Since we know that open source is built on collaboration and participation, let’s talk about what helps the project get more of that.
Participation is risky, especially on the internet. People (especially people who are underrepresented in tech) are more likely to be criticized, ignored, or ridiculed on the internet than in any other setting in their adult lives. Human beings don’t take risks when they don’t feel confident, and we don’t feel confident when we’re uncomfortable.
So a lot of the work of a successful event organizer focuses on creating an atmosphere that says, “everyone here is equally welcome and important.” Finding ways to help anyone feel welcome at an event, regardless of their technical skills, race, age, gender, or anything else that makes them slightly different, requires a lot of thought and care. But that’s the heart and soul of an event organizer’s work: to create a live environment that facilitates connection and inspiration, to help create confidence in people which will allow them to make personal connections (both speaking and listening) and also become inspired to reach beyond their current grasp.
In-person events are key to building that participatory bazaar. They create connections, and those personal connections (and eventually, friendships) help us step out of our comfort zones and speak up instead of lurking in a chat. They help us collaborate more efficiently, help us give each other the benefit of the doubt on Twitter/trac/github, and also help us reach out for support instead of giving up on a project.
WordPress *depends* on local community organizers to deeply understand their communities and draw attention to all of the ways WP is being used, because that expands the community and helps the project grow. Local events are amplifiers for local WP users, giving them a platform to show how they are expanding WordPress.
In the following quiz, we’ll ask you for some real-world examples of these ideas put into practice.