Proposal to Simplify Training for WordCamp Mentors

We currently have 27 folks listed internally as “active” WordCamp mentors. At this time, 11 of the people on the mentor list are not mentoring any events. Earlier this week, I sent an email to all those listed on our mentor roster to determine their availability. Several folks have already asked to be pulled from the active list, and I anticipate several more will either ask to be removed or not respond. That will leave us with about 20 active mentors.

We currently have 109 WordCamps in various stages of planning, ranging from “Needs Orientation” to “Scheduled” that need or will need a mentor. Only 34 of those events have a mentor now. We need more mentors!

As WordCamp mentors, folks are asked to advise organizers, remind them about things organizers frequently forget, keep them on track in planning, and be the team’s connection to WordCamp Central. We also ask that they make regular updates about their mentor sessions on this site.

At this time all mentors are deputies, but not all deputies are mentors — while the work they do is related, it’s different. Our current deputy training process is for people who might triage our shared email, vet applications for both WordCamps and meetups, orient organizers for both WordCamps and meetups, and review WordCamp budgets. Because of all these different tasks deputies might handle, training is time consuming for would-be deputies (and for the trainers). Including all this additional content and time commitment may be making it harder to recruit and train new mentors.

I propose a change in the training for mentors to be more in line with the work we’re asking of them. Instead of asking that they undergo the entire deputy training process we would instead follow these steps:

  • Potential mentor submits an application to be a WordCamp Mentor.
  • A deputy reviews their application to ensure they meet WordCamp mentor requirements.
  • Mentor completes the WordCamp Organizer self training to ensure they’re up to date on expectations and guidelines.
  • Mentor has a call with a deputy to talk them through the mentoring process.
  • Mentor is assigned a WordCamp to work with in their preferred region.

I also propose that, for transparency, we have a Mentors page similar to our Deputies page or that we add a separate tab for mentors to show which mentors are active and what events they are currently mentoring.

In line with these suggestions it would make sense that mentors no longer be considered deputies. While being a mentor would not prevent a community member from being a deputy or vice versa, I don’t think we should consider them the same position — or provide deputy-level access to and Help Scout for all WordCamp mentors.

If it seems like this will work, the next steps would be:

  • Create a WordCamp mentor application
  • Post a call for new mentors
  • Create a Mentors page or update the deputies page with a mentors tab.
  • Implement new mentor process as detailed above.

If you have any concerns, ideas, or thoughts, please share them in a comment below. Let’s try to conclude our discussion by March 12, so we can begin a mentor recruitment drive on March 16, 2018.

#mentors #deputies #community-management

Regional Camps, Take 2

Pro-tip: this post will refer back heavily to the post on the same subject from October of last year. If you haven’t read it, you might want to. Warning: it’s a long thread!

At the Community Summit, we discussed regional WordCamps — the notes will be found here when they’re published — and I’d like to open up discussion about the expectations we should set for people who want to organize a regional WordCamp.

EDIT: this is a discussion of the expectations we want to set for when a group of people come to us and say, “We want to have a WordCamp that represents a geographical community larger than one city/metro area.” We’re calling that kind of event a Regional WordCamp.

Goals for a Regional WordCamp

I think we all mostly agree on the goals for an event of this type: to celebrate, represent, and grow local WordPress communities in the affected region. A primary goal for the WordPress Global Community Team is to help support a WordPress meetup group and annual WordCamp in as many cities as possible in the world. Regional WordCamps work toward that goal by connecting people who weren’t already active in their local WordPress community and/or inspiring attendees to start communities in their hometowns.

(If you would like to suggest some changes to the goals, please feel free to share your thoughts in a comment on this post!)

Here are many questions:

A) What defines a region?

We already have WordCamp US and WordCamp Europe. Different groups of people have expressed interest in organizing a country-based event (WordCamp Netherlands), a continent-based event (WordCamp Asia/Southeast Asia, final name TBD), and a group-of-countries-based event (WordCamp Nordic).

  1. How small or large a region do we want to entertain?

For example: WordCamp Bihar (states/provinces)? WordCamp Upstate New York (a region within a state/province)? WordCamp Andalucía (a region made up of many states/provinces)?

B) What level of local community development should a region have?

Regional WordCamps need a lot of local, experienced organizers and volunteers wherever the event is hosted. If there aren’t already a certain number of local communities in a region that have hosted successful WordCamps, then a regional event won’t be able to move around the region, share the organizing work, and provide new leadership opportunities.

