When organising a WordCamp 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., the organisers have to handle a large number of emails. Large is actually an understatement. For the past years, WordCamp Europe has been using email addresses in the domain wp-europe.org, every team had their own mailbox: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and so on. Somehow this is ideal, as it allows to structure mailboxes across the teams, but it does not allow teams to see each other’s emails, nor an easy email handover from one team to another.
WordCamps have its own email address in the wordcamp.org domain by default: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and so on. And since October 2020 WordCamps are given Google Workspace because of the non-profit status of the Foundation (https://make.wordpress.org/community/handbook/wordcamp-organizer/first-steps/web-presence/g-suite-for-wordcamps/).
For the past editions, the WCEU WordCamp Europe. The European flagship WordCamp event. organisers have been pleased with Freescout as it is right now: it’s mature, it’s stable and allowed us to handle large numbers of emails. Freescout started as an Open 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. clone of Helpscout. We discovered that it has a very powerful search engine for emails.
Advantages of Freescout over Google Mail
- no need to share the credentials of Google Mail with 40+ organisers
- Google Mail credentials are only known to Freescout, not to the users of Freescout
- grant individual access in Freescout to the general inbox
- keep track of which user did what in Freescout (replied to customers, moved/deleted emails)
- assigning emails to users (handlers)
- adding internal notes to emails
- smart tagging and structuring of incoming emails
- quickly handing over emails from one team to another
- notify Slack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. about new emails
- keeping track of previous conversations for a particular email address
- email is still received in the Google Mail
- email is still sent out via Google Mail
The only disadvantage of Freescout is that it needs a web server to offer its service. Since WCEU 2021 we’re using a small Digital Ocean VPS to host our Freescout instance.
I’ve had a couple of talks with the organisers of WordCamp Asia and WordCamp US, they both have a similar setup. We have come to the conclusion that we’re reinventing the wheel here and that it would make sense if Freescout would be part of the default stack for WordCamp organising teams. Especially the larger WordCamps would benefit from Freescout, as they have to handle very large quantities of correspondence with sponsors, speakers, volunteers and other external parties (WCEU 2022 had over 3,000 emails to process!)
Let me know what you think.