WordCamp San Francisco Travel & Contributor Days

Hi folks! We are getting ready to publish a bunch of information about WordCamp San Francisco tomorrow, but wanted give you contributors a heads up in advance.

Note to newsy blogs: if you would hold off on posting about this until the information goes live at 2014.sf.wordcamp.org tomorrow, that would be greatly appreciated. We keep these contributor team blogs public for the sake of transparency, but they’re intended for contributor communication, not a backchannel to pre-empting public announcements. Since there will be a lot of public interest in the WCSF info, giving us a day for internal communication will help us produce a better public event. Thanks!

If you are a WordPress contributor — in addition to the teams on make.wordpress.org, this includes locale-specific contributors like WordCamp/meetup organizers and translators — please take a moment after you read this post to let us know if you think you will attend WCSF and if we should include you in our planning estimates. (link at bottom)

Schedule and Format

Many of you have participated in discussions on the /community team blog about this, and thanks for all your thoughtful questions and suggestions. Here’s what we’ve decided on:

Friday, October 24
Most people will be arriving on this day. The day will include a whirlwind of activity for the organizing team, which will be headquartered at the Automattic Lounge. That evening will be the volunteer orientation, and we’ll have an optional early registration/check-in for .org contributor teams. The check-in will allow you to skip the registration line at Mission Bay on Saturday morning.

Saturday, October 25
All-day conference at Mission Bay Conference Center, the same venue we’ve used for the last few years. Presentations will be both upstairs and downstairs as always. Afterparty at the Automattic Lounge.

Sunday, October 26
All-day conference at Mission Bay Conference Center, with the intention that the downstairs room will be used for a series of contributor day-style workshops/sessions led by members of each contributor team in lieu of a separate contributor/dev day like we’ve had in the past. Matt’s State of the Word presentation will be on this day.

Monday, October 27
All-day discussion-format unconference at the Automattic Lounge, similar to the 2012 Community Summit, but with a couple of differences.
1. Instead of pitching discussion ideas at the beginning of the day, we’ll set up a forum in advance so people can pitch ideas and talk about which ideas deserve the air time for group discussions. More information around the logistics of this will be forthcoming next week, but you can start thinking about discussion topics. 🙂
2. It will not be invite-only. While keeping an attendance cap is something everyone agreed was a big factor in the success of the summit, the invitation format was not particularly in keeping with the goals of the project for everything to be open, open, open. So we’ll have an attendance cap based on the space, but registration will be open to all. It will not cost anything on top of the regular conference ticket, but it will require a separate sign up. We’ll make sure that active contributor team members get first crack at signing up, and then open up the remaining spots to the general community with some specific language making it clear that this part of the event is intended for contributors and WP professionals, not beginners, that it is all discussions, no presentations, etc.

Tuesday — Wednesday, October 28-29
Contributor Team Coworking at the Automattic Lounge. These days are not ticketed, they’re the equivalent of the old core team meetups we used to do out on Tybee, but for each of the contributor teams, with the ability to talk with the other contributor teams as needed for projects-/ssues that involve multiple teams. So it will be up to each team to decide who should be invited to be part of that (though I’ll need coordinate with each team for logistics).

Travel/Lodging

A few things on this topic.

Travel Assistance
We’ve budgeted a chunk of money for a travel assistance program intended to help people attend in two areas. We want to make it easier to attend for folks for whom it’s a financial hardship to travel to SF for the event (either for personal finance reasons, or for geographic reasons like living in a country where flights to SF are 3 times the price of a US flight to SF), as well as bringing in a more diverse contributor/attendee pool that includes people from international communities that might not normally consider attending. There will be an application form to apply for travel assistance on the wcsf site.

Hotels
October is the loveliest month in San Francisco, which means it will be awesome. It also means peak rates. AND there’s a medical conference in town during the week when we have the coworking time that is booking 18,000 SF hotel rooms, so convenient hotels will be expensive. To that end, we are booking several blocks of rooms now just to be safe. We’ll use these to house the travel assistance recipients, speakers, possibly the most active contributors, and will offer any leftover rooms for sale to attendees at the rates we are getting.

Because we are signing contracts now just to make sure we’ll have enough rooms to actually provide travel assistance, we want to make sure we get enough rooms but don’t buy out more than we’ll need (because, you know, lots of money). To that end, it would help us immeasurably to get a rough headcount of contributors who are planning to attend, to find out if they’d want to stay for the whole time or just part of it, and if they would be looking for travel assistance and/or would want to buy a room in one of the blocks we are holding.

If you are a WordPress contributor — in addition to the teams on make.wordpress.org, this includes locale-specific contributors like WordCamp/meetup organizers and translators — please take a moment to let us know in this short survey if you think you will attend WCSF and if we should include you in our planning estimates.

Phew! Thanks for reading all that, and thanks in advance for filling in the survey by the end of the weekend so we know if we should sign one more hotel contract on Monday or not.

June 16 Update: Here’s the official application for travel assistance.

#contributor-teams, #wcsf, #wcsf2014, #wordcamp