Paid Freelance Contributors: The idea of the Wapuu Program

Andrea wrote a excellent post on Five for the Future.
There’s stated that is would be nice that 5% of your time goes to WordPress contribution. The proposed outcome is a pledge; and mostly from own employees.
But it even stated -reading between the lines- that companies can sponsor non-employees (freelance volunteers) too.
But there’s no written idea how to connect both parties. The proposal just mentioned that freelancers can ‘ask’ companies to sponsor them.

I would like to see this way better then ‘just asking’.
So, here’s my personal idea on that.

But first:

Five for the future (5FTF) is not working for everyone

5FTF is an amazing concept and is fine scalable for big companies.
For every 20 employees, that’s 1 contributor.
On the level of a freelancer or one-person company: that’s 2 hours per week.
2 hours / week is okay for regular contributions;
But things moving so fast in the last years that it’s hard to cope up with all the news.
Since some freelancers have a real passion for it, they harm themselves because two hours is way to less for them. For them 2 hours/week is a joke. Imagine: what can you seriously do well in 2 hours per week? Including project management, meaning following feedback and input.

There’s one important sad aspect we need to tackle strongly: we need to end those stories: ‘OMG, i lost 30% income this year because of contribution. I got myself caught in the flow’. These things happen, really.
We need to support those people.
Five for the future is absolutely not working for these passionate freelance volunteers.

The uprise of Company Contributors

I love it that companies donate their employees to work half/full time to WordPress.
We’ve seen a rise of those kind of volunteers in the last years, let’s call them ‘company contributors’.
And sure, more help from that corner is absolutely welcome.

But there’s also a shadow over this kind of company contribution which fade out the lights of freelance contributors. Company contributors controls the tempo, WordCamps trips paid by company and ‘company contributors’ are mostly always there when decisions are made.
In an unsubconciscous way this raises the workload for the freelance volunteers. Just an example: everyone can agree that it was almost a half time job just to follow up Core Slack in the Gutenberg times.
In the result of all that, some freelance contributors nowadays are feeling under rewarded, frustrated, unwanted, unappreciated and outvoted in the decision phases.

The State of the Word mentioned with delight that WordPress is a “10 billion business”.
That’s 10,000,000,000 dollars. Yes, i wanted to write that down… brain explosion here…

Personally, i don’t mind that anyone does great business with WordPress. Absolutely not. And i’m not naive saying most of us just want to make a good living too.
But there’s this overall feeling that wealth is not spread equally and this causes unappreciation.

I think it’s time to open a discussion and brake down the taboo of paying freelance WordPress contributors.
I’m not saying we’ll open up the gates for everyone to get paid.
If you’re deep into the WordPress Community you’ll know exactly the type of volunteers we mean.

The importance of the Freelance Contributor.

Whatever companies do that are contributing to WordPress, there’s always that perceptual shadow of contributing for their own interest and agenda.

Would it be otherwise when there are more freelance contributors in the public picture?
Does that brings in more neutrality in the general mindset of the community?

Besides the perception factor, a lot of company contributors are mostly dedicated to a few teams like Core, Community and Documentation. But WordPress is more, right.

The voice of a freelance volunteer is also honest and neutral, not attached by any company standpoints.

All of this brings in the importance of the ‘Freelance Contributor’.
Bring back the sense of ‘power to the community’.
Yes, i call it ‘the sense’, cause i’m not not naive.
But i hope we can stick that foot back in the door and support these people.

The WordPress Foundation can’t help us financially

I understand that the Foundation can’t budget for this.
And that it’s important to stay neutral.
But i’m hoping that there’s a place on for some kind of job board.

Introducing the ‘Wapuu’ Contributor Program

The Wapuu Contributor Program allows companies to pay a WordPress contributor that is not employed by them or another WordPress-related company.
It’s just an idea to use the name Wapuu; the mascotte of WordPress. Cause there’s no better mascotte then a contributor. Now, a Wapuu is just a sticker. Why not use it for better? In Marketing terms: participating companies can use this naming to promote their paid contributors; saying: we have 3 Wapuu’s; meaning we pay 3 people to contribute to WordPress via the program. We can create a recognizeable badge for this to use on companies websites.

So far, the marketing suggestions. What about the practical suggestions?
I would suggest this program for a particular group of volunteers, like

  • Independant one person company or freelancer
  • Minimum 8h to 16h / week contribution
  • 2 years WordPress Contribution experience
  • Known in the WordPress community
  • The volunteer must clearly describe his contribution
  • All financial agreements between volunteer and company
  • Paid in money, not license – products or services

If we do this program, we must raise the bar high enough.
This is not an open job board for everyone: a high minimum experience and contribution time is wanted.

