Discussion: what to do in case of irreconcilable differences

Community team deputiesProgram Supporter Community Program Supporters (formerly Deputies) are a team of people worldwide who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about program supporters in our Program Supporter Handbook. are currently in discussion with a meetupMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook. organizer who is distributing a WordPress derivative that is not 100% GPLGPL GPL is an acronym for GNU Public License. It is the standard license WordPress uses for Open Source licensing https://wordpress.org/about/license/. The GPL is a ‘copyleft’ license https://www.gnu.org/licenses/copyleft.en.html. This means that derivative work can only be distributed under the same license terms. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD license and the MIT License are widely used examples.. We often talk to future organizers about changing licenses for their products during the vetting process. In this case, it only came to the team’s attention after the orientation and setting up the group.

As part of the Good Faith Rules, it’s stated that to organize meetup events in official chapter groups, you are expected to embrace the WordPress license. Anyone who wants to use a different license can do so, just not as part of our official program.

Difficult choices

This case is unusual because the meetup group in question was created by the global community teamGlobal Community Team A group of community organizers and contributors who collaborate on local events about WordPress — monthly WordPress meetups and/or annual conferences called WordCamps., on the WordPress chapter from the beginning. The group has met only once so far, and has less than 50 members.

Two options present themselves: the team can

  1. remove this person from their role as meetup organizer of the group and email all members of the group, inviting a new organizer to step forward, or 
  2. remove the group from the WordPress chapter program (after emailing the members to explain what’s about to happen), leaving the organizer as a leader of the group, simply removing the official WordPress endorsement. 

Both options have disadvantages, so I think it’s important for the team to discuss the best way forward.

Option 1: If the group started as part of the chapter program and was promoted through the events widgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user., it seems like the group should continue following the expectations of the chapter program. Removing the organizer from their role (if they decline to meet expectations) and inviting a new organizer to step forward might be confusing for group members, but would clearly communicate the importance of the 4 freedoms inside WordPress. People who joined because this is an official meetup, will stay in an official meetup. On the other hand, since the group is so new, we might be inviting people to take a leadership position before they’ve gotten to know the WordPress project well enough to make an educated decision.

Option 2: This option leaves the organizer in charge of a group that was created under the WordPress umbrella. Removing the WordPress chapter status from the current group could result in a “bait and switch” for people who joined the group because they learned about it on their WordPress dashboard. Even though we’d message everyone about the change, meetup.com emails aren’t read very consistently. It’s probably less destabilizing for the group, but might be seen as weaker support for the rights of the WordPress user. This would also leave the city with no chapter meetup, but of course another local WordPress enthusiast could apply to organize one.


I hope neither of these options are necessary, and that the organizer decides to embrace the WordPress license after all. Regardless, I’d love to know the team’s thoughts on these two options, because someday this question will come up again, and I’d like to be ready.

Please share your feedback in a comment on this post!