Proposal: Mandatory Safety Measures for In-person WordPress Events in 2022

Last year, the Community Team opened up a pathway to return to In-person WordPress meetups, WordCamps, and do_action charity hackathons. In addition to following local laws and safety guidelines, the Community team’s current guidelines recommend that only individuals who are fully vaccinated, recently tested negative, or recently recovered from COVID-19 could participate in in-person WordCamps. However, 2022 has brought in new challenges related to the pandemic such as new variants that are more contagious, in addition to a spike in infection rates in many regions. 

To address the safety concerns around in-person events, Community DeputiesDeputy Community Deputies are a team of people all over the world who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and generally keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about deputies in our Community Deputy Handbook. have been discussing potential, additional safety measures for in-person WordPress events. These safety measures include:

  • Mandatory masks for all attendees (even in regions that do not have a mask mandate at this time). 
  • More prominent messaging in 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. websites, emails, and social media posts about COVID-19 safety guidelines.
  • Mandatory temperature checks for all attendees at the event (if permitted by local authorities).
  • Accessible hand sanitizing stations in the venue.
  • Maintaining social distancing practices during the event (Larger meeting rooms and seating arrangements with good spacing can be a good way to implement this).
  • Having a plan for contact tracing measures in case of infections (can be done using WordCamp registration data, 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. are a bit tricker).

I propose that, for regions that do not pass guidelines on page one of the in-person safety checklist (but where vaccines and testing are available to everyone), these guidelines become mandatory for all in-person WordPress events, going forward.

In addition to these proposed guidelines, I also recommend that we remove our existing guideline of allowing recent-recovered community members from attending a WordPress event since new COVID variants like Omicron are known to cause reinfection.

Please note: These guidelines are in addition to any local laws for events.
For example, if a region requires mandatory vaccination proof for attending the event, organizers must be willing to verify the same, even though they are not a part of our guidelines. Alternatively, even if a region does not have a mask mandate, organizers must be willing to enforce the same for their event since our guidelines specify the same. 

To support organizers in these important safety measures, 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. is prepared to budget for additional safety measures such as free masks (providing masks as attendee swag for example), hand sanitizing stations, etc. The Community Team is also continuing to support online events, and encourage your community to explore multiple ways to connect online. 

Please share your thoughts

What questions or concerns do you have about the proposed guidelines? What more can WordPress Community Team do to support organizers in organizing safe in-person WordPress events? If you are planning an in-person WordPress event, what safety guidelines would you follow? Please respond in the comments with your thoughts by January 22, 2022. Based on your feedback, the team will finalize the guidelines and publish them in our handbook by early February 2022. 

This post was jointly written by: @angelasjin @harishanker @mauteri @mariaojob @mpc @samsuresh @sippis @sunsand187 @tacoverdo and @yoga1103 

#in-person #meetups #wordcamps #safety-guidelines

Announcement: Returning to in-person do_action charity hackathons

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, do_actiondo_action do_action hackathons are community-organised events that are focussed on using WordPress to give deserving charitable organisations their own online presence. Learn more on doaction.org. hackathons moved online in March 2020. In the past 18 months, there have been five successful regional do_action events that were held fully online with more events in the pipeline. As in-person meetups and now WordCamps are slowly coming back, it is time to bring back in-person do_action events too. 

Since do_action hackathons are similar to in-person 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., the guidelines applicable for in-person meetups apply to do_action hackathons as well.

In other words:

If:

  1. local public health authorities say people can gather in person, AND
  2. your region passes the in-person safety checklist, THEN

Go ahead and hold an in-person do_action hackathon, following local health guidelines!

ALSO… If:

  1. local public health authorities say people can gather in person, AND
  2. your region doesn’t pass the in-person safety checklist, BUT
  3. vaccines are available for anyone who wants one in your region, THEN

Local community organizers can (if they want to) plan in-person do_action hackathons for fully-vaccinated, recently tested negative, or recently recovered people, following local health guidelines! 

