Mistakes were made: Clarifying the Meetup Newsletter selection process

Some weeks back, I posted a public announcement about selecting Mailchimp as the email platform for communicating with meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. organizers and members. Unfortunately, the selection process lacked transparency and was not communicated properly. I’m extremely sorry about this mistake. In a bid to implement efficient connections with the WordPress organizer community during the COVID-19 pandemic, I made the call to pick Mailchimp as the selected newsletter service without finalizing the decision in an open, public discussion with other community members. This was an oversight from my end, and I apologize unconditionally. 

The idea of using a third-party newsletter service was initially proposed and accepted as a solution to address the limitations of Meetup.com emails (such as non-delivery of emails and lack of formatting options). Based on further feedback from community members, potential newsletter service features were discussed, and an initial list of 15 services was prepared. After researching these services, @hlashbrooke (who supported me on this project) and I shortlisted Mailchimp, MailJet, and MailPoet for their competitive features and pricing. Mailchimp was the final choice because it met almost the requirements, offered a native Meetup.com integration, and was affordably-priced (Mailchimp offers Pay as you go pricing, which allows us to test it out without long-term commitment). Then the decision was announced to the broader community.

Looking back, it is clear that this decision-making process (that led to the selection of Mailchimp) and the privacy implications of newsletter services should have been discussed in the open before a decision was made. Thank you and kudos to all those community members who brought this to the attention of the team. @andreamiddleton @bph @camikaos @courtneypk @francina @kcristiano @ryanmarks @sippis and anyone else who was affected by this oversight: I hope you will accept my apology. 

Maintaining transparency and openness in the community

The Community team is committed to being transparent and open in all communications. Personally, I’m taking this as an opportunity to double down on the commitment to stay transparent and open.

I’ve learned a lot by re-reading the “How decisions are made in the WordPress open-source project” section on the WordPress Contributor Training, which shares some ways to ensure transparency in the project, such as: documenting SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/./in-person discussions, gathering specific & actionable feedback from community members on projects, and sticking to team blogs for making decisions. 

In addition to these ideas, I’d love to open a discussion about what could be done to ensure that communication and decision-making processes are transparent. Your feedback would be incredibly helpful for me personally, and possibly for other members of our community. Please comment on this post with your thoughts, by October 31, 2020. 

Once again, sincere thanks to Community team members for the time you put into mutual accountability and for your dedication to the success of WordPress community programs in these uncertain times. 

This post was written jointly by @hlashbrooke and me.

Thank you to the following people who contributed to and gave early feedback on this post: @adityakane @andreamiddleton @bph @camikaos @courtneypk @francina @kcristiano @rmarks and @sippis

#newsletter #newsletter-service #newsletter-service-selection