Discussion: Micro-regional WordCamps

After an extensive community discussion involving community members from all over the world, we put together some guidelines for the situations where regional WordCamps will be approved. These guidelines have been accepted and are the working basis for any regional WordCamp application that we receive. Recently, however, we have received applications for two WordCamps that we would call “micro-regional” as they comprise more than one city/town, but they are all in very close proximity to each other. There are special circumstances here that make these applications different to the average regional WordCamp, which is what we would like to discuss here.

What do the applications entail?

As we have two separate applications here, I’m going to explain the requests in a single instance using cities named Alpha, Beta and Gamma.

The WordCamp application is for WordCamp Beta, even though Beta does not have its own meetup group. The organisers of the WordCamp will come from the Alpha and Gamma communities, as all three cities are within 30 minutes of each other. In some cases, the Alpha community has held meetup events in Beta as well as Gamma, as these cities are so close together that travelling between them is fairly trivial. Beta was chosen for the WordCamp location as it is more central and also less costly than Alpha and Gamma.

Why do we need to discuss this?

A long-standing rule for all WordCamps is that we only ever host a WordCamp in a city that has an active and healthy meetup group. This is to ensure that the WordCamp has the support and longevity that it needs to keep its momentum going. The applications that we’re looking at here are both for WordCamps to be hosted in cities that do not have their own active meetup groups. On the other hand, they are deeply connected to their neighbouring cities that do have meetup groups, not just by proximity, but also by the fact that they have shared event locations (and even event organisers) in the past.

So, what do you think? Is the concern of the host city not having its own meetup group mitigated by the fact that the surrounding groups are so connected to them? We’d love to get some opinions on this from the community and deputies, so please weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

As both of these camps need to get going with their pre-planning, I’m going to set the deadline for concluding this discussion at next week Friday (17 November) at 10:00 UTC. At that point I’ll summarise the discussion and we can decide on the way forward.

#deputies, #feedback

Community Team badges for user profiles

There has been a bit of discussion about this in the past and recently, but now that we have a really solid idea of how the deputy programme works and a mostly clear view of who is and isn’t a deputy, it would be valuable to look at creating a ‘proper’ Community Team badge for WordPress.org profiles. How most contributor teams work is that they have one badge for general contributors to the team and a second badge (that looks like the first, but has a shaded background) that is for the ‘core’ group of that contribution team (see my profile and read the badge tooltips if you’re unfamiliar with the differences).

The full list of badges is here – we currently have only one for ‘Community Team’ that is a standard badge with no background. That badge is assigned to anyone on the team (which need to be added manually) as well as automatically for anyone who is added as a WordCamp organiser. I would propose the following changes:

  1. We change the existing badge to a ‘Community Contributor’ badge and it remains as being auto-assigned for WordCamp organisers and we could maybe also manually assign it for meetup organisers if that makes sense for the programme.
  2. We then add a new ‘Community Team’ badge (which has the shaded background), which would be manually assigned to the community team, super deputies and deputies.

This would bring the Community badges more in line with the other contribution teams (consistency FTW) and it would also indicate who is involved in things centrally and who is a local organiser. Badges like this are a nice way to acknowledge people’s contributions to WordPress, so it’s more than just a thing to show off – I think it actually encourages increased involvement.

The issue, of course, is how we would decide the criteria for who would receive the Team badge. I would suggest that people who meet the following criteria would receive the badge:

  1. Anyone who works full time for the Community Team.
  2. The Super Deputies.
  3. Deputies who have answered at least 30 tickets on Help Scout in the last 3 months (in reality, these numbers would probably be somewhat flexible as some tickets take a lot more time than others).
  4. WordCamp Mentors who have mentored at least 2 (or 3?) WordCamps in the last 12 months.

This would mean that new deputies would not immediately receive the badge just for completing the deputy training and, as a result, badges would only be given for active work in the community (as is the intention behind the profile badges).

In the name of not erasing the efforts/contributions of formerly active contributors, I don’t think we need to keep track of ongoing activity. We can use the 30 tickets in 3 months metric as an initial milestone, but we don’t want to retroactively undermine someone’s past work if they fall below that milestone later on.

Probably the best way to manage this (as manually assigning badges does create extra work of course) is to check in on our active deputies every quarter and manually assign badges as required. It would be great if we could automate this quarterly check, but not the end of the world if we cannot do so.

If everyone is happy with this, the first step would be to design the new badge (which consists solely of adding a shaded background to the existing one) and then submitting a Meta request to have it added along with the initial list of to whom it will be assigned.

If you have any major concerns about this or any votes of confidence then please comment here and we can get this done.

#feedback, #badges

A new type of WordCamp

From time to time, we come across fresh ideas for WordCamps – sometimes we see them happen organically from within event organising teams, and other times there’s a more formal application process for something new. The recently announced WordCamp for Publishers event happening later this year is a really good example of one of those ideas that has led to a brand new type of WordCamp that is focused on a specific niche. We now have another application for something else that is new to the WordCamp programme and would essentially be a new type of WordCamp – albeit with the difference being one of format, rather than content.

The new event type we are talking about today has been dubbed ‘WordCamp in the Green’ (or possibly ‘WordCamp Retreat’) and has been proposed by @mahype and the Köln meetup group in Germany. As the event name suggests, this would be a WordCamp that would be some ways out of town and would involve all of the attendees staying over at the WordCamp venue. The event format as proposed would look a lot like a normal WordCamp with regular sessions over two days and a Contributor Day after that, with the added feature of various outdoor activities taking place in the area and everyone who is attending the WordCamp staying in the same hotel. This is different to some other events that have popped up recently, in that this is, at its core, a WordCamp and not simply a retreat or weekend away.

A budget has been proposed for the event and the organising team is very keen to move forward with things, but, as this is a brand new event type and it is something that we know there will be a huge amount of interest in from other communities around the world, we wanted to pitch it here for feedback and discussion. If we introduce a new type of WordCamp event like this, we want it to be something that works in many communities, scales effectively for larger (or smaller) groups, and is able to be reproduced by any organisers who wish to do so.

So, to aid you in providing feedback, here are some questions that we can discuss here:

  • Do you think an event like this is a worthwhile addition to the WordCamp programme?
  • Do you think it’s different enough from a normal WordCamp to actually need a different name?
  • What do you think of the format of the event? Should it look more different? Or is keeping it the same as a WordCamp a good idea?
  • Would you be interested in organising an event like this in your area?

What say you?

#feedback, #wordcamps

Requiring WordCamp Speakers to have a WordPress.org account

A team of contributors is working on building a new tool for handling WordCamp speaker submissions. As part of that project, we’ve run into a question that we’d like help from the rest of the Community team to decide.

Should potential WordCamp speakers be required to have a WordPress.org account in order to submit their proposal?

Currently, potential speakers are required to log in before submitting a proposal. Some people feel like that doesn’t offer a substantial benefit, and that it creates a barrier for speakers, especially those outside the WordPress community who can offer valuable perspective. Others feel like having the data is beneficial, and an unwillingness to fulfill a minor requirement might be a red flag that they wouldn’t be a good representative of our community.

Our discussion from September 2015 has more details on the pros and cons. I remember there’ve been more discussion in Slack too, but I couldn’t find them. If you do, please link to them in the comments.

cc @jennybeaumont, @imath, @tomjn, @johnjamesjacoby

#wordcamps #feedback