WordCamp Location Consistency

The location data on the Past WordCamps page is inconsistent. Take this screenshot of a few of them:
Screenshot 2017-01-19 09.33.17

Here we can see examples that are indicative of the rest of the page, that:

  • Some events in the US do not have a country, some do.
  • Some US states are abbreviated, some are not.
  • Events in some non-US countries include a state / region, some do not.
  • There’s a comma missing.

My understanding is that these locations are set at the time of the application. I’d argue though that there is value in normalising the location at some point during the acceptance process (orientation?).

There’s no reason for events in the US not to have a country; that shouldn’t be an implied default. Including the country means it’s easier to search on the page for events in the “USA”, in the same way that I can search for “UK” events. In the case of “Atlanta, Georgia”, there may be confusion since there is a country called “Georgia”.

In the case of abbreviations, I’d suggest that US (and non-US) states are not abbreviated. Abbreviations like this tend to only be useful to those who know what they mean. Removing these abbreviations would:

  • Make it nicer for screen reader users.
  • Make it clearer for those who aren’t familiar with state abbreviations to have a better idea of what it refers to.
  • Avoid confusion that US state abbreviations with possible country abbreviations (CAlifornia, or did they mean CAnada? Indiana or India? Pennsylvania or Panama? Colorado or Columbia? There’s more too). This might seem silly, but someone living on the other side of the world may genuinely not know.

In terms of country abbreviations, I think “USA” would be acceptable, but otherwise country names should be written in their typical non-abbreviated (not official) name, including “United Kingdom”.

States / regions for other countries can be optional, if the submitter feels that the location needs clarification (though it’s rare, even the UK has a couple of places that are clarified with the county too).

My suggestion would be to have it documented such that the person doing the application, and the person processing the application follow rules such as:

“The location must include the city and country. Events in the USA must include the state. States / regions in other countries are optional, if it adds necessary clarification. Abbreviations for USA
are accepted. Don’t abbreviate US states. Include commas between each part.”

Whatever rules you discuss and ultimately choose, should be retroactively applied to these past WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. entries to update them as necessary. The aim is to have consistent, accessible and non-ambiguous data.

(Obviously, the changes here would apply to upcoming WordCamps too, but the issues were easier to see in the Past WordCamps page.)

Here’s what the previous screenshot would then look like:

Screenshot 2017-01-19 10.11.36