Current challenges of WordPress Events. Shaping the future

In the Big Picture Goals 2024 post, Josepha called on the WordPress community to focus our energy on attracting new users to WordPress. Historically, our MeetupsMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook., WordCamps, and Flagship WordCamps have been instrumental in bringing in new WordPressers by fostering connections, sharing knowledge, and encouraging them to contribute. However, the Events program has seen significant challenges bringing new users and new attendees in recent years due to many factors. To that end, this conversation aims to examine the events program’s current state and explore what changes attract fresh users to the WordPress Project.

The Current State and Challenges

In recent years, the Community Team has revitalized the events program by encouraging experimentation and fresh event formats through Next Generation WordPress Events. However, the statistics show that while the number of events has increased significantly during our re-engagement project, the number of new attendees has also declined.

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./WP Events201620172018201920202021202220232024
Num. Events1071261441443419267022*
Unique attendees33,90738,26440,93641,69732,8305,582*11,08822,6376,425*
Tickets sold46,79453,04856,23457,89240,93920,93013,14926,0909,821*
First timerN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A4975*2,576*
*Partial numbers because we started tracking this in the middle of the year, the year has not finished, or due to other technical issues

Meetups201620172018201920202021202220232024
New groups12711811390399357214
New members136,192107,45571,28036,14320,0193,8125,5327,2995,240*
Events hosted3,7034,6775,8945,9614,5073,1783,1233,8891,464*
RSVPs72,043103,915135,524127,502116,04670,85368,97177,24627,824*
*Partial numbers because we started tracking this in the middle of the year, the year has not finished, or due to other technical issues

Adding to this decline in new attendees, the Global Community TeamGlobal Community Team A group of community organizers and contributors who collaborate on local events about WordPress — monthly WordPress meetups and/or annual conferences called WordCamps. routinely hears the following from event participants:

  • While innovative events, like WordPress School Day and WordPress Web Challenge, have been held, most WordPress events still follow the same “one size fits all” strategy. The pandemic has altered people’s behaviors about in-person events, attendees want clear purpose and distinction in event formats and types that deliver value towards meeting their goals.
  • Organizer burnout has become increasingly prevalent. Organizing large events is an immense and time-consuming challenge. 
  • Sponsorship for events is increasingly challenging to raise, despite an increasing demand. Also, there needs to be clear value or additional benefit to sponsors.

While this may sound worrisome, never fear! WordPress community members still report enjoying the experience of participating in WordPress events, and there is a strong desire to continue having them. However, change is necessary to sustainably support organizers and sponsors, to meet users where they are, and to ensure that participation in events is purposeful and conducive to achieving personal and collective goals.

Let’s Discuss!

Addressing these challenges will require collective effort and input from the entire WordPress community. Our events program has immense, untapped potential to attract attendees and bolster WordPress’ visibility. Here are a few questions to inspire some thoughts, but feel free to share whatever comes to mind!

  1. What motivated you to attend your first WordPress event? What were you hoping to gain or experience?
  2. If you’ve organized an event in the past couple of years, what relevant feedback have you heard from new to WordPress attendees?
  3. What unique value or benefit do you find at other non-WordPress events that you think could bring value to our WordPress events? (for attendees, organizers, and sponsors)
  4. What type of new event or content do you think would be great for attracting and keeping new WordPress users (of any level) to WordPress events?

We encourage you to discuss and share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences in the comments below before June 28, 2024. Your feedback will be invaluable as we work together to shape a bright future of WordPress events for our global community.

Thanks to @chanthaboune @angelasjin @nao @juliarosia @devinmaeztri @courtneypk @sarahglenn @harmonyromo @peiraisotta @kcristiano @monchomad @unintended8 @samsuresh @nukaga @chaion07 @mpc @patricia70 for helping with this post

#2024-goals, #challenges, #discussion

Should We Allow Sponsor Demo Rooms or Tracks at Events?

The discussion at WCUSWCUS WordCamp US. The US flagship WordCamp event. contributor dayContributor Day Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of https://make.wordpress.org/ There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. https://2017.us.wordcamp.org/contributor-day/ https://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/getting-started/getting-started-at-a-contributor-day/. sparked conversation around new opportunities events could possibly offer to sponsors. One of them was a place to better explain or showcase their products. 

Today, 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. proposed this idea in the form of a Sponsor Demo room or track.

