Vetting Organizer Applications

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Why do we vet organizer applicants?

Our approach is always to trust but verify, and vetting the people who apply to organize a meetup or WordCamp on behalf of the WordPress open source project is the “verify” part. 🙂 Event organizers are community organizers, and our community organizers work fairly autonomously on things like finding meeting sites, designing events, selecting event content, communicating with the larger community, and building event organizing teams. The more we know about an applicant, the more productive the eventual orientation can be, and the better we can judge whether this person will be a trustworthy representative of the WordPress project.

How do I vet an application?

Follow the vetting checklist and research the applicant, no less than 5 search pages deep. Note the relevant URLs in your Note on the application. Recommendations:

Here is our vetting checklist:

NAME

ONLINE PRESENCE
Twitter:
Facebook:
linkedin:
.org profile: https://profiles.wordpress.org/USERNAME
personal site:
business site:
GPL:
Trademark violations:
check for WP activity on Meetup.com:
flickr:
Google Plus:
YouTube:
Instagram:
SEARCHES
•    wordpress meetup + LOCATION:
•    ORGANIZER + wordpress:
SUPPORTPRESS
•    organizer name:
•    group location:

Red Flags:

– violating the WordPress trademark policy
– distributing non-GPL WordPress derivatives
– sexist, racist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted statements on social media
– jerk-like behavior on social media or in the community
– not a member of the meetup

Troubleshooting:

What if the person’s name is really common? How do I know I’m vetting the right person?

Sometimes that comes up, but it doesn’t take long to figure things out – the applicant will always provide their wordpress.org username, which usually helps you see their avatar – that then makes it easy to match them up with the correct Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. profiles. Otherwise add `WordPress` and/or their city name to any Google searches you do and that helps to narrow things down. If you really don’t know then ask for help.

What if the person is active online in a language I do not speak?

Google Translate is your friend. Chrome auto-translates into your own language for you when you load a page, so that makes it easy. If you’re really stuck though, ask someone who does speak that language to help you out.

What if I miss something?

Don’t worry; nobody’s perfect! Even veteran deputies miss important information sometimes. The first 2-3 applications you vet will also be vetted by an experienced deputy, and you’ll get some feedback on your work. Remember, it’s always best to be too detailed than not detailed enough, and it’s always ok to ask for a second (or third) opinion!

What if I find something that seems like it might be a problem?

If you find one or more red flags while vetting an application, note the issue(s) and finish the vetting process. Then record your findings with “Red Flag” at the top of the note, and all the other information at the bottom of the notes.

If an applicant is violating the WordPress trademark or the GPL, and you’re comfortable doing so, send them an email from support@wordcamp.org with an explanation of how they’re violating the WordPress trademark or the GPL and tell them that when the issue is resolved, we can continue with their application.

If an applicant has expressed sexist, racist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted statements on social media and/or displayed jerk-like behavior on social media or in the community, it’s best to get a few other deputies to review your findings and discuss the best next steps. It may be that a deputy schedules a meeting with the applicant to explain how that behavior differs from our set of expectations for WordPress community organizers, and asks them to refrain from behaving this way in the future. It might also be that a deputy responds to the application that we’ve decided the applicant isn’t a good fit for the role of official organizer, and we decline their application. This rarely comes up, but it’s important to look for, because having a conflictive or bigoted person in community leadership can create problems for a local community for many years to come.

If you find the applicant is not a member of the local meetup (or is not aware of the local meetup), you can use the predefined reply called “MEETUP: Join existing group” to respond to them.

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