Updates from Jane Wells Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Jane Wells 4:09 am on February 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    We’ll be launching a new organizers’ site over on wordcamp.org later this week. We’ll ultimately be tying it to the wordpress.org user profiles so that WordCamp activity (organizing, speaking, volunteering, sponsoring, attending) will show up on your profile at wordpress.org as a contribution to the community (we feel these activities are important contributions and deserve recognition just as much as participating in forum threads and contributing patches). If you have never posted to the wordpress.org forums, Codex, etc then you should head over there some time soon and create a username/password so you’ll be all set to log in when we launch the new system.

    • dimensionmedia 4:14 am on February 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Very nice. Glad to see that organizing these events are on the same appreciation level as the other aspects. Always knew that they were, but it’s very nice to see that in writing. Everybody can play their part in this game, and isn’t always about the coding.

    • Austin Passy 4:25 am on February 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Very cool indeed.

    • Karim 7:40 am on February 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Awesome Jane!

    • Brian Richards 5:42 am on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, what perfect timing! πŸ™‚

    • Matthew McGarity 6:59 pm on February 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Cool beans — long overdue. Thanks!

    • Brandon Dove 2:34 am on February 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      So glad the idea behind this site isn’t going away. It was a huge resource for us when we were planning WordCamp OC for the first time. Also so stoked about the recognition piece on .org. It’s a lot of hard work putting a WordCamp on and it’s nice that all of the organizers will get recognition for their efforts. Kudos Jane.

  • Jane Wells 11:52 pm on June 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Upcoming WordCamps: if you want me to tweet about your event from the official WordCamp twitter account, shoot me an email at jane/wordcamp/org. I can tweet when you’re looking for sponors, speakers, venue, attendees, whatever.

  • Jane Wells 5:02 am on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    FYI, I’m taking over as central liaison for WordCamps from Maya. I’ll be emailing all of you in the next couple of weeks to let you know about what this will mean for you and your events, and what kind of support we hope to introduce over the next 6 months to make planning WordCamps an easier, more enjoyable experience. In the meantime, for anyone currently in the process of planning a WordCamp, please note that we have posted revised guidelines at http://central.wordcamp.org/about.

    One thing that we didn’t used to spell out but has become necessary to codify is that WordCamps are meant to promote the philosophies behind WordPress itself. Lately there have been a number of WordCamps accepting speakers, sponsorships, door prizes, etc from people/companies acting in violation of the WordPress license (GPL v2) with regard to their themes/plugins. It is the official policy of WordCamp that WordCamps not provide publicity/a platform for such individuals/businesses. They are welcome to attend, but WordCamps may not have non-GPL-compliant people as organizers, sponsors, or speakers. Events that want to move forward and include such individuals in these roles may need to use a name other than WordCamp if the appropriate adjustments can’t be made. This is because WordCamps are seen as the place to gather for the official word on all things WordPress; providing a public platform and publicity in an official capacity for people acting in direct opposition to the official word just causes confusion.

    In addition, moving forward all WordCamps must be standalone events, not part of a larger event or hosted alongside another tech event such as BarCamp. While we encourage WordPress tracks at such events, it will reduce confusion for WordCamps to always be standalone events. Again, we encourage integrative events, they just can’t be called WordCamp moving forward.

    If you have any questions about an event that is coming up sooner rather than later and don’t want to wait for the mass email, feel free to contact me at jane at wordcamp dot org.

    • L. Danielle Baldwin 12:03 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Jane, as a former, (and hopefully future) WordCamp organizer, I am very pleased to read about the changes and improvements that are taking place with regards to WordCamp events. I believe for those those that are truly inspired to coordinate WordCamps for the RIGHT reasons, the updated guidelines will not be a problem. I look forward to working with you on future WordCamps.

    • Jane Wells 12:11 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, yeah, and please be sure to use a real WordPress logo to publicize/brand your WordCamp. Fight the fauxgo! πŸ™‚

    • Barry 1:17 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What about dress code? Can someone attending a WordCamp wear a tshirt with the logo from people/companies acting in violation of the WordPress license (GPL v2) with regard to their themes/plugins?

      Will “security” prevent them from entering the event?

