The WordPress Community Team is debating the merits of a new type of WordCamp, a hybrid event with the traditional WordCamp content in a retreat-style format. Sven Wagener and the Köln meetup group in Germany, which has more than 700 members, have proposed a new style of camp that would potentially be called “WordCamp in the Green” or “WordCamp Retreat.”
The event would be held outside of town at a venue where all attendees stay in the same hotel. In addition to the regular WordCamp sessions and Contributor Day, attendees have the opportunity to participate in local outdoor activities.
The WordPress Community Team is open to considering different formats for WordCamps that serve a specific niche. WordCamp for Publishers, the first WordCamp focused around a specific topic, is a recent example of this flexibility.
The proposed format is very similar to the interest-based meetups that the Japanese WordPress community has been doing for years. Members spend time together in activities unrelated to WordPress, as opposed to simply focusing on improving technical skills, and as a result they become more connected with their local community. For example, the Word温泉 (WordOnsen) meetup includes members who enjoy hot springs. They gather in Fukushima where they stay at the same hotel, host WordPress sessions, and end with a party night. This format has successfully grown the Japanese meetup community to more than 50 local groups.
The Köln meetup group’s proposal for a WordCamp doesn’t stray too far from the traditional WordCamp program, as the only differences seem to be a more rural setting where everyone stays at the same venue. A more radical change would be an event where WordPress community members meet simply for networking and connecting with no planned educational component. These types of niche unofficial WordCamps have been happening for years outside of the WordPress-sanctioned events.
The WordPress Community Team is seeking feedback on the proposed “WordCamp Retreat,” as approval of the event would set a precedent.
“If we introduce a new type of WordCamp event like this, we want it to be something that works in many communities, scales effectively for larger (or smaller) groups, and is able to be reproduced by any organizers who wish to do so,” Commnity Team member Hugh Lashbrooke said.
The organizing team for the proposed WordCamp has already prepared a budget and is ready to move forward once given approval. Lashbrooke said the Community Team anticipates the new event types will have “a huge amount of interest from other communities around the world,” so they wanted to pitch it to the community for feedback.
If you have strong opinions on the topic, you can join the discussion on WordPress.org.