Personally, being part of the WordPress community is a privilege that I assume with the utmost responsibility and affection.
Organizing events is not our main job, far from it. So we take on a responsibility that involves stress, complexity, but it is done with a clear motive: to continue to grow this ecosystem.
As you also do it with love, everything ends up going reasonably well. Because that’s what WC is all about, having a good time, and making everyone feel welcome, in a type of event that differs a lot from the typical marketing events with commercial purposes.
But if there’s one thing I hate, it’s the paper selection part. In our Pontevedra WC for this 2022 edition we received 100 proposals. That doesn’t mean a hundred people, there are people who send several options.
There are a lot of them! But choosing is not easy.
I agree with Monica when she said: “exhausting mental debates”.
The problem? That you have to reject good friends. And that sucks a lot.
Juan Hernando, who is a very smart guy and guides us with good wisdom in all these matters, commented at the selection meeting:
— “It’s just that not enough is said!” — We omit to comment publicly that sometimes they reject your papers as if it’s personal or bad and it’s normal to happen.
You are absolutely right. That is why I decided to write this reflection out loud. And I say this very clearly:
I have been rejected as a speaker and nothing happens…. My fingernails have not fallen off because of it. I’ll tell you how my case went… you’ll have to get to the end 😉
I don’t take it personally because I understand it perfectly. But I as an organizer understand what’s behind it. So I will try to give my vision (personal, mind you) on the selection of papers.
What do you look for in a regional WordCamp as papers?
We seek to encourage different areas, and everything is very focused on giving priority to the people of the region:
- To showcase local talent.
- Integrate new people into the community.
- If it is not a thematic WC, a balance of topics is sought: Development, SEO, marketing, podcasting, digital business, free software, accessibility, legal aspects, etc.
- This balance is done to encourage people from different levels and areas to buy the ticket. WC has diversity in its DNA.
- Gender balance is sought. Inclusion and diversity has always been a core value at WP events. For this reason, the aim is to have more female references, who are usually minorities in technological events.
- You want to introduce new people, but be careful, you have to have a balance and bring known people that you know will also help you to get more people to come.
- There are certain topics and speakers that tend to attract a lot of people. You have to take it into account.
- But oh! You should also consider that there are many other WCs, for example in Spain, and therefore if you choose the same speakers that are usually presented, the programs are not usually different. Which is a mistake, we are obviously looking for a unique, balanced and eye-catching program. We must differentiate ourselves.
Of course, these are just a few points. Those who are organizers and read this will surely be able to contribute new ideas and concepts. You have the comments to do so.
But this is mixed with the fact that we, the organizers, are usually regulars at industry events. What does it mean?
That you create bonds and friendships. That a beer and a hug at a WC after party unites more than Loctite.
Therefore, I see a lot of friendships in the proposals. And I would love for everyone to be able to be there.
But we also see a lot of people we don’t know, and we have to accommodate them, explaining all the rules of the GPL of course.
Not to be a fan, but in general terms the WC papers are of an incredible level. And this is not by chance, it is because many people take this proposal with great responsibility.
Fernando Tellado, the veteran, the patriarch of the WP world always says so. He must have given thousands of talks, he has 36 talks on WP TV alone. And he always comments that he prepares a lot for each talk, because he assumes it with the utmost responsibility and affection.
And it is not in vain, which is why he is where he is and why his talks generate so much expectation.
So even worse than worse. Knowing that they will be spectacular talks, it really pisses you off to reject those ideas.
But it’s logical, isn’t it?
We have to think about the well-being and balance of the group. In which each regional WC can export its local talents and grow together.
When was I rejected?
Yes yes yes yes… all this reflection trying to be equanimous, but what you wanted was the gossip. No? 😉
Would I have liked to attend as a speaker? Yes, of course, but I didn’t care about the participation mode. I ended up volunteering. All I wanted was to go and have a good time 🙂 and this last part, believe me, I did.
I know that the team of speakers is having a hard time with that drink, with that rejection mail. I am sure it was like that in Irun, it has been like that in Pontevedra and it will always be like that in any organizing group.
We are people, it is normal for us to get emotionally attached, but let’s finish understanding it:
“They’re NOT rejecting you dammit, they’re rejecting your proposal.”
Because you have to think about other variables that you, who are not in the organization, cannot see.
So Juan is right, let’s start saying it more clearly and loudly. Things that are not said, end up becoming entrenched or taboo and we do a disservice to the ecosystem with that.
My proposal for the one in Irun, after I analyzed it objectively, was not very good. It was just a wild idea I had about communication in SEO.
Maybe I will re-elaborate it and propose it in some other WC, but always understanding this concept. That what is important is not our egos, but the growth of the hive.
What will we have at WordCamp Pontevedra?
It would be illusory to say that I am objective, it is obviously my favorite WC.
There is no secret, it is to do things with love ❤️
You become a host on a grand scale where you want to make everyone participate in that illusion.
But believe me, the whole team is here to make the best event possible, just as in previous editions. And combining our work, families and projects with this is not an easy task, especially after the pandemic, with all the growth that our sector has experienced.
This 2022 edition is valuable because we can finally get together again, and for that alone, it is worth it. Much has rained since the 2019 edition.
We will have an incredible program that would have lasted 3 days if we got everyone in.
For parents, there will be a Toy Library service, and on Friday there will be a WP and do_action workshop, which has not been done before and will be quite an experiment, but its ultimate goal is so beautiful, that it is worth the effort.
So we are waiting for you. Remember to buy your ticket. Run we have an obvious limit of people.
See you there? I guarantee that it will not leave you indifferent.
Long live and prosper WordPress!