      • Jane Wells 3:36 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Ha ha. I actually really like it when people are wearing tshirts for their non-GPL stuff… it helps me know whom I should be talking to! πŸ™‚ As stated, though, the events should be open to anyone to attend (last year at Montreal I met some awesome Drupal people, wearing Drupal shirts, coincidentally); it’s just when it comes to official promotion that we want to be a little more careful. Note that being license-compliant is not the same as being in the repo. Commercial plugins/themes that aren’t in the wordpress.org repositories but do comply with the GPL v2 license are in no way affected by this.

        (P.S. Your comment would have been way funnier if the “security” bit had included a reference to the recent NetSol/GoDaddy/hosting issues that have been making the rounds.)

        • Barry 4:59 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

          Excellent, I’ll make sure i wear it then.

    • David Bisset 1:24 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Jane, just wanted to say that I just stumbled on this site. As a former organizer of WordCamp Miami, I’m deeply interested in the information presented here in the hopes of being involved in next year’s WordCamp. You mention a “mass email” – is there a mailing list I don’t know about? Thanks in advance – and nice meeting you in Miami in February. πŸ™‚

      • Jane Wells 3:38 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I just have a list of organizers’ email addresses; you’re not missing out on anything as far as I know. Mailing lists can be cool, but they’re so temporal unless you want to search the archives. One of the plans is to move this blog over to wordcamp.org and have more resources for potential organizers there.

    • Aaron Hockley 2:50 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’m looking forward to the mass email but I have a couple specific questions:
      – Does this mean that a company such as Microsoft, which has (to my knowledge) never licensed anything under the GPL would be excluded as a sponsor?
      – Does this mean that all speaker content/material/recordings/etc. would be subject to GPL or GPL-equivalent terms?

      • Jane Wells 3:53 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Re companies, they’re fine licensing their own stuff however they like. It’s just if they’re releasing WordPress-derivative work (plugins, themes) that should be GPL under a proprietary license instead that there would be an issue. In other words, Microsoft Word never has to be GPL. wp-nameofpluginthat’sdevelopedbymicrosoftandpubliclydistributed should be. If someone is unsure of whether a potential sponsor is okay or not, it’s really really easy to just ask. πŸ™‚ In some cases someone may be in the process of moving toward compliance, or there may special circumstances based on location, etc. The intent is not to be punitive, just to ensure that official events (which WordCamps are) aren’t promoting license violations. Note that something doesn’t have to be in the .org repo to be compliant. Commercial plugins/themes that are license-compliant but not in the repo are not to be excluded from sponsorship opportunities etc.

        Re speaker content: Currently the expectation is that like with BarCamps, presentation materials and videos are shared with the community (via wordpress.tv, slideshare, the WordCamp sites, etc). We don’t have any rules in place on that, and I’ve heard different opinions on it from different people. My *personal* (rather than official) opinion is that being required to post materials would be a good thing for the community, but letting people use some kind of Creative Commons license would make more sense for presentation materials. All of these kinds of decisions get made in response to community feedback. There hasn’t been much around presentation materials/video as yet, so how it works now seems to be doing okay. If we get to a point where people are expressing confusion around this, then we can talk about figuring out some appropriate rules.

        • Aaron Hockley 4:04 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

          Sounds like a reasonable approach on both fronts. I know there were some folks last year that were cranky that Microsoft sponsored WordCamp Portland, but the reality was that they were actually our biggest sponsor and wrote us a check over 2x the amount of any of the more “open-sourcey” sponsors. I’m glad to hear that things are going more from a “let’s enforce things as license issues” rather than “let’s push GPL as religion” standpoint πŸ™‚

        • David 5:04 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

          Rather than saying “check with us if you have questions” can we get a list of companies and services that are on the “not-allowed” list, thus making it easy for organizers to determine things at a single glance? It doesn’t have to be all encompassing to be effective, just help create understanding.

    • Jeff Waugh 3:42 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Sounds pretty sensible to me (and completely in line with my expectations of a “WordCamp” branded event)… if an organisation, project or person is violating the terms of the license covering WordPress itself, then they won’t be invited to play. Strict, but reasonable.

      Aaron: None of the things you raise violate the terms of the license covering WordPress, they’re completely independent and unrelated issues.

    • JohnONolan 3:50 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Aaron – Jane quite clearly said “with regard to their themes/plugins”. Microsoft clearly has nothing to do with WordPress themes or plugins. This statement made above is (fairly obviously) with regards to companies promoting and/or selling derivative works of WordPress only.

