New Deputy Handbook page outlining a deputy review procedure

A few months ago, 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. received a formal complaint about the behavior of a community team deputyDeputy Community Deputies are a team of people all over the world who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and generally keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about deputies in our Community Deputy Handbook.. This was a dismaying first, and required a new response procedure. The deputy in this case has been informed that an investigation is underway, and has been asked to refrain from actively participating as a deputy in this program until the review panel has reached a decision and informed all parties. An incident report will be published in the next week or so, with information about the resolution of that complaint. 

In the meantime, I’ve documented the procedure in a new Deputy Handbook page, with some clear information about what kind of behavior might result in someone being asked to step away from the community deputyDeputy Community Deputies are a team of people all over the world who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and generally keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about deputies in our Community Deputy Handbook. role.

If you enjoy creating and reviewing procedures, please feel free to suggest ways to improve the current practice. If you would simply like to know what kind of behavior might result in a contributor being asked to stop volunteering as a deputy, I’ll save you a click and list the reasons below. I hope the list is straightforward, and doesn’t include any surprises. This should line up with the content of the agreement that all deputiesDeputy Community Deputies are a team of people all over the world who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and generally keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about deputies in our Community Deputy Handbook. are asked to sign before taking on the role.

Reasons a contributor might be asked to step away from their role as a deputy:

  1. Malfeasance, which may include attempted or actual fraud, or other intentional action that injures or seeks to injure an individual or group, while carrying out the responsibilities of a deputy. 
  2. Failure to meet community team expectations for a deputy, even after the deputy has been asked to change a behavior. “Deal-breaker” behavior includes:
    • Anything that does not match the expectations on the Representing WordPress handbook page.
    • Communicating with contributors (including community organizers, speakers, sponsors, volunteers) and fellow community team members in a demeaning, disrespectful, or deceptive way.
    • Breaking confidentiality of the community team email inbox, incident investigation and resolution process, or other sensitive/personally identifiable information accessed while performing the duties of a deputy.
    • Recommending that organizers or contributors work in a way that intentionally defrauds the community team or undermines community team goals.

As you can see, there are expectations for deputies that go beyond the expectations for local 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. and 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. organizers. This is because the community team deputy role requires increased trust due to its particular responsibilities and access to private information. Deputies are frequently asked to guide other contributors in their work, and therefore are expected to communicate and behave in a respectful, collaborative, and genuine way, so they can effectively work with community members and other deputies.

If you think anything in this list is confusing or surprising, or you have any suggestions for ways to improve the response procedure for cases like this, please share your feedback in a comment on this post.