  1. What expectation should we set for the requisite number of local communities, WordCamps, and number of consecutive WordCamps?
  2. Should we place any expectation on how active the local community is, and how successful the WordCamps were?

For example: should we expect a country like Bolivia to have 5 WordCamps in one year before they propose a WordCamp Bolivia? Or 5 WordCamps for two years straight? And what if some of those 5 WordCamps lost money or had a lot of problems?

C) What kind of oversight and support should regional WordCamps expect?

These are probably mostly going to be larger-than-usual, flagship events. Some exceptions to our normal expectations are made for this type of event already, as can be seen in the cases of WordCamp US and WordCamp Europe, which are not casual events with lean operating budgets.

Should we set higher-than-usual standards for the organizing team? For example:

  1. Is it reasonable to ask all members of a regional WordCamp organizing team to take the deputy training course?
  2. Should we expect that all members of the organizing team be experienced WordCamp organizers?
  3. Should we recruit an experienced community deputy work closely with a regional team to help them model our best practices and stay focused on the event goals?
  4. Is it reasonable to ask the lead organizer of a regional WordCamp to make a monthly report on this blog?

D) What questions are missing?

If you have another doubt or consideration that isn’t covered here, please share it with the team by commenting on this post!

Now what?

If you have an opinion on these topics, please share them in a comment on this post. 🙂

Based on the discussions we have here and in the upcoming team meetings, I would like to see us create a new page or section of the WordCamp Organizer Handbook for Regional WordCamps, with some clear expectations for would-be organizers.

Let’s set ourselves a goal of spending a week on this discussion, closing it on Wednesday July 26. I’ll summarize the comments by the end of next week, with the goal of having the new handbook documentation published by August 4, 2017.

#deputies, #community-management, #wordcamps

Community Team Slack Channels

In August last year, we had a discussion about renaming our channels in Slack to be easier to find (

In that conversation, we eventually decided to rename the two existing channels and then monitor the need for additional channels after we were easier to find and clearly defined (

During this week’s community chats, the conversation resurfaced (, so it’s time to look at what we have been doing and what we can do differently.

Share your thoughts in the comments on this. Here are some starting prompts!

  • What is your understanding of The Problem we’re solving?
  • Which Sub-teams (not a term we currently use) are most active?

#community-management #deputies

Agenda for Community Team Chat May 4th

Our first set of meetings are as follow

Show up for whichever timezone fits you better 🙂

We have some topics that we did not manage to cover in last month’s meeting –

  • Roles & Responsibilities and naming conventions of groups within Community Team – e.g. Who’s WordCamp Central?
  • collaborate with the Polyglots on the Rosetta Outreach project.
  • have check-ins on the progress of the 2017 goals.
  • a discussion of whether we still need/want monthly reports
  • changing/modifying the language in the code of conduct to reflect gender expression

Please take note that because we have 2 meetings for 2 different timezones, twice per month (for a total of 4 meetings per month), we will have to work towards having some sort of synchronisation between the two time-zone delimited meetings. See and please contribute your thoughts towards it.

Please post in the comments if you have some agenda items to add!

#deputies, #agenda, #community-management #meetings


2017 Goals

Many people have an annual habit of thinking about what they have accomplished in the past year and what they would like to accomplish in the next year. Whether you have great ideas about streamlining deputy work or you’ve got a running list of updates you’d like in the documentation, this is the time to share!

Join in the conversation about what we want to see for the community (WordCamps, Meetups, et al) in 2017 by commenting below.

This is a brainstorming thread so all ideas are welcome; grouping and prioritizing will come next! Here is the 2016 goals post in case you want to check it out:
#community-management, #goals

Outreachy week 4: WordPress Meetup Organizer Training

The last week I was working with a newly created WordPress Meetup Organizer handbook. The training as it is now can be found here. As you can see, the pages were moved to the testing site and small quizzes were added. You are very welcome to try it out, and if you have any feedback regarding the way it works please feel free to let me know.

Some changes we will implement later are:

  • Replace the links to the handbook materials with the links to the equivalent training site materials – after it will be decided where exactly will this site be hosted,
  • Possibly expand the introduction and conclusion a bit.

