Discussion: replacing volunteer equipment

Hi Community Team!

This year, we’ve received two questions from two different WordCamps about the following, and I’d like to find out what the team thinks we should do these kind of cases:

  • Case 1: One of the co-organizers of WordCamp X, in charge of social media and the official photographer of the WordCamp, got the lens of his camera broken when an attendee, by accident, pushed him when he was taking photos the day of the event. He hasn’t asked for anything, but the organizing team is asking if they can pay the 140 USD of the repair of the len as they had 500 USD of surplus after the WordCamp.
  • Case 2: One volunteer of WordCamp Y, lent his laptop for the registration table for the first day of the event. At some point, the laptop was stolen and the organizing team reached out to us asking us if they could pay for a new laptop for the volunteer as they feel this person lost his working tool when helping the community. We’re waiting to receive an email with a written summary of what happened and how much a similar machine would cost. They didn’t have a surplus in this case.

And these are my questions for a discussion:
a) Do we want to have a budget for replacing volunteer-owned equipment?
b) If affirmative, how to manage that budget in order to be sustainable?
c) How could we avoid or minimize fraud in these cases?

Thanks very much for your thoughts, please leave your comments!

Discussion: Code of Conduct Response Questions

Over the years since we put our Code of Conduct in place for WordPress events, global community team volunteers have helped organizers respond to reports that they’ve received. Over the past few months, some “edge case” questions have come up that I’d like the group to discuss, so we can create a consistent and transparent response system.

The global community team is committed to ensuring WordPress community events are safe and welcoming places for all attendees. We can’t control how people behave at our events, but we do set expectations for behavior both with our code of conduct but also — and even more powerfully — in the ways we respond to issues.

Currently, if a community member breaks the code of conduct at an event, our standard practice is to ask the attendee to leave*. In some cases, the community member will be asked to refrain from attending WordPress community events for a certain period of time, usually a year. We tell the person that after that year is over, they should email support@wordcamp.org and ask to start attending again, at which point we’ll reassess. Multiple questions arise from this practice:

What if the person doesn’t respect this request?

We can remove someone from a meetup.com group, but we don’t currently have any tools to block someone from buying a ticket to a WordCamp. We don’t have a centralized list of people who have been asked not to participate in the program for a certain period of time. I’m not sure how to reliably prevent someone from attending a WordCamp without some kind of automated tool, but the thought of creating a list of people-asked-not-to-attend-WordCamp is quite unpleasant. Is there another way?

What if the person starts attending again after the year is over, and breaks the code of conduct again?

Do we then ask the person to refrain from participating in WordPress event for a longer time, or permanently? On one hand, if someone is not able to consistently follow the code of conduct, there doesn’t seem to be a compelling reason to keep giving him/her multiple chances to disrupt our events. On the other hand, permanent is… permanent. If the person has worked on the issue that caused their behavior (received treatment for an addiction, attended an anger management course, etc), is it possible for them to regain the program’s trust?

What if we receive reports that a community organizer has broken the code of conduct?

We depend on the community organizers in our groups to *enforce* our code of conduct. So if it’s found that an organizer has behaved inappropriately, should we follow the standard practice described above, or should we hold our organizers to a higher standard of behavior and respond in a different way?

What are we missing?

If you have other questions or feedback about how we respond to code of conduct reports, please comment on this post!

*EDIT: I should have been more specific: not all code of conduct reports result in an attendee being asked to leave an event. The consequences of a code of conduct report depend on the kind of behavior reported.


Proposed experiment: allow WordCamp attendees to opt-in to a mailing list to be shared with sponsors

We’re always looking for ways to facilitate our sponsors finding value in supporting WordPress community events, and as the WordCamp program continues to grow, it’s helpful to explore new ways to acknowledge/benefit sponsors.

I’d like to propose we try out offering a new sponsor benefit at a few WordCamps, over the next 4-6 months: including an opt-in box at registration for attendees who want to share their email address with sponsors so that the attendee can receive special deals and discounts from sponsors.

This would be a completely opt-in feature. Common wisdom says that most of our attendees will not opt-in, but I suspect that we might be wrong about that, and I’d love to have some empirical data on this. The wording would need to be carefully phrased, but a first draft might be:

“Would you like us to share your email address with our top-level sponsors, so they can send you special deals or coupon codes? (yes/no checkbox)” Here’s an example:

This idea came up when I was discussing sponsor benefits with the WordCamp Europe team, in my capacity as their mentor. Rather than just trying this out with one event, however, I’d like to propose that we recruit 3-5 WordCamps to run this experiment. Trying out offering this benefit in a variety of WordCamps, with different attendee size and locations, would give us better data to use to decide if we want to add this to the list of standard sponsor benefits that WordCamps typically choose from when they’re building their sponsor packages.

All WordCamp organizing teams that wanted to take part in this experiment would need to commit to following a similar practice, so there’s not too much variation in the implementation:

  1. Use standard wording, translated to local language(s) as appropriate
  2. Limit the benefit to limited level(s) of sponsorship (I think just top-level)
  3. Share email addresses to top-level sponsors at an agreed-upon time-before-WordCamp
  4. Report back to the global community team on this P2 after their WordCamp is over

I propose we run the experiment between now and June 2018, and if the results are positive, then we can add this as one of the benefits that any local WordCamp team can include in a sponsorship package.