      Barry – If you have a point then you should make it, but your sarcasm isn’t helpful or constructive.

      • Barry 5:44 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Actually, I’m asking a perfectly sensible question.

    • Carl Hancock 5:31 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Where is the line drawn?

      – If a speaker is a blogger or well known expert on a subject matter but they are using Thesis, Headway or some other non-GPL theme or plugin to power their own blog… are they barred from speaking at an official WordCamp event?

      – What if a sponsors site is powered by a non-GPL theme or plugin? Can they not sponsor a WordCamp?

      I’m referring to users of non-GPL products, not developers or distributors.

      – If a speaker or sponsor has advertising on their site and some of the ads may be for non-GPL WordPress themes or plugins? Is that speaker or sponsor barred from participating in WordCamp?

      My questions are completely valid. It is not meant to “fan the flames” or start some sort of flame war. Just because someone questions a decision or even if they have a different opinion doesn’t mean they are trying to start a flame war.

      And for the record, I own multiple WordCamp related domains and have planned on organizing a WordCamp in my region.

      Also for the record, all of our commercial WordPress products are GPL. So this decision doesn’t impact us at all, it just raises some very good questions as to the impact of this policy AND how it is enforced or expected to be carried out.

    • CΓ‘tia Kitahara 5:52 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi guys,
      I think it’s a really good idea the revision of the guidelines. But in relation to the standalone event part, do we really need to be so restrict? I mean, here in Brazil we’re trying to descentralize it, because of the size of our country and one way to make it possible is to make WordCamps besides bigger events. What I’m advising the folks who wants to do a WordCamp is to keep it as much independent as they can. Like not to make the participation in the main event a condition to participate in the WordCamp, or at least to provide discounts to WordCampers. What do you think?
      Relating to Microsoft sponsorship, I understand all the points here, but I’m still not very sure if it’s suitable to have them as a sponsor. I mean we need the money to make it work, I agree and I really understand that by my own experience last year, but we also need to stick to some principles that we share (at least, I believe most people who supports WP do share them, and it’s nothing to do with religion, but about integrity mainly):

      The most responsible use of WordPress community resources would therefore be put to best use by emphasizing high quality contributions that embrace the freedoms provided by the GPL. http://wordpress.org/about/philosophy/

      I think that when we have Microsoft as a sponsor it sounds very weird at minimum. I understand the point of view “let them be” since they are not violating our plugins/themes. I know this is a free world, but still it makes me think a lot and make me feel unconfortable.
      Aaron, what did you say to your cranky follks? When I organized a WordCamp one motivation, among many others, was to support something I believe in, sure we can’t take it to the point of religiouness, but I think to adopt GPL in this world we live in is to make a political statement, mainly in your country (US, where there is a lobby against open source (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2010/feb/23/opensource-intellectual-property – I’m from Brazil, where free software is a federal government policy).
      I’m in this situation right now: do I accept Microsoft sponsorship? Ain’t I an hypocrite for accepting that?
      Anyway, I think this matter needs a very serious attention and open talk without any ironic speeches from side to side, or any kind of groupal censorship to intimidate peoples talk. It’s important to keep respect towards each other.

    • filosofo 6:09 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I think the wording here needs to clarify how one determines a “non-compliant person” or company.

      If we’re talking about WordCamps not having sessions that promote GPL violations, then it should say that.

      But if it really means that certain individuals and companies are tainted for past GPL violations or the like, then the wording should give some indication of how one determines such things.

      I’m concerned not with the attempt to encourage WordCamps to have speakers and sponsors that support WordPress and the GPL—I fully support that, and it makes sense—but I’m concerned with creating a GPL “McCarthyism,” by which I mean the existence of some unstated, vague, perhaps secret criteria for determining who gets blacklisted.

      Perhaps one way to avoid the problem would be to change the wording from absolute terms such as “must,” “cannot” and “need” to words that have to do more with the good faith efforts of WordCamp organizers: “should” or “recommend” (see RFC2119).

      • Jeffro 3:42 am on May 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I’m with Filosofo on this one. I think some rewording and perhaps even a few examples if need be would go a lone way in calming everyone down. I think the biggest issue in the guidelines is the vagueness in guideline number 6. It’s just not specific enough.

        Another question I saw today that is not addressed is when these new guidelines go into effect. Are they immediate or is their a grace period for WordCamps already established, say within three months of today?

