Tuesday Training: Compassionate Communication Online

This year we’ve changed the format of Tuesday Trainings to better get directly at the issues that seem to be on the minds of folks in our community. How are we doing that? Great question. We’re either seeking to answer commonly asked questions or address commonly heard complaints, concerns, and confusions.

If there’s a question you’d like to see answered or a topic you’d like to see discussed, please share it in the comments or email me at support@wordcamp.org with the subject line Tuesday Trainings. Now onto this week’s topic.

Contributors to the WordPress project are no strangers to communicating online. From weekly contributor team meetings 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/. to hallway hangouts and Meetups in Zoom, remote communication has become second nature. So much so that it’s easy to forget that communicating effectively and compassionately online is a skill in and of itself.

The past year has put our online communication skills to the test more than any other. For all it empowers us to do, relying solely on text-based communication – especially without the regular cadence of in-person Meetups or WordCamps – can introduce challenges or gaps in understanding each other. This can be especially true at times when emotions are running high or when communication styles differ deeply.

As community organizers and contributors, it’s important to fill our toolboxes up with trusty, reliable methods to navigate difficult or sensitive conversations, or times when your usual communication style isn’t working. I’ve gathered a few of my tried-and-true methods in this post, and would love to gather more tips and tricks that have worked for you in the comments. 

Try using different methods of communication.

Something that can contribute to frustrations or misunderstanding is using only one form of communication. Slack is home to most of our direct communication, but it also doesn’t provide a lot of context. If I’m having a hard time bridging the gap between myself and someone else, I like to suggest some alternatives.

For example:

  • Writing things down and collaborating in a Google doc (with comments) as a way to process asynchronously.
  • Using Zoom or other voice calls. This allows the other person to process out loud, while I take on the task of sorting through concerns or blockers, and vice versa.
  • Creating a collaborative mind map or another visual tool to list out related issues, priorities, and solutions in a more visual way.

Take notes on the conversation.

When there’s a lot of information being shared, I like to literally take notes – by hand, even! This helps me process what is being shared and reformat it into something that resonates more clearly for me. It also forces me to get out of my head and take stock of what’s actually being communicated instead of the feelings behind the communication. It takes time, but I find it invaluable for creating space and clarity.

Slow down.

When navigating communication challenges, the speed in which you communicate can have a big impact on the tone of the conversation. Rapid-fire communication can come across as urgent and tense, especially if the topic itself is a sensitive one. 

Responding to something non-urgent from an excited or anxious place can make the whole conversation take on a more hectic tone. To counter this, I force myself to pause. After confirming it isn’t actually urgent, I’ll set aside a specific time to come back to the conversation. This gives me more mental space to process and highlight the important parts of what the person shared.

Prioritize what you respond to.

In conversations with a lot of information, I often need to fight against my desire to respond to every single point. This is especially true when I know the person I’m talking with is feeling frustrated, disappointed, or even angry – whether with me, or in general. 

As much as it’s driven by a desire to help, it’s often not realistic nor helpful to address every single point and can sometimes make things worse by getting lost in the details. To help combat this, I like to give each issue a priority – and may sometimes even share that with the other person. When I share my interpretation of the priorities, two things happen:

  • I’m able to make progress on what I think is important and model that for the other person.
  • I learn if our priorities are in alignment and, if not, we can adjust that going forward.

Redirect unrelated conversations to a sustainable location.

It’s not uncommon to deal with more sensitive conversations via direct messages. This can help increase the feeling of safety between the two (or more) folks working on an issue, but DMs frequently grow in scope. To keep these conversations sustainable, it helps to move non-sensitive issues to public forums – like Make team blogs or public Slack channels – whenever possible through gentle reminders. 

It helps break the habit of sharing things in private, but also ensures that folks mediating a sensitive conversation can enforce boundaries around what they are poised to talk about, and what others can help with. The more these boundaries are enforced, the more I find I have time and mental energy to devote to the challenging components of a discussion.


Many of these things sound simple when I write them down, but I find it helpful to identify them as potential tools in my toolkit when a tense or complex situation arises. 