If you have feedback, concerns, questions, and suggestions about this idea, please share them in a comment on this post! If you’re on an organizing team that would like to take part in this experiment, please also comment here! 🙂

#experiment, #sponsorship

Proposed Global Community Sponsorship program for 2018

The global community sponsorship working group (including Kevin Cristiano, Larry Swanson, Devin Sears, Rebecca Collins, and myself) have a 2018 Global Sponsorship proposal, and we’d like your feedback!

Here’s how the numbers shake out for 2017 events, excluding WCUS/WCEU (with apologies for the poor formatting of some of these tables):

2016 WordCamps Events People Avg size
The Americas 62 16,000 258
Europe, Africa, and Asia 51 13,000 255
Total 113 29,000
2017 WordCamps Events People Avg size
The Americas 57 16,300 286
Europe, Africa, and Asia 63 16,400 260
Total 120 32,700
Meetup chapter program data, 2016-2017 2016 2017
Number of groups 380 519
Number of countries with a meetup group 73 86
Number of groups in the US (the country with the largest number of groups) 129 155
Total number of group members (as of October) 133,566 206,990
Total meetup events (as of October) 2,698 3,064

As you can see, the program saw a big jump in number of WordCamps in the Eastern region, and a dip in the Western region. Average camp size went up in Western, but number of attendees was basically flat. In the Eastern region, we saw more WordCamps, with a slight increase in attendees per camp.

The number of meetups in the chapter program grew by about 37%, and membership (not unique) grew more than that, which would seem to indicate that groups that were already part of the program are growing in membership.

We haven’t seen the growth in number of WordCamps in 2017 that we were expecting, and until we have tools in place to scale up financial support in other programs, we don’t need to worry too much about growing the revenue this program provides.

So this year, we’re proposing a small increase in global sponsorship package fees for the Eastern region only, as that’s where we saw all our growth.  Fees for the Western region have not changed from the 2017 program.

We’d also like to experiment with a few more acknowledgement benefits that won’t burden our organizing teams and will bring more quantifiable value to our global sponsors. Below is a draft of a sponsorship deck; please let us know your thoughts!

Continue reading

WordCamp US 2017 Contributor Day

WordCamp US Contributor Day is on December 3! If you plan to attend and contribute to the global community team that day, there are a few ways you can get involved (excitement!):

  1. Suggest projects that the team can work on! (Bonus points for suggestions of projects that can be completed in 4 hours by a group of folks with varying degrees of experience on our team. (Extra-shiny-rainbow-unicorn bonus points for suggestions of helpful things that brand-new contributors can do.)) We don’t make decisions on things without discussing them here on the team blog, so suggestions of “decide what we’re going to do about swag” won’t be helpful. If you’re looking for examples, you could review some Contributor Day posts from the past: 1, 2.
  2. Volunteer to work on a particular project, once we decide on them.
  3. Volunteer to lead a project group! This might include giving a meetup orientation to a group of organizer applicants, teaching new deputies how to vet applications, and lots of other things, depending on what the group decides we should focus on for that day.
  4. Volunteer to help organize WCUS Contributor Day! This job involves helping to curate the list of projects we’ll be working on, recruiting folks to help direct project groups on the day of the event, and helping contributors find the project group where they’ll be the most comfortable/helpful, on the day of the event.

Please comment on this post if you have project suggestions or would like to volunteer in any of the ways listed above! Hope to see you there!

Let’s create case studies of the WordCamp regulation.

Hi! Community team!
I proposed before “I will post a WordCamp regulation OK / NG case study on handbook.”

WordCamp regulation OK/NG case study to handbook

After some discussions in the comments and in the Slack, we move on to the next stage.

Please share your experience in consulting solving problems and troubles regarding the regulation by commenting this post including following points;

  • Description of the case.
  • OK/NG, if any judge made, and the reason you made that decision.
  • Sharing cases without clear judgements are also welcome. I’ll bring them to the team discussion.


  • On the speaker candidate’s website, the organization team found links to a theme shop that does not follow 100% GPL.
  • We asked the speaker to remove the link, and the speaker removed the link.
  • We welcomed him as a speaker.

I will put it in a Google spreadsheet.

The deadline is November 3.


Team Nominations for Yourself and Others

To boost ourselves into next steps for decision making processes, we need to open nominations for each of the major portions of work identified in the that post.

You’ll find a link to a poll below that you can use to nominate yourself and/or others. Please note that in the interest of transparency, the list of nominees will be published once nominations are closed.


Nominations will close on Sunday, October 15, 2017, so be sure to share who you think the right people are!

WordCamp Incubator Program v2: input on a new role name and a call for volunteers

When we launched the experimental WordCamp Incubator program, we didn’t know what to expect. We hoped that after attending a WordCamp where there wasn’t already a WordPress chapter account meetup group, WordPress enthusiasts would be galvanized into forming a community that would sustain itself in the future. This certainly happened in two of the three communities that hosted incubator events in 2016. Plus, SIX communities that applied to be part of the program ended up organizing new WordCamps with the support of our amazing mentors!

