New Meetup Group Script

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

[Questions you might ask:]

  1. If you’ve already had an event or two, tell me about who attended.
  2. If not, have you talked with people in your community to gauge level of interest?
  3. Why are you wanting to start a WordPress Meetup in particular?
  4. How did you hear about the chapter program?

[Introductory Information]

  1. 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. It also means that communities that have built very strong Meetup groups are great places to host WordCamps.
    • Being part of the Meetup chapter program means that we will sponsor the Meetup 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 come from the local organizing team. The only exceptions to that are when we send out 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 your group; for example, to help you find an organizer to replace you if you move. We are of course happy to help where we can!
  2. 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.
  3. 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/). We’ll be going over the 5 Good Faith Rules of meetups that are outlined here, so you can follow along on this page if you’d like.

[Discuss the Ground Rules]

  1. Alright, so now on to the Five Good Faith 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 your Meetup site are making sure that new members can join without needing to be approved by an organizer, and that they can attend events without paying a cover charge.
      • 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 lets us know 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, 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 to be sure!
      • When the group is created, we will add some information about how to plan a Meetup event, a brief code of conduct, and a big thank you to our sponsors! 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.

  1. We ask all speakers and organizers 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 WordPress derivatives, 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.
  2. 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.

As I mentioned earlier with in-kind sponsors, one way to encourage people to get involved is by inviting local sponsors to help your group with venue and refreshments.

A good way to acknowledge them would be to create a “Sponsor Page” on your meetup.com page. Here are a couple of examples of sponsor pages by meetup groups as reference. [Share the below links]

Remember to keep in mind that GPL guidelines will apply to all sponsors too.

Now that we’ve discussed all those rules, I’m going to open up to questions. Is there 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!]

If this all sounds good to you, there are a few last requests before we make it official:

  1. We need you to commit to three months right away! The first few months are crucial to the success of any new group, and yours is no exception. We recommend that you start with a kickoff event to get everyone excited, and then start right in with whatever type of event suits your community (lightning talks, lectures, workalongs, etc).
  2. Don’t give official answers! This puts you in a position of leadership, so people will often assume that you’ve got some direct connection to WordPress. Make it known that your recommendations and advice are of your own opinion, but also be willing to reach out for official answers if you need them.
  3. Remember that W and P should always be capitalized!
  4. 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.