Proposal for new feature on WordCamp.org sites to hide certain pages from WordPress/Search Engine search results.

The Problem

In Orange County, we organize a golf tournament for the day before WordCamp. The page I’d want to hide from WordPress search is a confirmation page with details about the event for the subset of attendees who are going to that event. It’s nothing secret, just didn’t want it to be confusing for other attendees if they were searching for “golf” looking for the announcement post about the golf tournament and found the confirmation page I created.

In discussions on #meta-wordcamp another related use case was brought up by @kcristiano:

Another use case I’ve had is posting Speaker, Volunteer info, and sponsor information to the site. Much easier for those folks to find nothing “secret” beyond perhaps the date/time of volunteer event. We don’t put the page in the menu, the url is given to those who need it. Would be nice to not have search engines index and wp search not find it. Keeps all the info in the site (as opposed to Gdocs).

The Proposal

  • Create a checkbox in the publish metabox with a label “Don’t show this page in search results” (or similar messaging)
  • Create a filter on search results query to exclude pages with the meta key we store for the checkbox.
  • Create a filter on all related json api endpoints to exclude pages with the meta key we store for the checkbox.
  • Add noindex tags to pages that have the checkbox selected

Please weigh in with your thoughts on the usefulness/need for this feature.

#wordcamps #feature-request

What’s in a name? Organizing WordCamps and developing the Finnish community

A month ago, Helsinki hosted its first WordCamp Helsinki but its second WordCamp. This is a description of why there was a WordCamp Finland in the first place and an account of our experience with the name change.

A few years ago it was easier to meet fellow Finnish WordPress enthusiasts at WordCamp Europe than in our cities. In 2015, Tampere organized the first Finnish WordCamp. The event was sold out and more than 180 people attended. The two-day event, a conference day and workshop day, was successful and received positive reviews from the participants.

Two reasons influenced the team into calling it WordCamp Finland instead of WordCamp Tampere. The main reason was because this was the first WordCamp in the country. The concept of a WordCamp was unknown to many people in Finland using WordPress, so the organizing team felt that a national event would be more appealing. The secondary reason was that the event was not located in the capital region, and calling it WordCamp Finland delivered a stronger message to attract more people from outside of Tampere. Moreover, at that time, Tampere was the only city in Finland with a local meetup, so the organizing team was certain that during 2015 this would be the sole WordCamp in Finland.

Tampere became the blueprint of the community. Under the scorching sun of Seville at WordCamp Europe 2015, a few people from Helsinki decided to start a local meetup, whose first event took place two months later. Soon after that, two other meetups started in Turku and Jyväskylä.

Last year, in 2016 WordCamp Finland moved to Helsinki. The event was larger than the previous year’s; we increased the number of tickets by thirty percent, and we added Finland’s first contributor day with Core, Polyglots, and Community teams. It was during this contributor’s day that the meetup in Oulu was created.

Why did we decide to keep WordCamp Finland as the name of the event? Honestly, it was not a conscious decision, but these were our thoughts:

  1. Firstly, we were not aware of any country-level restrictions.
  2. Secondly, WordCamp Finland had been established already the previous year, so we felt that we were carrying on the “tradition”.
  3. Lastly, we were sure that in 2016 no other WordCamp would take place in the country.

Nowadays, Finland has a vibrant and healthy WordPress community. We have had monthly meetups in five cities – Tampere, Helsinki, Turku, Jyväskylä, and Oulu – for at least a year and our Slack team is really active.

This year WordCamp Finland changed its name to WordCamp Helsinki. In the beginning, the organising team had some concerns regarding this change:

  • Fear that there would be confusion with the new name because the old name was already established in the community.
  • The city name seemed to target a narrower audience.
  • Some team members didn’t like the strictness of the rule.Feeling that we should all push together as a whole community under WordCamp Finland because this is a small country.
  • Worry that the name change would seem like this event was exclusive to the Helsinki community, and consequently the number of attendees from around the country would diminish.
  • Fewer applications from international speakers.

To avoid the confusion with the name and communicate that people from everywhere were welcome, we used the country map in our design and we made sure to mention clearly that people from everywhere were welcome to the event.

To encourage and help other cities to organize local WordCamps  the organizing team included two persons from other local communities, Turku and Jyväskylä. This way they could gather experience and afterwards lead their own local events.

Other than the change in the naming, WordCamp Helsinki 2017 was identical to last year’s event.

Two members of the organizing team changed.
The event venue was the same.
The number of attendees was the same.
Same contributor day venue and contributor teams.
… And even the same lunch menu.

