Discussion: The Community Team Contributor Ladder

This year, the Community team has refocused on increasing training and support for deputies and mentors. In reflecting on our team structure, I was reminded of @chanthaboune‘s observations on WordPress contributor team structures and the many paths to leadership. It seemed timely to revisit that and think about how Community team contributors are involved, and to give clarity to roles and responsibilities.

As a reminder, the five stages of volunteering include:

  1. Connecting 
  2. Understanding
  3. Engaging
  4. Performing
  5. Leading

Contributors can spend any amount of time in any of these stages, and each stage builds upon another.

In thinking about Community team structure, it seems like these are the corresponding roles:

  1. Attendees
  2. Volunteers
  3. Organizers
  4. Mentors and Deputies
  5. Mentor Advisors* and Super Deputies

The chart below helps to explain the thought process behind this ladder.

View this chart as a spreadsheet here.

*Mentor Advisors is not currently a defined role on the Community team, but a role that members have suggested “formalizing”, in hopes of offering enhanced support to new and existing 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. mentors. 

A few observations

In thinking this through, I wanted to call out a few observations. 

  • It is not uncommon for a new contributor to join at either the first, second, or even third stages, and in pretty rapid succession. 
  • From my perspective, “ladder levels” #3 and above (engaging, performing, leading) of Organizers, Mentors and Deputies, and Mentor Advisors and Super Deputies are all leadership roles. It is pretty special that our barrier to entry is fairly low for a leadership role!
  • One challenge that the Community team has had historically is differentiation of a deputy and super deputy, so I’ve tried to outline some of the responsibilities here.

What do you think? 

What are your thoughts on this Community team contributor ladder? What questions come to mind? What adjustments would you make? 

Please share your thoughts by Friday, April 23, 2021. While no decisions are coming out of this discussion, this is helpful information to share with all Community team contributors and could be handy material for our handbooks. 

Thank you to @sippis, @harishanker, @evarlese, and @hlashbrooke for helping to write this post!