Is Anyone Interested In a bbPress Camp?

bbpress-photoThis past weekend we spoke with John James Jacoby on our WordPress Weekly podcast. John is the lead developer for both the bbPress and BuddyPress plugins. We had the pleasure of chatting with him about his new job at 10up as well as everything that’s going on with bbPress and BuddyPress these days.

During our interview we asked John if he knew of any bbPress or BuddyCamp events in the works. He said that he didn’t know of any coming up but would love to see a bbPress camp organized, perhaps in a more central midwest location. The question is: Is there enough interest to warrant a bbPress event or perhaps combine it with a BuddyPress event?

If extensions are any indication, both of these plugins have large, active communities surrounding them. bbPress currently has 132 plugins that extend the basic forum software and BuddyPress lists 483 extensions. It’s safe to say that they go far beyond your average wordpress.org plugin. They each have their own dedicated websites housing support forums and documentation. Both projects have attracted a number of elite developers and talented contributors.

bbPress and BuddyPress are on the rise:

Downloads have steadily increased for both plugins. I checked archive.org to get the download counts for the past few months. From May to September this year bbPress downloads went from 669,199 to 802,236. In the span of just five short months, the total number of bbPress downloads has increased nearly 20%. bbPress extensions have nearly doubled in the past year. In September of 2012 there were only 78 bbPress plugins listed but those numbers have shot up to 132 over the past year.

bbpress-downloads

Similarly, BuddyPress downloads are also on the rise. In the past five months, total downloads have climbed from 1.5 to 1.7 million, demonstrating an 11% increase.

buddypress-downloads

With all the updates that are coming to the BuddyPress codex, we can only expect those numbers to increase, both for extensions and downloads.

Is it time for a bbPress camp?

I attended the first BuddyPress camp that was held in Vancouver. What a fantastic event! One easy way to add an experimental camp like this is to tack it on to an existing WordCamp as an extra day. This setup was quite successful with WordCamp Vancouver / BuddyCamp in 2012. Participants who traveled to the area were able to attend both events and meet up with BuddyPress fans and developers from around the world.

I wanted to put this question to our readers: With the success of past BuddyPress camps, do you think it’s time for a bbPress camp? Or perhaps a multi-plugin camp with more plugin communities included? If you’d be interested to attend, which one would be the most beneficial to you? Please take a moment to vote in our poll:

Which WordPress plugin camp would you be MOST interested to attend?

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So what do you think? Does the WordPress community need a bbPress camp? Do we need more BuddyPress camps? If there was a multi-plugin camp, which plugin communities would you like to see included?

18 Comments


  1. No one in Los Angeles WordPress community has any interest in BuddyPress. I submitted to WordCamp this year about using BP for applications and did not get a response and I frequently propose to showcase BP at WP meetups but I always get the same “maybe” type reply.

    I just don’t think WP developers here are using BP or understand how it can help their clients. It’s exactly the reason they need to learn about it. Developers think it’s a Facebook clone plugin.

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  2. I’d absolutely love to see this. I’m mostly interested in bbPress, but a bbCamp would be great.

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  3. @Pippin – If there was a multi-plugin camp would this be something that you could see EDD being involved in, given that there are a growing number of EDD extensions on wordpress.org?

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  4. Unless you are planning an event that is relying solely on people traveling to get there, then you have to take your local area/city into account to determine how popular a bbPress and/or BuddyPress camp would be.

    For BuddyCamp Miami, we surveyed months earlier to determine if it was solely going to be BuddyPress related or if it’s a mixture of bbPress and BuddyPress. At that time, very few choose bbPress. That’s just for Miami at that time though, and wondering if non-developers wrote it off as “just forum software”.

    I think you should have a “bbRetreat” where developers and designers can attend a small “camp” focused on bbPress and BuddyPress, contribute patches, etc. Make it an annual or semi-annual event, find host cities, etc.

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  5. @David Bisset -A very good point. If you’re relying solely on people coming in form out of town, it might be difficult to achieve the critical mass required to have a successful event. I like the bbRetreat idea but it sounds more developer and designer focused, which isn’t necessarily bad. However, one cool thing about BuddyCamp Vancouver was that there were a good number of attendees who were totally new to BuddyPress but wanted to check it out. It was really exciting to see instant new fans of the plugin after just a couple intro sessions. :)

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  6. I’d love to see a bbPress event, and would travel to attend it.

    I don’t know if it would get a huge number of attendees, but even bringing a small group of passionate people together can create good things. :)

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  7. An idea to gain traction: how about a bbPress-specific track at a WordCamp?

    Most WordCamps have Beginner, Designer and/or Developer, and Business tracks. What if some intrepid WordCamp either added a fourth track, or replaced one of the usual tracks with a bbPress track?

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  8. @Chip Bennett – Good idea, and this is where getting surveys and feedback from your area and local meetups would help you determine how successful that might be. Or maybe just do a HALF BuddyPress (morning) HALF bbPress track (afternoon).

    The only problem that I could see is that adding tracks means possibility of missing opportunities to introduce people to the these plugins (given the choice people might choose another track because that’s what they know they want to hear). That’s why we did one-track day devoted to BuddyPress (we got marketers, project managers, etc – when asked the audience who never seen/heard of BuddyPress, half the hands went up).

    That aside, I think the concept holds merit and i would love to see someone give it a try.

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  9. @Sarah – Yep, I thinking more a developer retreat. It’s more common seeing BuddyPress and bbPres “intro” talks at WordCamps now, more so than there was a year or two ago.

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  10. It’d be something I’d be interested in. Logistically though as shared above it’d have to be somewhere quite easy to get to for the majority of people. It’d probably be stateside then!

    I think probably the most viable will be a mutli-plugin based WordCamp, on the most popular plugins, or even just a “themed” WordCamp i.e. “WordPress for Communities” (which could incorporate bbPress & BuddyPress), “WordPress for Marketers” etc. etc.

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  11. Bring It! I think New York would be very interested. I know have projects on both BBpress and Buddypress right now and i could use a camp!. Please keep in touch !

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  12. Hello! I was one of the organizers of BuddyCamp Minneapolis 2013. I would rather attend a bbCamp than a WordCamp any day of the week. (No offense to WordCamps…)

    I also like the idea of combining bbPress and BuddyPress into its own mini-conference/retreat.

    @modemlooper is right, though – only a small percentage of the WordPress community has heard of bbPress and BuddyPress! …and those who have heard of them often confuse them!

    I spent a lot of time prior to BuddyCamp Minneapolis helping people to understand what BuddyPress is. For this reason, we ended up taking a more generalized approach and using a theme of “Online Community Building” rather than something like, “Make Your BuddyPress Site Awesome”.

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  13. I’d be happy to help make this happen in Columbus, Ohio (that’s pretty central – either within a day’s drive for most or serviced by most major airports). I’ve got two event spaces in mind for events like these (one that cost would cost about $5K for two days but is bat-shit-insanely cool, and the other that is not but cost only in the hundreds. If everyone is ok with a low-key but still quality event the first year, I’ll kick it off. Let me know. Judging from the #’s there’s definitely interest.

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  14. @Rhys – I love the “WordPress for Communities” idea – makes a nice umbrella for lots of community-oriented plugins.

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