Existing Meetup Group Script

Hello, my name is [Interviewer Name] and I’m the organizer of the WordPress Meetup group in [Interviewer City]. I’m part of the Deputy program and will be helping you take the next steps to getting on the chapter program!

[Questions you might ask] [Questions you might ask]

  1. Tell me about the people who normally attend your Meetups?
  2. How did your group first get started?
  3. What made you want to organize a WordPress Meetup?
  4. Who else helps you organize events?

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[Introductory Information] [Introductory Information]

Meetups are an extension of the overall WordPress open source project.

  • That means all the rules and codes of conduct that are at WordCamps are also at Meetup events.
  • Being part of the Meetup chapter program means that we will take over your dues and, in some instances, we will be able to provide assistance in paying for your venue.
  • All event planning and communication in your local WordPress group will continue to come from the local organizing team. The only exceptions to that are for an annual survey of both the organizing team and members of the group or in the event that someone has reported a violation of the code of conduct.
  • From time to time you might ask us to contact the group (for instance, to help you find an organizer to replace you if you move), and we are of course happy to help where we can.

A quick note on the term “Official”, when we refer to a group as an “Official WordPress Chapter Meetup”:

  • The term ‘official’ outside the US has a very different connotation than it does inside the US.
  • For this project, being an official group means you’ve read/agree to/post these five rules we’re discussing, that your group meets in person at least once a month, and that you support and grow your local community.
  • It doesn’t mean the group is closed to new people, or that it is necessarily better than a different group focused on WordPress.

Before we get started, have you read through the Meetup page on the Make site?

Send them this URL: 
https://make.wordpress.org/community/Meetups/
and let them know they can follow along if they want.

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[Discuss the Ground Rules] [Discuss the Ground Rules]

Alright, so now to the Rules. There are some basic rules that we ask organizers to know about. We’ll talk through each one so feel free to stop me and ask questions as we go. Ready?

  1. The first rule says that “WordPress Meetups are for the benefit of the WordPress community as a whole, not specific businesses or individuals.” Basically when decisions are being made about any Meetup events, they should be with the best interests of the community in mind.
    • Examples of decisions where this might come up are topic or speaker selection, Meetup event locations, or the use of a job board.
    • Another example is event promotions that aren’t from your group. Events that are outside your group but can still benefit your members can be shared (either by email or in a “Related Events” discussion post), just don’t schedule them as your own event!
  2. The second rule says that “Membership … is open to all who wish to join, regardless of ability, skill, financial status or any other criteria.” This one is pretty straight forward. It’s aimed at making sure Meetup events are open and available to anyone who wants to learn and connect. Open Source, Open Access.
    • Some examples of this on the Meetup group’s site are making sure that new members can join without needing to be approved by an organizer and can attend events without paying a attendance fee.
    • (NOTE: the following is for focused groups only, i.e., developers, designers, business, bloggers, etc.): Although your group is described as a [Developer]’s group, it doesn’t mean that it should be exclusive to [developer]s. All types and levels of users should be welcome at your group’s events.
    • There have been cases in the past where a nominal fee was charged in order to cover venue costs, but that is now something we can help cover. We still want you to get donated space if at all possible, but if your venue requires you to pay, you can fill out this request form (https://make.wordpress.org/community/meetups/meetup-venue-approval-request/), which we will review and confirm if it’s something we can cover.
  3. The third rule is a reminder that local Meetups are volunteer run. Just like you volunteer your time as an organizer and don’t expect to be paid, your speakers should also not expect to be paid.
    • You will generally be able to avoid the issue of speaker fees simply by focusing on your local WordPress talent.
    • As long as sponsors meet the requirements for GPL and Trademark (we’ll be going over those requirements in a bit), you can accept in-kind donations as sponsorship. In-kind donations are the easiest and safest way for your group to accept support! Examples of in-kind donations are a company donating their office as a venue for meetup events, or buying food for the group.
  4. Rule four is about who can organize events in Meetup groups. Any trusted and reliable member can suggest a Meetup event.
    • Mostly, “trusted” means nice people who are active in the community. “Reliable” means that they show up when they promise they will be there.
    • When you choose people to be on your organizing team (which can be tough!), remember that any co-organizer added to the team should follow these same five good faith rules you’re agreeing to follow. If it seems that they are in it just to benefit themselves, ask around to your fellow organizers, or other members of the Community Team for a second opinion!
    • Our biggest reminder to anyone who is hosting an event is to show up on time and in the right place.
    • There are different levels of organizer on Meetup.com and any trustworthy member who wants to organize an event can be added as an Event Organizer, Co-organizer, or any of the other roles that suits them.
  5. Rule number five is all about the Code of Conduct. We really want Meetup events to be safe and welcoming places, so that means any sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise bigoted behavior should be addressed.
    • We will look to you to help enforce the Code of Conduct and handle problems appropriately, but if you ever feel uncomfortable you should reach out to us.

This brings us to our guidelines about GPL and Trademarks.

We ask all organizers and speakers to be aware of the license and trademark.

  • Your speakers should be following the basic brand rules (http://wordpressfoundation.org/trademark-policy/) and, if they have released plugins/themes/etc, they should be using the General Public License (GPL).
  • Specifically this relates to WordPress derivatives like plugins and themes. If the services aren’t a derivative but are optimized for WordPress (for example, a hosting company), then that’s okay. If they’ve released a plugin or theme, then they should be 100% GPL.

There are, of course, two ways to look at this:

  • One thought is that the GPL Guidelines apply to Meetups just like any other WordPress thing. This is true.
  • The other way to look at it is that Meetups are a little more casual, so it’s a nice gateway moment. This is kind of true.
    • Sometimes GPL non-compliance happens because someone copied the license from someone else without understanding what it meant. Education can often be all it takes to encourage changes.

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[Open for questions] [Open for questions]

Now that we’ve discussed all those rules, I’m going to open it up to questions. Anything that we haven’t talked about or that you’d like more information on?

If there are no questions and you feel comfortable with this person being an organizer, then on to the next section!

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[Next Steps] [Next Steps]

To transfer your group to the WordPress chapter:

  1. First, WordPress will become a member of your group.
    • One important thing to remember is that changing ownership of the group will mainly change who is paying dues.
    • You will still be able to schedule events, email members through Meetup, and manage the RSVPs as usual. You just won’t show up as the owner anymore.
  2. The way Meetup is set up, transferring ownership can almost be done with the click of a button. You’ll step down as the organizer and nominate a new organizer (WordPress). Once that has happened, then we will promote you to co-organizer. The group won’t be notified of this and everything else stays the same.
  3. If this is the only group you run, you may cancel your dues. If you run other groups, then you’ll want to keep that part active.
  4. All the Meetup tools will still be controlled by you, but we will ask you to update logos if needed. We will also check your group’s settings and add a link to the Meetup page on Make/Community to your group’s description.
  5. Set yourself as the host when planning events! Not WordPress. We simply won’t be able to come to that many. ☺

And a few final reminders:

  • The Annual Meetup survey that we send at the end of every year is sent to everyone, organizers and members alike.
  • Join Making WordPress Slack here if you haven’t already: https://make.wordpress.org/chat/
  • We can send you a swag package to share with your group if you send us your mailing address! I will be sending you a follow-up email after our meeting, and you can just respond to that with your address.

And that’s it! Quick and painless, just like we promised.