Due to the charitable nature of these events, WordPress would like to highlight do_action events (whether they are held online or in-person) on the WordPress FoundationWordPress Foundation The WordPress Foundation is a charitable organization founded by Matt Mullenweg to further the mission of the WordPress open source project: to democratize publishing through Open Source, GPL software. Find more on wordpressfoundation.org. website (wordpressfoundation.org), through social media, and whenever possible, in local media. Send an email to info@doaction.org or pingPing The act of sending a very small amount of data to an end point. Ping is used in computer science to illicit a response from a target server to test it’s connection. Ping is also a term used by Slack users to @ someone or send them a direct message (DM). Users might say something along the lines of “Ping me when the meeting starts.” one of the Community DeputiesDeputy Community Deputies are a team of people all over the world who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and generally keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about deputies in our Community Deputy Handbook. in Make/WordPress 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/. (in the #community-events channel) if you would like help with outreach.

Important

The most important guideline to note for in-person do_action hackathons is that in all cases, organizers should always follow local health guidelines.

do_action events could have more close contact between volunteers than regular meetups, so it is important that organizers follow local safety guidelines closely. Check out the website of your local health authority for more information. We have compiled a list of some local health authorities in our handbook.

  • No organizer should request or collect information from members about their vaccination status.
  • Additional safety measures that go beyond local health guidelines are OK! Organizers could consider asking attendees to wear masks, or limiting attendance at indoor events, for instance.
  • Venues should be fully refundable in case of any cancellation (Free or donated venues are preferred).
  • Online do_action hackathons can continue for the foreseeable future.

Recommendations

  • Try aiming for smaller events – a hackathon with two participating non-profits with 10-20 volunteers is still an excellent event!
  • In-person do_action hackathons have historically been full-day events, but it does not need to be that way. You could organize a half-day opening/closing event, providing light refreshments, and continue the work online, spreading things across a few days. You can still organize a full-day hackathon if you wish to, following local safety guidelines.
  • Look for a free venue to host your hackathon. Public institutions such as schools or colleges, or WordPress agencies are generally happy to provide their space for a charitable event. Such venues (especially WordPress agencies) usually have excellent internet connectivity and can be onboarded as in-kind sponsors too. Just make sure that your venue meets our guidelines. You can also find sponsors for event refreshments.
  • If you are interested, you can organize a hybrid do_action hackathon, where participants can choose to join the event remotely and collaborate online. 
  • For local, in-person hackathons, consider creating anevent for your 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. group on meetup.com and ask participants/volunteers to RSVP in order to get an accurate headcount – this might help with contact tracing, and attendee tracking if your local laws mandate so.
  • Try to keep your in-person hackathons as local as possible. Out of station volunteers can be encouraged to participate remotely. 

You can learn more about do_action charity hackathons in our handbook. Feeling inspired, and wish to organize an in-person (or online) do_action hackathon? Apply now!

#do_action #in-person #announcement

The following people contributed to this post: @courtneypk @dansoschin @_dorsvenabili and @yoga1103

Proposal: how to return to safe in-person WordCamps

DeputiesDeputy Community Deputies are a team of people all over the world who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and generally keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about deputies in our Community Deputy Handbook. that have participated in this post: @_dorsvenabili, @angelasjin, @kcristiano, @sippis, @adityakane, @nao, @monchomad, @mpc, @sunsand187, @andreamiddleton 

Deadline for participating in the discussion: August 20th, 2021


Thank you to everyone who has participated in our many conversations about in-person events. Your input has helped to make the current guidelines for organizing in-person meetups.