Do any of these communication strategies resonate for you? Are there any that don’t? What tools would you suggest to fellow community organizers navigating difficult conversations, or plain ol’ Zoom fatigue?

#tuesdaytrainings

Tuesday Training: How to organize an online do_action charity hackathon?

This year we’ve changed the format of Tuesday Trainings to better get directly at the issues that seem to be on the minds of folks in our Community. How are we doing that? Great question. We’re either seeking to answer commonly asked questions or address commonly heard complaints, concerns, and confusions.

If there’s a question you’d like to see answered or a topic you’d like to see discussed please share it in the comments or email me at support@wordcamp.org with the subject line Tuesday Trainings. Now onto this week’s topic.

As announced last week, we have a live panel discussion on the topic: “How to organize an online do_action charity hackathon?” for this week’s Tuesday Training!

The live panel discussion is being streamed live on YouTube today – April 13, 2021, 02:00 UTC on the WordCamp Central YouTube channel. Watch it live on YouTube!

This live discussion has concluded, and you will find a recording of the video below (check it out on WordPress.tv). Captions and a full transcript of the video will be available shortly.

Participants: @hlashbrooke, @nao, and @yoga1103 – who are all experience do_action organizers. The discussion will be moderated by me (@harishanker).

The discussion tries to find answers the following questions that we’ve heard frequently from our Community organizers so far:

  • What are do_action charity hackathons?
  • Why should you organize a do_action event? 
  • How do you organize an online do_action event? 
  • How do you find non-profits and volunteers for your event?
  • Can you share a story about the impact that you’ve had based on the do_action event?
  • How do you collaborate for an online do_action event? 
  • Can you share some Project management tips for online do_action organizers? 

Want to know more about do_action events? Visit https://doaction.org to learn more or email us at support@wordcamp.org. If you wish to organize an online do_action charity hackathon for your local meetup, send in an application through the do_action organizer form!

#tuesdaytrainings #do_action

Tuesday Training announcement: How to organize an online do_action charity hackathon?

As mentioned in the last Tuesday Training post from @camikaos, we have a live Tuesday Training session on do_action charity hackathons, scheduled on April 13, 2021, 02:00 UTC!

In this discussion, I will be joined by @hlashbrooke, @nao, and @yoga1103 – who are all experienced do_action hackathon organizers. The discussion will be held in YouTube live on the WordCamp Central YouTube channel, and will be open to all! Community members can also participate in the discussion by asking questions in YouTube live chat, which will be answered by the panelists live, in our call!

do_action hackathons are community-organized events that are focused on using WordPress to give deserving charitable organizations their own online presence. Each do_action event includes participants from the local WordPress community coming together to plan and build brand new websites for a number of local organizations in one day. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, do_action hackathons have moved online. In this session, we talk about do_action events, and their importance in this post-pandemic world, and on how to effectively organize an online do_action hackathon.

Join the discussion

Date and time: April 13, 2021, 02:00 UTC
You can sign up for notifications on the YouTube live link below!

Come, join us to learn how you can support the global community by organizing an online do_action event!

#tuesdaytrainings #do_action

Tuesday Trainings: Can I use “WordPress” in my product name? part 2 of 2

Last week kicked off part 1 of this 2 part Tuesday Training topic about use of the WordPress trademark. Last week I explained the WordPress Trademark policy and some of the thoughts behind it. This week, in order to make sure the explanation of the WordPress Trademark policy is clear I thought I would answer a few questions I commonly see come in about the trademarks for WordPress and 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.. Let’s get right back to it, shall we?

Does this mean I can’t build something for WordPress?!?!?

No. Not at all. And I’m sorry if I made you think that. WordPress, both the software and the community surrounding it, is 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.. It takes all kinds of contributors to create, build, support, maintain, educate, and energize WordPress. But it does mean if you are creating something within the WordPress space that is not officially part of the WordPress project you should use “WP” instead. 

