Organizing WordPress Meetups: Getting Started


The Organizing Meetups series of two workshops is aimed at all WordPress Community members across the world that are interested in organizing meetups.

Part 1 of the workshop will include basic topics including information on what meetup groups are, how can one organize a WordPress meetup group in their area, the five good faith rules, GPL and Trademark rules.

Learning outcomes

  1. Learn how to apply to organize an official WordPress Chapter meetup.
  2. Understand the five good-faith rules and expectations of all organizers.
  3. Learn about how sponsorships for meetups are handled.
  4. Learn why the trademark and GPL guidelines are important for anyone who represents WordPress in an official capacity.

Comprehension questions

  • What does it mean to become an official WordPress meetup group?
  • What are the skills required to organize a WordPress meetup?
  • Explain the five good-faith rules that are applicable for all meetup organizers.
  • How can organizers handle code of conduct violations in a meetup group?

Transcript

Angela Jin 0:01
Hello and welcome to this Learn WordPress workshop on applying to hosted Meetup in your local community. We are very excited to see your enthusiasm for the WordPress community.

Hi, I’m Angela. I’m based in Madrid, Spain, and I’m involved with the WordPress community team as a deputy as a mentor and as an organizer.

Erica Varlese 0:26
Hi, I’m Erica. I’m based in the New York area and I’m a contributor to the community and polyglots teams.

Hari S 0:35
Hello, folks, I’m Hari Shanker. I am a deputy with the WordPress community team and I’m based out of Kochi State of Kerala in India.

Harmony Romo 0:44
Hi, I’m harmony Romo and I’m based in Charleston, South Carolina and I work with the community as financial support.

Angela Jin 0:53
In this workshop, we will discuss what you need to apply to be a WordPress Meetup organizer, the process and some basic guidelines that we ask all organizers to be aware of. By the end of this workshop, you will feel prepared to start a WordPress Meetup in your community. Before you even apply to start a WordPress Meetup. Check to see if there’s already a chapter in your community by searching online for your city name along with WordPress and Meetup. If there’s already a Meetup in your area, it should show up here, and you can join that Meetup and let the organizers know of your interest in hosting WordPress events. If there isn’t already a Meetup in your community, you’ll want to apply it this website. All links that we provide today will also be shared in the description. You’ll need to fill out some information about yourself that will help the community team deputies review your application. Don’t forget that you will need a wordpress.org profile and to share your enthusiasm for starting this Meetup. After you have submitted your application, the community team deputies will take some time to review your application. Although we may have some extra questions for you in general, we will look at your websites social media in your responses to the questions just to check for alignment with our Meetup chapter program. We will also double check for any trademark violations or General Public License violations as we expect anyone representing WordPress to follow these guidelines to after you have passed the organizer review process we will ask you to watch the following orientation. Ready? Let’s go.

Hari S 2:30
meetups are an extension of the overall WordPress open source project. That means that the rules and the code of conduct that are at work camps are also at Meetup events. It also means that communities that have built very strong Meetup groups are great places to host word camps. Being part of the Meetup chapter means that WordPress community support will sponsor the Meetup use and in some instances will be able to provide assistance in paying for your venue or even planning and communications in your local WordPress group will come from the local organizing thing. The only exceptions are that when community deputy sent out an annual survey of both the organizing team and members of the group are in the event that someone has reported the violation or call a code of conduct. From time to time, you might see you might ask the deputies to conduct your group for example, help you find an organizer to replace you. If you move, you’re Of course happy to help you and you can a quick note on the team official. When we refer to a group as an official WordPress chapter Meetup. The term official outside of the US has a very different connotation than it does inside the US for this project. Being an official group means that you’ve read or you agree to or you post these five rules that we’re discussing, that your group meets in person at least once a month, and that you support and grow your local community. It doesn’t mean that the group is close to new people or that it is necessarily better than a different group focus on WordPress. And that brings us to the Five Good Faith Rules have meetups.

