Discussion: How could we improve the WordPress Community Summit?

tl;dr: Let’s brainstorm on how we can change the Community Summit event format to keep the benefits and reduce the pain points!

History and Background

The first WordPress Community Summit was organized in 2012, guided by the idea that face-to-face interactions in a safe space amongst a small number of contributors can help resolve conflicts that are deadlocked.

The stated purpose of the event was to

  • Build bridges between the people making WordPress (via the contributor groups) and the people doing the best and most influential work built on top of it
  • Open channels of communication between project leaders, volunteers, and professionals in the community
  • Learn more about each others’ goals, challenges, and ways we can help each other
  • Share best practices
  • Have some social time and get to know each other better

The event has always been invitation-only, to keep the discussion groups small enough that everyone could interact and participate. The smallest summit had around 200 attendees; the largest was around 350 attendees. Most of our community summits have included a travel assistance program to ensure that no invited contributor was unable to attend for financial reasons.

Results and Challenges

We’ve had 4 community summits, which have resulted in some really positive outcomes, including:

  • identification of shared goals and/or struggles
  • productive cross-team discussions
  • conflict resolutions (due to face-to-face interaction or “safe space” conversations? both? hard to tell)
  • stronger relationships between contributors who attended

Some of the pain points we’ve discovered include:

  • Invitation-only events are challenging — I’m tempted to say “excruciating” — for our community. The event is, by definition, not inclusive. Not being invited to a summit can be taken to mean, “I’m not important here,” which conflicts with the welcoming and egalitarian environment we value. When you organize an exclusive event like this, you are guaranteed to hurt a lot of feelings.
  • Selecting “the right people to invite” along with “the right topics to discuss” is very difficult. The method we’ve used most recently has been to ask contributor teams to identify the issues they need to discuss, which then defines the people who need to attend (to cut down on the “popularity contest” effect). But that means discussion topics are selected 3-6 months in advance, which can mean that difficult decisions are put on hold for longer than necessary.
  • We can’t depend on “fly everyone to the same place” as our primary way to make hard decisions or have productive conversations. For one thing, it’s really expensive (in cash money and in volunteer hours). It also sets artificial limits on how many brains we can focus on a problem or opportunity — only the people in the room can help with a problem that’s being addressed by a (relatively) small group of people.

Looking forward

Where do we go from here? Let’s get creative! I’d love your thoughts on this topic, especially on the following points:

  1. Is there anything missing from the above lists of benefits and pain points?
  2. Do you have suggestions of how WordPress can still enjoy the benefits of this kind of event, while eliminating or reducing the pain points?

To give the conversation some structure, let’s aim to close comments by March 15, 2019. #summit #discussion

Getting Started with Deputy Mentors

Last month, we posted a few goals for Deputy Program for 2019. From that, one of the items to add to the program are Deputy Mentors:

Deputy Mentors

Each deputy mentor would have a group of deputies assigned to them personally and it would be up to the mentor to assist and check-in with their mentees regularly. This would involve helping the deputies with the work they are doing, finding out how they’re enjoying it, making sure they are aware of the latest updates, and training them in additional deputy tasks.

The idea here is to make sure all deputies feel connected to the program, they have help working through their tasks, and assistance with their growth within the program.

To take this forward, we are now looking for deputies who are interested in a mentorship role within the program. As this is more of a guidance and support role rather than exclusively an educating one, deputy mentors do not need to have training in all the tasks that deputies are able to perform, but they do need to have been a deputy for a not insignificant amount of time and have a decent amount of experience with our program and tools (that length of time is purposefully left vague here, as number of years as a deputy doesn’t always equate to an equivalent amount of experience).

If you feel like you are experienced enough as a deputy, and you would like to support other deputies in their work then please comment on this post or DM me (Hugh Lashbrooke) on Slack to show your interest.