I want to pause for a moment to address any of you who have already created something using “WordPress” in the name or with “WordPress” in the URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.org and tell you something you might need to hear. When I see someone using “WordPress” without permission I always assume it’s because they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to. Not because they’re doing it with ill intent. So if you happen to be in that position and you want to figure out how to fix things, please feel free to reach out to trademarks@wordpressfoundation.org and someone will help you bring your site, event, or product into compliance with the WP Trademark. 

But t-shirts and stickers are cool, right?

Mostly not. In a typical year I see a lot of swag (shirts, stickers, bags, hand sanitizer, stuffed animals, sweatshirts, mugs, cups, pencils… the list goes on and on) with the WordPress or WordCamp logo or name on it. And most of that swag is okay because it is being given out for free at a WordCamp and has been approved. It’s common for WordCamps to give out branded event swag. And it’s not uncommon to see sponsors give out branded WordPress swag at events. And usually that’s alright. One of the key factors here is that it is being given away. It’s not for profit. Another one is that, if this has all been done “by the book” those items have been reviewed by the organizing team to ensure they uphold the standards of the project. 

But in this time of very few in-person events I’m not seeing a whole lot of swag. And that is to be expected, because without express permission from WordPress Foundation you can’t sell WordPress goods or co-brand your goods to make them seem affiliated with WordPress.

Reading all this, I realize someone I know is not in compliance with the Trademark. What should I do?

First thing is to remember that they’re probably not aware they’re not complying with the trademark. We want to assume good intent whenever possible. You can talk to them about it if you feel comfortable, or even just share this post with them. Alternatively you can submit information to a WordPress Foundation contact form and let someone there do the work of assuming good intent and reaching out to them.

I’ve already reported this site/thing/person and nothing has been done!

Yep. And that is super frustrating. This is a process that takes a while to get a handle on. It’s been slow going but it’s something that, even as I type this, more bandwidth is being given to. So if you’ve reported something in the past, know that it’s being worked on in the coming months. If you’re worried that it got lost you’re welcome to send it in again. 

Is there anything I can do to help?

The biggest help anyone in WordPress can give is to respect the Trademark themselves. I know for many that seems like passive work and you may be looking to actively do something. Being an active and respectful part of a community is a big help though.

Next week on a very special episode of Tuesday Trainings

Next week, we will have yet another live session as part of Tuesday Trainings, on do_action hackathons, organized by @harishanker. Hari is organizing a live panel discussion on Tuesday April 12th on how to organize a successful do_action charity hackathon online. Stay tuned for more details! 

#tuesdaytrainings

Tuesday Trainings: Can I use “WordPress” in my product name? part 1 of 2

This year we’ve changed the format of Tuesday Trainings to better get directly at the issues that seem to be on the minds of folks in our Community. How are we doing that? Great question. We’re either seeking to answer commonly asked questions or address commonly heard complaints, concerns, and confusions.

If there’s a question you’d like to see answered or a topic you’d like to see discussed please share it in the comments or email me at support@wordcamp.org with the subject line Tuesday Trainings. Now onto this week’s topic.

This week’s post is part 1 of a 2 part series around the WordPress trademark.

Can I use “WordPress” in my name?

Well you just opened up a big ol can of proverbial worms asking me this question. Because, strictly speaking, no. You can’t. Or at least you shouldn’t and the chances are if you’re doing so right now, you’re doing it without permission.

So let’s dive in and talk about the WordPress trademark. First a little background: The WordPress Foundation owns and oversees the trademarks for the WordPress and 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. names and logos

“Permission from the WordPress Foundation is required to use the WordPress or WordCamp name or logo as part of any project, product, service, domain name, or company name.”

The important thing to think about here is permission. People don’t always realize they aren’t supposed to use the name “WordPress” because they are able to procure a url or username with the word “WordPress” in it. Trademark law is there to keep others from using or misusing a trademarked name or logo. But it can’t stop them from picking it up. So sometimes we see things with WordPress in their name, title, URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.org, or username when “WordPress” really doesn’t belong there. 

