Deputy Discussions: Raising Concerns and Resolving Issues

We have more deputies on the Global Community Team than ever before, which is so fantastic! And of course, when any group welcomes new members, people start to notice where behavior and communication norms were assumed, rather than explained.

In this post I’ll outline some of the communication paths within the Deputy group that may have only been assumed in the past. Hopefully this will help deputies feel confident when addressing problems that might arise during their work with local community organizers or other deputies.

They say “when you see something, say something…” but to whom? And how?

There’s a lot of work being done on the Global Community Team, and no wonder — there are more WordPress meetups and WordCamps than ever! Luckily, we’ve got more and more deputies involved to help train and support community organizers.

We’re all human, though, and we all make mistakes. Plus, community admin work includes a number of subjective decisions. If you notice that another deputy missed a possible issue when vetting an application, or you happen to notice a community grant is surprisingly low, etc., don’t just shrug and keep on going — check in!  Here’s how:

First, check in directly with the person who did the work. On this team, we strive to ask questions first, in an effort to understand why something happened in a certain way. (This is a great way to find out if your assumptions are correct! Sometimes they’re not!)

Once you’ve gathered additional context, if you think someone made a mistake — or you disagree with their decision — remember to deliver that feedback courteously. Critical feedback is shared with the intent to help your teammate avoid making a mistake again in the future, and should be carefully phrased to avoid hurt feelings.

I encourage everyone on this team to follow a call-in approach, rather than a call-out approach. Over the years, I’ve found it’s more effective to give my fellow contributors a chance to answer questions and correct mistakes by communicating directly and cooperatively.

Whenever possible, avoid the call-out approach with members of the local communities that you’re advising/supporting. If you’ve approached a local community organizer to raise a concern and your feedback didn’t have the result you expected, it’s not appropriate to complain about (or to) the organizer(s) in a public space. Your best next step is to ask another deputy for help in conveying your message more effectively or strategizing another approach.

I checked in with someone, and we just don’t agree. Now what?

We’re a big team! People take on this deputy role because they are passionate about the way WordPress community is built. Lots of strong opinions around can lead to differences of opinion, and that’s okay.

If you have a difference of opinion with another deputy that you haven’t been able to work through directly with that person, the next step is to reach out to another member of the team for advice and feedback. If you’re part of a deputy mentorship group, reach out to your mentor and get their opinion. If you don’t agree with your mentor, here are other highly experienced deputies you can contact for advice, a second opinion, or to raise a concern with:

@francina, @hlashbrooke, @kcristiano, @camikaos, @bph, @_dorsvenabili, @andreamiddleton

I just don’t like the decision that the team has agreed on. What should I do?

Pretty much everyone on the global community team, including me, disagrees with a few team practices or past decisions. If you’re really struggling with a situation and don’t feel that you’re getting anywhere after talking to other deputies — including multiple people on the above list — then… you’re probably pretty upset, and having a hard time. At this point, it’s time for a few reminders, and then a few questions.

Reminders:

  1. This isn’t emergency work.
  2. No one is perfect.
  3. It’s hard for any one person to know all our expectations and best practices.
  4. Everyone is trying to do what’s best for WordPress (even when we don’t agree on what that is).  

And those questions:

  1. Does the outcome of this decision have an effect on the well-being of participants? And will the outcome be noticeable to attendees in particular?
  2. What is my ultimate goal?
  3. Is there a fundamental conflict between my personal values or goals, and the expectations for my contributor role?
  4. Can I “disagree and commit” here, or do I need to step away from this role*? (Is this issue/problem so important to me that I can’t continue to work cooperatively on this team because of this decision?)  

*It’s always ok to take a break from contributor work for a short or long time, for any reason. If you need to step away from a role in which a lot of people depend on you, for any reason other than an emergency, please give the team as much notice as possible so your responsibilities can be handed off gracefully.  

Feedback

What do you think?

  1. Did I accurately describe the way people on this team aspire to communicate about and resolve conflicts or concerns, or did I miss something?
  2. Are there any steps or expectations here that you think are confusing, unnecessary, or unwise?
#deputies

2019 Deputy Program Goals

Community Deputies are a team of people all over the world who review 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. and 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. applications, interview lead organizers, and generally keep things moving at 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 make sure that new and returning organizers are not overworking themselves, still are following the code of conduct, and generally are making positive contributions to the open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. project.

Community Deputy Handbook

The Deputy Program and all of our committed deputies continue to be a valuable part of our team by keeping the wheels turning and making sure that we are up to date with processing applications, assisting community organisers, and generally making sure we don’t fall behind in our work.

In order to further the work of the Deputy Program and to ensure that it remains sustainable as time goes on, it would be helpful to put together a few goals and implement a few new ideas. These are designed to keep the program fresh, encourage deputy retention, increase deputy skills, and grow our deputy team.

So, first off, here are a few new program ideas that we can implement:

Deputy Mentors

Each deputy mentor would have a group of deputies assigned to them personally and it would be up to the mentor to assist and check-in with their mentees regularly. This would involve helping the deputies with the work they are doing, finding out how they’re enjoying it, making sure they are aware of the latest updates, and training them in additional deputy tasks.