This time, the tickets sold out in two hours. The number of international speaker applications was roughly the same as in 2016. People still travelled from other cities to attend the event and the general feedback so far has been strongly positive. Also, a new meetup is sprouting in Seinäjoki.

Some team members still think that national WordCamps can be useful in the beginning to get the community together, and dislike strict rules of this kind. However, based on the gathered feedback and attendance, the whole team realized that our earlier concerns either were unfounded or could be worked out. The fact that all the Finnish WordCamps were sold out quickly and that many participants came from other cities is a plausible sign that there is room for other events. WordCamp Helsinki could have been larger, but the team decided not to. Finding a larger venue and managing a bigger event required time the team did not have, particularly because the planning started quite late. Keeping the event at the same size allowed the team to feel comfortable organizing the event. On top of that, this was an example to other cities that were reluctant to organise a WordCamp because they thought that every event had to be larger than the previous one.

In the end, changing the name didn’t make a difference in the event itself, and if anything it encouraged other cities to organize their own events. At the moment, both Turku and Jyväskylä are planning to have a local WordCamp next year.

This was our experience with changing from a national to a city named WordCamp event. If you have done the same, what was your experience?

Meetups in Finland: Helsinki, Jyväskyla, Oulu, Tampere, and Turku.

#wordcamps

#wcnaming

The new WordCamp base theme: CampSite 2017

In our last post on the current status of the new WordCamp base theme, we got some great feedback on how to improve the theme even further. The feedback has been implemented and the new theme is ready for review.

“Day of” page template

One of the ideas from the feedback we wanted to implement was the “day of” template. This is a page template with some additional widget areas. They can be used to arrange a page, that can be used on the day of the WordCamp. Things you might want to have on homepage on that day: the schedule, directions, social media stream, information about the after party, etc. As in the widget areas, you can use shortcodes in text widgets, it’s very easy to dynamically setup such a page.

Example of the day of template

This is an example on how this could look like. The width of the widget areas can be adjusted using CSS.

A11y

As the new theme is based on the latest version of Underscores, it already comes with a lot of a11y improvements. But themes like TwentySeventeen even go one step further. So, for the two navigations we have on the site, we implemented the improvements from TwentySeventeen (like including a “dropdown-toggle” button next to sub menus).

Ready to review

We believe, that the new theme is ready to go live on WordCamp.org, so we would like to invite you, to review the current codebase on Github.

The theme itself comes with no style (except for some basic CSS from Underscores). For WordCamp Europe, we just finished our complementary style guide we presented in our first blog post and we will publish it in the next days for any WordCamp to use.

#feature-request #wordcamps #wceu #campsite-theme

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

Introducing a new Mentor Tool: the Planning Checklist

Back in December I described a two-part project to give WordCamp mentors new tools to help them help camp organizers. Today I’m announcing that the second part of that, which we’re calling the Planning Checklist, is live and available on every WordCamp site. You can access it on sites for which you are an admin by clicking the Planning link in the Dashboard menu.

The Planning Checklist is a list of tasks that need to be completed before, during, and after a successful WordCamp. Organizers can use the checklist to make sure they’re not missing any important details as they go along. Mentors can use the checklist to monitor the progress of a camp and better understand what challenges the organizing team is currently facing. The hope is that this will facilitate more efficient and effective conversations between mentors and organizers.

In the Planning Checklist interface, the tasks are listed in roughly the order they need to be completed. All tasks start with a “Pending” status, and they can be marked as “Completed” or “Skipped” as appropriate. There are filters along the top of the list so you can view all of the tasks from a particular category, or with a particular status.

Many tasks also have a more detailed description, and/or a link to a relevant Handbook page that is revealed when you click on the task.

The Planning Checklist interface uses the REST API to sync changes to the server, so that if multiple people are looking at the list at the same time, any changes they make will happen in the other users’ browsers as well.

The content of the tasks is intentionally hard-coded, instead of being stored as editable content in the WordPress database. This way, if the mentor and the organizing team have chosen different locales for viewing the site, they can all still see the Planning Checklist details in their preferred language (assuming translations are available).

This is version 1. All feedback is welcome. If you have ideas for improving the content of the tasks, or the UI, let us know in the comments or start a feature request discussion.

If you would like to help translate all of this new task content, the project is here. (cc +make.wordpress.org/polyglots)

 

Big shoutout to those who made this project happen: @brandondove for coming up with the idea and guiding the development of the UI, @camikaos and @courtneypk for editing all the task data that I messily imported from a Google Spreadsheet, and @iandunn for a thorough code review.

