Proposal: Pilot program to test GatherPress on the WordPress.org network as a Meetup alternative

Introduction

We propose a pilot program to test GatherPress, a community-developed pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party, within interested and active WordPress meetupMeetup 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. groups. This initiative stems from our community’s need for an innovative event management tool tailored to the unique demands of WordPress event organizers and participants.

The pilot program would be held in real-world conditions with WordPress Meetup groups.

We have expressed commitments to a trial run from New Jersey and Nashville groups in the USA, French-speaking groups in Switzerland, and potential interest from groups in Spain, Japan as well as from learn.wordpress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/.

Overview of GatherPress

GatherPress, led by @mauteri and @hrmervin, is a plugin designed with functionalities akin to Meetup.com, but specifically crafted for the WordPress community by members of the WordPress community. It is the result of the WordPress community’s desire for new event management tools that meet the diverse needs of event organizers and members. 

You can find more information on the website and on GitHub.

Documentation pages, including a demo video, are available on the website.

We welcome everyone to comment here, to test GatherPress (also for accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility)) or join the GatherPress weekly huddles, 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/. channel or even the team.

Summary of Value Proposition

GatherPress

✅ Members and Attendance data lives on your website and database. Community Organizers define privacy policies, selectively publish attendees lists, gather additional data from attendees, etc.

✅ Democratized access to data and functionality, as WordPress is customizable

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.: free, and scaled with WordPress

Meetup and Commercial Apps

❌ Data Ownership, Data Integrity, Data Privacy

❌ Control of Roadmap, Enhancements, and Integrations

❌ Cost and Scale

❌ Control UXUX UX is an acronym for User Experience - the way the user uses the UI. Think ‘what they are doing’ and less about how they do it. and accessibility

Pilot Program Objectives

Real-World Testing

The pilot aims to test GatherPress in a live environment, providing practical insights into its functionality and user experience feedback.

Community engagement

Engage with the participating meetup groups from the international community. 

Feedback & Analysis

Collect feedback from both organizers and participants throughout the course of their use of GatherPress during the trial.

Analyse suggestions, feedback, and bug reports to refine the application into its next version(s).

Reports

Periodic summary posts on how the program is working for the whole community to know about it.

Future Planning

Following the completion of the trial, set the public roadmap of functionality and integrations to be released. Ultimately, the objective of GatherPress is to potentially replace Meetup.com as the centerpoint of the WordPress Community Events and Dashboard WidgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. source data. 

Benefits of the Proposal

1. Community-centric development

This pilot and this project, empowers the WordPress community by directly leading the development process of a tool designed by and for the community at large.

A major challenge of the community is influence over the roadmap of commercially available tools, to build features and functionality needed by organizers, participants, and users with accessibility needs. 

2. Enhanced Event Management

GatherPress promises to offer a more integrated and seamless event management experience within the WordPress ecosystem. Among our goals are to allow community organizers to gather data from attendees unique to each hosted event as needed. Additional capabilities are present for triggering additional reminders, customized waitlist workflows, and selectively publishing attendees lists. The GatherPress plugin is built to be extendable and configurable. Companion plugins will be able to seamlessly integrate with the coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. plugin. GatherPress will also be built to leverage features of other community-based plugins (like BuddyPress).

3. Cost-Effectiveness

This project has the potential to reduce the community’s reliance on external platforms like Meetup.com. The estimated cost savings of leveraging our own application is approx $ 215,000 USD per year, coupled with the full control over event management tools and ownership of our community’s data. WPCSWPCS The collection of PHP_CodeSniffer rules (sniffs) used to format and validate PHP code developed for WordPress according to the WordPress Coding Standards. May also be an acronym referring to the Accessibility, PHP, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, etc. coding standards as published in the WordPress Coding Standards Handbook. pays Meetup.com $24.50 per group per month (inclusive of a 30% discount). There were 734 groups as of October of 2023.

4. Use-Case Specific Testing

An example of how this testing can grant case-by-case capabilities includes Localization (translated language). By opening the pilot program to groups from various countries, we ensure that the tool is adaptable and functional in a multilingual context, essential for the diverse WordPress community. Furthermore, communities will benefit from the open source nature of the application, enabling customization of RSVP and onboarding workflows.

5. Data Liberation

The WordPress Open Source community is indeed large, and our data is valuable, as is the privacy. GatherPress hosted by WordPress community proper, will enable organizers and leadership to 1) own the community’s data, and 2) make it selectively available for analysis. Insights learned from our community at large, will inform growth opportunities and strategic initiatives into the future. Today, WordPress operates the Data Liberation project, enabling users of commercial tools to migrate into a WordPress experience. You can learn more about the Data Liberation project at: https://wordpress.org/data-liberation/.

6. Meetup.com Importer

One of the first companion plugins the GatherPress team is currently working on is the ability to import meetup.com data to a GatherPress-powered WordPress site. This will make the transition from meetup.com to GatherPress as seamless as possible and simplify managing both as a group transitions from one platform to another.

Next steps

The ideal setup for the pilot is to run GatherPress on a multisiteMultisite Multisite is a WordPress feature which allows users to create a network of sites on a single WordPress installation. Available since WordPress version 3.0, Multisite is a continuation of WPMU or WordPress Multiuser project. WordPress MultiUser project was discontinued and its features were included into WordPress core.https://codex.wordpress.org/Create_A_Network. within the wordpress.org network, in collaboration with # metaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress.-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., # community-events, # meta, and # learn. This approach ensures seamless integration and alignment with the existing WordPress infrastructure, potentially allowing other meetup groups to join and already be in the definitive environment if the pilot program is successful. 

Alongside this trial, meetup groups should continue to leverage Meetup.com in parallel to GatherPress.

Timeframe

We are prepared to commence immediately and suggest a minimum of a 6 month duration to meet our pilot’s objectives.

Conclusion

This pilot program presents a unique opportunity to shape the future of event management in the WordPress community. By leveraging the collective knowledge and experience of our meetup groups, we can ensure that GatherPress evolves into a tool that truly resonates with the needs and expectations of our global community.


This proposal has been written by @patricia70 and @hrmervin and reviewed by @mauteri.

Suggestions, edition and additional information (thank you): @annebovelett, @devinmaeztri, @harishanker, @harmonyromo, @iandunn, @isvictorious, @javiercasares, @kcristiano, @nao, @peiraisotta, @unintended8, @_dorsvenabili

The draft was submitted for feedback to other community members as well, the above list only includes the persons who commented.

#meetups, #community-management, #community-events, #community-team, #learn, #meta, #meta-wordcamp