This post is a proposal to discuss how the WordPress community can return to in-person WordCamps. Please read it carefully and participate in the comments by answering the questions below, thanks! 🙂

If you don’t want to read all of this post, here’s the tl;dr:

“The WordPress community team is discussing the return to in-person WordCamps, building on current guidelines for 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. (defined in this handbook page and image below) with additional guidelines described in the section below on “Proposal for further discussion”

In-person WordPress events this year so far

  • There are 752 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. groups in the chapter program in 109 countries around the globe.
  • Since February 16, in-person WordPress meetups have been held in 3 countries: Taiwan, New Zealand, and Australia using the meetup safety checklist
  • Since the latest guidelines announced on July 9, in-person events have been organized in 6 countries: Russia, US, New Zealand, Uganda, Australia and the Netherlands

The discussion so far

Deputies agree that it seems unrealistic to immediately go back to how WordCamps were in 2019. Resetting expectations for WordCamps may be necessary, as the world has changed significantly. This is a great opportunity to rebuild the program by restarting locally, and then building back up to the levels we had in 2019. Before the pandemic, WordCamps came in different sizes and scales. As a reminder, the Community Team considers the “minimum viable productMinimum Viable Product "A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development." - WikiPedia” for 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. to be at least 50 people, in a room, for one day, talking about WordPress.

Additionally, the normal WordCamp application process requires that there be an active local community in place.  As the community has faced many changes this year, Deputies are thinking about how to handle this requirement. One possibility could  be more flexibility with WordCamp applications, allowing communities that had a meetup pre-COVID to host a WordCamp, even if they weren’t as active in the last year, to help build excitement and restart community activity again.

The deputies also agreed that organizers are encouraged to  experiment with format, content, and more! This is an excellent opportunity to innovate on WordCamps.

Proposal for Further Discussion

This is all new territory for the Community Team, and the input from the WordPress community is invaluable. At this time, the team is putting up for discussion a proposal for in-person WordCamps. Here are some ideas for discussion:

  • To organize an in-person WordCamp, the general guidelines would be the same ones approved for in-person meetups (you can read them fully detailed in the handbook’s page: “2021: Returning to in-person meetups”). 
  • Revise the guideline to allow all communities that had an active meetup before the pandemic host an initial WordCamp, even if the community wasn’t as active in the past year, to help re-energize the community. This new guideline would only apply to the first WordCamp back. Brand new communities would be directed to organize meetups instead of a WordCamp right away.
  • Financial: WordCamps in this transition period will need to be prepared to cover 100% of their expenses in order to happen. For greater context, the Global Sponsorship Program 2021 currently doesn’t include WordCamps, and the team currently does not have expectations set for the future of the Global Sponsorship program.
  • Venue: Venue fee should be fully refundable or should be able to be moved to a later date without penalty. 
  • Food: No buffets. If food is provided, it will be in individual portions (like box lunches).
  • Capacity: Limit in-person attendance or seating capacity to allow for physical distancing, or host smaller events in larger spaces, based on your local/regional health guidelines.
  • AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility)/inclusion: Sessions should be uploaded to wordpress.tv and to be livestreamed when financially possible.
  • Mandatory registration, so attendees can be contacted in case of exposure.
  • Enable refunds for in-person WordCamp tickets, as many folks attending WordCamps could back out at the last minute due to potential issues. 
  • COVID-19 measures: masks, hand-sanitizer, etc., deferring to the guidance of the relevant local government.
  • Innovation: Organizers can try new event formats, for example: deliver WordCamp content entirely online, followed by an in-person social gathering/activities, outdoors sessions/activities, etc.

Additionally, the deputies proposed creating a standard operation process of handling COVID-related issues to further support organizers.

Please share your feedback!

It would be great to get some feedback on this proposal, specifically in the following areas:

  1. What do you think about the proposal? 
  2. Is there anything that you’re missing or that you’d change? Why?
  3. Are there any ideas listed above that you’d include as guidelines for in-person WordCamps in this transition period?
  4. What could the Community Team do to assist with easier and/or inexpensive WordCamp events?

Deadline: August 20th, 2021
**** Edited on Aug 16, 2021 for adding the deadline above.****

#community-team, #in-person, #proposal, #wordcamps