WordPress Community Support Shuts Down WordCamp Netherlands in Favor of City-Based WordCamps

The application for WordCamp Netherlands 2017 has been denied. The camp, which held its sixth edition in Utrecht last year with more than 425 attendees, was one of the most well-established WordPress events in Europe. Yesterday lead organizer Marcel Bootsman published a post on the Dutch WordPress community site to explain why the camp has been cancelled.

Bootsman’s post is written in Dutch but includes correspondence in English between the WCNL team and WordPress Community Support (WCS), formerly WordCamp Central. WCS is now pushing for all WordCamps to be city-based with the exception of regional camps, such as WordCamp US and WordCamp Europe, where the cities already have their own camps and do not prevent or detract from local communities launching their own camps.

“WordCamp Netherlands has been held 6 times to date and…It has not inspired any local WordCamps (in fact, I think it’s probably fair to say that local camps have not been happening because people don’t see a need for them with the country-wide camp happening each year) and, with the exception of Nijmegen, which is still in the pre-planning phase, no cities in the Netherlands have their own WordCamps,” a WCS representative said. “With that in mind, we feel that the time has come for your community to move from the country-wide camp to running local camps. This has started happening with Nijmegen already and can easily start happening more with WordCamps in Utrecht, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and other cities.”

The Netherlands is roughly the size of Maryland, or twice the size of New Jersey, in terms of land space. One can drive across the country in two hours or less. The WCNL team contends that a country-wide WordCamp makes sense for geographical reasons and because of the locations of the organizers. The country already has an active meetup culture with 13 different meetups hosting an average of 100 attendees per event. Organizers do not see the need to have multiple smaller WordCamps fill the role that the local meetups are already doing.

In response to the reasons WCNL organizers’ outlined for not shutting down their event, the WCS representative replied, “I don’t think there’s really any benefit to responding to all of your points in the last email individually.” WCS reiterated its decision regarding the camp:

We will not be approving WordCamp The Netherlands 2017. We would like to see city-based WordCamps happening around the Netherlands – Nijmegen being a great start to that process.

We’re confident that with the space that WCNL filled being vacated, we will see some of the meetup organizers around the country stepping up to fill that space for their local communities. The local city camps may be smaller, but in many ways that can be a much better than a single large camp.

As I said before, we would be happy to look at doing WCNL again in a couple of years time once there are a few city-based camps around the country happening regularly. In that case, however, WCNL would be there to complement, and not replace, the city-based camps.

WordCamp Netherlands was the last remaining exception to this new rule that drops country-wide WordCamps in favor of city-based camps. The Dutch community and many of its supporters are now in an uproar over the decision and organizers are at a crossroads. They can choose to rebrand the event as WordCamp Utrecht, with significant drawbacks, or move forward with an independent country-wide event without the use of WordCamp tools, branding and trademarks, or funding from the Global Community Sponsorship Program.

WordCamp Netherlands Conflict Highlights Cultural Differences Between the U.S. and Europe

Marcel Bootsman, who heads up the 13-person WordCamp Netherlands organization team, said they have been working since late December 2016 on the upcoming event. The team had added eight new members after the event grew 68% from 2015 to 2016.

“Everybody was thrilled to start, and the news that we could not continue hit us hard,” Bootsman said. “We have officially stopped and I have thanked everyone for their enthusiasm and support, which was difficult because I wanted to let these people feel what it is to organize an event and see happy faces all over the place.”

WordPress developer and Dutch community member Juliette Reinders Folmer said she doesn’t believe that more than one or perhaps two city-based WordCamps will get started in the Netherlands. Organizing a WordCamp is not an easy endeavor with a small pool of local organizers and volunteers. Folmer notes that since the WordPress Foundation doesn’t allow for compensating speakers for their out-of-pocket costs, the speaker pool is further limited.

“A trend I’ve spotted over the last few years is that ‘local’ WCs will have a mix of local, national and international speakers,” Folmer said. “While national speakers might still be prepared to go out of pocket, the only international speakers who can afford to do this are the ones who are sponsored by big companies which pay their travel and time to speak at those WCs.