If you’re anything like me you are currently thinking of all of the times in the last week, month, year, decade, etc that you’ve seen “WordPress” used in a way that might not have been permitted. And that can just feel gross. So let’s sort out some facts about using the “WordPress” name and also dive into some of the feelings that you might experience around seeing others use it or not being permitted to use it yourself.

What’s the actual trademark Policy?

To read WordPress Foundations Trademark Policy in its entirety you should go straight to the source and read the entire written policy here.

But in short, the WordPress Foundation wants to make it easy for anyone to use the WordPress or WordCamp name or logo for community efforts that spread and improve WordPress and wants to make it difficult for anyone to use the WordPress or WordCamp name or logo to trick or confuse people who are looking for official WordPress or WordCamp resources. 

So when I think about whether something should have WordPress in the url, name, or title I ask myself one question. Is this an “official” WordPress event or resource?

If the answer is “yes” then you’re probably working with someone who is familiar with the nuances of how to go about this. If the answer is “no” then you should leave the trademarked name “WordPress” or “WordCamp” out of it.

I bet you have questions. Ask them! 

Perhaps, does this mean I can’t build something for WordPress?!?!?

No! No no no it doesn’t mean that at all. Next week we’ll dive into this question and I’ll share more information on how you can use “WordPress” or “WP” in your work. We’ll also touch on swag, what to do if you think your project isn’t in alignment with the TM– or someone else’s project isn’t in alignment– and I will answer any questions you might have from this week’s post. 

So if there’s something you’re wondering about the WordPress and WordCamp trademarks that you would like me to answer on next Week’s Tuesday Training please let me know.

And if you have a question about the trademarks you’d prefer to ask privately you can email questions to trademarks@wordpressfoundation.org any time.

#tuesdaytrainings, #wordpress-trademark

Tuesday Trainings: I miss giving talks at WordCamps

This year we’ve changed the format of Tuesday Trainings to better get directly at the issues that seem to be on the minds of folks in our community. How are we doing that? Great question. We’re either seeking to answer commonly asked questions or address commonly heard complaints, concerns, and confusions. If there’s a question you’d like to see answered or a topic you’d like to see discussed please share it in the comments or email me at support@wordcamp.org with the subject line Tuesday Trainings. Now onto this week’s topic.

I miss giving talks at WordCamps 🙁

Yeah. I do too. Speaking at WordCamps, even just attending them and speaking with fellow attendees, is always a highlight for me. I love being able to spend time in such an amazing atmosphere with great people and share my knowledge, expertise, or just curiosity with those around me. This pandemic has seen the longest stretch of time I’ve not been to 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. since WordCamps were invented. It’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to recreate that level of camaraderie in an online space. 

Okay that was just me saying I feel it too. I wanted to make sure you knew I was on the same page with you. But now let’s seek a solution.

Is there anything I can do that is like giving a WordCamp talk while we’re still online only?

First I just want to say that you can still apply to give a talk at an online WordCamp. I know it isn’t the same. I know it feels different. But it’s still a good way to share your expertise with others. So that’s an option. For me though it is not THE option. It’s not the one that makes my heart beat harder as I think about connecting with the community. 

For me that has been speaking at WordPress meetups. You may be asking yourself what the difference is. Great question. Fantastic question really. What is the difference and why does it matter?

You see we used to have A LOT of WordCamps every year. Hundreds in fact. There were very few weekends throughout the year when there actually wasn’t a WordCamp happening. In fact most weekends if you wanted to attend a WordCamp you had your pick of two or more. Now the WordCamp calendar is all but empty save for online, often regional WordCamps. 

But do you know what there are a lot of? WordPress Meetups. There are WordPress meetups every week. And most of those meetups are looking for speakers. And while these events are still happening online in most of the world, they have started to much more closely resemble the feel of small grassroots WordCamps. The audience is smaller and more interactive which gives you a better chance to connect with individuals and get to know them. There is time and allowance for Q&A and audience discussion. There are a bunch of people who know each other from an existing community. But even with all that local togetherness it’s not surprising to see a familiar place from somewhere else in the country or even the world. But somehow you also get to feel yourself connecting with the community you’re talking with. For me it’s been a rediscovery of my love of connecting with WordPress communities.

