WordCamp Central Proposes Centralizing Post WordCamp Surveys

After attending a WordCamp, you’ll sometimes receive an email with a survey asking for your thoughts on how it went. The survey gives you an opportunity to rate and provide feedback on individual speakers as well as other aspects of the event. However, not all WordCamps send out surveys.

Proposed Survey Questions
Proposed Survey Questions

Andrea Middleton has proposed that there be one, centralized survey, available on the WordCamp Central website. The survey would contain a drop down menu to indicate the location of the event and a set of questions that apply to all WordCamps. Organizers could then publicize the survey making it easy to find. After a period of two weeks, results would be exported to the organizing team. Further enhancements could include an automated system that would send the survey out to attendees a day after the event. A post announcing the survey could also be included within the automated routine.

Should Surveys From WordCamp Central Be Opt-in?

In the comments of the proposal, David Bisset, who helped organized WordCamp Miami, recommended that the surveys be opt-in. Having a default set of questions is great for smaller venues but for larger camps, it can be more beneficial for organizers if they had the ability to ask specific questions.

Middleton suggested a solution with a two pronged approach. Organizers could opt-in to the centralized survey but also allow them to create event specific questions. That way, WordCamp Central receives comparable and specific data from events trying new things.

On the individualized surveys, that’s definitely a thing. Opt-in to the centralized survey could work, or we could add branching to the centralized survey and let people add event-specific questions if they wanted to. That way we’d get the same comparable data but also be able to gather event-specific data. I’d actually quite like to do that for those events that are trying new things.

The More Data Available To Organizers The Better

Most of the WordCamps I’ve attended within the past two years have not sent out surveys to gather feedback. For those that have, I’ve provided them all the information I would have shared in a blog post. In many instances, a blog post recapping the event is the only way for me to give feedback. If the survey results are accessible, other organizers can step in with a history of what has and has not been successful.

I applaud Middleton for the proposal and would like to see more WordCamps offer ways for attendees to provide feedback. The more centralized, accessible data organizers have at their disposal to improve their events, the better.

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  1. This is a great idea. One of the major challenges about making event surveys is making them scientifically valid. It is easy to make surveys that sound like fun (“What did you think of the talk? Mind Blown, Awesome, Decent, Didn’t Like It, Bleah”) but these are not useable in a statistical way. Proper surveys are dry and without personality for a reason and that reason is accuracy and an avoidance of bias. Having the surveys centralized means all WordCamps will be measured with the same stick so to speak and you don’t have to have a social scientist on your planning team to get accurate data. I’m all for it.


    1. As much as we favor statistics from a top level (all the WordCamps scored this…), let’s not lose sight of the fact that these surveys should also be uniquely useful for the organizers as well. Surveys should allow the organizers to determine what specific elements of their unique WordCamp were successful, among other uses. So at the very least if there is a “central survey” then some questions need to be highly customizable to be useful for WordCamp organizers who need this data to plan better camps next year. Admittingly, some organizers might not bother with this method so a generic vanilla survey makes sense.

      I’m not saying this isn’t a bad idea, but if you aren’t a WordCamp organizer then you might be missing a few points.


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