“Instead of creating a larger speaker group with new and interesting voices, we’re ending up with a corporate uniform message where the more innovative and sometimes dissident voices are few and far between. By forcing WCNL to break up into smaller more local groups, this trend will become even more persistent and insidious as the demands on the limited group of national speakers will increase unless they have corporate sponsoring. Even they will not able to afford the time and costs to attend and speak at the various local WCs.”

Remkus de Vries, WordCamp Netherlands lead-organizer from 2009 to 2015, said the team has worked for years to see the local communities come together, and have seen people get involved with translations, forum moderation, and local meetups after attending the WordCamps.

“Our idea from the get go for WordCamp Netherlands was to be as inclusive as possible, to unite the scattered Dutch WordPress community,” de Vries said. “The Dutch community consisted of little islands that didn’t really connect at all. We’ve been working very hard to unite our Dutch Community via WordCamp Netherlands and it was working perfectly.

“Because of our inclusive approach we started getting international visitors and speakers from the early start as well, but more importantly, the event, as a national event, pulled everyone in from all corners of the Netherlands. Our community started and flourished because we started as a central entity.”

Bootsman is not optimistic about the future of the Dutch WordPress community after receiving the decision from WCS. The conflict has highlighted a key difference between U.S. and European cultures when it comes to traveling. Whereas Americans might think a 4-5 hour drive to another city is a short road trip, Europe’s population is much more dense than the U.S. and traveling several hours to another city is not common.

“When there is no WordCamp Netherlands, my personal belief is that this will break up the community,” Bootsman said. “Of course we will have central tools like Slack, nl.w.org and other ways to communicate, but that is nothing compared to an event where all these people can meet. People are busy and can’t find time to visit multiple WordCamps in the Netherlands. Distances are not that large in NL, that is not an issue, but time is. When you have a central WordCamp The Netherlands once a year you plan, so you are available to go. In the new situation, when there is a WordCamp Rotterdam, why visit a WordCamp in another town? This maybe hard to understand, but this is how it works for Dutch people. We’re too practical sometimes, and in this situation, it will not help the community.”

WordCamp Netherlands Organizers are Considering Hosting an Independent Event

Both de Vries and Bootsman are said they do not believe rules that make sense for the U.S. should be applied universally. They would prefer them to be guidelines that communities can follow or depart from if they express their preference for a country-wide WordCamp. WordPress communities in other countries like Denmark, Croatia, and Switzerland have expressed similar frustrations with the U.S.-centric rules.

“WordCamp Netherlands was what started the local WordPress meetups and ended up being the glue between the WordPress Meetups,” de Vries said. “Forcing us to stop using WordCamp Netherlands is going to impact that as you could see by the outpouring of reactions yesterday on Twitter and Facebook. Renaming WordCamp Netherlands to WordCamp Utrecht, as suggested by many, could be a solution, but nobody of the organizing team lives in the city which means, per the WCS rules, we can’t do that. But more importantly, we would be losing ‘our glue.’ We feel that our efforts of the last years have just been flushed down the toilet with this ‘one-size-fits-all’ rule.”

Although WCNL organizers were told in no uncertain terms that their camp is cancelled, a recent post on the Community team blog indicates that representatives are considering feedback on the decision.

The first two WordCamp Netherlands were not under the umbrella of WordCamp Central, and de Vries said they will find a way to have the camp if it comes to that. Organizers are currently examining their options.

“It is too soon to announce things about this but let me say that we feel the Netherlands needs to have a countrywide WordPress event based on the experiences of the last years,” Bootsman said. “We are not going to let the Netherlands WordPress community down.”

59 Comments


  1. More absolute nonsense coming from Automattic. Top-down “definitions” of community don’t work and should never be the objective. What a horrendous mistake.

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    1. While some WCS folks are employed by Automattic, they all aren’t. This isn’t an Automattic thing any more than any other core contributor is representing an opinion of their employer.

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  2. This sounds like dumb a decision made for all the wrong reasons.

    Somehow, I think the Dutch know what works best for them.

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  3. While it may make sense to have WordCamps based on a city location in the case of the NL and all of their momentum and history this makes no sense what so ever. And as a WordCamp organizer I know how hard it is to create a good organizing team. Why stop that momentum? Especially when there is a strong presence in the form of Meetups.

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  4. This is the bureaucratisation of what was once a movement. It’s hard to keep the flame alive. Greenpeace and SeaShepherd have succeeded over decades. WordCamp is awfully political these days and there’s big money involved.