Recap of the Kids Event Working Group Chat | Thursday 14 March 2019

Attending: @melindahelt @vachan

Start: https://wordpress.slack.com/archives/C037W5S7X/p1552597201269500

We Covered

  1. Working Group Overview
  2. New Template for Documentation
  3. Project Management Information
  4. Next Actions

Working Group Overview

Create a Process for Documentation
Create KidsCamp Documentation
Create Kids Workshop Documentation
Create Kids Club Documentation
Create Volunteer Guides
Create Legal Document Repo
Create Supplies List with Amazon Smile Links (to benefit WordPress Foundation)
Create a Guide for Marketing Kids Events to Schools

The goal is to spend about 12 months creating, documenting and polishing the documents and then creating a repo with the Training Team. That will mean a liaison will be needed as some point as well.

New Template for Documentation

Huge Thank you to @petya for building an amazing template for documenting different kinds of events. This event documented is a great half day event for WordCamps to get started.

https://paper.dropbox.com/doc/WordPress-Workshop-for-Kids-organiser-kit–AZQlFlZU7eZKdGm_j7OFHj2bAg-kxmOjjycWysa3jFYoaBTv

Project Management Information

So I know a lot of people expressed interest but not everyone made it to todays meeting. I am sure more people will be getting involved over time. I did create a Trello Board so that we have some jumping off points for anyone to just dive in and start on micro pieces.

 https://trello.com/invite/b/GryYJ7P9/0a44a78f320c0eb04013fa193b0663ce/wordpress-kids-events-planning

End: https://wordpress.slack.com/archives/C037W5S7X/p1552599154304600

Next Actions

  1. @sunsand187 Will Document the recent WCMIA 2019 events into the new template.
  2. Team, Look over Trello and this post to stay up to date and provide feedback. https://trello.com/invite/b/GryYJ7P9/0a44a78f320c0eb04013fa193b0663ce/wordpress-kids-events-planning

Next Meeting is Thursday, 21 March 2019, 2100 UTC/ 5pm EST. This chat will occur in the Make WordPress Community-Events Slack channel.

#kids-events

Call for Volunteers: Kids Events Working Group

Have you ever wanted to have an event for kids in your community but were not sure where to start? I have been there too.

Did you know that there’s a solution for this? There’s no one perfect solution, but a group of people with experience planning kids events want to share this information with you: from events within your WordCamp to stand-alone kids events.

Our goal is to help prepare others for the creation and implementation of these amazing programs. Through lesson plans, schedules, and teaching methods, together we can create a path for anyone that wants to teach kids the value of a blog.

Where do you come in?

We’d like to form a working group of passionate individuals that want to help further the growth of kids events through the creation of documentation, lesson plans, projects, and resources to help guide and direct those who have little to no expertise or knowledge about educating kids. This material can then be distributed to anyone who wants to start these programs in their communities. Because planning events for kids can pose unique challenges, we want to create and maintain helpful and accurate documentation, so that any WordPress community organizer can plan a safe, fun, and effective event for kids.

Interested in joining this Kids Event working group? Together we will: (each item is optional)

  1. Create a Process for Documentation
  2. Create KidsCamp Documentation
  3. Create Kids Workshop Documentation
  4. Create Kids Club Documentation
  5. Create Volunteer Guides
  6. Create Legal Document Repo
  7. Create Supplies List with Amazon Smile Links (to benefit WordPress Foundation)
  8. Create a Guide for Marketing Kids Events to Schools

Currently this effort is being mostly lead by myself and a few others, but the goal is to recruit a group to take long-term leadership in achieving the above goals. I’m available to spend about 1 year training folks and then hope to pass this on, though that is flexible. Even after that time, I will always be available to answer questions and provide support.

Estimated time commitment:

  • A bi-weekly group chat: 30 minutes every 2 weeks
  • 1 or more hours per month contributing to the above goals (writing documentation, working on the legal document repo, creating a supplies list, etc)

If you’d like to take part in this working group please comment on this post. I will then reach out to interested folks, to find a good time for biweekly meetings. Other people can join in any time after that as well. If you have questions, please also feel free to comment on the post. I look forward to working with you and together creating something wonderful!