#wordcamps #deputies

Feature Request: Give WordCamp attendees ability to mark/save sessions of interest on camp schdeule

Attending WordCamp is great, but as an attendee I have to repeatedly refer to the schedule to see which talks I wanted to go to next and which room I should be in, etc. I’d like to suggest a new feature to enable users to create a custom track from a published schedule on a WordCamp website. A way for users to select their desired session and somehow save this “custom” track or collection of sessions.

What does saving mean?

I think the MVP would be save and print or email the custom schedule/agenda. The user would select one talk (maybe more? if they’re interested in multiple sessions) per time slot to attend by clicking that slot in the schedule, and visually the schedule would highlight marked sessions. Perhaps selecting a session would even create a new list of sessions as that attendees custom agenda for the Camp and that agenda can be printed. I’m sure proper UX would deem it necessary to include some type of buttons or interface to add a session to an agenda and then to remove selected sessions too. As MVP, this could be front-end only and not even save any data. It could populate an email or be ready to print – or even simply allow users to keep the page open on their phone for quick glances during the conference.  I especially see this agenda layout being useful on mobile, where it’s tough to fit a complex schedule.

For a nicer experience though, the site would save the user’s selections and allow them to return to the schedule to see their saved/selected sessions. Ideally this would be tied to their .org account or something so either on the computer or phone they could log in and view their saved agenda.

How could it be useful to more than just the attendee?

Then if we end up being able to save this data, why not allow users to opt-in to share their schedule with other attendees or even the public. Attendees and sessions are displayed, let’s connect them. Each session abstract could indicate interest either by how many attendees have selected this talk or even list all interested attendees. I could see this being useful information to gauge general interest for talks and may help ensure to have ample space for each session. For example, if one session has a high level of interest it could be moved to a larger room to account for more attendees. Anyways, I digress…

Here I’ve mocked up a quick and ugly schedule with some marked sessions:

wordcamp raleigh schedule with marked sessions

Here’s a nasty screenshot of a schedule for WordCamp Raleigh with sessions marked as proposed. Notice there are two sessions saved at 11am, while only one session for later times.

The main point here is to have a way that when viewing the WordCamp schedule, attendees can select which sessions they are most interested in to create their own agenda during a WordCamp, and then a convenient way for users to save this agenda for quick reference during WordCamp. Sharing this interest may help attendees network and connect with others before and during the event. This data could possibly provide general feedback to organizers for planning purposes too.

I don’t believe this is the first time this type of idea has come up and I’ve had positive feedback from others and hope this can generate a useful discussion and roadmap. Thoughts?

#improving-wordcamp-org, #wordcamp-org, #wordcamps #feature-request

Progress update: New WordCamp theme “CampSite 2017”

As announced in a previous post, this year’s WordCamp Europe team is working on a new WordCamp base theme for the community. We’re calling it “CampSite 2017”. Since the announcement was made, we were able to gather initial feedback (which was primarily positive), solidify and further develop our ideas. I’d like to share our progress with you today to hear your feedback and thoughts.

Wireframes

After we heard your feedback from our introduction post, we made a list with all common pages, components, shortcodes used, etc. each WordCamp site would need. We then created and started refining wireframes of the main page templates (you can click through the different pages by opening the sitemap button on the top left of the online tool).

Homepage:
For the homepage we put the emphasis on flexibility and being able to tease to different content rather than having a very long blogroll (as often seen on WordCamp sites). This allows us to surface important content, feature relevant calls-to-action (like Call for Speakers, Buy your ticket, Call for Sponsors, etc.). We did want to include latest blog posts, but limited the number on the homepage. The layout is created mainly with widgeted areas where we allow for some additional flexibility (see “Widget Area Top 1” + “2”, where you can use one or both depending on your needs).

Attendees page:
We’re working on extending the attendees page shortcode to include pagination and a search functionality. Bernhard published a meta post about it.

Speakers page:
On the speakers page we were playing with different grids and types of information to output. Since the event organizers can include different fields / types of information for speakers, they can also decide what to output here. We’ll achieve this by extending the speakers shortcode and will publish a meta post with all the details soon.

Speakers bio page:
We’d like to include a little more information around speakers on this page. We would find it very useful to have prominent links to a speaker’s website and social profile. We furthermore feel that it would be very helpful to see the talk a speaker is giving would be shared on their speaker bio page, instead of having to click one more time to see their full talk info, as well as a link to the slides and talk video (once available). To achieve this will will create a new page template.

Footer:
Here we’d like to provide a simple footer with just the social links or an extended footer with additional widget areas for menus and other links.