Improved Deputy Documentation

The deputy handbook is great, but some of the most basic information is quite well hidden. This is partly a shortcoming of the handbook structure all across the Make network, but we can definitely improve things to give more high-level summaries of significant areas.

Improved Training Processes

Our current training process takes the form of an online course – this works well for disseminating information and making sure that new deputies have all the information they need. The issue is that it takes a long time to go through the answers submitted by each new deputy to make sure they understood everything correctly. It feels like the best way to improve the deputy training course is to edit all the quizzes to be multiple choice questions (so that they can be graded automatically and a 100% pass is required to move on to the next one), but then have a single quiz at the end that includes a number of long-form questions that require longer answers. This means that grading the course would only require manually doing it for a single quiz for each deputy – this would drastically cut down the time it would take to check these answers.

Editing the quizzes to achieve this will be a bit of work here, but it will be worthwhile in the long run. At the end of the training, deputies will be assigned to a mentor who will have their final orientation call and help them remain connected to the program.

Active Deputy Recruitment

This would involve actively approaching people to become deputies (WordCamp lead organisers being a good starting point of course). We can do this on 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/. and this P2P2 P2 or O2 is the term people use to refer to the Make WordPress blog. It can be found at https://make.wordpress.org/., but also in person at WordCamps and meetup events.


If we follow through on these items effectively, we will have more deputies, retain individual deputies for longer, and provide everyone with increasing responsibility to work on more impactful tasks. All of which will work towards the goal of giving deputies a greater sense of belonging within the Community Team.

In addition to those items, here are four measurable goals that we can work towards for the end of Q2 2019. These will all be made possible by working on the four items outlined above:

  • 35 active deputies (we currently have 21)
  • 10 deputy mentors
  • 50% of deputies actively running meetup orientations
  • 25% of deputies actively working with WordCamps (including vetting and orientations)

So what do you think? Do you like the ideas outlined above? Have any others worth adding? Do the stated goals seem realistic and attainable?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

#deputies

Discussion: should Community Self-Training be mandatory?

Hello team!

In the past three years I have been part of different community events and lately I have found that some people involved aren’t very aware of the guidelines we set in our program.

This could happen in a number of cases

  1. 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. organisers who are not the lead, so they don’t go through the handbook, because they expect the lead to read it and provide answers
  2. 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. organisers that joined after the initial orientation, held only with the main organiser from a group
  3. In general, people that are doing awesome work in their local community (Meetups, Contributor Days, Hackatons, etc…) without being aware of the Community team resources
  4. Deputies that were inactive for a while

In the Meetup case (2) I think it might be enough for the team member that went through orientation to give the orientation to the new members every time someone else comes on board.

I wonder if the self-training should be made mandatory for the othe cases.

Pros

Everyone is on the same page

Cons

We don’t have many people grading the quizzes

What do you think?

Deadline to comment is May 18 so we can discuss this during the next two Community chats.

#deputies, #training

Call for WordCamp Mentors!

Last year 127 WordCamps took place all around the world! Thanks in large part to a rapidly growing 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. program we’re on track for even more WordCamps in 2018.

As the program continues to grow we need to find new ways to give 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. organizers the support they need to make these events great. With that in mind we’re hoping to grow the number of community members supporting WordCamps by scaling up our WordCamp Mentorship program.

Are you an experienced WordCamp lead organizer or former lead organizer? Are you looking for a way to continue or further your support of folks in the WordPress community and help improve the WordCamp experience for organizers and attendees? Do you have 2-3 hours a month to share with WordCamp organizers?

If so we sure could use your help as a WordCamp mentor!

Requirements to be a mentor:

  • You’ve been the lead organizer of a WordCamp from application through completion of the event in the last 5 years.
  • You have 2-3 hours available per month per event you’re actively mentoring

Requirements of a mentor:

  • Meet bi-weekly with your assigned organizer to advise them, remind them about things organizers frequently forget, and to keep them on track in planning.
  • Be the organizing 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..
  • Post about your mentorship check-ins on weekly Make/Community updates post.

If this all sounds like something you’re ready, willing, and able to take on then let’s get you started in three easy steps:

  1. Complete the mentor self-training (should take 30-60 minutes): https://community-self-training.mystagingwebsite.com/course/wordcamp-mentor-training/
  2. Fill out the Mentor Application contact form at the bottom of the WordCamp Mentorship handbook page: https://make.wordpress.org/community/handbook/community-deputy/wordcamp-program-basics/mentoring-wordcamps/
  3. We’ll reach out to you to let you know when the next mentor orientation calls are being held so you can sign up for the time that works best for you!

If you know someone who’d be a great WordCamp mentor please send them our way! Have any questions, please let us know in the comments.

