Interviewing WordCamp organizer applicants

The purpose of a WordCamp organizer applicant interview is to determine:

  1. If that applicant is an active member of an active local WordPress community
  2. If that applicant is a good representative for the WordPress open source project
  3. What event organizing experience s/he has
  4. Whether the applicant’s goals for the event matches the goals of the WordCamp program

We prefer to have two deputies in each interview group if possible. If no second deputy can make an interview, please ask Andrea, Josepha, Jen, Cami, or Rocio to join.

Before the interview:

  • Pull up the organizer application(s) and review it/them.
  • Pull up the meetup group site(s); look at how old it is, what kind of meetups they have, etc.

The questions we ask at a group interview: The questions we ask at a group interview:

  1. How did you get started with WordPress and how do you currently use it?
  2. How long has the WP community in your area been active, and how did you get involved in it?
  3. Tell us about your local meetup group — what’s the best and worst thing about WP community organizing, in your experience?
  4. Why are you interested in organizing a WordCamp in your town, and what are your goals for the WordCamp you want to organize?

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Things you might find out in the interview and what to do about it: Things you might find out in the interview and what to do about it:

The applicant does not meet the expectations in the organizer agreement.
This can include violating the WordPress trademark, not respecting the license (distributing non-GPL themes/plugins/code), using discriminatory language or hate speech in the interview or elsewhere, acting like a jerk, etc.

If they are still interested in organizing a WordCamp, then ask them to please reapply when they have resolved those issues.

The applicant is not very involved in the local community.

Ask him/her to recruit more community members who *are* actively involved in the local community for the organizing team and then get back to you with that list before moving forward with approval for pre-planning.

The local community is not healthy.
(not healthy can be a lot of things but includes: meetup is not holding regular, in-person meetings; membership is restrictive or the group is not public; the group leaders think of the group as something they own rather than a group that they lead)

If the group is not meeting regularly in-person, ask the applicant to work on the meetup group before attempting a WordCamp. After meeting monthly 3-4 times, they can reapply to organize a WordCamp.

If group membership/leadership is restricted, ask the applicant to bring their meetup group in line with the 5 good-faith rules and either join the meetup chapter account or post the 5 good-faith rules to their user group site.

The applicant wants to organize an event that doesn’t work within the WordCamp model.
(This can be lots of things, but in an interview you might find they want to import a majority speakers from out of town, get an in-kind sponsorship for volunteering, use organizing to make money, pay for speaker travel, fold WordCamp into another event.)

Addressing this is usually handled best via email or direct conversation. Gather as much info about what the applicant has in mind when s/he thinks WordCamp, and then follow up by email about where their vision diverges from WordCamp program standards and see if they are ok with changing their vision to organize a WordCamp. Then assign them a mentor who can help them understand WordCamp guidelines as they continue planning.

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After the interview After the interview

If all signs point to “good organizer,” approve the WordCamp for pre-planning, send the organizer agreement, set up their tools, and connect them with a mentor.

If signs point to “not now” or “not a good fit” then send the nicest email in the world explaining what would have to change for that applicant to meet the expectations for a WordCamp organizer.