Contributor Events Organizer Handbook

So you want to host a contributor dayContributor Day Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. or contributor event at your WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more.. Awesome!

The Community Team would love to encourage more WordCamps to host contributor days or events. Below is an outline of what to expect and what to plan for.


Contributor Days generally need two people to help run them: one to organize the logistics and one to organize the contributor teams (more below) and another to bring together the day-of the event.

Event planning can have some challenges, and it can be easier to combine the organization of the contributor day logistics (venue, food, etc) along with the WordCamp logistics.

As far as organizing the day-of the event, the best person will be someone local to the community who has contributed to Make WordPress before, regardless of their area of contribution. There is more information below to help you with what the roles involved.

Top ↑

Before the Contributor Day or event

Contributor days and events should be free. While everyone gets value from, it is important that new contributors feel welcome and invited. Buying a ticket to contribute can make someone them less interested, especially as you are asking them to give up time for the WordPress community. This means you will need to build the cost of the contributor day into your budget, including venue, lunch (more below), and any other expenses.

Contributor days and events are for everyone, on every experience level. Even someone who knows very little about WordPress  can contribute. The exception is, perhaps, focused WordCamps (i.e. Developer WordCamps) where attendees are expected to know a bit about development, and thus the accompanying contributor day can be mostly developer-focused. Even then, it is useful to have a plan in case new contributors arrive who are not developers. Make sure you emphasize this point in all your communication with potential attendees.

An event can be held before or after the main WordCamp. If it is held afterwards, you can heavily promote the contributor day during the WordCamp, which may result in more enthusiasm. Attendees feel most excited about WordPress right after a WordCamp. Use that excitement to encourage them to attend the contributor day.

Post multiple times about your contributor event. Your WordCamp blog is a great way to get the word out about the event. Many attendees may miss the first blog post… and the second… post four weeks ahead of time about the contributor, then three weeks. At two weeks, start allowing sign-ups (m ore below).

Post a separate sign-up form for your contributor day. WordCamps that have combined the sign-up for the WordCamp itself and the contributor day have been disappointed with the lack of attendees. It is often the case in free software, that contributors may “over commit and under deliver”. The same is true for contributor days. A second sign-up form requires more effort – and explicit effort – from a potential attendees and will give you a better idea of how many people will attend.

The Contributor Day registration form should be:

  • Accessible to all (for example, please don’t require that users log into a Google account in order to complete the form)
  • Easy to navigate
  • Provide the attendee with confirmation upon form submission (make sure that the submitter receives an auto-reply email confirming that they are registered for Contributor Day)

If possible, allow attendees to “just show up” to contributor day. Sometimes this is not possible due to venue requirements, but encouraging attendees at your WordCamp to “just show up” will increase attendance and, again, lets you promote the day during your WordCamp.

Remind attendees to bring their laptops (or tablets). It seems logical, but many people do not realize they will need their laptops (or a tablet) to contribute. Remind them both on the website and in any emails about contributor day.

Top ↑

The Contributor Day or event

Attendance will be lower than planned. Because contributor days are free – and sign up is free – attendance will be lower than your sign ups. This is true with all free or inexpensive events.

Do not start your contributor day before 10 a.m. Expecting attendees to wake up in time for a contributor day the morning after a WordCamp after party at even 10 a.m. is hard. We recommend starting at 11 a.m. or even noon, with your free lunch at 1 p.m. or so.

Provide a free lunch. It is an added cost, but a worthwhile one. Of course it is not always possible (due to budgets) to provide a free lunch, but if you can, it is  very helpful in convincing people to attend. Typically, pizza or something simple that can be ordered when you know how many are in attendance is the provided lunch, but we would suggest something more creative like sandwiches or burritos. If you can not provide lunch, you should at least provide a snack and beverages.

Likewise, provide free coffee, water, and/or soft drinks. In the U.S., Starbucks provides cartons of hot coffee at a reasonable charge. Water is also invaluable to have on hand in the form of cheap bottled water or an easily accessible drinking fountain with cups.

Pick three or four areas to focus on. There are a lot of ways to contribute. Unless you are planning on having a very large contributor day, it is best to focus on a handful of ways to contribute. The standard three are coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress., support, and docs. Depending on available contributor team representatives and location, you may wish to include theme reviews, metaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress., or polyglots as well. Each team has a page on how to contribute at a contributor day. The contributor facilitators should rely heavily on those pages if they are not familiar with contributing to that area.

Give a preview of the focus areas. Each contributor lead should introduce their focus area and talk a little bit about what people will be working on if they join that group.

