Some rules might have better answers to some questions than others, but being able to answer them is something for which we’re accountable.

    • Amy Hendrix (sabreuse) 2:13 am on January 11, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      We also discussed this in this week’s community team meeting. IRC Logs, if you’re interested.

    • Xavier Borderie 2:20 pm on January 22, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aaah, brings back memories of 2011 and of Paris being “One of the last true unconference-style WordCamps” (read: barcamp, which I submit as an additional event type), and which pushed to go conference-style for the second 2011 Paris event :)

      At the time, You (Jen) and I mailed about not naming our barcamp WordCamp, because “WordCamp does not refer to barcamp-style-only events. (…) Most of them are highly planned and scheduled events these days”, and more importantly, “Basically, if it’s a community event, we’re just using the WordCamp name. If it’s a for-profit event, then it should not be a WordCamp.”

      Now that the community has grown leaps and bounds in both scope and professionalism, so must the WP event themselves, so I understand the difference in thinking between then and now: the concept of WordCamp has evolved, and it might mean a niche conference in one country which has had many, when in another country which is just starting its WP community, it could mean an afternoon of workshops in a local café. And both should have the right to be called WordCamp.

      I, for one, would support propositions 3 at best, 2 otherwise: WordCamps should remain the name of conferences about the WordPress Foundation-supported projects (WP, bbPress, BuddyPress, themes, plugins), with ideally amateur AND professional tracks. Anything else should be free to use any name they want beside WordCamp.

      The issue I have with the “Location: a WordCamp event” or “WordCamp Real Estate: Location” idea is with the trademark on the word itself: no one can organize a WordCamp without official approval from Central/the Foundation. While this would certainly help the WP events community level up, I fear this might go against the idea that anyone should be able to run a WP event, and running a WP should be easy and local.

      I’m writing all this while handling WordCamp Paris remains and my day-to-day work, so forgive me if my thinking is incoherent. In the end, I think we need to keep WordCamps were current expectations are: conference-style community events. Other forms of meeting (meetup, barcamp, etc.) should also be allowed (of course), but not under the WC name — at best, I’d be for the “anything goes” stance as long as it’s not “WordCamp”.

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