    Andy McIlwain summarised the issue well:

    In that time I’ve seen WordCamps drift from a low-overhead, volunteer-run, community-oriented gathering towards a highly polished industry conference experience….the ambition is great, but it doesn’t scale. (It also puts unnecessary stress on organizers.)

    Sponsorship dollars could go a lot further if the budgets were capped/reeled in.

    Turning a volunteer driven open source project into a for profit business is going to generate casualties. A lot of casualties. Collateral damage?

    I feel very sad for the WCNL organisers. Hopefully this is a wrong which can still be righted.

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  5. I live in Sweden, we are 10 million people, have one or two active meetups and two small city wordcamps. The whole no national WordCamp was stupid years ago and is still stupid.

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  6. Correction om WordCamp Utrecht: I’m one of the members of the organizerteam and I live in Utrecht.

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    1. Do you really feel that WordPress enthusiasts in your local community won’t show up to the next WordCamp just because it’s called WordCamp Utrecht and not WordCamp NL?

      Disclaimer: I am a volunteer on the WordPress Community team as deputy

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  7. During the time I volunteered for the Community team on make.w.org a couple of years ago, it became clear to me that one of the purposes of the city-based rule for WordCamps was to prevent “ownership” inside a local community—which had been a thing in the past:

    A group of enthusiastic individuals would start out creating localised resources, eventually organise a WordCamp, and soon they would be perceived as “the leads” by their own local community. Everyone would just rely on their continued efforts, and everything “community” in their country and/or language would seem to unfold around them—essentially preventing diversity and further grass-roots movement.

    This is clearly not how things went in the Netherlands, as the country’s vibrant meetup culture shows evidence of. Personally, I strongly sympathise with the team of WCNL and their past approach, particularly Remkus’ note on how they tried to “unite the scattered Dutch WordPress community”.

    But there is one aspect that imo hasn’t been outlined enough so far, and that has to do with potential consequences when the Community team continually approves of an exception from their own guidelines for one specific group of organisers. The burden of justifying their decision towards other local communities is on them, not the organiser team who benefits from the exception.

    While I do believe the Netherlands are unique in the way Marcel and others have described, it is also true that there are several countries in Europe, or across the world, whose WordCamp organiser teams have claimed a similar type of argument for themselves in the past. When they had to switch to city-based WordCamps in the end, it wouldn’t end up as bad as some might have thought in some cases.

    So how would one justify an ongoing exception? If the Community team is to decide how “special” a case needs to be in order to be “special” enough to benefit from an exception of the rule, what criteria are they supposed to base their decision on and not get beat up for it in the future?

    TL;DR Things are always not clear. Again, I personally feel sad and outraged for Marcel and Remkus and everyone who contributed to WCNL in the past; at the same time, I firmly believe the individuals whose decision has put an end to it, haven’t taken that decision lightly. After all, you don’t volunteer on the Community team, because you’re so keen to put a stop to community actions.

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    1. “But there is one aspect that imo hasn’t been outlined enough so far, and that has to do with potential consequences when the Community team continually approves of an exception from their own guidelines for one specific group of organisers. The burden of justifying their decision towards other local communities is on them, not the organiser team who benefits from the exception.”

      OR… they might want to revisit whether the guidelines make sense or should be revised.

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  8. Indeed, very bad decision. They make it look like there are plenty of WordCamp organizers to find… but it’s a hard task. Country-events could even be a good guidance to train new organizers for other WordCamps, which is now proven by Taco for Nijmegen. With this ending of an ‘overall’ event, the glue and connections between local meetups are gone. Imaging if they decide to stop doing WCEU, well that’s the same feeling. Overlapping community connections … gone.
    A shame. And certainly i don’t think it’s durable on the long run in terms of finance and sponsoring. But if there’s one opportunity to have multiple and attractive WordCamps in a smaller country, it’s subject-based WordCamps.

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  9. WordPress. While it might continue with open source code software project, it really seems as some surrounding aspects of the ‘thing’ are getting quite closed.

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  10. This sounds really stupid to me. I don’t think a blanket rule like this makes sense across the whole world.

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  11. This is very upsetting for the team and everyone involved – but they’ll get over it.

