Grow Your Meetup survey results for #WCUS

Thanks to all the WordPress meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. organizers who responded to our recent survey. We received 23 submissions from around North America and abroad.

Many of the responses were very detailed and thorough. They’re too long to include here verbatim, so we’ve curated some common themes.

We added a bit of commentary in this post, and we’ll discuss these topics in more depth during our Grow Your Meetup! workshop at 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. US. You’ll find us in the Community Room, Room 274.

Tell us a bit about your group

  • Many Meetup groups are established vs new, at least a few years, some 10+ years
  • Covering a range of topics: beginners, advanced users, development
  • Active members are a small subset of overall membership

Comment: There’s an oft-cited model of community participation: 90/9/1. Out of your entire community group, 90% will be passive (lurkers); 9% will be active; and 1% will be very engaged regulars.

How big is your group?

  • Ranges from 100’s to 1000’s of total members
  • Average turnout ranges from 20-50 depending on the topic
  • Presentations attract more people than socials

Comment: 30 seems to be the sweet spot for a reasonably-sized meetup group, regardless of the total number of members registered in the meetup, nor those who RSVP for each event.

How often do you meet?

  • 65% meet once a month
  • 35% meet more than once a month
  • No respondents said less than once a month

Comment: Consistent, routine events are a must if you want to build a strong meetup group. An active meetup group should meet at least once a month. This consistency builds momentum that helps make future meetups more likely to happen.

How do you promote your group?

  • Meetup.com is the primary method
  • Social media (Facebook & Twitter) and word-of-mouth
  • WordPress Dashboard, if part of the Chapter program

Comment: In general, it seems like meetup organizers don’t do a lot of outreach or promotion — we rely on Meetup.com to bring members to us, as well as word-of-mouth referrals through existing group members. This could be a big opportunity for us to find new members.

What’s worked?

  • Consistency – same day of the month, every month
  • Mixing it up – different locations, times, appeals to different people
  • Involve the group – planning, choosing topics, online groups
  • Setting topics in advance; focusing on peer/user support

Comment: Two things here. First, consistency leads to routine which leads to habit. But what works for some people won’t work for others. That’s where options come into play: different days, different times, different formats, different topics, different locations.

Issues?

  • Finding locations/venues
  • Finding speakers/presenters
  • No-shows, low turnout vs RSVPs

Comment: Totally consistent with our experiences as organizers, and an ideal topic for our group brainstorming session on Friday morning.

Advice for new meetup organizers?

  • It takes time. Start small, persist, keep showing up
  • Don’t overthink/overcomplicate; have a structure/template
  • Plan in advance, get experts in as speakers
  • Have a team of committed co-organizers

Other advice?

  • Don’t try to do everything yourself; you’ll burn out
  • Recognize other leaders, invite others to step up
  • Diversity and inclusion takes effort, but it’s worth it
  • You’re growing a community, not just hosting a meetup

That’s just an overview of what we’ve heard through the survey. We’ll address all of these points, and much more, during the Grow Your Meetup! workshop at WordCamp US in the Community Room, Room 274.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the survey!

#wcus, #meetups-2

Meetup organizer survey for WordCamp US

Hello! We’re hosting the Grow Your Meetup workshop at 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. US 2019.

To prepare for the workshop, we’re looking for insights and advice from other WordPress meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. organizers. What’s worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you?

Take the survey and share your experiences with us.

Note: You don’t need to be attending the workshop to submit a response.

Submissions are anonymous, but you’re welcome to identify yourself for kudos (!), follow-up questions, or to stay in the loopLoop The Loop is PHP code used by WordPress to display posts. Using The Loop, WordPress processes each post to be displayed on the current page, and formats it according to how it matches specified criteria within The Loop tags. Any HTML or PHP code in the Loop will be processed on each post. https://codex.wordpress.org/The_Loop. about the workshop.

Take the survey – the more people we hear from, the better we’ll do.

Thanks in advance…!

#wcus

WordCamp US 2019 – Community Team Plans

We are less than a month away from WordCamp US 2019, which means it’s time to get organised!

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. Europe and WordCamp US are what we consider flagship events and are always a great opportunity for teams to get together, contribute and onboard more people. There are going to be a whole lot of us present and we should take advantage of that and maximize our time together.

Please add in the comments ideas and suggestions for tasks we could work on together while in Saint Louis.

We also need at least two, three Team Leads to coordinate the different activities:

  • Deliver the Team initial presentation
  • Onboard new contributors
  • Help coordinate work during the day
  • Deliver the end of day recap of what was achieved during the day

Please raise your hand in the comments if you are available for this.

Deadline to comment is October 17 so we can discuss this during the next two Community chats: after that date I will summarise in a “squad goals” post (like the one we had last year) and we will go from there!

