WordCamps in 2014: Making this our best year yet

Happy New Year from WordCamp Central! 2013 was an amazing year, and we’re so excited about all the wonderful WordCamps already in planning for 2014 as well as the events that are still only the idea stage.

We’d like 2014 to be the best year for WordCamps so far, and we’d love to hear your suggestions! Please share with us one thing — big or little — that would make your WordCamp experience better, in the comments below.

21 Replies to WordCamps in 2014: Making this our best year yet

  1. Martin says:

    Andrea, I think it would be great if there were more opportunities open to those not as well known in the WordPress community. As someone who’s been teaching WordPress workshops independently for years, I’ve also been trying to get a foothold in my local area’s WordPress scene but to no avail. I think rotating speaker positions or opening them to new people would be good. Considering that WordCamp in Denver is essentially run by a small group of 3-4 people who don’t open it up to anyone outside of their circle, there’s no room for getting involved. It would be good if it were more open to the community and those not as connected.

    Another thing is streamlining WordCamps in terms of content. I’d love to go to a WordCamp business track, but they have not been offered in Denver. It seems that the tracks are divided into two sections a) beginners completely new to WordPress and b) developers. I’m at the point where the business track holds more relevance.

    Finally, I’d like to ask if live streaming of a WordCamp could ever be done, so those of us who would like to attend a New York or Toronto WordCamp but can’t could still watch it online as a whole or even get involved through social media.

    • Jen Mylo says:

      Hi Martin! We definitely want to make it easier for newer community members to get involved with official events.

      The first step is to join your local WordPress meetup group(s) and get to know people in your area who are already involved. Part of taking a visible role at an event like a WordCamp is earning the trust of the organizers so they feel comfortable with your ability to represent the project in a positive and accurate way. I feel sure that the folks in Denver are happy for more people to be involved, so it may just be that they need to get to know who you are. If you want to lodge a specific complaint, you can get in touch with WordCamp Central.

      On a related note, having a consistent online presence is pretty important for anyone who wants to be a speaker or organizer in the WordPress community, so that attendees can see your experience and decide if they want to attend a session. You didn’t give a last name in this comment, but when I looked you up in our forums, it looks like you use the name Dave in forum threads, and your wordpress.org profile doesn’t list a name at all. If you go to your forum profile and/or your overall wordpress.org user profile and edit your information so that it reflects your identity, you might have a better experience in trying to join organizing teams or speaker rolls.

      Tracks are determined by the organizing team based on input from the people involved with the meetup group, usually, so getting involved there will address your inerest in business tracks.

      Some WordCamps do livestream their events, but having enough bandwidth is usually the problem that makes it hard.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  2. In Seattle we’ve found a pretty significant pain point when it comes to purchasing items for WordCamp. Although most large purchases can typically be handled over the phone by the Foundation, in Seattle we’ve seen about $1,000+ a year get spent by us organizers. And even though you guys are GREAT at getting reimbursements out quickly, it’s often cost prohibitive for many organizers to float those dollars. This creates a lot more friction when it comes to getting things done.

    A great example would be food/beverage purchases at Costco. We did our own food/drinks this last year, so we went to Costco and bought all the beverages, snacks, and supplies we would need. The total bill ended up being around $400-500. For a lot of organizers, this wasn’t an acceptable extra expenditure.

    Not sure if other cities experience the same friction, or what the best solution is… however one possible solution might be to issue a pre-paid debit card to organizers to make approved expenditures.

    It would be great to know if other cities experience this same thing!

    • Hey Grant,

      We face similar costs in Toronto, and this is where our supporter dollars usually come into play. We scale what we provide based on what our available budget is; that way, even if we find ourselves paying out-of-pocket, we know that we can be reimbursed.

      Would you be able to do something like this in Seattle?

      • Thanks Andy, appreciate the feedback.

        The issue for us in Seattle isn’t that we don’t have enough financial support to get reimbursed, but rather that costs are large enough that floating the expense before getting reimbursed is cost prohibitive. It basically requires one or two organizers to step up and make a majority of the purchases for the whole team, which adds extra stress and logistical headaches in the weeks prior to the event.