WordCamp Incubator 2018-2019 Update Thread: March edition

Howdy Globlal Community Team!

Are you wondering how the last WordCamp Incubator went last weekend?

You’re very lucky, because this is the time of our monthly update about the WordCamp incubator and WordCamp Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) happened less than a week ago 😉

Pinging @adityakane and @bee for letting us how your Incubator went.

Thanks in advance! 🙂

#incubator #wordcamps #monthly-updates

Weekly Updates

Hello to all our Deputies, WordCamp organizers, Meetup wranglers, and WordPress Community builders! You were probably hard at work this weekend. Tell us what you got accomplished in our #weekly-update!

Have you run into a roadblock with the stuff you’re working on? Head over to #community-events or #community-team in Slack and ask for help!

Weekly Updates

Hello to all our Deputies, WordCamp organizers, Meetup wranglers, and WordPress Community builders! You were probably hard at work this weekend. Tell us what you got accomplished in our #weekly-update!

Have you run into a roadblock with the stuff you’re working on? Head over to #community-events or #community-team in Slack and ask for help!

Discussion: continuity of Community Office Hours

Office hours are usually quite quiet, people ask their questions when it’s convenient for them and deputies forgot to open or close those (regardless of the bot we have to remind us). There is almost always deputy to answer questions or if there isn’t, the question will be caught up later when some deputy sees it.

So, I’d like to question if community hours are really needed and propose their retirement. In exchange there are few things we could do to encourage people to ask questions freely.

During the last community team meetings, few good ideas were conducted from the discussion:

  • replace the office hours sidebar and welcome box text with something more general about #community-events channel and encouraging to ask questions at all times
  • having a random empathy bot that reminds #community-team that we should post something encouraging to #community-events if the channel has been quiet for some time

Some concerns were also raised:

  • some people are waiting for the office hours before asking their questions
  • we don’t want to loose a human touch so having a bot in #community-events opening/closing office hours, sending random reminder messages or auto-replying is not an option
  • we need to be very clear that people can ask their questions any time, but know that they may not get an immediate answer

Please share your thoughts about retiring office hours or ideas on how to evolve those! Comments will close 10.4., please leave your comment before that.

#discussion, #office-hours

WordCamp PWA: Plugin proposal and designs

Planning is well underway to create a new look Progressive Web App (PWA) for WordCamp events. The PWA will make accessing and providing content on mobile devices much easier for attendees and organisers.

This builds on the work to create a PWA for previous WordCamp Europe (WCEU) events.

However, rather than developing a standalone PWA at a separate URL to the WordCamp site, as has been the case in the previous years, the plan is to create a layer of contextual information for Camp attendees that is served from and integrated with the WordCamp website, and which can be stored locally on the user’s devices for offline access.

WCEU Blog post on the PWA development

The PWA will present a better mobile experience, taking advantage of touch screen gestures, and will put the most relevant information “at the fingertips” of Camp attendees. The PWA will enhance a WordCamp website, and will allow users to bookmark the website to their device’s home screen for offline access.

This PWA functionality will initially be created as a plugin, displaying an additional visual ‘layer’ of content aimed specifically at attendees, in an ‘App like’ way over the main WordCamp website content. However, both online and offline users will have access to this same layer of content.

WordCamp PWA plugin design proposal v1 - PWA landing page displaying PWA controls over the main WordCamp website
WordCamp PWA plugin design proposal v1 – PWA landing page displaying PWA controls over the main WordCamp website

The plugin should be simple to set up and configure, so that – in the longer term – any WordCamp event can take advantage of its features.

This initiative is being led by the WordCamp Europe 2019 Organiser teams, with design prototyping by the WCEU Design team and development by the Attendee Services team. The Communications team is also actively guiding the design and development of the PWA.

