Since 2006, WordCamps have been a staple way that WordPress enthusiasts meet. The Community team has long held that the purpose of all WordCamps, and WordPress events broadly, was to connect WordPressers, inspire them to do more with WordPress, and encourage them to contribute back to the project.
Especially in recent years, how the WordPress community meets has fundamentally changed. And, as more and more events are organized, several challenges have emerged, some we experienced even before the pandemic. To address these challenges, organizers, community deputies Community Program Supporters (formerly Deputies) are a team of people worldwide who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about program supporters in our Program Supporter Handbook., and mentors Event Supporter (formerly Mentor) is someone who has already organised a WordCamp and has time to meet with their assigned mentee every 2 weeks, they talk over where they should be in their timeline, help them to identify their issues, and also identify solutions for their issues. have begun to discuss different ways of meeting.
To that end, let’s embrace these challenges and modernize our events by making some big shifts to why and how we meet.
A new purpose
Connection, inspiration, and contribution are undeniably important to WordPressers. However, as events have returned, communities see that people are much more selective about what events they attend and want to know what they will gain by participating.
The following proposed purpose of WordPress events is based on conversations with various community members:
WordPress events spark innovation and adoption by way of accessible training and networking for users, builders, designers, and extenders. We celebrate community by accelerating 21st-century skills, professional opportunities, and partnerships for WordPressers of today and tomorrow.
What does this mean for our events?
The hope is that a period of innovation and experimentation will follow this critical shift in the purpose of our events, with the following outcomes:
- Events curated for clearly defined audiences, resulting in a clearer idea of what attendees will gain from participating. For example events for students, for designers, for contributors, etc.
- A more precise focus around event content type or topic. This also will help further clarify who the event is for. For example events on AI and WordPress, user experience, enterprise, etc.
- A variety of event formats that are freshly exciting and engaging to attendees. For example workshops, unconference, job fairs, pure networking, etc.
But wait, where does this leave current WordCamps, meetups 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 flagships?
While experimentation of “Next Gen WordCamps” is strongly encouraged (someone, please help me come up with a better name than that!), meetups, currently planned WordCamps and flagships will continue. Here’s what the Community Team anticipates:
- Local meetups: I strongly recommend that we continue encouraging local meetups. These are our most easy-to-access events because they can be organized by anyone and are started fairly quickly. They provide consistent, local, in-person connection and are a great, lower-barrier way to build community management and event organizing skills. With that in mind, let’s continue to meetup 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.!
- Currently planned WordCamps: All currently planned WordCamps can continue as is and the Community Team will continue to support them. New applications for WordCamps will be encouraged to experiment with different formats.
- Flagships (WordCamp US, WordCamp Europe, WordCamp Asia): These will remain our largest, broadest event that fully capitalizes on the energy of a large crowd. They’ll be the place to highlight the latest, greatest, and coolest in WordPress and where we are going.
As we experiment with “Next Gen WordCamps,” the community team can reevaluate our full events program and how events coexist happily.
Some suggested next steps
This change will inevitably generate a lot of excellent discussions. Let’s embrace a period of experimentation and lean into the ingenuity of the WordPress community.
To that end, organizers who want to try out a “Next Gen 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.” are invited to begin pitching their ideas (come chat in the #community-events channel or email firstname.lastname@example.org). As long as the idea matches the new purpose and aligns well with WordPress community 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. values and community spirit (think five good faith rules, our desire to be inclusive, diverse, and as welcoming as possible, etc.), we approve the idea and provide some financial support from the global sponsorship fund. Organizers will be expected to publicly share the pitch and write a recap of the event, with some evaluation of event success.
With innovation comes the need for revised tooling and logistics, and future posts will request feedback on and discuss those needs. This is also a great opportunity for a beautiful blue sky exercise post on event types and formats.
Share your thoughts
This is a change; change always comes with questions, challenges, thoughts, nervousness, and excitement. Please share everything you’d like! In particular, it would be helpful to hear:
- What are your thoughts on the updated purpose for WordPress events?
- What do you envision “Next Gen WordCamps” to look like?
Do you already have a specific idea in mind for a new event type? Use this form to share it with the Community Team!