Practical approach
Under conditional terms, we can add extra fields to a WordPress user profile where they can fill in the information: task description, contribution categorie (team) and duration. That’s all, practical (money) stuff is handled between both parties.

Then we need an overview -Job Board- page with some filters like: country, team

For example: a German host can sponsor a German volunteer who is doing 8h per week fixing support tickets. Which means, the German host can forward their clients to the WordPress forum. Same can go for documentation.

First things first
The questions is also: are companies willing to participate in this program?
Maybe we can launch a quaestionaire first?

What about volunteers still working for free?
I’m pretty sure that both types of volunteers (being paid + free) can work together.
Heck, i would be super proud on someone independant being rewarded for all the hard and passionate work.
Cause there’s a big difference between the two: free is begin totally free, a paid volunteer has obligations.

Some people will be against this idea by mentioning this is way to commercial for them. I agree.
But what is commercialization? In the end, we need to make sure everyone is doing fine AND the work is being done right, (faster) and good. Of course it can be done for free; but someone is paying the price anyway.

Some people will be against this idea by mentioning that volunteers are free to chose, free to plan and to do what they want. That’s absolutely true. I agree.

But some volunteers are so passionate – even more passionate then some company contributors- that they will take their obligations anyway, and so seriously that they lose income. They lose their quality of life on our backs.
We must support that fire, support that independance.

And there’s no single bloody reason we shouldn’t support them, certainly in this 10 billion market…

And in fact: for most people this even has nothing to do with money. It’s about getting the opportunity to be able to work on something they want to improve, no matter what.
Even if this means losing themself doing it for free.
That kind of destructive behaviour needs to be stopped, right now in 2019.

Happy 2019 everyone!

Meetup Application Vetting Sprint – January 3rd

Looks like were going to skip our next team meeting, since people are still enjoying their holidays on January 3rd. For those who are back from the holidays and have scheduled Community team meeting in their calendars – let’s have Meetup application vetting sprint!

What is a vetting sprint?

A vetting sprint for meetup applications is a 1 hour session where all available deputies meet together in the #community-team channel in the WordPress Slack group. Over the course of the hour, we will all work on vetting meetup applications and use the Slack channel as a central place to discuss what we’re working on and support each other.

Who can take part?

Any deputies who have access to the Meetup Tracker can take part. That means people who have completed the deputy training, signed the agreement and been given access to the tracker (details about the tracker here).

If you are a deputy who has been active in the last 6 months, then you would have been added to the tracker already, but if you don’t have access and still want to take part then please comment here and we can give you access.

When is this happening?

Currently, we have one planned sprint. It would be awesome to have a sprint also on the later community team meeting, so please tell us in #community-team if you can lead that sprint!

All deputies are welcome to join in meetup vetting sprints and do the vetting by themselves at any time 🙂

How does it work?

As explained above, we will meet in the #community-team channel on Slack at the times listed and dive into vetting meetup applications. Here are some handy links that you will need on the day:

Weekly Updates

Hello to all our Deputies, WordCamp organizers, Meetup wranglers, and WordPress Community builders! You were probably hard at work this weekend. Tell us what you got accomplished in our #weekly-update!

Have you run into a roadblock with the stuff you’re working on? Head over to #community-events or #community-team in Slack and ask for help!

WordPress Governance Project Launch

The WordPress Governance Project kicks off on Asia-Pac / EMEA friendly Tuesday January 8 2019, 1600 UTC with a one hour meeting in the #community-team Slack channel. The meeting will be conducted and moderated by provisionary team leads @bamadesigner and @mor10.

Meeting moved to and postponed to January 15. See announcement and update your calendars. Thanks!

What is the WordPress Governance Project?

First announced at WordCamp US 2018, the WordPress Governance Project is an initiative spearheaded by @bamadesigner and @mor10.

The purpose of this project is to explore:

  1. the governance of the WordPress open source project and its various community components, and
  2. WordPress’ role in the governance of the open web including representation in forums where decisions about the web platform and the Internet are made.

The scope of stage 1 of the WordPress Governance Project is WordPress and its communities. Stage 2 of the project will focus on how WordPress can take part in the governance and evolution of the wider web through policy and representation.

Why is this necessary?

The WordPress Governance Project will aim to answer who “we” are and who “we” represent.

WordPress powers +32.7% of the web. Every decision made by WordPress is a decision made on behalf of those users and has a significant impact on the web as a whole. Because of this footprint, the onus is on WordPress and its contributors to ensure decisions are made in a transparent and accessible way and that governance structures are concrete, transparent, and understandable. In short, it has to be possible for anyone to find an answer to the question “who are the deciders”.