In short, sponsors would be given the option to present information of their choosing in the Sponsor Demo room or track. The event would be responsible for highlighting to attendees that this is sponsor-driven content that could include sales pitches. 

What do we think of this idea?

If we like the idea, here are a few questions that quickly come to mind. 

  • How would an event offer it to sponsors?
    • Could it be a stand alone option?
    • Would it need to be part of a package? 
    • Could it be an add on to a package?
  • Should we call it a track or a room to differentiate it from the Speaker Track?

Please leave any additional questions below as well as any feedback or comments.

#discussion, #events-2, #sponsorship, #wordcamps

Idea generation: Next Gen WordCamps!

Earlier this month, a post proposed an updated purpose and experimentation for WordCamps. The Community Team is eager to see what this creative community wants to see!

In entering this very experimental phase, organizers are encouraged to propose new event formats and topics that match a proposed, updated purpose:

WordPress events spark innovation and adoption by way of accessible training and networking for users, builders, designers, and extenders. We celebrate community by accelerating 21st-century skills, professional opportunities, and partnerships for WordPressers of today and tomorrow.

The WordPress community also holds certain expectations and values, such as lowering barriers to participation, celebrating the community as a whole instead of any one business or individual, and supporting diversity and inclusion. The Community Team would like to support innovative event ideas that align with the new purpose and our WordPress community values. 

As a reminder, all currently scheduled WordCamps will continue to be supported. While the Community Team encourages organizers to try new ideas, we will also continue to support WordCamps in all forms. 

To help spark some new ideas, here are some interesting event formats we could try!

  • Content topic focused (designers, blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. development, SEO, etc)
  • Identity-based (women, castes, BIPOC, Latinx, LGBTQI+, tribes, age, etc)
  • “Eco” 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. (no swag, smaller, more frequent, more sustainable)
  • ​​WP expertise level (beginners, intermediate, advanced)
  • Focused activity (training, recruiting, networking, contributing, conferencing, etc)
  • Job status focused (students, fresh graduates, job seekers, freelancers, business owners, etc)

Your turn: what Next Gen WordCamp do you want to see?

Share your ideas in the comments below! Whether they are fully conceptualized or just initial thoughts, let’s hear what kind of ideas you have for Next Gen WordCamps. Think outside the box and forget about the handbooks for a moment.

What would be the most beneficial for your WordPress experience? What do you want to learn? What do you want next for your WordPress community and career? What would be the most memorable experience? What would propel WordPress events into the future?

If you already have a specific idea in mind and you would like to give it a try, use this form to apply to organize an innovative WordPress events, and we’ll get back to you to discuss how we can support you in making it happen!

Don’t miss tomorrow’s Community Team discussion: The Next Generation of WordCamps: everyone is invited to share their thoughts and envision the future of these events.

Additionally, keep an eye out for upcoming conversations about the necessary tools for the Next Gen events, and talking points for facilitating new event brainstorm sessions with your local communities!

#discussion, #ideas, #next-gen-events, #wordcamps

Return to In-Person Events: Blue Sky Thinking

When we come together we step outside of our comfort zones and regular thinking and open ourselves to new, innovative ideas. When you’re gathered together, away from the distractions of regular life, your mind opens and creativity flows.

While there was lots of innovation around online events, COVID stopped in person events in its tracks, but that seems to be changing.

This post gives us a place to share ideas on how we can support organizers who are trying to restart in-person events in their communities.

What is Blue Sky Thinking?

Blue Sky Thinking is just another way to say “brainstorming”. The idea is simply that the sky is the limit to any ideas you might have to share. Even if it seems unachievable now, who knows when the right pieces might exist to make it possible.

So, for our purposes here, share your ideas below with kindness and compassion as your only limits.

The Goals of This Exercise

We have three goals to meet in this exercise:

  • support organizers as they navigate COVID concerns
  • help attendees feel safe and comfortable
  • offer resources and options that make being together at in person events exciting and interesting

If we don’t meet the first two, then the community is unlikely to use our ideas.

Why? The people we’re trying to bring with us have changed. This article from Andrea Middleton dives into that a little more.

The Organizers We’re Helping

As people, we’ve been through a lot. We’ve all made some painful choices and worked extra hard just to manage what used to be simple tasks. We’re tired and we’re more cautious than ever.