Angela Jin 3:56
The Five Good Faith Rules are basic rules that we ask all organizers to know about. The first rule says that WordPress meetups are for the benefit of the WordPress community as a whole and not specific businesses or individuals. Basically anytime decisions are being made about Meetup events, they should be made with the best interest of the community in mind. One example of this may be if you are finding a speaker for your Meetup group. That speaker should be there too because they have some great information to share with your community, as opposed to promoting themselves or their business. The second rule says that membership is open to everyone who wishes to join regardless of ability, skill, financial status or any other criteria. This is to make sure that Meetup events are open and available to anyone who wants to learn and connect over WordPress. One of my favorite examples of this is that all Meetup events are free to attend. Therefore there is no financial barrier to participating.

Hari S 4:56
The third rule that says know that local meetups are volunteer run Just like you volunteer your time as an organizer and do not expect to be paid, your speakers should also not expect to be paid. You will generally be able to avoid the issue of speaker fees simply by focusing on your local WordPress talent. As long as sponsors meet the requirements for GPL and trademark, we will be going over these requirements in a bit. You can accept in-kind donations as sponsorship. In kind donations are the safest and easiest way for your group to accept support. So examples of in-kind donations are a company donating their offices a venue for Meetup events, or buying food for the group. Rule four is about who can organize events in Meetup groups. Any trusted and reliable member can suggest a Meetup event. Mostly trusted means nice people who are active in the community. Reliable means that they show up when they promise they will be there. When you choose people to be on your organizing team, which can be tough. Remember that any co-organizer added to the team should follow these same Five Good Faith Rules you’re agreeing to follow. If it seems that they are in it, just to benefit themselves. Ask around to your fellow organizers or other members of the community team for a second opinion. Our biggest reminder to anyone who is hosting an event is to show up on time and in the right place. There are different levels of organizers on meetup.com and any trustworthy member who wants to organize an event can be added as an event organizer, a co organizer or any of the other rules that suits them. Rule number five is all about the code of conduct. We really want Meetup events to be safe and welcoming spaces. So that means any sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise by good behavior should be addressed. We will look to organizers to help enforce the code of conduct and handle the problems appropriately. But if you ever feel uncomfortable, you should reach us at support at WordCamp dot o RG. to report a code of conduct violation, complete the form listed on the link central.wordcamp.org slash incident hyphen report. He will share both the email address and the link in our description. So those are the Five Good Faith Rules. Now it’s time to discuss GPL and trademarks.

Erica Varlese 7:23
We ask all organizers and speakers to be aware of the license and trademark. Anyone who acts in an official capacity at WordPress events, meaning organizers, Speaker sponsor or volunteer should be following the basic brand rules found at this website, WordPress foundation.org slash trademark dash policy. And if they’ve released WordPress derivatives, they should be using the General Public License or the GPL. Specifically, this relates to WordPress derivatives like plugins themes or blocks. If the services aren’t a derivative, but are optimized for WordPress, for example, a hosting company, then that’s okay. Any derivative of the WordPress software that they release should be 100% GPL. The reason this is so important is because the GPL provides rights to users and builders of WordPress. Therefore, everyone who represents WordPress at official events leads by example, and acts in the best interests of the community by following the GPL. Sometimes GPL non compliance happens because someone copied the license from someone else without understanding what it meant. Education can often be all it takes to encourage changes. If this happens, just email the deputies at support@wordcamp.org. And we’d be happy to help that person become GPL compliant. Some to talk a little more about sponsorships.

Harmony Romo 8:45
As mentioned earlier with in-kind sponsors. One way to encourage people to get involved is by inviting local sponsors to help your group with venue and refreshments. And a good way to acknowledge them would be to create a sponsors page on your Meetup comm page. So you can find a few examples of sponsor pages by Meetup groups in the links we’re going to provide below. As mentioned earlier with in-kind sponsors. One way to encourage people to get involved is by inviting local sponsors to help your group with venue and refreshments. A good way to acknowledge them would be to create a sponsors page on your Meetup comm page. And you’ll find a few examples of sponsor pages by Meetup groups in our links provided. Remember to keep in mind that trademark and GPL guidelines will also apply to your sponsors too. So now that we’ve discussed the expectations for all Meetup, organizers, we’ve created a list of some frequently asked questions. So if potential organizers don’t comply with the GPL can they become a Meetup organizer, a volunteer or a speaker? And if so, how?