#contributor-day, #wcus

Apply to Host WordCamp US 2019/2020

With 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. US entering its second year in Nashville, TN it’s time to start exploring options for the 2019-2020 host city. If you think your hometown would be the perfect place for WordCamp US to call home for two years please start assembling your team and apply!

Applications are open now through 11:59pm PST Friday, February 2, 2018.

For more information or to start your application go to: http://wordcampcentral.polldaddy.com/s/wcus-2019-2020

#wcus, #wordcamps

Application to host WordCamp US 2017/2018

For anyone interested in seeing 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. US come to their city, applications for WordCamp US 2017 and 2018 are now being accepted.

Go here for more details and to apply: http://wordcampcentral.polldaddy.com/s/wcus-2017-2018

#wcus, #wordcamps

Community Team at the Community Summit

There will be about 50 people who declared themselves members of the community team at the summit happening over the next two days in Philadelphia. This includes deputies as well as local WC/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. organizers. I think there are also some people listed as community team who are not tied to our team at all and meant they were part of the WP community and just wanted to attend, but in any case it’s a lot of people. I wanted to post some things to think about for unconference discussions tomorrow and our team working day Wednesday.

The summit format of safe-space conversations — no presentations — is intended to make it easier for us to talk about hard subjects that are difficult to communicate about using our normal online tools. This might mean things that are unpleasant, or things that inspire passionate contradicting opinions, or things that are sensitive and need a little more privacy to discuss fully. Let’s try to focus on that kind of stuff as much as possible tomorrow, vs general program planning ideas, which we can hit the next day on our own without cross-project collaboration.

Aside from the ones proposed in the summit forum, here are some topics that might be worth discussing tomorrow:

  • Inclusive/welcoming venue rules for WP events. This most often comes up when someone wants to use a religious venue owned by a church that has doctrine that is not welcoming to LGBT folks, though that’s not the only example. This issue was at play in what happened with Austin this year, so let’s talk about it and figure out what makes sense as a rule to ensure that everyone will feel welcome at official events.
  • WC/Meetup organizer location. Do they really need to be local to the community in question? We’ve always said yes, for the sake of being present in the community, having a stake in the game, being a local leader and resource. Some people think this shouldn’t be a requirement at all. Where should this line fall?
  • Meetup/WC relationship. Should meetup organizers need to have moved to the community program vs. privately owning meetup groups to be approved as a WC organizer or does it really matter?
  • Deputy duties/automation. What tasks should volunteers be doing, what tasks should people getting paid be doing, what tasks should a computer be doing instead of all this one-on-one communication? In short, how can we make the program more efficient and effective while making it more inclusive?
  • Escalation, code of conduct, poisonous people. This is really a working session, since we have some people identified to work on it already as an escalation team (and can add more volunteers to a working session) but some people may want to talk about goals and such vs. getting down to business.
  • The future of community summits. The first one was standalone. The second surveyed past attendees and decided to experiment with tying itself to a WC. This year is similar to last year, but we skipped over the taking stock of past attendees to see if people thought it was better with a WC or as a standalone event. Let’s discuss what future experiments with community summits might look like.
  • WordCamp.org URLs. It took years of complaints about the year.city format to be changed to city./year. Now we’ve been asked to revert that change (you may have noticed WCUS uses the old format). There wasn’t much discussion on posts about this, but I know there are a lot of people with opinions about which format is preferable and why.
  • Diversity and inclusion. We talk about being a welcoming community, and we are more welcoming than many 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. projects, but it’s also true that a majority of project leadership is white male programmers. What can we do to diversify the contributor pool, to be more inclusive with the people who are here, and generally be less homogenous?

Some potential working projects for Wednesday (we can also see what we come up with in Tuesday discussions before deciding anything about Wednesday):