    It could be a few years, but they’ll get over it.

    I’m speaking from experience. In 2010 at ‘WordCamp UK’ (in Manchester – https://2010.wordcampuk.org/) the UK-community was told during closing remarks we had to adopt these rules and there was an incredibly negative (sometimes vicious) backlash.

    In the following years the rules were eventually adopted. And in 2013 the first ‘WordCamp London’ broke the mould as the first true City-based event.

    This was followed by WordCamp Sheffield (which I organised) and WordCamp Manchester in 2014. We now have events springing up around the UK with new events in Edinburgh, Brighton, Bristol and more in the works.

    I’m sure you can argue that the Netherlands is very different/smaller than the UK but remember that we are made up of four different nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    Truth is that ‘England’ has done great out of these rules with new ‘Camps springing up around the country and London evolving into the new ‘go-to’ event for the nation.

    Sadly the other nations have suffered in the new model (as pointed out by Kevinjohn Gallagher on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KevinjohnG/status/847421139454271492)

    Scotland has managed to lift it’s community since the new rules were enforced with the first true City-based WordCamp Edinburgh becoming established in 2015 (the 2012 event was a pre-rules WordCamp ‘UK’ event).

    Sadly Wales hasn’t had a WordCamp since 2009 (my first WordCamp) as no City-based team have come forward (yet) to organise one.

    NI saw the first WordCamp Belfast in 2016, this will hopefully become a yearly established model.

    So the ‘UK’ model is now pretty much dead 7 years after the City-based rules were enforced. This is sad because it’s aim was to ‘tour’ WordCamp’s to different parts of the country and foster the community in new areas.

    I think that if Scotland can organise a decent-sized City-based WordCamp with a much smaller population than the Netherlands then I’m convinced the new rules won’t kill their community if they have the passion to move forward within the confines of a City-based approach.

    It’ll hurt at first – but they’ll get over it.

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    1. You post that they’ll get over it… then outline how this rule damaged non-England Wordcamps, including the fact that Wales hasn’t had one since 2009. You might want to rethink your thesis.

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      1. Difference is that the NL camp (as far as I know) never toured around the country like WordCamp UK used to.

        Wales is a different story. Upsetting that they haven’t stood up and organised anything yet but the door is open for them to do that.

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  12. At first I thought this was an April Fools joke – then I saw the published date! This is a dreadful decision – the Netherlands know the country, people and community, and have proven it works.

    It would be very interesting if a non-“Wordcamp” conference was set up, and I’m sure sponsorship could be found from other WP companies.

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  13. Why not make an exception for already existing country-wide WordCamps in small countries like mine? Why kill a successful event with an enthusiastic crew? Too bad!

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  14. Don’t take no for an answer.
    Do it the Dutch way and write a later demanding an appeal process!
    Just make sure to do it in 6 weeks…

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  15. It saddens me when we create rules just because. Why the desire to force a successful event to come to an end when it means so much to the community?

    Hopefully enough voices will be heard in support of the camp that this decision will be reversed.

    If not, it sounds like the organizers will do what’s best for their community despite this action taken against them.

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  16. I quit WordCamps over stuff like this. I helped organize two and still can’t get over how much more difficult it was working under WCS rule. Blegh.

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  17. On the face of it, this looks an epic face plant by the WordCamp organisers, but they have a tricky tight rope to walk. If they want to encourage city specific events, but allow a small subsection of events to be nationwide, at what point do they allow a country to have it’s own event? And who makes that call? By just having a simple “no country events” policy, that problem is quickly averted. I think it’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t problem here.

    The UK situation mentioned here was a bit different IMHO, as the UK organisers were landed with that declaration out of the blue. The Netherlands organisers were presumably aware that this may happen at some point at least.

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    1. Why should they dictate either way? If some group feels that they can have a good WordCamp from just a given city that’s fine. If others live in a geographically small nation and feel that it’s best for their WC to be national, fine.

      I don’t see why it’s the business of the WCS to dictate this at all.

      PS: Before someone brings it up, of course they could prohibit a country-wide US Word camp and a European-wide one, specifically reserving those to themselves. That doesn’t imply that they need to prohibit all national WCs.