Another alteration of the initial plan I didn’t mention last time is that we decided to have small quizzes after each lesson as opposed to larger quizzes in the end of each module, that is composed out of several lessons. The reasoning for that is that Sensei is designed in the way that if you want the “composed” quiz, all of the questions have to be linked to the module’s last lesson – which can become a disadvantage if you decide to move one of the lessons to another module or delete one of the lessons — the questions appended to this lessons will get orphaned and end up impeding the learning experience. On the other hand, having all questions based on the lesson’s content linked to exactly this lesson enables a more flexible, chunking and reuse-oriented structure.

Next week I’ll be working on questions for the WordPress deputy handbook-based training. And I will also get to go to WordCamp Europe, which I’m so excited about! I’m really looking forward to seeing community members in person and witnessing all the WordCamp glory and bonanza in real life, not just imagining it while reading the WordCamp organization-related materials. So please expect a full report about this trip next week 🙂 Also, at WordCamp Europe the WordCamp and Meetup organizer courses will be ready for testing on contributor day.

#community-management, #meetups-2, #outreachy, #training-workshops, #wordcamps

Outreachy week 3: Down the Questions Path

The last week we continued with WordCamp Organizer Handbook-based questions: the second half of the question pool was composed, reviewed and corrected by @andreamiddleton and moved to the testing site we’re working on for now.

This actually raised a couple of questions on the quiz settings:

  1. What should be the passmark percentage for the quizzes included in the course?
  2. Should a learner be able to see which questions she answered incorrectly?
  3. Should a learner be given any further specific feedback based on the option she chose?

For question #1 it was decided the passing rate for all of the quizzes would be 100% because it’s really important that deputies/WordCamp & meetup organizers have mastery over program materials. That might force the learner to read the lesson not once, but twice – but that way we will be sure the most important points were all covered and hopefully understood.

If some of the questions from the set are answered incorrectly, we will ask a learner to retake the quiz. Given that, I thought we should really make sure that it is clear for the learner in this case which of the questions are answered incorrectly (then she can read the lesson again paying attention to the details related to this question).  I recently had to pass a quiz myself where only the percentage of correct answers were shown, which made it hard to understand what was correct or not. It even involved some combinatorics. 🙂 The plugin we use, Sensei, unfortunately, does not allow retaking quizzes and displaying the questions answered incorrectly at the same time, so @hlashbrooke helped to add some custom functionality here. At the moment, the answer notes is pretty rough and displays overlapping text, but that’s something that we are going to remedy once we have all the content in place.

Regarding question #3, we toyed with the idea of having specific feedback to the questions options: i.e. when a learner selects a correct option there is something like “This is correct. <A rephrasing of the correct answer>”, and if not “No, this is not correct. <Explanation why not>”. The advantage of having feedback is that learner would get to understand better why they are wrong immediately, and not feel confused. There are also disadvantages: they won’t be likely to go and reread the text to try to understand why they are wrong, which may limit the understanding. And it actually turned out that with Sensei it’s only possible at the moment to have one feedback item shown no matter what the chosen option is. That lead us to leave feedback-related plans for now.

All in all, I think it’s a really nice compromise between keeping the main idea of what was originally planned and adjusting it to the way the e-learning plugin we use actually can do things.

Next week I’ll be working with @chanthaboune based on the new content added to the Meetup organizer handbook. The flow will be similar to the way the other two were/are being handled:

  • Create an outline based on the way materials will be organized
  • Move the handbook content to Sensei
  • Start creating questions

#community-management, #meetups-2, #outreachy, #training-workshops, #wordcamps

WordCamp Europe Contributor Day – Community Team Plans

With WordCamp Europe quickly coming up, I would like to do a call out for anyone coming to the Contributor Day and can lead one of the following groups/ sub groups to please comment below.

We have had p2 call out, a chat on Slack where we reviewed the p2 results and have grouped the following things as items for the Community team to concentrate on.

  1. Community Documentation

    This would include, but not limited to:

    • Internationalising the handbook as required to give better support for non North American events and/ or organisers whose primary language is not English.
    • Translating the WordCamp Organising Handbook into different languages (and to find at least 2 contributors per translation to subscribe them to the make/comm blog for updating changes)
    • Work on the Contributor Day handbook
    • Work on the Meet Up Handbook
    • Set up a single location for community team documentation such as flyers, wappus and any other material

    Call for community help:

    We need as many people as possible. People with any of the following will be great:

    • Anyone who likes reading
    • Experience in organising a WordCamp
    • Experience in organising a local meet up as part of the chapter program or as a independent
    • People who enjoy writing/ checking spelling mistakes/ grammar etc.