If we’re feeling that way in general, how much harder must it be for those organizing and attending events?

However, if our organizers feel supported and our attendees feel safe, they’ll more readily embrace ideas we’ve laid out for them to implement.

There’s a very good chance this could be achieved by continuing to clearly state our COVID guidelines and how we help organizers implement them, as well as easy to access channels for both organizers and attendees to ask questions.

It’s Time for Your Ideas to Reactivate In-Person Events

Once people are more comfortable being together, we can move one step further and help make organizing events a little easier.

Fortunately for us, WordPress has been far from idle in the pandemic. New programs like Learn and the Photo Directory have been launched, just to name a few. Along with what’s new, there are also some resources that are still relatively unknown to the community like the do_action events.

These new and existing resources could be used to help ease the weight of planning and streamline a return to events with less additional effort on our part.

But let’s not stop there!

Through brainstorming, we can look at the resources we have with new eyes, and possibly even use them as a prompt for more ideas. Who knows where your creativity and unique perspectives can take us!

This is Blue Sky Thinking after all. Don’t let what we have done or current resources limit your creativity. Any and all ideas are welcome here. How we do it or if we can do it are irrelevant. This is a purely open sandbox.

Before You Share

Remember:

  • this is asynchronous brainstorming
  • there are no wrong answers
  • be kind to fellow brainstormers
  • the discussion on implementation will come later

Guidelines:

  • Share your Concept
  • Answer what you can from this list (no pressure here)
    • Why do you think this is a good idea?
    • Who would benefit?
    • Does this meet Community team goals?
    • Does it use any existing resources?
  • Post your response by April 22, 2022

Let the brainstorming begin!

#discussion #wordcamps #meetups #brainstorming

Discussion: Revisiting In-person Regional WordCamps

Update on May 23, 2022:
The Community Team has now published the latest guidelines regional in-person events based on the discussions in this post: https://make.wordpress.org/community/2022/05/23/regional-in-person-wordcamps-going-forward/

I am also excited to report that following this post, we now have three applications for regional WordCamps in our queue, with one event already in pre-planning!

The Community Team is seeing a renewed interest in in-person regional WordCamps in the light of a slow but steady return of in-person WordCamps. This post aims to take another look at our existing guidelines for regional WordCamps and to explore whether the process for organizing an in-person 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. could be improved or simplified. 

Context

Traditionally, WordCamps have been local, city-based events that had active local meetupMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook. groups, with the exception of flagship camps such as WordCamp US and WordCamp Europe. In pre-pandemic times, several local communities expressed interest in organizing regional events, which helped our team prepare guidelines for regional WordCamps. Established communities with experienced organizers could organize a regional camp by submitting a formal proposal, which would be reviewed by deputiesProgram Supporter Community Program Supporters (formerly Deputies) are a team of people worldwide who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about program supporters in our Program Supporter Handbook. before proceeding further. WordCamp Nordic (which was held successfully in 2019) and WordCamp Asia are two camps that were born out of these guidelines. Our team also discussed the possibility of organizing micro-regional WordCamps where multiple cities could come together to organize a single camp. As a result of these conversations, our enthusiastic Dutch community organizers paved way for the return of WordCamp Netherlands in 2020, which was later canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Online Regional In-Person Events

In 2020, the Community team relaxed the pathway to regional online WordCamps, allowing communities to organize regional events without a lot of hassle. This resulted in a bunch of online regional WordCamps in Centroamerica, Greece, Finland, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Taiwan, among others. These events were quite successful in bringing together local communities even despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approaching In-Person Regional Events in 2022

WordCamp Netherlands (which was originally approved in 2019) is back on the schedule for 2022 as an in-person event. Some local communities have also approached 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., expressing their interest in organizing regional events. At this time, our organizers are still encouraged to plan smaller city-based WordCamps over larger regional events (especially in the light of COVID restrictions that are still in place in many regions). However, I strongly feel that the Community Team should revisit the existing guidelines for regional events due to a renewed interest in the same. I would like to listen to your feedback on how, as a community, we can proceed with in-person regional events, going forward. 