The plan

  • The WordCamp PWA plugin will present an additional ‘layer’ of mobile friendly content over the main WordCamp website – inheriting the basic colours and fonts of the website. However, individual WordCamps should be able to customise the look of the PWA further using CSS overrides.
  • This PWA layer can be switched on/off from plugin settings within WordPress admin, so that it is only available for the duration of the Camp. When viewing the site on touch screen devices during the Camp, users will see the PWA layer appearing over the top of the WordCamp site.
  • The PWA controls will look very like a native smartphone App, and will be optimised for touch screen devices, employing swipe gestures.
  • On loading the website on touch screen devices, the user would be presented with a range of PWA control, docked to the foot of the screen, offering PWA menu options as icons around a large, central, ‘always visible’ circular button that will be used to open/close the PWA layer.
  • Using the power of PWA, the content of the App will be downloaded and stored offline on the user’s local device, and can be bookmarked on the user’s home screen to be accessed at any time, with or without an internet connection.
WordCamp PWA plugin design proposal v1 - Screen layouts
WordCamp PWA plugin design proposal v1 – Screen layouts

Content

The PWA plugin will display a range of key content sections relevant to conference attenders. Each content section will animate open as a panel from the icon at the bottom of the screen. This will initially include the following screens (which relate from left to right to the icons in the image above):

  • Attendees: a full list of attenders with Gravatars, sorted alphabetically, with search field to look up attendees by name. For GDPR reasons, attendees should not be downloaded and stored offline on the local device – although this may be reviewed in the future in line with GDPR and privacy regulations and with any permissions requested during attendee sign-up.
  • Speakers: a full list of speakers with Gravatar, biog and links to relevant sessions, sorted alphabetically, with options to filter by schedule date/topic group and search field to look up speakers by name.
  • Schedule: a full schedule for the WordCamp, with a single column per schedule date, and option to filter by Track. Users will have the ability to ‘favourite’ sessions, and these preferences will be stored on the local device. Columns can be swiped left/right to view previous/next day, and the sessions should be filterable to show just the sessions which the user has marked as their ‘favourite’. Depending on when the schedule is viewed, the schedule list should visibly scroll/animate down to the current time/session, so users can see ‘at a glance’ what is ‘on now’.
  • Venue Map: one or more graphical floor plans of the venue, with the ability to swipe/pinch to resize and re-position the maps within the viewable area of the screen.
  • Announcements: a chronological listing of announcements for attendees during the WordCamp, filterable by type (that is, catering, sessions, social, and so on) and can be determined by the WordCamp organisers.

These five sections will be arranged as icons around a large central ‘Start’ button, docked to the bottom of the screen, to allow users to turn the PWA layer on/off. This circular arrangement would allow us to add additional buttons/sections at a later date, and have these icons ‘revolve’ around the main circular ‘Start’ button with swipe gestures.

The content for all the above sections is already present with the WordPress database for WordCamp sites, apart from ‘Announcements’, which will need a new Custom Post Type to be added, potentially with its own custom taxonomy (to allow users to filter different types of announcements). Venue Map images may also require the use of one or more custom fields for storage and display.

Tablet view proposals

Timeframe

The ambition is to pilot a version of the WordCamp PWA plugin at WordCamp London in April 2019, followed by a full launch at WordCamp Europe 2019 in Berlin in June 2019.


Questions

  • Would you use this PWA plugin for your WordCamp event?
  • Is the content detailed above the most useful for WordCamp attendees – is anything missing or unnecessary?
  • Is the design/UI proposed intuitive and accessible?
  • Any other feedback or observations?

#apps, #improving-wordcamp-org, #progressive-web-app, #pwa, #regional-wordcamps, #wordcamp, #wordcamp-sites, #wordcamps

Meetup organizer newsletter suggestions for March 2019

Wow, we’re already into March and it’s that time again, we’re starting to draft the March 2019 edition of the meetup organizers newsletter — if there are any topics you’d recommend we include, or any interesting meetup event formats you think are worth highlighting, please comment leave your ideas/suggestions in the comments on this post?

I will leave the comments open for one week until the 13th of March 2018.

The newsletter typically spotlights:

  • an interesting event format that organizers might want to try out
  • news about global community team projects
  • news about the WordPress open source project

Thanks! #meetups #newsletter

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