To be able to take part in the larger conversation about the governance of the web platform, the open web, and the Internet, WordPress first needs to clarify its principles through an exploration of what necessary conditions need to be in place for it to meet its goal of “democratizing publishing.” With such principles in place, representatives can be selected and sent to decision makers (governing organizations like W3C, government representatives, etc) to speak on behalf of WordPress and its millions of users.

To claim our seat at the table, we must first know what we stand for and where we want to take the web and the Internet.

For more context, view the announcement of the project as part of @mor10’s session at WordCamp US 2018.

How will this project unfold?

The goal of the WordPress Governance Project is to propose a governance model for WordPress at or before WordCamp Europe 2019 or the 2019 Community Summit (if such an event takes place).

The project will research existing governance models from within the open web community as well as local and international organizations, corporations, and government.

What is the scope of this project?

The scope of the WordPress Governance Project, stage 1, includes:

  • Propose a set of principles based on, and defining the necessary conditions for, the core philosophy of the WordPress open source project: To democratize publishing through free, open source software.
  • Propose a leadership and governance model for the WordPress open source project and its communities.
  • Propose a model for electing or appointing representatives to speak on behalf of WordPress and its users in forums where decisions are made which impact WordPress and its users.

The project will provide a model for policy making, decision making, oversight, and accountability within the WordPress project. This may include solidifying existing governance structures in teams, introducing new governance structures for parts of or the entire project, and / or creating new governance roles and responsibilities.

The scope of the WordPress Governance Project does not include replacing or reducing existing leadership or introducing democratic voting on features and other decisions within the WordPress project or community.

Will WordPress governance mean someone can make decisions about what I can and cannot do with WordPress?

Short answer: No.

Long answer, WordPress is an open source project published under the GPL which grants you the Four Freedoms. This will not change.

The WordPress Governance Project aims to introduce transparent and accountable governance structures to the WordPress project to make it more accessible and bring clarity to decision making processes. It also aims to create the necessary structures for WordPress and its users to be properly represented in the many groups and spaces where decisions are made which directly impact you as a WordPress user.

Can you impose a governance model on WordPress?

Once the WordPress Governance Project puts forward its proposal for governance of the WordPress project, it is up to the current leadership, and the community at large, to decide whether to adopt the new model. 5.0 Upgrade hasn’t been upgraded to 5.0 yet, because @coreymckrill and I were busy with WordCamp US and the WP 5.0.1 release. Now that those are done, we’ve had time to plan and test the upgrade, and everything is working well in our development environments.

Given that, I’d like to deploy the upgrade to the production server on Tuesday, January 1st. Things will essentially remain the same as they are today, where users are able to choose between the Block and Classic editors.

The specific changes are:

  • The Classic Editor plugin will be enabled. The Block Editor will be the default for most post types, but Classic will be available for all types. Users will be able to choose which editor they’d like to use. Site admins can override those if they’d like, though.
Settings for the Classic Editor plugin (under General > Writing)
  • The Gutenberg plugin will be deactivated. Once the Phase 2 changes have matured to the point where they’re ready for testing on production sites, then we can discuss re-enabling it (similar to the discussion we had for Phase 1).
  • The Block Editor will be available for some of our custom post types, like Speakers, Sessions, and Organizers.

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or concerns.

#gutenberg, #wordcamp-org

Slack notifications for WordCamp and Meetup application updates

In the WordPress project, multiple teams (#meta, #core, #polyglots, etc.) make use of Slack notifications to surface new, interesting changes in their team’s respective channel. This includes notifications on new commits, trac issue updates, new translation strings availability, etc.

(Screenshot of a commit notification)
(Screenshot of a commit notification)

These notifications serve at least two purposes:

1. People interested in following these teams have a very convenient way to look at recent and ongoing activities.

2. It provides a way to acknowledge contributors.

In the WordPress community channels, we don’t currently use this tool, but there may be some cases where having these notifications would add lot of value for us.

These include:

  1. Someone sends a new application for a WordCamp
  2. Someone sends a new application for a WordPress chapter meetup
  3. A new WordCamp is set to Scheduled status
  4. A new WordPress meetup group is now active in the chapter
  5. A WordCamp application is declined
  6. A Meetup application is declined

For reference, you can see status of some active WordCamp applications here.

These notifications could include whether the event is a WordPress or a Meetup, city and country of the event, description of the update, and usernames of people who were involved in vetting the event application.

I have written some initial code for this, and it could look like:

(screenshot for when a new WordCamp application is submitted)
(screenshot for when a new WordCamp application is submitted)

(screenshot for when WordCamp is scheduled)
(screenshot when a WordCamp application is scheduled)

(screenshot for when a WordCamp application is declined)
(screenshot when a WordCamp application is declined)

A few more things to note and discuss here:

  1. We can perhaps send these notifications to #community-events,  #community-team, or both of these channels.
  2. The props section will include usernames of everyone who added notes to the application listing and/or changed the listing’s status.
  3. We would also want to send notifications when an application is declined, and not just when it is received or scheduled, in order to credit the deputies who nevertheless did the  work to vet and respond to it. It could normalize the process of declining the application, because it is not uncommon for subsequent applications to be approved.