Is there anything else I can try, maybe something even more interactive?

Well I’m glad you asked. Because there is but you have to stick with me for a moment because it might not seem, at first, like I’m right. But I assure you I am. 

Have  you thought about contributing to Learn WordPress

I know, it’s not an event. And it’s new. And you have to apply and do a whole thing to make it happen but hear me out. 

You can have all the fun of presenting without the pressure of being perfect in one take. Your message can get in front of an infinite number of people because, just like a WordCamp talk, these videos are uploaded to WordPress.tv for all the community to enjoy. And while I realize none of this is interactive and it might not have that community feel to you, the part that comes next is all interaction.

Once your Learn session is posted you can organize a discussion group to talk about your session with those who have attended it. Or you can skip the whole part where you create a talk and you can find a topic you’re interested in and lead a discussion group with others about it. Even if the talk isn’t one that you created.

But it’s still not a WordCamp talk…

I know. These are not perfect solutions. But right now more than ever I’m feeling the truth of perfection being the enemy of good. If you miss the WordPress community it might just be time for you to get out there in the best way you can right now. 

Whether that’s attending a 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., speaking at one, creating a workshop, hosting a discussion group, or just reaching out to others in 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/. to see what they’re up to. Let’s make sure we’re all staying connected and keeping the spirit behind the WordPress community alive.

What can I do about it RIGHT NOW?

If you’re interested in speaking at some meetups leave a comment below to let WordPress Meetup organizers know what you’d like to speak on. Teams are always looking for speakers, this could be a chance to make it easy on them.

If you’re interested in contributing to Learn WordPress head on over to Learn.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/ to get involved.

 

#tuesdaytrainings

Tuesday Training: How can meetup groups benefit from Learn WordPress?

As announced last week, for this week’s Tuesday Training, we are having a live panel discussion on one of the most common questions that Community Deputies have heard ever since Learn WordPress was launched: “How can 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. groups benefit from Learn WordPress?”

The live panel discussion is being streamed live on YouTube today – March 16, 2021 (Tuesday), at 09:00 UTC on the WordCamp Central YouTube channel. Watch it live on YouTube!

This discussion is over. You can watch the recording of the live session below:

Participants: @courane01 @evarlese @azhiyadev. The discussion will be moderated by me (@harishanker)

In the discussion, we try to find answers to the following questions that we’ve heard frequently from our Community organizers so far:

  • What is Learn WordPress?
  • What are Learn WordPress discussion groups?
  • How can Meetups organize discussion groups based on Learn WordPress workshops?
  • How do we organize a successful discussion group?
  • How can Meetups organize workshops based on Learn WordPress Lesson plans?
  • How can Meetups contribute to the Learn WordPress project?

The video will be captioned, and a full transcript for the same will shortly be shared in this post.

+make.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//training/

#tuesdaytrainings #learn-wordpress #panel-discussion

Tuesday Training Announcement (March 16): Join us for a Live session on Learn WordPress

I’m pleased to invite you to be a part of next week’s Tuesday Training on the topic: How can 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. groups benefit from Learn WordPress?

Some of the topics covered in the discussion include:

  • An introduction to Learn WordPress
  • What are Learn WordPress discussion groups?
  • How can Meetups organize discussion groups based on Learn WordPress workshops?
  • How do we organize a successful discussion group?
  • How can Meetups organize workshops based on Learn WordPress Lesson plans?
  • How can Meetups contribute to the Learn WordPress project?

This will be a live session, and we will be joined by existing contributors to the Learn WordPress Initiative: @courane01 @evarlese @azhiyadev, and will be moderated by me (@harishanker). The discussion will be held in YouTube live on the WordCamp Central YouTube channel, and will be open to all!

Members of the community and meetup organizers can also participate in the discussion by asking questions in YouTube livechat, which will be answered by the panelists live, in our call!

Join the discussion!