New iteration, new challenge

In 2018, we’d like to launch a v2 of the WordCamp Incubator program, but we have an added challenge this time: finding people to support/co-lead/oversee each Incubator event.

In the first iteration of this program, we assigned 3 fully-sponsored volunteer staff to provide leadership and support to our incubator communities. But since the number of events and communities that the global community team supports continues to grow so quickly, our full-time sponsored volunteer staff is already fully committed for next year (and then some), mostly with maintenance projects. Therefore, we need to come up with another way to provide the support that made the incubator program successful in 2016.

The job

This is a time-intensive volunteer role. We estimate that lead organizers spend about 170 hours on a WordCamp, and I figure that the folks working to support the growth of an Incubator event needs to dedicate about 200-250 hours over the planning cycle. The job is that of co-organizer, mentor, and ambassador — since it’s probable that no one you’re working with has ever actually attended a WordCamp. You’re working as a community founder in a community that isn’t your own, which requires a lot of sensitivity, experience, and wisdom. The person absolutely must have experience organizing WordCamps, preferably more than one, as well as experience mentoring WordCamp organizers. Experience collaborating with people from other cultures is also very important.

What do we call this job?

Because this is such a distinctive role, I think that going forward, calling these folks “incubator mentors” isn’t a good idea. Mentorship is part of this job, but typically I think a mentor probably spends 1-4 hours a month working with their “mentee” WordCamp, whereas this role is more likely to require 25 hours a month. So! we need a new name for this program role. Here’s some very initial brainstorming that happened in Slack today.

1) Please comment below with your suggestions for a good name for this organizer-coach-midwife-counselor-guide role! I’m certain the right word is out there, just waiting to be found.

Where do we find these people?

My hope is that this challenging job will be an exciting opportunity for experienced WordCamp organizers that particularly enjoy the “start up” phase of the community, and who have successfully transitioned out of active leadership in their local community. (This is frequently “start a community from scratch” work, and the communities have to be self-sufficient at for the project to be effective.)

As mentioned above, this role is very time-intensive and high-touch. Not everyone can commit 250 hours in a year to a volunteer role, and I suspect that we may need to lean on volunteers who might be sponsored part-time to work on the incubator program. Maybe we could even help interested volunteers pitch their companies on sponsoring a certain number of hours a week to work on an incubator event.

Alternately, perhaps a team of 5-6 people would be interested in working with multiple incubator communities over a period of a year, and share some of the workload. (This makes me a little nervous, because sometimes when everyone is in charge, it means no one takes responsibility, but maybe there could be a rotating lead position on that team?) I’m open to suggestions.

2) Do you have some ideas of ways we could recruit people to take on this work and ensure their success? Please share your ideas in a comment on this post!

3) Interested in this role for 2018? Please also comment on this post to let us know!

Next steps

Once we figure out A) a name for this incubator-mentor-guide-organizer role and, B) a solid plan for recruiting enough incubator-mentor-guide-organizers to support a v2 of the Incubator program, then we can open up a call for communities who’d like to be considered as sites for a 2018 incubator WordCamp.

I’d like to set us a goal of completing our discussion by October 6, with an eye to publishing the results by October 11, and maybe we can even make the call for incubator communities by October 16.


#community-mentors, #incubator, #wordcamps

WordCamp regulation OK/NG case study to handbook

Hello, Community Team!

I have a suggestion to add examples, (virtual) case studies, or FAQs about the WordCamp rules in the handbook. Case studies in real life or simulation questions and answers can help people understand things better.

I’m particularly concerned with “Agreement among WordCamp Organizers, Speakers, Sponsors, and Volunteers”, especially this line “don’t promote companies or people that violate the trademark or distribute WordPress derivative works which aren’t 100% GPL compatible.” There’s been discussion what “promote” means exactly.

I discussed with @mayukojpn and @nao about this.
If you think that this proposal is good, I will gather examples.

Thoughts and comments welcome.
Thank you all!

Proposal for permanent change of word for Code of Conduct

A couple of days ago, there was a discussion on Slack #community-events about how communities in India address anti-caste discrimination for Meetups and WordCamps. Currently the word “caste” is not part of or mentioned in the Code of Conduct.

Discrimination on caste basis has been a historical problem for societies across India and much of South Asia. For example, in India there is a law against discrimination, yet bias and exclusion happens regularly. More context and information can be found at the Wiki article Caste System in India and Affrimative action.

I propose we add the word “caste” in the code of conduct wording.

The change will be from:

WordCamp CITYNAMEHERE believes our community should be truly open for everyone. As such, we are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, preferred operating system, programming language, or text editor


WordCamp CITYNAMEHERE believes our community should be truly open for everyone. As such, we are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, caste, preferred operating system, programming language, or text editor

This change will acknowledge that discrimination or exclusion on caste basis is not acceptable at meetups, WordCamps and other WordPress events. Apart from serving as a deterrent, it would empower participants of WordPress events to be able to address violations in a more formal way.

Thoughts and comments welcome.