WordCamp Incubator Program v2: input on a new role name and a call for volunteers

When we launched the experimental WordCamp Incubator program, we didn’t know what to expect. We hoped that after attending a 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. where there wasn’t already a WordPress chapter account 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, WordPress enthusiasts would be galvanized into forming a community that would sustain itself in the future. This certainly happened in two of the three communities that hosted incubator events in 2016. Plus, SIX communities that applied to be part of the program ended up organizing new WordCamps with the support of our amazing mentors!

New iteration, new challenge

In 2018, we’d like to launch a v2 of the WordCamp Incubator program, but we have an added challenge this time: finding people to support/co-lead/oversee each Incubator event.

In the first iteration of this program, we assigned 3 fully-sponsored volunteer staff to provide leadership and support to our incubator communities. But since the number of events and communities that the global community team supports continues to grow so quickly, our full-time sponsored volunteer staff is already fully committed for next year (and then some), mostly with maintenance projects. Therefore, we need to come up with another way to provide the support that made the incubator program successful in 2016.

The job

This is a time-intensive volunteer role. We estimate that lead organizers spend about 170 hours on a WordCamp, and I figure that the folks working to support the growth of an Incubator event needs to dedicate about 200-250 hours over the planning cycle. The job is that of co-organizer, mentor, and ambassador — since it’s probable that no one you’re working with has ever actually attended a WordCamp. You’re working as a community founder in a community that isn’t your own, which requires a lot of sensitivity, experience, and wisdom. The person absolutely must have experience organizing WordCamps, preferably more than one, as well as experience mentoring WordCamp organizers. Experience collaborating with people from other cultures is also very important.

What do we call this job?

Because this is such a distinctive role, I think that going forward, calling these folks “incubator mentors” isn’t a good idea. Mentorship is part of this job, but typically I think a mentor probably spends 1-4 hours a month working with their “mentee” WordCamp, whereas this role is more likely to require 25 hours a month. So! we need a new name for this program role. Here’s some very initial brainstorming that happened in Slack today.

1) Please comment below with your suggestions for a good name for this organizer-coach-midwife-counselor-guide role! I’m certain the right word is out there, just waiting to be found.

Where do we find these people?

My hope is that this challenging job will be an exciting opportunity for experienced WordCamp organizers that particularly enjoy the “start up” phase of the community, and who have successfully transitioned out of active leadership in their local community. (This is frequently “start a community from scratch” work, and the communities have to be self-sufficient at for the project to be effective.)

As mentioned above, this role is very time-intensive and high-touch. Not everyone can commit 250 hours in a year to a volunteer role, and I suspect that we may need to lean on volunteers who might be sponsored part-time to work on the incubator program. Maybe we could even help interested volunteers pitch their companies on sponsoring a certain number of hours a week to work on an incubator event.

Alternately, perhaps a team of 5-6 people would be interested in working with multiple incubator communities over a period of a year, and share some of the workload. (This makes me a little nervous, because sometimes when everyone is in charge, it means no one takes responsibility, but maybe there could be a rotating lead position on that team?) I’m open to suggestions.

2) Do you have some ideas of ways we could recruit people to take on this work and ensure their success? Please share your ideas in a comment on this post!

3) Interested in this role for 2018? Please also comment on this post to let us know!

Next steps

Once we figure out A) a name for this incubator-mentor-guide-organizer role and, B) a solid plan for recruiting enough incubator-mentor-guide-organizers to support a v2 of the Incubator program, then we can open up a call for communities who’d like to be considered as sites for a 2018 incubator WordCamp.

I’d like to set us a goal of completing our discussion by October 6, with an eye to publishing the results by October 11, and maybe we can even make the call for incubator communities by October 16.

 

#community-mentors, #incubator, #wordcamps

Support for Community Team Mentors

According to @brandondove‘s excellent mentorship program report at today’s meeting, we have 27 deputies volunteering as mentors in total, with 19 people actively mentoring WordCamps. We hope to have a crowd of new deputies join the ranks once we launch the new deputy training materials early this year.

Both now and in the future, it’s been suggested that deputies could benefit from more peer support and communication with other deputies. Some suggestions for ways to put deputies more closely in touch with each other have included:

  • weekly meetings in #community-team 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/.
  • mentor hangouts
  • a private slack channel for deputies on wordpress.orgWordPress.org 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. https://wordpress.org/ slack
  • a public #community-mentors channel on wordpress.org slack
  • DM groups on wordpress.org slack

Do you have a suggestion, preference, comment, or concern? Let’s discuss!

Community Team Slack Channels

Hi all,

I want to propose that we rename #outreach to #community-team and follow CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. and 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. in their sub team channel naming convention which for the Community team would be #community-usage.

For example, the events room would be renamed to #community-events. The way 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/. works means that any channel name changes will not effect or kick anyone out of any room they are currently a part of, just that they will see the name has changed.

Part of the reason why is because many people who are looking for the community team do not look or realise we are in #outreach. This includes a core committer who i would label as an advance Slack user. In fact, when I told them the community team uses #outreach for our community channel their response was

Oh, that’s what that channel is
Weird
I’d expect #community and #community-usage
#events I can see potentially being different
But #outreach I always thought was like for engagement with the wider community
Kinda like #marketing

They also pointed out that when searching for a channel, people automatically search for community and get a response of No match found. Did you spell it correctly?

Screenshot of the result when you type Community into the Slack channel search. It responds with No match found. Did you spell it correctly?

I have also noticed that the #outreach gets messages regarding people doing outreach for their products. Although not often, the mistake is understandable considering what the channel is called. Back when WordPress.orgWordPress.org 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. https://wordpress.org/ took to Slack, we were called #community – but many people thought it was a water-cooler location for anyone to have a natter. This was the reasoning behind the switch to #outreach. Instead, I would like to propose we call it #community-team which makes it clear that the channel is for the Community team.

The other reason why I would like to propose these changes is because I’ve been trying to get into updating the handbook, but it’s a really boring process to do on your own and talking about it in #events or #outreach, the conversation gets lost in all the other conversations that are happening in there.

I think that the Core team and the Meta team’s use of #team-thing has meant that conversations are kept focused on the channel topic. It allows for people to only follow conversations that they are interested in and helps with the timezone issue where we have people across the world wanting to follow one particular topic.

At a minimum i can in vision the following channels

It could be extended to – if people feel like it could be helpful to 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 #community-mentors – a support location for people mentoring WordCamps in a similar vein to the forum support for the moderators.

And later maybe #community-deputies – a support location for people who are doing deputy work in a similar vein to #community-mentors. It would also give a clearer view of what it is that deputies do for anyone wanting to join the deputy program as they can see the things deputies discuss and talk about.

All these channels will still be accessible to everyone so there is no issue with transparency.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this.

Jenny

#deputies