General layout templates:
Furthermore we’ll create the following general layout templates that can be used for any regular content page on the WordCamp site:

The Theme Repo – work in progress

We’re using the latest version of Underscores as a base for the theme and setup a repo on Github for the theme. As pointed out in the previous post, most features implemented in the default theme were widgets areas. As shown in the wireframes, we will add some widget areas in the new theme, but with more specific positions. The new page templates will help with some special pages, like the speakers list and bio page or the homepage. A first version with the new templates will be published next week.

A11y

Accessibility will be an important aspect of the new CampSite 2017 theme. We’re planning on implementing A11y standards and once the theme is ready for testing would love the community’s help to do a separate A11y testing phase. We’ve received some feedback from the A11y team about the biggest issues of the current theme and the things that Underscores is still lacking. We will take some A11y changes from TwentySeventeen and integrate them into the new theme and ask the A11y for additional feedback, once the prototype is available.

PS: Style Guide

As mentioned in the announcement posts, the CampSite 2017 theme will be shipped with only minimal CSS so you can use it as a starter theme and add all your own CSS styles if you like. But we will also ship an accompanying style guide with full CSS styling open source. The style guide can be used as is, as a base for customization, or cloned and made fully your own. We will publish a full post about the style guide, how it works, and our vision for the future very soon.

Your feedback please!

We’re still working on quite a few things and would to hear your feedback about the wireframes, our ideas around the page templates and shortcodes, etc. This project is for you, it will benefit the greater WordCamp community and any organizer setting up a WordCamp site in the future. So we want to hear your voice!

#campsite-theme, #meta-wordcamp, #wordcamp-sites #wordcamps

Improvements to the attendees shortcode

With large WordCamps like WordCamp Europe and WordCamp US, the current implementation of the attendees shortcode becomes a problem. Showing more than 2000 attendees on a single page is not only bad for performance, but also for UX (like scrolling such a long page on a mobile and loading all the attendees including images).

Current performance optimizations

The current implementation of the shortcode has some tricks to increase the performance. For longer attendees lists, they are loaded in batches of 200. The generated HTML of all attendees is cached in a transient for 1 hour (24 hours after the WordCamp).

To help with the attendees Gravatar images, a lazy loading mechanism was implemented. This is very useful not only on desktop, but also helps on mobile saving bandwidth.

Improvements with the new shortcode

For the new default theme the WordCamp Europe team is working on, “CampSite 2017”, we first thought about implementing an archive page for the attendees page. But this would be inflexible and it would also only help the new default theme. The current shortcode also offers some attributes to show content gathered from attendees through additional questions. This would not be as easy with an archive page template. So we instead are trying to improve the shortcode.
Adding pagination to the shortcode
Although the current shortcode has an posts_per_page attribute, this does not add a pagination to the shortcode, but only reduces the number of visible attendees. So that doesn’t help. But we changed this attribute to enable pagination links, if present:

Attendees list with pagination links

The pagination use function paginate_link with accessible links.

Adding a search for attendees

One benefit of having all attendees on a single page is an easy search for them using the browser search. On a paginated page, a search makes it also easy to search for friends and colleagues on the attendees list. Adding the search field can be done with the new with_search attribute set to true:

Attendees list with search field

The search result is also paginated with the same number of attendees per page.

Keeping backward compatibility

As changing the shortcode will affect any WordCamp site, we implemented the new features in a way, that they are only active, if the attributes posts_per_page and/or with_search are set. We also kept the image lazy loading and we still cache the resulting HTML (per page/search) in a transient.

Feedback

For the upcoming WordCamp Europe (June), we would really like to see this new feature available as soon as possible. Please feel free to give us your feedback on the new functionality so we can move forward.

#wordcamps #feature-request

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

WordCamp Talks Beta

I’m happy to announce that the Beta of the WordCamp Talks plugin is on GitHub and ready for testing, feedback, feature requests and PRs! \o/

https://github.com/imath/wordcamp-talks/releases/tag/1.0.0-beta1

This first step in the process forked the WP Idea Stream plugin and integrated the WordCamp-specific features previously grouped in an external file.

Reminder: our goal is to create a plugin for WordCamp sites that manages talk submissions and selections (similar to OpenCFP), integrating seamlessly with the existing Speaker post type (on the to do list).

Ref : https://make.wordpress.org/community/2016/05/11/wp-idea-stream-for-the-wordcamp-admin-toolbox/

All credit for current efforts goes to @imath, I’m just the messenger 🙂

#speakers, #toolkit, #wordcamps