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  18. Bravo. Piss off your community and tell them they don’t know their own country and audience better than you do…

    Stupid, misinformed decision. Hopefully the Netherlands do go on with their own independent event, and shove it back in the faces of the WCS.

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  19. Simple solution to this drama: Change the WCNL to WPNL or WPSNL (as in WP Summit NL) and create an independent event using the Meetups as your base of invited attendees for the country wide / national event you were already successfully executing.

    Best Wishes

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  20. Netherlands is roughly the size of the US state of Maryland. So the logic asserted makes zero sense. Sounds like someone has a grudge.

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    1. That’s not the case. Even small states in the US have multiple WordCamps – while not the smallest, my home state of Ohio has one in Cincinnati and one in Dayton, maybe an hour and a half away. They draw different speakers and local business crowds, giving WordPress more exposure and encouraging entrepreneurs to stake out using WordPress.

      While it’s always rough to hear you can’t do something, this is a new policy globally. It doesn’t sound like a grudge, it sounds like the WCNL team didn’t want to give up control and is now throwing a fit.

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      1. So, its globalism at its best.

        And also: State != country. The netherlands have states as well (called “provinces” => WIYF).

        cu, w0lf.

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      2. Actually, Ohio has four WordCamps. Columbus, Dayton, Kent (formerly North East Ohio), Cincy, and I think there is one in the works for Cleveland. And, with Toledo having started their own meetup recently, I think we’ll see one there in the next few years. All in an area four hours by four across across.

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  21. Cultural insensitivity is never a good look but now more than ever it speaks volumes about so-called community values.

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    1. It is staying that way .. just take a look at all the i18n issues. There is the US of A, and then there is the rest of the world. One takes the former one as a template for the latter. Of corpse that card house will fail.

      cu, w0lf.

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      1. Had to google i18n!

        Interesting comparison to localization vs internationalization.

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      2. It’s the same issue: You take a specific template and try to use it for everything. For generic scenarios, it is going to work. For strongly localized scenarios, it is most likely going to fail, if you do not plan for compromises = adaptions.

        We’ve got the very issue with a big client site, where regular i18n methods simply fail, because they were not designed for strong localization, eg. WPML. The client has a strong focus on this, delivering localized prices and specific products for eg. the German-speaking area (“GAS”) or Greater China.

        Now for a vice-versa example, which would fit better in the case of “meet ups”: Webmontag. It Is focused on local, city-based meetups, but fails in the case of NRW (mostly). There, the population is so dense, that big cities go over into each other, eg. Bochum, Essen or Dortmund; all of them are in the metropolis city category, but just a few kilometres apart. In any other part of Germany, you got lots of smaller cities, surrounding a bigger one, and thus the city-vs-big-area concept works quite well.

        Aside of that: i18n and l10n go hand in hand. Wikipedia is still your better friend (over a search engine), though: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internationalization_and_localization
        (try searching for “i18n” in Wikipedia; you will be redirected to above article).

        cu, w0lf.

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  22. Case by case situations needs to be taken into account. Some regions aren’t feasible for “city” Wordcamps by its current definition. I live in the Washington DC area and our unique area makes it almost impossible to live up to the “city” rule definition. Universities within DC are unlikely to afford to provide free space for a Wordcamp plus the parking situation is horrifically expensive. It would have to be the suburbs and we are in different states even though very close by. Maybe a church could, but they probably only have the one main space (parking still an issue). Locals describe themselves as from DC even when you live 20 minutes outside the the city in a different state. We just don’t fit a standard land mass size for a regional city limits definition.

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  23. the only international speakers who can afford to do this are the ones who are sponsored by big companies which pay their travel and time to speak at those WCs

    One of the companies that can afford this is Automattic, who seems to have an urge to rule the (online) world. They’re doing a lot for WordPress software (which they use in the core of their business and therefore their support also profits themselves). On the other hand it seems they want to monetize on the community. While this is not necessarily a bad thing or wrong, it is a doubled edged sword.

    Changes in Movable Type’s licensing in 2004 certainly had a part in WordPress becoming so successful.

    Loyalty of a user group or community might be strong (especially in the case of WordPress), but it is never unlimited.

    Trying to overreach the community will lead to a fork of the software and a split in the community. While this danger might not yet be predominant, in my opinion, it certainly is real.