        • True, I didn’t think of that (which obviously means I haven’t been the one floating the cost…!) Similar situation arises with shipping camera equipment around the country. Lots of little costs that add up…

        • Ian Dunn says:

          Hey Grant, I’m happy to pitch in to help float the costs. Just let me know the next time you need anything :)

          • grantlandram says:

            Thanks Ian, appreciate the support. However regardless of a few individuals stepping up to shoulder the load, I think this is still a valid idea as it takes down barriers to organizing a camp, as well as recruiting new organizers. Hoping it’s an idea that can be explored by the Foundation!

          • Ian Dunn says:

            Yeah, definitely. I just wanted to try and ease the burden on you guys until a better solution is in place.

  3. Rarst says:

    Solid WiFi. Going from avatars to crowd of 3d people [in foreign country] cold turkey can really hit hard. :)

    Yes, WordCamp Europe, we will remember it forever (because rest was perfect).

  4. I am fairly isolated as a WordPress designer here in Central New jersey. There does not seam to be much activity in area as far as meet UPS are concerned. It seems most are up north and difficult to attend from my position. I would like to expand and meet others who are interested in everything WordPress. How would you suggest I get started. I am a new entrepreneur looking to expand my brand but I have difficulty getting noticed which I think is due to lack of WordPress networking opportunities in my neck of the woods.

    • Jen Mylo says:

      Hi Donald. Since this comment isn’t really about improving WordCamps, I don’t want to derail the thread here. I’ll email you about meetups and ways to get more involved.

  5. Stop using “tracks” for speakers. WordCamp Boston did a great thing where they named the rooms and then colored the presentation based on how the speaker defined it. Most useful for… and so on.

    That means people had to get up and switch rooms if they wanted to follow a block of subjects, which let you socialize more (always useful at a WordCamp), but also let people base their choices on more than just “Oh this is the developer room.”

    • I agree with this, I like hopping rooms and getting the opportunity to sit next to and meet new people. Having the same person take over the front row of a particular track all day, session after session, really defeats the purpose of community, in my opinion. Boston was extremely well-run, I loved it.

    • Jen Mylo says:

      That can go either way, depending on the venue. If changing rooms is a chore because of the number of people vs doors, hallway width, etc, then that could actually make things less comfortable, especially for people uncomfortable with a bunch of strangers touching them in the process of switching rooms. I do agree though (even if the venue makes it a chore) that not sitting for hours on end in a single room is healthier and much better for attention and alertness.

      That said, whether or not to use tracks at all (and associated room use) is up to each WC organizer, not something WC Central controls. I can just imagine the outcry if we made any comment on whether or not a locally-organized event should have tracks or not. “You dictatorial overlords!” :)

  6. I think connecting organizers with one-another would be very useful, both for support and inspiration. The forums are a great start (http://plan.wordcamp.org/forums/), but it lacks the personal 1:1 touch.

    What if we were to have some “official” Skype calls or Google hangouts? Heck, make it a panel, rotate through different organizers, record the chat and put it on WordCamp.tv for others to watch/draw some inspiration from. :)

    • Jen Mylo says:

      Hi Andy. Since that suggestion is more about generally connecting people in different communities (vs a way to improve something about a specific event), I’d suggest you get involved in the community group over at http:// make.wordpress.org/community. A lot of the WC-related working groups there have been inactive for a while, but now’s a great time to get something started. If you can make the weekly meeting next Thursday, that would be a great time to propose something like. It’s an idea that has been brought up multiple times in the past, we just need to get a few volunteer willing to put in the time to make it happen.

      • Sounds good. I was thinking strictly in terms of WordCamps, but considering most WCs are organized by local communities, your suggestion would have a broader impact. :) I’ll make sure to jump in on the next IRC session.

  7. Pingback: Weekly News Roundup No.4

  8. Pingback: WordPress › Community Team Update for Jan 3, 2014 « Make.WordPress.Org Updates

  9. Pingback: WordCamps in 2013 | WordCamp Central