Tuesday Trainings: All About Community Deputies

This year we’ve changed the format of Tuesday Trainings to better get directly at the issues that seem to be on the minds of folks in our community. How are we doing that? Great question. We’re either seeking to answer commonly asked questions or address commonly heard complaints, concerns, and confusions.

If there’s a question you’d like to see answered or a topic you’d like to see discussed, please share it in the comments or email me at support@wordcamp.org with the subject line Tuesday Trainings. Now onto this week’s topic.

The WordPress Community Team is well known for hosting WordPress events around the world. Whether in-person or online, since 2006, volunteer organizers have hosted incredible events that connect WordPress enthusiasts to each other, inspire them to do more with WordPress, and encourage people to contribute back to the project.

Community organizing, however, is a multi-faceted world of wonders. Beyond the logistics of organizing an event, community organization involves excellent leadership skills, as well as knowledge of marketing, project and program management, and much, much more. 

So how is it possible that the WordPress Community team regularly welcomes new event organizers, many who may not have any previous experience?

It’s in large, large part thanks to the amazing people we call Community Deputies: WordPress 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. and/or 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 who enjoyed organizing so much, they wanted to help others around the world! 

Who are the Community Deputies?

Community deputies are organizers themselves, and many continue to be very active in their local communities. They participate in extra training around best open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. community building practices, and how the Community Team brings that to WordPress. This training, combined with their familiarity with the WordCamp and/or meetup chapter program, allows them to become experts in how to bring WordPress enthusiasts together.

Community deputies are, unsurprisingly, people-oriented. From everyday decisions to complex situations, deputies are guided by what is in the best interests of the WordPress community. Deputies frequently reflect on what would make things easier for contributors, and how to better support them.

Ok, but what exactly do Community Deputies do?

Community Deputies Deputies are charged with three areas of responsibility:

  1. Tackling an ongoing, regular list of tasks.
  2. Training, guiding, and mentoring WordPress communities and organizers
  3. Advising on direction and future of the Community team

The Community Team has a range of routine tasks that help keep everything moving slowly. This includes things like vetting applications for meetup groups and WordCamps, or sending Zoom accounts to meetup organizers. There are a number of queues that deputies maintain daily. For a full list of tasks, check out our deputy handbook.

In addition to welcoming and orienting Meetup and WordCamp organizers, Deputies are also around to help answer any and all questions from organizers around the world. There are a number of common questions (check out other Tuesday Trainings to see some of those questions and answers), and deputies leverage their training and experience to give the best answers! Deputies routinely help with topics like how to sustainably expand an organizing team, how to diversify a speaker line up, or simply how to start a local community.

Sometimes, those questions can get pretty tricky, for example, questions around how help a potential sponsor change their licence to be 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.-friendly. In many of these cases, deputies will work together to discuss and to provide the strongest community-driven responses. 

Supporting a global community allows deputies to have a broader view of the Community team and how programs are functioning. When deputies see areas for improvement, they’ll suggest them! Deputies will also bring up, discuss, and help decide bigger, whole program decisions. A great example of this is our work with exploring how to move back to in-person events

Of course, deputies rely on lots of collaboration and feedback organizers, WordCamp mentors, event sponsors, volunteers, and attendees to do all of this incredible work! Across discussions and projects, deputies regularly invite participation from any WordPress community member. 

Can I be a Community Deputy? 

Any WordPress organizer with experience and who is in good standing with the program can be a Community Deputy. To learn more about being a Community Deputy, check out the handbook. When you’re ready, submit an application! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

Want to learn more? Come join us in the #community-events or #community-team channels in the Making WP 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/.! We’re super friendly people, so come say hi.  

Thank you @hlashbrooke, @sippis, @kcristiano for helping to write this week’s Tuesday Training.