Discussion: Pro/paid Zoom accounts for Online Meetups

In April 2020, WordPress Community Support (WPCS) began offering the use of Pro accounts on Zoom for special events, such as the Diverse Speaker Training workshop, do_action charity hackathons, or Contributor Days. These accounts are also offered to WordCamps that need them.

For regular chapter meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. events, the Community Team has been recommending the use of free tools, and still recommend the use of these free tools as much as possible. However, I would like to explore the idea of offering the use of these Pro Zoom accounts to WordPress chapter meetup organizers.

When I brought this topic up in the Community Team chat last week, it sparked a lot of discussion, and I’d like to continue that conversation here!

  • While the current process has been working fairly well with special events, it doesn’t seem like it will scale if it is opened up to all meetup groups. What parts of this process can be improved upon and automated?
    • @brandondove asked if we can leverage the Zoom dev APIs to make this a self-service process. What do the devs amongst us think?
  • When we previously discussed community Zoom accounts, a concern that came up was how to handle password management.
    • I have been trying out 1Password Teams for the past month, which I think it would work well for any trusted deputy to be able to manage the passwords (and therefore not dependent on a small group of deputies). 1Password has offered us a non-profit discount after the free trial.
  • @tacoverdo asked a great question: Why do we need Zoom for this? Are there free/open alternatives that don’t require password sharing tools?

Let’s hear what you think!

Mentioning @sippis @jenniferswisher @kcristiano @camikaos as you all participated in the discussion in SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/.. But this discussion is open for everyone’s feedback! 🙂

#meetups, #online-events, #community-management

Tuesday Trainings: How to be an excellent discussion group leader

The Community Team is exploring a new way of connecting the WordPress community through recorded workshops and live, online discussion groups. In fact, you may have seen posts on the Community Blog lately, calling for Learn WordPress workshop presenters, reviewers, and discussion group leaders. These are all important roles in helping the WordPress community connect and learn from each other.

Today, we want to focus on the crucial role of discussion group leaders, and how they help communities grow and learn from each other. Similar to being a meetup group organizer, anyone can be a discussion group leader! 

What do discussion group leaders do?

Discussion group leaders bring everyone together by scheduling synchronous discussion times. When it is time to meet, they introduce the topic, and help facilitate the discussion. Questions that can be used for starting off the discussion will have been provided by workshop presenters. If the discussion strays too far from the original topic, discussion group leaders refocus the conversation. When conversations stall, a discussion group leader can ask a question to restart the discussion. 

Another important role of the discussion group leaders is to make sure everyone gets an opportunity to be heard. They keep an eye out for quieter participants who may want to speak, and help them feel comfortable in doing so. Similarly, discussion group leaders remind all group members to be mindful of time, so that the discussion isn’t solely held by one or just a few voices. 

What resources are available to you?

Discussion group leaders have an advantage in that they get to select the workshops for discussion! Each workshop will come with learning objectives, which can help viewers quickly understand what the workshop is about, and what the workshop presenter hopes you will learn from watching the video. Workshops will also come with some comprehension questions created by the workshop presenter. These questions are a great way to start a discussion!

Another resource could be other members of your discussion group. Even if you come to your group prepared with lots of questions and points for discussion, another participant might also have some excellent questions and discussion topics related to the workshop. Multiple perspectives will help all discussion group participants better understand the workshop material. 

Discussion Group Formats

The goal of discussion groups is to add community and interactivity back into the experience of watching workshops online. We want to create a supportive, safe space where people can connect and learn together and from each other. Because of this, discussion groups can take many different forms, and we invite you to be creative! Here are a few ideas:

  • Use Ice breakers or activities to learn about each other & create a sense of community.
  • Use the comprehension questions as a way to guide your discussion.
  • Invite everyone to share what they learned from watching the workshop.
  • Invite everyone to share any follow up questions that came up. Then, everyone can help answer each other’s questions!
  • Invite people to share how they will apply their newfound knowledge from the workshop.

The format of your discussion group isn’t limited to just one style. Get creative! Depending on the size, make up, and preferences of your discussion group, you may provide a variety of formats to help engage all kinds of learners. Don’t forget to review this handbook page which includes helpful tips and suggestions for online event hosting tools. 