Date and time: March 16, 2021 (Tuesday), 09:00 – 10:00 UTC (Click to view in your local timezone)
Add to your calendar (links directly to an ICS file)

Come, join us to learn how you can make the most out of Learn WordPress, contribute to the same, and support your local meetup. We hope to see you at all the live event!

+make.wordpress.org/training/

#tuesdaytrainings #learn-wordpress

Tuesday Trainings: I just found out that my speaker/sponsor has a plugin that is not 100% GPL. What do I do?

First step: don’t panic. This has happened before, it will happen again. This is a problem that can be solved.

Next step: what choice do we (as organizers or deputies) have? Do we:

  • Ban the offending sponsor/speaker for life as they should know better?
  • Work with them to educate them and help them understand the benefits of having 100% GPLGPL GPL is an acronym for GNU Public License. It is the standard license WordPress uses for Open Source licensing https://wordpress.org/about/license/. The GPL is a ‘copyleft’ license https://www.gnu.org/licenses/copyleft.en.html. This means that derivative work can only be distributed under the same license terms. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD license and the MIT License are widely used examples. code.

Hopefully the answer is obvious, but organizers and deputies should educate and help speakers and sponsors change the license to be 100% GPL.

What is “100% GPL”? 

WordPress is released under the GPL v2 license. This is important because the license gives software users what is commonly referred to as the “Four Freedoms”, detailed on the GNU Philosophy Page, which allow users to use the software in any way they wish, to modify the software (if desired) for their purpose, to redistribute the original software to help others, and to redistribute modified versions. 

With “100% GPL”, all distributed code should come with a license. If the license is a GPL v2 or compatible license that is a good start, but it’s not the only criteria. WordPress has stated that all code needs to be GPL. This includes CSSCSS CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site., images, and any JavaScriptJavaScript JavaScript or JS is an object-oriented computer programming language commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers. WordPress makes extensive use of JS for a better user experience. While PHP is executed on the server, JS executes within a user’s browser. https://www.javascript.com/. code in the pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party or theme. A simple way to look at it is that all code distributed must be GPL.

Two articles that may be of interest in helping organizers and deputies better understand GPL is the GPL Primer (everything you wanted to know about the GPL and didn’t know to ask) and the Vetting Checklist, which helps in vetting sponsors and speakers. 

Why do speakers/sponsors need to be 100% GPL anyways?

Any speaker or sponsor of WordPress events (WordCamps, meetups, etc) represents what organizers believe are the best practice in keeping with the coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. values and philosophy 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. When a user attends an event and learns about a new way to do something with WordPress, it is important that the tools presented are 100% GPL, just like WordPress, to protect the user’s freedoms. We want the user to believe that their experience with a ‘de facto’ endorsed product (plugin, theme, etc) is what they should expect of WordPress. A plugin that does not comply with the “100% GPL” criteria could change how a user thinks of WordPress. 

As the organizers of these events, we want users to not only have the best experience possible, but the best experience with WordPress possible.

A speaker/sponsor isn’t 100% GPL! What do we do, and why do it?

Now that we have gone through all the what’s and why’s, what do we do when we discover that our speaker or sponsor is not “100% GPL” compliant? I believe the best path forward is to start a conversation. As an organizer for quite some time, I find that in most cases the person is unaware that their license is an issue. It is the rare exception when someone purposefully disregards the WordPress license.

When I open the conversation, I start by letting them know what I have found. Although there are other issues with GPL, I’d like to address two common ones in particular. 

The ‘split license’

A ‘split licence’ will have the PHPPHP PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. http://php.net/manual/en/intro-whatis.php. code as GPL, but not the rest of the code.  Generally the  css, javascript, and images would not be GPL.  If the code is split license, I ask the speaker or sponsor if they understand the WordPress requirement for 100% GPL. I explain that this requirement is not to restrict their business nor to ‘steal’ from them, but to protect users. I’ll give examples of many well known and highly successful plugins and themes that are 100% GPL and encourage them to change the license.

