The WordPress team successfully pulled off the fully online WordCamp U.S. held on October 1, 2021. With over 3,600 participants, the one-day virtual event was the first WordCamp U.S. two years after canceling the 2020 event.
Shortly before WordCamp U.S. began, the WordPress team announced that it was opening applications for in-person WordCamps. After six weeks of back and forth, the group released a set of guidelines that local organizers can refer to when planning for an in-person WordCamp.
Now that there are regulations in place, we asked the WordPress community – would they be willing to attend in-person events? If they’re on the fence, what measures would help them feel comfortable attending?
Here’s what we’ll cover:
The Community Team’s updated guidelines for in-person WordCamps allow in-person WordCamps if local public health officials permit in-person gatherings and the region passes the safety checklist.
However, if the area does not pass the list, it can still hold in-person WordCamps if COVID tests and vaccinations are available.
The WordPress team expects attendees to be fully responsible for their health and participate only if they are fully vaccinated, have recovered from COVID within the last three months or tested negative before attending.
The WordPress Community Puts Health First
We asked the WordPress community how they felt about returning to in-person events.
RunCloud CMO and WordPress consultant Rajendra Zore shares that he’s looking forward to in-person WordCamps in 2022 but hopes organizers will make vaccination certificates mandatory and attendees comply with the basic protocol.
Michelle Jackson of MichelleisMoneyHungry.com echoes Zore’s opinion, saying she wouldn’t mind attending in-person WordCamps as long as attendees are vaccinated or at least wear a mask indoors.
For freelance and micro agency mentor Jennifer Bourn, small local in-person events would be a great start.
Smaller events would let organizers closely monitor whether the participants are following basic health protocols. It would also make it easier to process refunds or contact attendees in case of last-minute cancelations.
Besides covering the minimum health protocols required for in-person WordCamps, WordPress’ updated guidelines for in-person events also state that organizers must be prepared to raise 100% of the expenses for their events.
They are also encouraged to keep budgets lean and look for free or low-cost venues that are fully refundable, especially now that WordCamps will not be allotted funding.
Given the unpredictable nature of organizing in-person events, the WordPress Global Sponsorship Committee said it would not be allotting funding for WordCamps in 2022.
The 2022 Sponsorship proposal, which was released on October 9, 2021, will be offering one sponsorship package billed at $10,000 per quarter, similar to the one provided in 2021. But the package does not include WordCamp sponsorship.
Previously, the Global Sponsorship Committee offered different funding levels for official, volunteer-organized WordPress events ranging from $40,000 to $160,000.
Sponsors could reach out to local WordCamp organizers. This time, sponsorship funds go to a centralized source for easy coordination.
The remaining WordCamps for 2021 will be online events, an alternative that content strategist Todd Jones says he’s grateful for. Jones says that while he’s ready to attend in-person events, a virtual option is still the safest one for now.
Final Thoughts – Is the WordPress Community Ready for In-Person Events?
The WordPress community welcomed October with the triumphant return of (virtual) WordCamp U.S. and news of the possible return of in-person events.
While many WordPress users are looking forward, albeit cautiously, to in-person WordPress events such as WordCamps, it may be too early to organize a successful one – when health, sponsorship and logistics issues can come up unexpectedly.
It’s a good thing that the WordPress community still has the option for virtual events.
Are you willing to attend in-person WordPress meetups? Let us know your thoughts via comments below or by tweeting @Bluehost.