  1. What guidelines should a community meet to organize a regional event?
  2. How can the team better define micro-regional WordCamps, and can we do anything to simplify their process? For example, would a relatively smaller region – such as a state or a group of cities in countries like the USA or Canada, OR a country in Europe such as the Netherlands or Italy – qualify as a micro-regional WordCamp? Additionally, should we even have micro-regional WordCamps – can we just define regional camps using a uniform language and uniform guidelines?
  3. Is there anything that should be changed or simplified about the application process for regional WordCamps? (For example, are proposals still required for a regional guidelines, or can these guidelines still be enforced in orientations?)
  4. Are there any learnings from online regional events in 2020 and 2021 that can be applied to in-person regional events going forward? 

Please share your thoughts in the comments by April 4, 2022 (Monday). Based on your feedback, our team will explore the possibility of revamping guidelines for regional WordCamps and will share the next steps shortly. 

The following folks contributed to this post: @angelasjin @devinmaeztri @peiraisotta @juliarosia and @nao

#regional-wordcamps #discussion

Getting more Learn WordPress Discussion Group leaders and attendees

Learn WordPress is getting closer to its full launch and more workshops are being published, worked on and planned. One essential idea with workshops are discussion groups, that are a great way to share thoughts and ideas between others that have watched the recorded workshop.

Discussion groups can be held via Zoom or in #community-events 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/. channel by original workshop presenter(s) or anyone who wants to be a discussion group leader. Virtually anyone interested in leading a discussion group on any of the workshops on the site is welcome to do so.

To make the most out of workshops and discussion groups, it would be great to have at least two discussion groups per each workshop. These discussion groups can happen anytime and even after the workshop has been published already months ago – it’s up to the discussion group leaders interest.

Currently, discussion groups are a bit hidden in the Learn WordPress platform. I’m proposing the following additions in order to raise awareness about discussion groups happening and more attendees and discussion group leaders:

1. Add “Upcoming discussion groups” section between “Recent workshops” and workshop idea submission CTA on the front page.

This new section would list three next upcoming discussion groups and link to the meetup.com page where all upcoming discussion groups are listed. This way also older workshops get some attention on the front page if new discussions groups for those are scheduled.

We already have code to get meetupsMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook. from meetup.com, so it shouldn’t be a big job to get scheduled discussion groups from there as well. Of course, it needs some dev time, but I’m sure it will be worth it.

2. Add “Interested in running a discussion group?” CTA next to current “Have an Idea for a Workshop?“ CTA on the front page.

I’d like to have many discussion group leaders, so running those won’t fall into the responsibility of a workshop presenter(s) and a small group of an active group of Learn WP deputiesProgram Supporter Community Program Supporters (formerly Deputies) are a team of people worldwide who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about program supporters in our Program Supporter Handbook.. With this new CTA in place, we make it more visible that virtually anyone can run a discussion group if they find a workshop they’re really interested in and there’s no scheduled discussion group for that workshop.

Quick mockup showing how upcoming discussion groups and new CTA could be places on the front page.

3. Add details about discussion groups in workshop pages.

Currently, the page of a single workshop only has a button “Join a Discussion Group” which is a bit vague. We should add a small blurb on top of the button explaining what is a discussion group. Below the button could be a small text, much like the CoCCode of Conduct “A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the norms, rules, and responsibilities or proper practices of an individual party.” - Wikipedia notice, saying that if there’s no scheduled discussion group for this workshop, apply to be a discussion group leader to run one.

4. Create a new “Be a Discussion Group leader” page

As you might notice, two previous proposals contain a link to a page that doesn’t exist at this time on Learn WP platform. We should create a new page where it is explained what discussion group is, what it means to be a discussion group leader and how to apply. Currently, this information exists only in this make/community posts.

Tracking all the upcoming discussion groups and keeping an eye that each workshop has at least two groups

It would be nice to have at least two discussion groups for each workshop. These can happen anytime after the workshop has been published, even months later.

To keep track of upcoming discussion groups, we’ll use meetup.com where all scheduled discussion groups are being added.

In parallel to public listing on scheduled groups, I suggest that we create a new Google sheet with each workshop listed on it. In the sheet we can track if;

  • Zoom discussion group has been scheduled/held
  • Slack discussion group has been scheduled/held
  • Additional discussion groups have been scheduled/held

It would fall mostly under my lap, as I promised to manage discussion groups, but everyone who schedules a new discussion group in meetup.com should update this sheet.