If you want to put signs on the tables you can use the signage prepared by @00sleepy

Top ↑

What areas can people contribute to?

There is a complete list of Contributor Teams at, but below is a list, along with links to how to get started with that team at a contributor day. For each team that you plan to support at your contributor day, you will want to have someone familiar with contributing to that group and familiar with the contributor day page (a team facilitator, sometime referred to as a ‘Table Lead’). Different groups will do different things, but your team facilitator should be prepared for both experienced contributors and new contributors.

  • Accessibility – Generally, we group the accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). ( team with core so they can contribute their testing or programming expertise to core tickets with the “accessibility” focus.
  • Community – At Contributor Day, we onboard new MeetupMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook. groups and WordCamp organizers, support WordPress events targeting specific niches, and promote our mission to bring new users and attendees. We update the Community Team handbooks, address issues faced by community members, and host meetings to gather valuable feedback and refine our programs. We also focus on Contributor Mentorship updates and feedback, improving the sponsorship program for organizers, community, and sponsors, and collaborating with the Meta Team to enhance our tooling. Additionally, we can host a small Diverse Speakers Workshop. 
  • Core – There are generally two different groups at a contributor day: those who have contributed to core before and those who have not. It is usually best to split the core group into two, letting previous contributors work on new contributions and teaching new contributors how to contribute. You will probably want two facilitators but it will depend on attendance at your WordCamp. For new contributors, you need to go through a number of things, most of which are listed in the sidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme. of the core contributor handbook. Be sure to cover how to use tracTrac Trac is the place where contributors create issues for bugs or feature requests much like GitHub., what makes a good ticket, how to setup a local development environment (if needed), and general best practices (coding standards).
  • Docs – At contributor days, docs contributions are generally editing and improving the theme and pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party developer handbooks. However, some people may want to improve the codex or contribute examples to the developer hub. Talk to a docs contributor ahead of time to make sure someone is around to give out Editor status on make/docs.
  • Marketing – Contributors can get involved in the Showcase. The Showcase page highlights WordPress’s diverse uses and capabilities by featuring websites built with the platform. Contributing to the Showcase is an excellent opportunity to get involved in a way that helps shape how others, especially those unfamiliar with WordPress, might come to view the work of brands utilizing WordPress. Whether you would like to practice showcase moderation or share your copywriting skills, there is something to contribute
  • Meta – The meta team is programming-based, for the most part. The WordPress Meta Environment (based on VVV) is the best way to get setup and contribute to the open-sourced projects that the meta team manages, including, The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. (rosetta),,, and
  • Mobile – The mobile handbook is generally up-to-date. For contributors to either the iOSiOS The operating system used on iPhones and iPads. or Android apps, they should have the knowledge of development on their respective platform. Following the handbook at that point should not be hard.
  • Polyglots – Contributing string translations to a current localization of WordPress is a great way to get started. The document linked to walks through how that should be done. If you are hosting a WordCamp in a language that does not have a full translation of WordPress (or related projects), it can be good to set one up ahead of time with the Polyglots teamPolyglots Team Polyglots Team is a group of multilingual translators who work on translating plugins, themes, documentation, and front-facing marketing copy. and kick off your translation work there. The first step there will be requesting a new locale.
  • Support – Most contributions here will be to the support forums. You should go through what the support team does and focus on answering questions in the support forums. Be sure to give information on stock answers and help users setup a account.
  • Theme Review Team – A full walkthrough on how to review themes is important. Likewise, be sure to contact a TRT admin so they can be around during your contributor day and assign tickets to new contributors.
  • Training – The training team has five areas of expertise we invite people to contribute through: Content Creator, Content Translator, Editor, Subject-Matter Expert, and Administrator. Directing folks to complete the self-guided team onboarding program is a great contributor day activity. Not only does it help contributors identify the area of expertise best for them, but it also guides them through their first contribution they can complete that day.

Top ↑

Other Contributor Events

Not ready year to commit to a full day? You can start with a Contributor Event: an evening or a few hours dedicated to a specific team. You can read the experience from the Contributor Night in Torino, Italy.

Here is a quiz on this article. Read quizzes page if you have any questions about quizzes and how to navigate them.

Top ↑

More resources

Contributor Day Handbook resources available to use and translate (GitHubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. This is an expanding resource and includes links to videos to help new contributors set up a profile and join the Make WordPress SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at These resources can save the organizers a lot of time. There are also resources to help people get started with the tools used by the the teams.

Materials are also being created on the new Learn WordPress resource.

Last updated: