November last year I wrote a blog post about how to organize a WordCamp. Even I never organized one I do visit a lot of WordCamps. Most of the time I even talk with the organizers. In this short post I’m trying to explain the best I can why I think some of the rules are weird and just wrong. Before going further I hope it’s clear that my intentions are good and hope no one is offended with it.
The first thing I noticed when I was applying to organize WordCamp Serbia is that the rules aren’t that clear at all. They are spread over several pages what you really signed up for. I guess a page what summarize the (most) important rules is probably a good thing to do.
What are the rules for getting approved
The process is described here: http://plan.wordcamp.org/become-an-organizer/application-process/. But there aren’t described what it is based on. I got denied for WordCamp Serbia because we first need to grow a community but what about The Netherlands when they first organized the WordCamp. Till the end of 2012 we didn’t had continues meetups. That doesn’t mean the WordCamp will not be visited. And what about that WordCamp Croatia got approved. I have no clue who they are but I do know they don’t respond on e-mail. In Serbia I had 4 people willing to help out in a week. So the point what I want to make here is that the guidelines for this aren’t consistent.
One of weird things in the rules is that you can’t promote someone that doesn’t respect the WordPress license or trademark. It’s already hard to ensure that for your team, speakers, sponsors and volunteers. Even harder maybe impossible when you promote someone. Especially the last line about 10 grade math is sad. We building a community with each other. Do we really need to hire a detective for every person we going to work with. That just retarded. You can find the text here: http://plan.wordcamp.org/become-an-organizer/representing-wordpress/.
Helping out with a WordCamp
What I see is that WordCamps are mostly organized by the same people. It’s seems it’s quite hard to get in that group. Obviously this doesn’t count for every WordCamp. But organizing a WordCamp is a honor and the people should be elected if needed. I know by fact that some WordCamps should not have been given by the people who did it. Also the thing that is missing for this is giving feedback to the WordCamp Central. I think it would be good that after every WordCamp, Central would mail all the participants a mail about their opinion. If I’m correct I only got 2 mails from WordCamps about my opinion and I already visited ten WordCamps.
Promoting your business
An important rule that should be added if it’s not already there is that organizers/volunteers shouldn’t promote their business at WordCamps. Thats the wrong move to make. It’s you as a person that organize the WordCamp and not your business. Even if you are a freelancer. Probably this rule should also apply to speakers. I already saw some sessions where speakers where promoting their book or services. That’s just wrong. Thats not why you speak. You love WordPress and what you can do with it.
Yes, I don’t agree with all the rules. That doesn’t mean I don’t like WordCamps. I like them a lot. But I do see issues with the current guidelines. And since WordCamps are growing we should restrict it more and maybe even force that every new edition of a WordCamp should have at least one new person in the team. I would love to be a part of the conversation but till now the conversation is only between organizers and for possible new organizers.