With this sheet, we can track if a workshop hasn’t had any discussion groups and we can reach out to our discussion group leaders and workshop presenter(s) (not too) regularly asking whether they would like to schedule one. In future, the list of workshops needing a discussion group leader, could be added to the new “Be a Discussion Group leader” in Learn WP platform.

What do you think? Thoughts, ideas, comments, questions? How we could attract more discussion group leaders and attendees in your opinion? Please share your feedback before 2020-11-09.

#discussion, #discussion-groups, #learn, #learn-wordpress, #learn-roadmap

Discussion: continuity of Community Office Hours

Office hoursOffice Hours Defined times when the Global Community Team are in the #community-events Slack channel. If there is anything you would like to discuss – you do not need to inform them in advance.You are very welcome to drop into any of the Community Team Slack channels at any time. are usually quite quiet, people ask their questions when it’s convenient for them and deputiesProgram Supporter Community Program Supporters (formerly Deputies) are a team of people worldwide who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about program supporters in our Program Supporter Handbook. forgot to open or close those (regardless of the bot we have to remind us). There is almost always deputyProgram Supporter Community Program Supporters (formerly Deputies) are a team of people worldwide who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about program supporters in our Program Supporter Handbook. to answer questions or if there isn’t, the question will be caught up later when some deputy sees it.

So, I’d like to question if community hours are really needed and propose their retirement. In exchange there are few things we could do to encourage people to ask questions freely.

During the last community team meetings, few good ideas were conducted from the discussion:

  • replace the office hours sidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme. and welcome box text with something more general about #community-events channel and encouraging to ask questions at all times
  • having a random empathy bot that reminds #community-team that we should post something encouraging to #community-events if the channel has been quiet for some time

Some concerns were also raised:

  • some people are waiting for the office hours before asking their questions
  • we don’t want to loose a human touch so having a bot in #community-events opening/closing office hours, sending random reminder messages or auto-replying is not an option
  • we need to be very clear that people can ask their questions any time, but know that they may not get an immediate answer

Please share your thoughts about retiring office hours or ideas on how to evolve those! Comments will close 10.4., please leave your comment before that.

#discussion, #office-hours

Discussion: How could we improve the WordPress Community Summit?

tl;dr: Let’s brainstorm on how we can change the Community Summit event format to keep the benefits and reduce the pain points!

History and Background

The first WordPress Community Summit was organized in 2012, guided by the idea that face-to-face interactions in a safe space amongst a small number of contributors can help resolve conflicts that are deadlocked.

The stated purpose of the event was to

  • Build bridges between the people making WordPress (via the contributor groups) and the people doing the best and most influential work built on top of it
  • Open channels of communication between project leaders, volunteers, and professionals in the community
  • Learn more about each others’ goals, challenges, and ways we can help each other
  • Share best practices
  • Have some social time and get to know each other better

The event has always been invitation-only, to keep the discussion groups small enough that everyone could interact and participate. The smallest summit had around 200 attendees; the largest was around 350 attendees. Most of our community summits have included a travel assistance program to ensure that no invited contributor was unable to attend for financial reasons.

Results and Challenges

We’ve had 4 community summits, which have resulted in some really positive outcomes, including:

  • identification of shared goals and/or struggles
  • productive cross-team discussions
  • conflict resolutions (due to face-to-face interaction or “safe space” conversations? both? hard to tell)
  • stronger relationships between contributors who attended

Some of the pain points we’ve discovered include:

  • Invitation-only events are challenging — I’m tempted to say “excruciating” — for our community. The event is, by definition, not inclusive. Not being invited to a summit can be taken to mean, “I’m not important here,” which conflicts with the welcoming and egalitarian environment we value. When you organize an exclusive event like this, you are guaranteed to hurt a lot of feelings.
  • Selecting “the right people to invite” along with “the right topics to discuss” is very difficult. The method we’ve used most recently has been to ask contributor teams to identify the issues they need to discuss, which then defines the people who need to attend (to cut down on the “popularity contest” effect). But that means discussion topics are selected 3-6 months in advance, which can mean that difficult decisions are put on hold for longer than necessary.
  • We can’t depend on “fly everyone to the same place” as our primary way to make hard decisions or have productive conversations. For one thing, it’s really expensive (in cash money and in volunteer hours). It also sets artificial limits on how many brains we can focus on a problem or opportunity — only the people in the room can help with a problem that’s being addressed by a (relatively) small group of people.