Restrictions in use

This happens when the license says that the plugin or theme is GPL, but the terms of service or license restricts the ability to use the plugin or theme. In this case, I’ll ask the speaker or sponsor, why? In most cases they will explain that they restrict the use to protect themselves, but that they are in fact GPL. I will then explain the four freedoms, and that restricting use in any way is a violation of the GPL. I do point out that they can restrict support and updates based on their policies, but they cannot restrict use. I also point out all of the successful premium plugin and theme business that exist, not by changing the license, but by limiting support and updates.

Most plugin and theme authors, as well as sponsors, intend to comply with the GPL. Often they don’t realize that what they have done violates the GPL license. The best way forward is to educate, and to ask to have the license changed to be 100% GPL compliant.

How have you handled situations where you have found speaker(s) or sponsor(s) not 100% GPL compliant? Do you have additional questions around how best to handle these conversations?

Thanks to @sippis and @angelasjin for their feedback and contributions.

What’s coming next with Tuesday Trainings?

Please be sure to join us for a Tuesday Training live panel discussion on “How can 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. groups benefit from Learn WordPress?” on March 16 at 09:00 UTC, hosted by @harishanker! The event will be in the format of a live panel discussion on YouTube (in the WordCamp Central YouTube channel). Don’t forget to mark your calendars already and sign up for notifications on YouTube so that you will be notified when the event starts! More details can be found in the event announcement post.

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Tuesday Trainings: Do I need a sponsor for my meetup?

This is a question deputies hear quite a bit. As with so many things, the quick answer to this question is usually “That depends, let’s talk about why you might need or want one”.

For meetups that happen in-person, the potential costs are far more than virtual meetups. I’ll talk about that in a bit, but for now I’ll focus on the more common virtual meetups.

In a virtual 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., what costs need to be covered? WordPress Community Support covers the meetup fees. This allows access to meetup.com which can be used to communicate with your members and take registrations. The meetup itself will need to be hosted on a service such as Zoom, or Google Meet. You can see a full list of possible tools in the handbook. Some of these services may incur costs. Many meetups are fortunate to have someone donate a paid Zoom account, but what if they don’t have one?

The Community Team has Zoom accounts available for meetups. You can see the application on this page. This can be very helpful, especially if the meetup has more than 100 attendees as these accounts allow up to 300 attendees. Because Meetups share these accounts, organizers do need to apply for a Zoom account each time, and the logins and links will change.

Beyond the virtual meeting tool, are there other costs involved that a sponsor would help with? If there are, ask the Community Team so that deputies can discuss and help you determine what to do.

With in-person meetups, there are more costs. There may be venue costs. Many meetups like a ‘snack’ and since attendees are not charged for meetups, this cost must be covered from somewhere. Some meetups get donated space from a sponsor and others have them sponsor the ‘snacks’. Both of these are wonderful opportunities to engage a sponsor to help out.

Are covering costs the only reason to have a sponsor? No. A good relationship between a meetup and a sponsor goes beyond money. A sponsor can add value to a meetup and let’s look at that.

Aside from covering venue costs and snacks (or pizza) for in person meetups, sponsors can and have offered their virtual meeting tools to local meetups. This allows others to use the Zoom accounts that the Community Team has. Many of our program sponsors are hosting companies, and they have offered hosting to meetups that want to have their own community website.

I’ve been focusing on what meetups need from sponsors, but an equally important question is: what value will sponsors receive from sponsoring a meetup?

In any sponsor relationship, both sides have to give and receive something the other wants. Sponsors will mostly get exposure and their name out to all the meetup attendees. Sponsors can also be a great resource to meetup organizers. Sponsors can help out with topic ideas and possibly provide speakers, as long as speakers also follow the five good faith rules.

This year all meetups have sponsors via the Global Sponsorship program. While the benefits are limited (see this post for the details), meetup organizers should make use of their valuable resources.

How have you involved sponsors in your meetup? Do you have additional questions around meetup sponsors that you’d like to discuss?

Thanks to @angelasjin @camikaos @liamdempsey for their contributions.

#meetups, #tuesdaytrainings