  • Escalation/CoC update/reporting form. Needs @mor10.
  • Organizer self-training/quizzes. We have been talking about turning orientations and trainings into self-guided online learning for years. Let’s just start.
  • Payments 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. Plan the UXUX UX is an acronym for User Experience - the way the user uses the UI. Think ‘what they are doing’ and less about how they do it. of payments/invoicing plugin improvements.
  • Sponsorship terms. Building off the levels reently posted, nail down the benefits that will go with each, since we won’t have IRS rules anymore to restrict us.
  • Course planning. Plot out courses we could run as diversity inititatives. Consult with training team.
  • Speaker gender review. I have done this by hand by myself manually in past years, to track how we are doing with regard to percentages of WC speakers who are women. I have started on this year’s review, but a couple of volunteers (especially from Europe and Asia where you might already familiar with speakers) to help fill in the spreadsheet would be great.
  • Redux of all predefs in supportpress. Survey of them started a while back by Josepha, need email rewrites and clearing out the ones that are not needed/not good.
  • Redux of auto-emails to WC org teams. Adding extra organizer roles will allow us to send more specific auto-emails to people volunteering in specific roles on org teams to make sure the right people are getting the information they need. Review existing emails, break them up as needed, and/or write new ones based on our organizer rules, checklists, etc.
  • Community Hub take II.We tend to use this as a catchall term — is it a meetup.com replacement? A way to track org teams and communicate with them? More? Less? Other? Let’s reconvene on this topic and narrow down what is really needed, based on the infrastructure we have to work with.
  • Make homepage redux. Revisit ideas of a couple years back around content for Make landing page to feature interviews, contributor drives, etc.
  • Email editorial calendar. Make a calendar of planned communications to meetup and other organizers for the coming year and identify who’s responsible for writing them (thinking a handful of deputies could be involved and rotate rather than one lone figurehead representing the program).
  • Contributor outreach planning. Get Involved tables at WCs, regular contributor drives publicize through meetups, other ways to get more activities in place to help people become contributors.

Some of these may resonate strongly with you, some may sound like a waste of time, and many will fall somewhere in between. There will be more conversations going on at once than anyone can be a part of — try to be okay with not being in every discussion, and know that no final decisions about the community program will be made by discussion groups on Tuesday without being reviewed here first to allow input from team members who weren’t able to travel here for the event.

#community-management, #community-summit, #wcus

It’s official Philadelphia will host the first WCUS…

It’s official: Philadelphia will host the first WCUS on Dec 4-6, and 2016 as well. I posted on my blog too.

All of the applications were excellent and will be choosing the 2017/2018 host city next year through a similar process.

Happy to answer any questions here!

#philadelphia, #wcus

WordCamp US Update!

Applications for 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. US 2015 have officially closed! We received submissions from Chattanooga, Chicago, Detroit, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. All applications are being reviewed and carefully considered and we’ll be responding to organizers as soon as possible. I’ll keep you all updated as more details are available.

#wcus, #wordcamps

I’ve been approached by a couple of people…

I’ve been approached by a couple of people who want to apply for their city to host WCUS, and there is some confusion about what the application is actually for, and what is required. I want to share those questions here so that we can all be on the same page.

Q. Is there a Dream Team post in the making, or is the expectation that the local team would be the organizers?

WCUS has been compared to WCEU, and the city host survey was in part based on the one WCEU did. But, WCEU put out a call for people to apply to be on the organizing team at the same time, so experienced organizers from all over Europe would make up a pan-Europe organizing team. There has been no such post for WCUS, but will there be?

Thoughts: If it’s really WCUS (or North America), then we ought to follow WCEU’s example and have a pan-US organizing team. Local teams would obviously provide an important on the ground role, and would probably have at least one person on the dream team, but having one group of people shift so completely from a local focus to one that is significantly broader seems awkward (and it makes me think that could hurt their 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. in the short-term, since all the organizers would be focused on WCUS). A dream team would take advantage of multiple points of view, offer more opportunity for diversity, and ensure that WCSUS doesn’t turn out to be just “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. [City] with fewer local speakers.”

Q. How much research is expected around budgets, dates, etc? There was almost no criteria to go by.

This is pretty big. We all know how long it takes for WC organizers to research venues and services and vendors to come up with their budgets. If this survey is just to get to a short list of potential cities, after which additional research and/or budgeting could be done, it seems like we need to provide more parameters. Having people call a dozen potential venues and get available dates without even an inkling of a desired date range or blackout dates seems like a lot of people might be wasting their time.

Could we shift some of the wording so it’s clear around when we’re looking to have this event, how many breakout rooms are desired, etc? WCEU includes this type of information in their city call, and it has been successful. If a whole team has to spend a month researching and writing all the potential combinations, that means a) that’s a month they’re not focused on their meetup group, and b) they’re going to give us way more information than is useful. If we give some parameters and are clear about how much or how little information is desired, then apples can be compared to apples for a speedier review process. Getting to a short list faster means people can spend meaningful time digging deeper instead of potentially wasting a month of people’s time.

Also, the sample budget that is provided with the application is a full WC budget, not just a sheet for listing venue costs. Why do we have people doing a budget for tshirts and stuff at this point? Shouldn’t we have them just be focused on the venue/lodging opportunities? I’m mostly concerned that we are asking for way more work than is needed to get to the first decision stage, and it will both slow down the decision and burn up our local organizers’ time.

Any and all clarification greatly appreciated! cc @camikaos and @matt

#events-2, #wcus

WordCamp US!

Interested in hosting WordCamp US in your hometown? Applications are open: http://wordcampcentral.polldaddy.com/s/apply-to-host-wordcamp-us

#wcus, #wordcamps