Looking forward

Where do we go from here? Let’s get creative! I’d love your thoughts on this topic, especially on the following points:

  1. Is there anything missing from the above lists of benefits and pain points?
  2. Do you have suggestions of how WordPress can still enjoy the benefits of this kind of event, while eliminating or reducing the pain points?

To give the conversation some structure, let’s aim to close comments by March 15, 2019. #summit #discussion

Regional WordCamps

There’s been discussion in our community lately about expanding the number of regional WordCamps in the community program. In this post, I’d like to give some historical context about how the program came to include regional events, and then discuss how regional WordCamps fit into the goals of the community team’s programs. Finally, I’d like to gather opinions and thoughts about what kind of criteria we should set to decide on how to add regional WordCamps to the program.

A little history

First came 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. SF, which was the first WordCamp ever and became to be the official annual conference of the WordPress 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. Over the years, WordCamp SF grew as WordPress itself grew (quickly).

Then we tried a new event concept: WordCamp Europe, a large regional event that brings together WordPress community members in Europe to share knowledge and create closer community ties. When discussing WordCamp Europe with the first organizers in 2012, we set very specific goals:

  • to organize an event that exemplified the values of the WordPress project and the WordCamp program
  • to encourage the growth of local communities in Europe (to prompt more WordCamps, not less)

In 2014, WordCamp SF finally grew out of its historic home in the (edit) Moscone Center Mission Bay and became WordCamp US. Unlike the WordCamp Europe tradition of moving to a new city every year, WordCamp US currently moves to a new city every 2 years. WordCamp US is also the event that hosts Matt’s annual State of the WordState of the Word This is the annual report given by Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress at WordCamp US. It looks at what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and the future of WordPress. https://wordpress.tv/tag/state-of-the-word/. address.

The success of these two events begs the question: why don’t we organize more regionally-based WordCamps?

Community team program goals: ALL OF THE CAMPS!

One goal for the WordPress Community program is to have a WordPress meetupMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook. and annual WordCamp in as many cities as possible in the world. So while regional or national events have a purpose, they should never be a replacement for our focus on supporting the growth and health of local communities.

Regional events are big events, and big events are challenging. A lot of program resources (volunteer time especially) go into organizing both WordCamp Europe and WordCamp US. So as we start thinking about adding more regional events to the program, the question of “how is our volunteer time best spent” is important. For example, if we had to choose between organizing 3 more WordCamps in CountryX, or organizing just one WordCamp CountryX, then we’d always go with 3 more WordCamps in CountryX — because that directly helps us meet our goal of “a WordCamp in every possible city.”

Of course, just as WordCamps don’t replace year-round monthly meetup events — but instead hopefully help the local monthly meetup community grow — regional WordCamps can also help our program grow by attracting people who weren’t already active in their community and/or inspiring attendees to start communities in their hometowns.

Community team program goals: ALL OF THE PEOPLE!

Another goal in the WordPress Community program (which dovetails nicely with our goal of having a community in as many cities in the world as possible) is to make WordPress community accessible to as many people as possible, regardless of their financial status or other factors that might limit travel.

Having several WordCamps in a certain country every year makes WordCamp more available to more people, even if those folks are not able to travel. So more WordCamps gets more good quality content to more people, which is another good reason not to allow regional WordCamps (even one that travels from city to city every year) to replace an active local WordCamp scene.

The Question

What should a region have, to make a regional WordCamp possible and beneficial to the overall community? Here’s my first stab at a set of expectations:

  1. Multiple, active local WordPress communities: Regional WordCamps need a lot of local, experiences volunteers wherever the event is hosted. If there aren’t already more than 3-5 local communities in a region that have experience hosting WordCamps (at least one but preferably two in a row), then a regional event won’t be able to move around and share the work of organizing a big regional event.
  2. Multiple, experienced and available regional organizers: A regional WordCamp organizing team should represent and reflect all of the local communities in the region it represents. I’ve previously mentioned that regional camps should not be organized at the expense of multiple WordCamps being held in the region, so that means if a regional camp is going to happen, it should not be robbing local camps of all their prospective organizers.
  3. Further the goals of the community program: As with any event in our program, regional WordCamps should help the program pursue our goal of having more, better local communities and more, better local WordCamps.

What do you think about the idea of having more regional WordCamps, considering our community team goals? How about those suggested expectations? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

#discussion #wordcamps