G Suite for WordCamps

Due to the current global health emergency, we strongly encourage you to consider online events instead of in-person in 2020. For more information, please refer to our online events handbook.

Background Background

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. organizing teams have always been provided  a city@wordcamp.org email address in order to look more official when contacting venues, sponsors, etc. Historically, we had created email forwarders for all camp organizers, and set up POP/IMAP access as well as cPanel based email accounts for some organizers upon request. However, the cPanel based webmail client we used was not very user-friendly and didn’t work well when multiple people are using it. Organizers have found it challenging to track emails from a central location, and to send outgoing emails from the city@wordcamp.org account. 

The WordPress Foundation was approved for a G Suite for Non-profits account in April 2020, which we can use for the wordcamp.org domain. G Suite provides a host of tools (including Gmail, Drive and Docs, Google Meet, and YouTube) that WordCamps can use, along with a modern, user-friendly interface. We reached out to organizers to get some feedback on how they would like to use the WordCamp email accounts. The feedback we received was that existing email service implementation had several shortcomings and realized that Community Members would benefit immensely from a G Suite account.

Hence the team has decided to implement G Suite for all WordCamp accounts in August 2020. 

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Getting a G Suite Account for your WordCamp Getting a G Suite Account for your WordCamp

  • All approved WordCamps from August 2020 will get a G Suite account automatically. We can also set up a collaborative inbox for the organizing team upon request.
  • All WordCamps in 2020 (both scheduled camps and events that had at least made it to pre-planning), as well as all successful (closed) WordCamps from 2019  will also get a G Suite account. The preset email forwarders in these accounts will continue to be active. 
  • Email addresses of all older camps (Camps that last had an event held in 2018 or before) will be deactivated. If those camps require a G Suite based email address, they can email to support@wordcamp.org to request access for the same (access will be provided on a case-by-case basis). 

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Features Features

Here is a comprehensive list of all the tools we have made available for WordCamp organizers, listed along with training docs for the respective tools. 

  • Calendar: For scheduling events amongst WordCamp organizers.
  • Drive: You get 15 GB of Google Drive space for all your information.
  • Docs, Sheets, and Slides: You can use these tools to store your docs, create/manage spreadsheets, or even store talk slides. 
  • Gmail: For all your email needs. 
  • Groups for Business: For group communications and collaborative inboxes. 
  • Google Meet: Organizers can use G Suite for video calls between your teams and online sessions. Through September 30, 2020, all G Suite customers can use advanced Meet features, like larger meetings (up to 250 participants), live streaming, and recording.
  • Hangouts Chat: Basic chat features
  • Tasks: Task management for your organizing team
  • YouTube: You can live stream your online events and host local Camp videos.
  • Maps: Useful for in-person WordCamps to store location/map information and to create c custom maps. 
  • Keep: Helps you store notes.

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Setting up a G Suite Account Setting up a G Suite Account

WordCamp CentralWordCamp Central Website for all WordCamp activities globally. https://central.wordcamp.org includes a list of upcoming and past camp with links to each. will provide organizers with the credentials for the G Suite account over email (after a successful WordCamp orientation, or directly by email for existing camps that are eligible for their G Suite account). They can use those credentials to sign in to the Google account by visiting: https://accounts.google.com/ or (https://mail.google.com/ to access their emails). We recommend that you set up a recovery email and a phone number for account security. If you want, you can also set up Two Factor Authentication (2FA) for your account to bolster account security; however, this will make it difficult for sharing credentials between organizers. If you do set up two-factor authentication, and wish to share credentials with your organizing team, you can use options like security keys, or a Two Factor software such as Authy (which provides accounts) for sharing two-factor authentication credentials

By activating your G Suite account, you automatically get access to all the G Suite tools listed above. 

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G Suite Tips and Tricks for Organizers G Suite Tips and Tricks for Organizers

Using Email Labels and Filters for Speakers/Sponsors/Organizers and more Using Email Labels and Filters for Speakers/Sponsors/Organizers and more


Gmail allows users to add labels and filters, making it a lot easier to filterFilter Filters are one of the two types of Hooks https://codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_API/Hooks. They provide a way for functions to modify data of other functions. They are the counterpart to Actions. Unlike Actions, filters are meant to work in an isolated manner, and should never have side effects such as affecting global variables and output. out emails. As WordCamp organizers, you are going to use the inbox to do a lot of communication. You can filter these communications into different sections using Labels, and order them by colors. 