    • Duane Storey 8:25 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I agree with Aaron in that some of the biggest sponsors aren’t always the typical WordPress type sponsors. It’s one thing to want ticket prices to be $40, but another thing entirely to raise the $5,000 – $10,000 or so in sponsorship money to make that happen. I know we took a sponsor last year at WordCamp Whistler that caused a few people to get bent out of shape (it was a political sponsor). But at the end of the day they didn’t interfere with the event, genuinely seemed to want to support the nature of the event, and the extra money allowed us to give away a pile of tickets for free. So sometimes as an organizer things become a bit less black and white when you have to balance costs, sponsorship, and the benefit of everyone as a whole.

      I don’t entirely agree with the decision regarding that only GPL sponsors be allowed to sponsor, if that’s what the mantra will be going forward. In addition to the points above, I think having non-GPL sponsors is just another opportunity to help educate those people about alternative business models related to their products. For example, I believe the CFORMs plugin briefly went through a transition where it went to non-GPL, and then eventually back through discussions in the community. What better place to have those discussions than at a speakers or sponsors dinner, or in a group at the social afterwards? I’m sure there are a few companies out there that have consistently and publicly gone against the philosophies of WordCamp and also gone against the GPL with some of their products, but I don’t know if that’s enough to warrant completely blacklisting those companies as sponsors, especially since some of those may be using those business models simply because they don’t understand the alternative ones. Business models for open source products (especially GPL) are pretty unexplored in general I think.

      But given the WordCamps that have popped up that have sort of abused the event for commercial gain, I think in general it’s a move in the right direction.

    • kenny 10:10 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Maya, it was a pleasure working with you, thanks for all your help so far. Jane, I’m eager to continue working with you now! Hello πŸ™‚

      I fully support this latest announcement. WordCamp Iowa never intended on working with anyone except those that shared the vision of the Free Software; this solidifies that intent.

    • Jeffro 3:46 am on May 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I had one more question regarding the stand alone event portion of the guidelines. Does that mean that every session at a WordCamp will need to be about WordPress, or can their be additional tracks such as Blogging or what have you?

    • Amanda Blum 1:35 pm on May 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Couldn’t be happier that the Foundation is committing Jane to the camps, and I’m glad we have some more direction. Guidelines, rules, etc are always going to ruffle someone’s feathers, but these seem to be simply common sense. The reality is that whether or not you agree with GPL, WordPress does. If you want to use the WordPress’s trademark, you have to abide by their principles. (and lets get serious.- these principles basically support community good, not abusing farm animals, seems a ridiculous thing to get in a huff over). No one is saying you can’t throw an event exactly the way you please using whatever principles, speaker, sponsors you want… you just can’t call it a WordCamp.

    • Tom Hermans 8:01 pm on May 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      exactly what I needed since I’m thinking of organizing a WordCamp in Brussels.. more info later, domain wordcamp.be is acquired, so more info there (hopefully soon)

      If you are eager to talk to me about the organisation of the event, or can contribute in any way, do not hesitate to contact me.


    • Dan Hughes 10:16 pm on May 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply


      So what you are saying is to further the GPL 2.0 philosophies of WordPress, WordCamp itself must become non-GPL-compliant by imposing additional restrictions.

      I realize that WordCamp is not software, but using umbrella terms like philosophy makes me want to use terms like hypocrisy.

    • Dustin Koch 1:05 am on May 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You’ve done it once again! Great post.

  • Jane Wells 1:17 am on May 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    WordCamp Savannah has posted a survey to find out what potential attendees are most interested in seeing.

  • Jane Wells 7:47 pm on May 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    WordCamp Savannah will be August 20-22, being held at SCAD River Club.

  • Jane Wells 9:35 pm on January 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: privacy   

    I’m not sure where the best place is to post this, but maybe Maya can work it into the documentation somewhere. Third-party services like Pathable and Speakerrate are cool and a fun way to engage your attendee group. However, if you enter all your attendee email addresses for the initial setup, thinking it’s no big deal because it’s an opt-in service, please stop and think about it for a moment. Someone that the attendees did not give their email address to now has it. That’s not so okay. If you plan to use a service like this, you need to state that when you collect their registration information, (a privacy policy, basically), otherwise you are effectively not respecting your attendees’ online privacy.

    • maya 6:41 pm on March 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Good point, added under website/registration

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