Let’s brainstorm some of those possible styles now. What ideas for discussion groups do you have? Please share them in the comments below, along with any other tips for discussion group leaders!

Want to become a discussion group leader? Great! You can either start one as an organizer of your meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. group, or apply here

#tuesdaytrainings
#community-management #learn-wordpress

2020 WordCamps stalled in pre-planning

In a normal year we see a number of events that stall in the pre-planning phase and just kind of fizzle out. The number of those events stuck in pre-planning seem higher than ever due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ask: Deputies will you please update this list of events in pre-planning that have been stalled long enough to require us to check in on their plans to to give us a better idea of which events are cancelled and which will be shifting to an online only event?

Some of these events may already have discussed cancelling or moving online and we’ve had conversations with them but haven’t received their final decision. Some of them may just not have been updated in Central.WordCamp.org. Either way let’s make sure we have the most up to date information so we have an accurate look at what could be coming in the next 6 months.

Through the end of the weekend please select events with which you have already worked and been in contact. After we’ve all had a chance to select events we’ve worked with we can divided up the remainder to reach out to starting Monday.

If you’re an organizer whose event has been stalled in preplanning, please feel free to update us on the status of your event.

The linked document should be viewable by everyone with the link and several deputies have already been granted access. If you require access please let me know in the comments.

Thanks so much!

#wordcamps #community-management #deputies

Tuesday Trainings: Encouraging Diversity in Meetups and WordCamps

For this #trainingtuesday, I’m joined by @alliennimmons, @jillbinder, @khleomix, and @mariaojob in a panel discussion on how we can better encourage and support diversity in Meetups and WordCamps, and in the broader WordPress community. Watch and learn with us, and continue the important conversation on diversity and inclusion in WordPress!

Participants in this panel also referenced a few resources that they hope you will find useful when it comes to thinking about and supporting diversity in your WordPress community.

Transcript available here.

Looking for more great Trainings?

@jillbinder has some great content coming up soon!

Meetups: Would you like to have more diverse representation in the speakers at your online (and when it’s available again, in-person) meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. events? On July 18, we will teach you how to facilitate the workshop that gives your underrepresented community members the motivation, confidence, and tools we need to start: tiny.cc/wpdiversity 

#community-management, #diversity, #tuesdaytrainings

Tuesday Trainings: Signup for the Conflict De-escalation Workshop

This coming Tuesday will be a new first for the Tuesday Trainings series, a live workshop. It’s my intent to bring a variety of formats to this series, and next week is where we start to Experiment. Please join @andreamiddleton who will be teaching a 1 hour class on conflict de-escalation.

About the conflict de-escalation workshop Have you ever found yourself in an argument with someone on the internet, and wondered how to get out? Are you interested in reducing the intensity of the conflict that crops up among people on your team or in your circles? Come to this session for a better understanding of conflict and how it intensifies, plus a step-by-step guide for responding strategically to de-escalate conflict in text communication.

The workshop will happen over video chat at 9am PST (4pm UTC). If you’d like to be a part of the online event please respond in comments. You can expect a calendar invite and an email reminder on Monday with more information on joining the call.

#tuesdaytrainings #community-management

Proposal to Simplify Training for WordCamp Mentors

We currently have 27 folks listed internally as “active” 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. 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 CentralWordCamp Central Website for all WordCamp activities globally. https://central.wordcamp.org includes a list of upcoming and past camp with links to each.. 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 central.wordcamp.org 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 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..

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 meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. 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 (https://make.wordpress.org/community/2016/08/05/community-team-slack-channels/).

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 (https://make.wordpress.org/community/2016/08/05/community-team-slack-channels/#comment-22449).

During this week’s community chats, the conversation resurfaced (https://make.wordpress.org/community/2017/05/25/agenda-for-community-team-chat-june-1st/#comment-23583), 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 CentralWordCamp Central Website for all WordCamp activities globally. https://central.wordcamp.org includes a list of upcoming and past camp with links to each.?
  • 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 https://make.wordpress.org/community/2017/04/23/bi-monthly-meetings/ 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

#meeting

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: https://make.wordpress.org/community/2015/12/22/2016-goals/
#community-management, #goals