Labels
To create a new Label, after logging into the Gmail interface, in the left 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., scroll down, then click More, click on the Create new label button, enter your label name and click on the Create button. You can assign the label to existing messages (Select messages that you’d like to label from the Gmail interface, click Labels at the top, select a one from existing options, or create a new one), or assign a Label to a message you are writing. You can read more about labels in the Google support doc. It would make sense to add Label for commonly-used WordCamp topics, such as Speakers, Sponsors, Attendees, Volunteers, etc.. Feel free to experiment with Labels as much as you want!

Filters

You can create filters by clicking on the Gear icon on the top right corner of the Gmail web interface, followed by See all settings. Then, navigate to Filters and Blocked Addresses, where you can manually create filters. You can also create filters from the Gmail search interface. In the search box at the top, click the Down arrow, and enter your search criteria. If you want to check that your search worked correctly, see what emails show up by clicking Search. 

Then, at the bottom of the search window, click Create filter. Here, you can choose what to do with the filter you have just created.

As you can see, you get a variety of options. Some of the options that you can try out are:

  • Automatically assign labels (e.g., the Speaker label for speaker emails using the: “Apply the label” option)
  • Forward the email (for instance, you can forward the speaker emails directly to speaker wranglers).
  • Mark it as important 
  • Assign categories
  • Clicking on “Apply filter to matching conversations” applies the filter to all existing conversations as well. 

You can read more about filters in the Gmail support doc and the label and sort messages with filters document.

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Email Aliases Email Aliases

If you send an email to an address by appending a plus (“+”) sign and any combination of words or numbers after your email address, your email will get delivered. For example, if a WordCamp email address is narnia@wordcamp.org, you could send mail to narnia+speakers@wordcamp.org or narnia+sponsors@wordcamp.org, and your email will get delivered to narnia@wordcamp.org.

You can add these custom emails as aliases by navigating to Settings (the gear icon on the top right corner), followed by “See all settings.” Choose “Accounts” from the top menu and add aliases like: narnia+sponsors@wordcamp.org, narnia+speakers@wordcamp.org, and more, if you like.

Upon setting this up, organizers can send emails using these aliases, as shown below:

You can add signatures for each account in the Settings > See all settings > General > Signature field, and choose between different email signatures when sending emails too by clicking on the “pen icon” in the tool field. 

Each team can set up custom labels and filters, and email forwarding based on these aliases as well, as mentioned in the tips listed above. If you already have filters set up for sponsors or speakers (or if you want to create new filters), you can add the custom email address (e.g., “narnia+sponsors@wordcamp.org”) to the “to” address field in the filter creation screen, as shown below. 

The best use-case for this technique is to forward speaker emails to the personal email addresses of speaker wranglers, sponsor emails to sponsor wranglers, and so on. This will ensure that they don’t miss any updates. A copy of these emails will also remain in the shared inbox, available to everyone for viewing, thereby maintaining transparency. 

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Create email templates Create email templates

As organizers, you will get a lot of common questions, or you might need to send the same reply to several users. Setting up templates will help you solve this problem. You can compose your response once and save the email as a template. Later, you can open the saved template and send it again with just a few clicks.

You would need to enable templates first. To do this, click on the Gear icon (Settings) on the top right corner of the screen, followed by See all settings. You can then choose the Advanced menu item from the top. Check the “Enable” radio button alongside “Templates” and then click: “Save all changes.”

To create a new template, open the Compose window, enter your template text. Then click on  More (the three dots button on the bottom right corner of the compose window), followed by “Templates.” You can then choose the option to create a new template or to change an existing template.

To insert a new template, click on the same More icon (the three dots button on the bottom right corner of the compose window), followed by “Templates.” Choose your template from the list, and it will auto-populate on the composer screen:

You can read more on enabling and managing templates in the following document.

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Enabling POP & IMAP Enabling POP & IMAP

Many organizers like setting up tools such as FreeScout, may require you to enable POP/IMAP for your G Suite account. One can enable these settings in Settings (the gear icon on the top right corner of the Gmail screen) > See all settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP. When you enable POP or IMAP, please preserve the emails in the G Suite inbox. You can read about this in the documentation.

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Other tips and tricks Other tips and tricks

  • You can play around with email priority, and choose to display what email first, so that you don’t miss out on important messages.
  • Gmail comes with Tasks, comes with your G Suite account. If you wish to incorporate task management, you can use this tool. 
  • You can enable read receipts for essential emails.
  • Email forwarding will be disabled for the G Suite account. However, if you would like to create forwarders for the G Suite account, you can contact WordCamp Central to set this up. 
  • You can forward emails to a Google group address, or enable a support inbox if you want to (You will need to contact WordCamp Central if you would like to enable this feature). 
  • If you are hosting an online event for your community, you are encouraged to use the built-in YouTube account to broadcast your videos and Google Meet to facilitate organizer meetings or hangouts with WordCamp organizers. 

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