More Housekeeping: Community Summit

People have started asking about whether or not we’re going to do another community summit this year. I’ve been looking at possibilities considering WordCamps, major industry events, annual Automattic meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through 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 will help you find options in your area., international visas, potential for weather complications, costs, etc. Here’s where I’m at.

  • Yes, another/annual community summit is a Good Idea.
  • Based on the above considerations, it may make more sense to shoot for early 2014 instead of the end of this year (though I could be convinced otherwise without much arm-twisting with the right location and dates).
  • It should be a 3-day event (some unconference, some normal conference, and some project time), with optional extra days for co-working/collaboration.
  • There should be something set aside for team reps/leaders/whatever in a smaller gathering like last year, but logistically different so it doesn’t wind up with community people arriving early feeling excluded.
  • It should stay small so that everyone gets to meet each other.
  • More information ahead of time about format, what to expect, etc.
  • Location, location, location. This deserves its own debate post.
  • Bumping it up against an existing event that some attendees will already be traveling to (like a big WC in London, for example) would reduce some travel expenses, but would mean extended time away from home for attendees which is tough on people with kids or other home-based responsibilities, and could put us in a more expensive location when it comes to space rental, housing, and food.
  • Travel scholarships last year meant a more diverse event, and I think we should do even more in this regard this year. To that end, what would it look like if the event provided travel for everyone who was invited, in exchange for certain participation expectations?
  • Visas. Having it in the US meant 2 people couldn’t attend bc they were unable to obtain visas. One of those people would probably be able to get a visa this year with some prep/coaching based on our talks with the consular agent last year after the 2nd rejection, but the other would probably still be denied based on employment/marital/family status being viewed as an emigration risk. Enough lead time for visa applications in Russia, Ukraine, India, etc is also necessary if we do choose a US location.
  • Multiple locations? I’ve been talking to folks at Mozilla, who’ve moved to doing a multi-location summit. Specifically, they have 3 simultaneous summits (Us, Europe, and I forget if the 3rd was in Asia?) and have some things happening unique to each location and some things being joint via videoconference. This would be another possibility. Though I do like the idea of having everyone in one place if possible, if it meant everyone could participate with less hardship, multiple locations could be good.
  • Who should be there? While most of the community was cool with the process and the list, there were some people who were left out because they didn’t apply to attend and no one thought to nominate them, and there were other people who did apply but weren’t included and got really angry at our selections. We need to be proactive about including new voices and not just being a WP Insiders Reunion, while at the same time making sure that the community movers and shakers of influence have a seat at the table, all while keeping the number steady. The survey from last year was pretty unanimous in the 100 attendee target, with some suggesting that going even a little smaller would be ideal. I think 100-120 still makes sense, we just need to have a space that has breakout rooms so we don’t have sound issues.

So what now? I’d like to form a little team to work on the summit planning together with me, maybe 3-4 people to start, and then add volunteers to work on specific things once we make a general plan. If anyone is interested in being on that initial planning team, let me know in the comments.