    Please have your own laptop for this.

  2. Organiser Orientations

    Note for WordCamp and Meet Up organisers:

    If you are thinking or have already submitted a meet up or WordCamp application, please let us know. We will try and do as many orientations as possible during the Contributor Day.

    Call for deputies help:

    We’ll need a minimum of 2 deputies :

    • Group orientations for people interested in moving their meet up group to the WordPress chapter account.
    • Group orientations for people interested in organizing a WordCamp, to give folks an idea of the process and what’s expected.
  3. Community Support Desk

    Note for WordCamp, Meet Up organisers and everyone in our Community:

    Have a question about organising a WordCamp, meet up, about the Chapter program or the community team?  Got an issue you would like help on? Have a issue or pain point when you are organising community events for your local community? We’re here to listen and help!

    This is where we invite every one from the community regardless of your background to find the help you need.

    Call for deputies help

    We did this last year and it was really beneficial. It also enabled local community organisers to share their pain points of working with the guidelines which you rarely hear them talk about otherwise.

    It would be good to have a minimum of two deputies on this roll at any given time.

  4. Community Deputy Training

    For those interested in becoming a community deputies and are mentoring WordCamp organisers.

    Call for new deputies:

    Please comment that you would like to be mentored at the WordCamp Europe Contributor Day.

If you do have any other ideas of things that you would like the Community to team to do during WordCamp Europe Contributor Day and it doesn’t fit into one of these groups, please let us know in the comments below.

#community-management, #events-2, #meetups-2, #training-workshops, #wceu-contributorday, #wordcamps

Outreachy week 2: Questions and questions

Which of the following was my main activity during the week 2 of Outreachy program?
A. Composing the outlines for the trainings for WordCamp Organizers and WordPress Deputies
B. Creating quiz questions for WordCamp Organizers training
C. Chilling at the beach and eating strawberries

And the correct answer is B! (You could probably tell. And we don’t even have a beach where I live.)

You may remember in my last post I mentioned I like writing questions for quizzes quite a lot. Here are some of the rules I use when composing them. But first, let’s mention the anatomy of the question.

When does it make sense to book an unusual venue for your WordCamp, such as a public aquarium? (question stem)
A. You want your WordCamp’s “underwater” theme to be truly memorable for the participants. (distractor)
B. Your connections through the meetup allow you to get the venue for free. (correct answer)
C. No other WordCamp has been held in an aquarium — you’ll make history! (distractor)
D. It is the only one that is available for the date you have in mind. (distractor)

Starting with the rules relating to the question stem:

  • Focus the questions solely on the material covered in the course. The goal here is to help the learners retain key material and assess how well they master it, not to make them feel stupid or trick them.
  • Try to keep the wording clean and simple. It’s annoying to have to read the question several times only to understand what’s being asked.
  • Follow the learning objective with your questions. It’s important to ask that people remember the exact answer only for the questions they absolutely need to know it according to the goal we have in the corresponding lesson. Otherwise, it’s better when they are encouraged to think.

Now, let’s discuss writing distractors:

  • Try to keep the options about the same length, or at least do not let the correct answer to be the only “long” option
  • Avoid ‘all of the above’ and ‘none of the above’. That can be really confusing, especially if the system you use will shuffle the options. If a question that has multiple correct answers is required, a multiple-response question is a better option.
  • The distractors must be plausible. If a learner can choose the correct answer right away just because none of the other options make any sense, that will not help the learning process much.

Some of these rules are harder to follow than others, but it’s important to try 🙂 You can take a look at the questions I have written so far here.

Next week I’ll be finalizing quiz questions for WordCamp Organizers training and transferring all of the content to the testing site we’re working on for now.

#community-management, #meetups-2, #outreachy, #training-workshops, #wordcamps

Swag Report 5/30/16 – 6/05/16

Lanyard 100 packs sent: 1

WordCamp Winnipeg:1

Button & sticker 200 packs sent: 1

WordCamp Winnipeg: 1

Button & sticker 100 packs sent: 1

Buea, Cameroon Meetup: 1

#community-management, #meetups-2, #swag, #wordcamps