What do you think? Should we have these notifications? If we have them, then should they be more granular, or less granular? What changes in language or overall appearance would you suggest? Leave your thoughts in a comment on this post!

#community, #slack

Weekly Updates

Hello to all our Deputies, WordCamp organizers, Meetup wranglers, and WordPress Community builders! You were probably hard at work this weekend. Tell us what you got accomplished in our #weekly-update!

Have you run into a roadblock with the stuff you’re working on? Head over to #community-events or #community-team in Slack and ask for help!

WordPress meetup organizer newsletter: December 2018

Hello WordPress Meetup organizers!

Welcome to another meetup organizer newsletter full of news, information and inspiration for your local meetup. This will be the last newsletter for the year 2018.

Newsletter contents:

  • The Annual Meetup Survey
  • Thanks to our Global Sponsors
  • Event Format: A Meetup of Meetups
  • Diversity Outreach Speaker Training Workshops

The Annual Meetup Survey

If you have been involved with organizing meetups for a while, you will be familiar with the annual meetup surveys that we send out at the end of each year. These are surveys that we send out to all meetup organizers and members to find out how you feel the meetup program is going and provide feedback on what we can do to improve things.

This time around we’re changing the schedule slightly and will be sending those out in January 2019, so keep an eye on your inbox for those and share them with your meetup group – more responses is better for the program overall!

Thanks to our Global Sponsors

As many of you know, WordPress community programs benefit greatly from the generous financial support of a number of companies. WordPress Global Community Sponsors allow us to pay for meetup venues when necessary, help with accessibility costs for WordCamps and meetups, and provide every single WordCamp in the world with a “nest egg” of sponsorship on the very first day of active planning.

We’d like to take a minute here to give our global sponsors a big thank you for their ongoing commitment to supporting WordPress global community programs!

Our gold sponsors for 2018 include Jetpack and WooCommerce worldwide, and Bluehost in the Americas. Silver level sponsors are GoDaddy worldwide, Bluehost in Europe, Africa, and Asia, and DreamHost in the Americas. Finally, BoldGrid was a bronze level sponsor in the Americas. Thank you to all of these companies for their dedication to global community events.

Event Format: A Meetup of Meetups

Planning for your 2019 meetup schedule and struggling to come up with ideas of find speakers? Angie Meeker might just have an idea that will help you – the Columbus tech community has quarterly “Meetup of Meetups”, where the various leaders of different meetups in get together to discuss what is upcoming at their meetups, what their needs are individually, and how they can best contribute to needs in the city. These meetups are held every quarter, with a year end ‘Meetup of Meetups” party.

This is a fantastic way to connect your local WordPress meetup group with other related communities in your area and it would be great to see a WordPress community lead the way in this sort of thing.

Diversity Outreach Speaker Training Workshops

The meetups who have been running the diversity outreach speaker training workshop to get more women and other underrepresented groups to start speaking at their meetups and WordCamps have been having phenomenal results. Many of the WordCamps achieved 50% or more women speakers in less than a year.

Our last training of the year will be Sunday, December 16th, 2018 @ 17:00-19:00 UTC.

We will also be running trainings on the following dates:

* Thursday, January 10, 2019 @ 16:00-18:00 UTC
* January 27th, 2019 @ 17:00-19:00 UTC

Are you interested in learning more? Would you like to sign up for one of the trainings?

That’s it for now — chat to you next time!

Your friends on the Community Team

#meetup, #newsletter

Community Team Chat Agenda | Thursday, 20 December, 2018

Hello Team!

Our bi-monthly Community Team chat is happening this Thursday, 20 December 2018. Meeting times are detailed below. We use the same agenda for both meetings in order to include all time zones.

Asia-Pac / EMEA friendly Thursday, December 20, 2018, 11:00 UTC

Americas friendly Thursday, December 20, 2018, 20:00 UTC

Deputy check-in

What have you been doing and how is it going?

P2 posts needing review/feedback

Highlighted P2 posts

Please add any additional items to this agenda by commenting on this post as needed.

#agenda, #meeting, #meeting-agenda

Chat scheduling over End of Year Holidays

As folks might be away over the Christmas/New Year period, I propose to skip the meeting on the first Thursday of January (January, 3) and resume on the third week (January 17).

Over this period, people that might be active could:

What do you all think? Skip or not January 3rd?

Deadline to reply, December 31st