Angela Jin 9:46
Not right away. If somebody is not following the GPL they cannot become an organizer or any anybody representing WordPress in an official capacity. However, none and half times out of 10. It’s because they didn’t know about the TPL. And so if you come across someone who would like to be an organizer, but isn’t following the GPL, please let a community deputy know by emailing us at support@wordcamp.org. And we would be happy to reach out to that person and help them become GPL compliant. Thanks, Angela. If there’s a code of conduct violation in the Meetup group, how can we handle that?

Erica Varlese 10:27
So if there’s a code of conduct violation in the Meetup group, we encourage the organizers to deal with it directly by what we like to refer to as calling in so talking to the person and approaching it from a place of good intention and directly handling the issue before it becomes becomes any larger. If the organizers feel like they need any support or guidance on doing so they’re welcome to reach out to the community deputies at support@wordcamp.org. And if it’s beyond what they feel that they can work through locally, or if it’s escalated to something that they need assistance from Central or other community deputies, they can reach out by following following an incident report. And that’s at central.wordcamp.org slash incident dash report.

Harmony Romo 11:17
Another common question, I don’t have access to a paid tool like zoom for my online meetups. How can I get one?

Hari S 11:25
I’m happy to answer the question. So there are several free tools that are available for Meetup groups towards online events. Some of them include Google meet jitsi meet, or people could use tools like stream yard, which can be used to broadcast simultaneous in YouTube Live. What teams can experiment with is to use either of these free tools for organizing their events. What camcentral is also considering bringing up a program where Meetup groups can apply for special zoom accounts, which they can use for Meetup groups. It’s not we are not we have not rolled it out yet, but we are in the process of rolling it out. But once that said, you can request for me that goes but in short, you can use any of the free tools that are available to for organizing the event. The only requirement that we ask ask you to do is to make sure that these tools are accessible, so that all attendees will be able to participate in online meetups. I hope that answers your question How many?

Harmony Romo 12:15
I have a sponsor that wants to do a session on their product at our Meetup. They’re not putting up any banners or any kinds of advertising during the Meetup can I allow them as a sponsor?

Angela Jin 12:24
The WordPress community members who really do not like being sold to as a general rule of thumb. If a sponsor wants to do a session on their product at your Meetup, I would strongly discourage you from allowing them to do so that is against good faith rule number one, where meetups are for the benefit of the community as a whole and not for any specific businesses or individuals. One great way of acknowledging a sponsor at your Meetup, if they have provided some sort of in-kind benefit is to for example, if they provided the Meetup space, you can say it’s thanks to company XYZ that we are able to meet today in this paid Zoom Room. If you’d like to learn more about them, you can visit their website here. But otherwise, they are not allowed to do a full session on their product at your Meetup.

Harmony Romo 13:30
Perfect. Thanks, Angela. Um, another one I’m I’m meeting members of my local WordPress community at a local coffee shop cannot be a WordPress Meetup.

Erica Varlese 13:42
Your answer is yes, probably that, in that case, if you’re already meeting with members of your local community, it’s a good idea to check for us, like we mentioned earlier to see if there’s already an existing Meetup in your area that maybe you could connect with. And reach out to the organizers to see if it’s something that you could potentially combine or bring new members. If you don’t have an existing Meetup. It sounds like you’ve already done some of the legwork to get community members interested. You’ve gauged if there’s interest in your community. And that would be a good time to potentially apply through that form we’ve mentioned before as well. And that will be included below to to actually apply for an official Meetup if you would like to do that.

Hari S 14:24
Just to add on to what Erica said, if you have an official local WordPress Meetup in your area, and if your Meetup group members want to gather in a coffee shop to do an unofficial Meetup that is completely fine. That is an official WordPress Meetup as well. So in short, a WordPress Meetup event can be anything that is held with a group of people together, it can mean any format that you want. The only idea is that Meetup spring WordPress community members together and that you follow the Five Good Faith Rules and our code of conduct.