#deputies, #mentorship

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

Weekly Deputy Report: 16 – 22 February 2018

The stats for this report are taken from the weekly Help Scout reports and, as such, only reflect the activity inside Help Scout. While this covers the majority of our community work and interaction, it excludes a few things: most 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. mentorship discussions, all WordCamp application processing, and any interactions 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/. (Office Hours, general chatter, answering questions, etc.) – those are all handled on other platforms.

Here are the stats for this past week (16 – 22 February 2018):

This week we sent 135 emails and helped 86 individuals. Of those, 58 of the tickets were successfully resolved.

The deputies who handled those tickets in Help Scout this week are:

@camikaos
@courtneypk
@_dorsvenabili
@psykro
@hlashbrooke
@remediosgraphic
@andreamiddleton
@00sleepy
@yaycheryl
@chanthaboune
@iandunn

A huge thank you to all of these individuals for their hard work in supporting the WordPress community this week!

#deputies #report

Handling secure access for inactive deputies

We’ve been checking in with most of our deputies over the past month or so and, while many of you are able to continue donating your time to the Community Team, there are some deputies who are not able to do so anymore. This is entirely understandable of course, as we’re all volunteers here, but it leaves us with the question of how to handle inactive deputies.

Right now, deputies have access to our central Help Scout instance where all community support is handled and most deputies also have author or editor access to this P2P2 P2 or O2 is the term people use to refer to the Make WordPress blog. It can be found at https://make.wordpress.org/.. To that end, we have a few options for how we can handle this kind of access for individuals that are not actively involved for the moment:

  1. Leave everyone in their current state with full access to Help Scout and whatever user role they have on this P2.
  2. Remove inactive deputies from the “WordPress Community Team” inbox in Help Scout, and demote them on this P2. This will mean they are still a user on Help Scout, but they can’t access anything, which makes it easy to reactivate them in the future with very little friction – it should also preserve their interaction history in Help Scout.
  3. Completely delete inactive deputies from Help Scout, and demote them on this P2. This will mean reactivating them on Help Scout in the future would be like starting all over again and we will most likely lose their interaction history in Help Scout.

Option #2 seems like the best bet to me, for security and accountability purposes, but a case could be made for either of the other options. Please comment here with what you think would be the best way to manage things going forward – if you have any different ideas, please share those as well.

This discussion will remain open for 1 week – until Friday, 2 March at 12:00 UTC – then we will wrap it up and go forward with the best option.

#deputies

Closing Deprecated WPCS Bank Account

In May of 2017 WordPress Community Support, PBC opened a new bank account to receive sponsorship payments via international wire and US direct deposit. The change was made to address some fraudulent issues with the WPCS bank account in use at that time.

By June of 2017 we had updated the 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. handbook page that addresses sponsorship payments and also updated payment instructions on all outgoing invoices. Initially we committed to keeping the old account open until September of 2017 to allow for invoices with the deprecated account information to be paid. But time marched on, the account remained open, and a few sponsors continued to send sponsor payments to the old account as the information had been saved in their system.

As of March 15, 2018 we will be closing the old account. We will reach out to all existing sponsors who have continued to use that account to make them aware that their payment information must be updated and ensure they have up to date payment instructions.

If you have any questions please comment below.

#deputies
#finances

Weekly Deputy Report: 2 – 8 February 2018

The stats for this report are taken from the weekly Help Scout reports and, as such, only reflect the activity inside Help Scout. While this covers the majority of our community work and interaction, it excludes a few things: most 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. mentorship discussions, all WordCamp application processing, and any interactions 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/. (Office Hours, general chatter, answering questions, etc.) – those are all handled on other platforms.

Here are the stats for this past week (2 – 8 February 2018):

This week we sent 112 emails and helped 67 individuals. Of those, 50 of the tickets were successfully resolved.

The deputies who handled those tickets in Help Scout this week are:

@camikaos
@courtneypk
@_dorsvenabili
@remediosgraphic
@chanthaboune
@hlashbrooke
@andreamiddleton
@yaycheryl
@iandunn
@sheriebeth
@kdrewien

A huge thank you to all of these individuals for their hard work in supporting the WordPress community this week!

#deputies #report

Weekly Deputy Report: 12 – 18 January 2018

Hey folks!

We’re back with the weekly deputy reports in 2018 now – looking forward to reporting on all the great work that our deputies do on a regular basis.

The stats for this report are taken from the weekly Help Scout reports and, as such, only reflect the activity inside Help Scout. While this covers the majority of our community work and interaction, it excludes a few things: most 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. mentorship discussions, all WordCamp application processing, and any interactions 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/. (Office Hours, general chatter, answering questions, etc.) – those are all handled on other platforms.

Here are the stats for this past week (12 – 18 January 2018):

This week we sent 146 emails and helped 98 individuals. Of those, 70 of the tickets were successfully resolved.

The deputies who handled those tickets in Help Scout this week are:

@courtneypk
@camikaos
@_dorsvenabili
@hlashbrooke
@bph
@kcristiano
@chanthaboune
@coreymckrill
@andreamiddleton
@iandunn

A huge thank you to all of these individuals for their hard work in supporting the WordPress community this week!

#deputies #report