Harmony Romo 14:54
Perfect, great. How frequently should my Meetup group organized event

Hari S 15:00
WordPress Meetup groups are recommended by us, which was community support to organize at least one event a month as that’s a very good number to maintain a momentum in your local Meetup group. But you can organize as many meetups as you want. There’s no hard and fast rule on a set number of meetups. But having at least one Meetup a month is very important. And it can really help grow your community.

Harmony Romo 15:21
Great. There’s another Meetup group in my area, but there are meeting times don’t work. It’s too far what what can

Angela Jin 15:29
I do? I think that’s a great opportunity for you to reach out to them and help organize a Meetup that is at a better time for you and in a location that’s convenient to you. It’s a great way to partner with existing organizers and share from their experience. And it’s a great way to grow the existing community. Because if that time and that location doesn’t work for you, it likely doesn’t work for other people as well. So that’s one reason we really strongly encouraged that you have multiple organizers on your organizing team, because then you will be able to benefit from having meetups at different times and in different locations, and therefore reaching a broader community group. Excellent. Thank you.

Harmony Romo 16:22
Are there any required skills? Or is there a level of WordPress experience I should have prior to applying as a potential Meetup organizer?

Erica Varlese 16:30
We do welcome anyone to apply to be a Meetup organizer, especially if you are passionate about WordPress, there’s a lot of value in you joining the community and helping bring other people on board. If it does help, of course, to have some experience with WordPress and familiarity. And that can be from any level, whether you’re a developer or a blogger. We also it also can help to have experience with working within the WordPress community. And we do have some training available, if that is new for you. And that can also help you to build those schools skills and learn some of those. Learn some of that background as you get started with organizing a Meetup in your area as well. So in short, if you’re interested, you should apply and we’re always happy to work with you if there’s any areas that it would be beneficial for you to build those skills as you step into this role.

Angela Jin 17:21
To add on to what Erica has shared. We have a whole community of organizers as well, from New organizers to experienced organizers. So when you join as an organizer, you’ll be able to chat with all of those people around the world. So even if you have questions at 3am in the morning, somebody will be online to help answer those questions.

Hari S 17:45
This brings us to the end of our workshop on getting started with meetups. We hope that you now understand and feel comfortable with the Meetup organizer guidelines and expectations and that you are ready to start your local WordPress Meetup group. If you ever have questions, you can email community and deputies at support@wordcamp.org. Or join the conversations in the making WordPress slack instance in the community events channel. For more information on how to host a Meetup and ideas for formats, topics and speakers. Make sure you watch the next workshop in the organizing Meetup series. Bye bye

  • Length 18 mins
  • Topic Community Team, Contributing, Meetups, WordPress
  • Language English
  • Captions English

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Angela Jin
@angelasjin
An inveterate volunteer, Angela has a longstanding passion for building strong, inclusive communities. She joined Automattic in 2018 as a community organizer for the WordPress open source project, and adores working with WordPress communities around the world. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Angela is currently trying out Madrid, Spain, where she delights in learning Spanish, exploring by eating, and reading a good book.
evarlese
@evarlese
I am a Community Wrangler sponsored by Automattic and based in the New York area. I spend most of my time contributing to the Polyglots, Community, and Training teams. My WordPress journey began about 10 years ago, when I started my blog while working as a freelance writer. In my offline life, I love travel, coffee, dogs, and learning languages (ping me in français, italiano, português, o español – I love any chance to practice!)
Hari Shanker R
@harishanker
I am a Community Wrangler at Automattic, and I contribute to the WordPress Community Team full-time as a Community Deputy. WordPress is one of the biggest passions in my life and I enjoy working on programs that support the global WordPress community. I believe that open-source tech and the open web have the potential to make the world a better place. I have had a rather diverse career with significant experience in the domains of Retail Banking, Print & Web Journalism, Web Development, Entrepreneurship, Event Management, Professional Blogging, and Education. Outside of work, I enjoy writing (blogging) as a hobby, and I’m a compulsive bibliophile. I’m also a happily married pet parent.
harmonyromo
@harmonyromo