    In my understanding Movable Type never recovered totally from their license change even after they changed it back.

    The company behind Mambo lost Mambo to Joomla! (and other forks) after changing the license.

    There are certainly other examples. I don’t want to mention here, because they’re not relevant.

    It seems very unlikely to see something very similar thing happening to WordPress, although I suspect other ways than a license change can have a similar effects on community members getting the feeling of being taken advantage of.

    It seems to me that Automattic and Matt himself are trying hard to get revenue out of WordPress product and community (investors always want to get a ROI).

    What is going on with Jetpack, “ad space” for hosters on wordpress.org and changes in policy like this one (concerning WordCamps) are giving me the impression that decisions are not primarily made with the good of the community and users of WordPress in mind, but in respect of potentially most profitable options for the “Benevolent Dictator for Life”, his companies and maybe the investors.

    Hopefully I’m wrong. The “official” goal should stay and become “democratizing publishing”?

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  24. I wonder how much this is WCS being US-centric and not understanding that a national camp is very different in a country like the US vs the Netherlands. In any case, this crap is one reason I refuse to dive into the ‘WordPress community’ – the official stuff is full of people who might have good intentions but seem utterly clueless on social and management matters.

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  25. Having a city or country based WordCamp is not something black and white. You have to take into consideration a lot of factors: how developed a community is, how developed is the country, how many people work with WordPress, how many people attend other events etc. The same rules cannot apply to every country in the world.

    I’ll give you an example of Croatia. In Croatia, we organised our first WordCamp in 2015, and it was called WordCamp Croatia. Our goal was to hold a WordCamp in a different city each year, and for the first year, we decided to go with Rijeka, a smaller city with around 150k people, instead of Zagreb (our capital with 700k). For outsiders that might seem illogical, but keep in mind that local people (and by local I mean people from Croatia) know what’s usually the best for them. Croatia has a problem that everything is so centralised in Zagreb, so people living there have much more opportunity than anyone else. By having not WordCamp Rijeka but WordCamp Croatia, we showed to people that this is a conference (and I use this term here to the point that half the people present were not familiar with what WordCamp is, other than being a conference) on a national level, thus making them more willing to participate. Afterwards, we have seen an increase in number of people involved in the community and helping each other on various channels (primary our Facebook group).

    Last year we applied for WordCamp Croatia again, but due to a rule change, we ended up with WordCamp Split instead. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of the people who pulled it off, but because of the name change we lost some good sponsors, and things were harder for them (and for us who helped). Because of the name change, we had to promote it as “the only WordCamp in Croatia in 2016” so people would realise the importance of it. And the importance and benefits are well explained by others, especially Marcel and Remkus.

    Whatever we did as a community, we did it following the rules for organisers. Our first goal was not to organise a WordCamp but to grow our community. Organising a WordCamp each year is just a “reward” for people organising meetups in different cities. For Croatia, a country with only 4m having a WordCamp name after city doesn’t make as much sense as for countries that are large and have a giant population. Let me give you an example: in the US alone, there are 17 cities that are larger than our capital Zagreb, roughly 117 cities that are larger than Split which hosted WordCamp last year, and 171 cities that are larger than Rijeka – where the first and only WordCamp Croatia happened :).

    I strongly believe that the most important part of every WordCamp is inclusiveness. In the end, if we can have more people included that’s a victory for everyone, nevertheless a WordCamp is named by a city or by a country. I am sad for what happened to Netherlands, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are more examples, and if we want to grow communities worldwide, maybe this is a good time to think of a set of rules that can work globally, but that will take into consideration local differences.

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    1. I will back up my buddy Emanuel here, from the other part of Croatia.

      This year we will organize Croatian WordCamp in Zagreb, it will be called WordCamp Zagreb but to all of us, the members of the Croatian community it will be WordCamp Croatia. We are altogether sorrowful we have been deprived of the right to unite under the name Croatia, to which we are all very proud of.

      I think WP Central should be more flexible and allow communities to organize a national WordCamp as long as the national community is compact.

      WordPress community members in each country are specialists for their country, and I believe that they know what the best for them is. After all, they have raised WordPress community in their countries, and their voice should be taken into consideration in the final decision.

      I am aware that many of the WP communities in the world are not compact as the one in Croatia is. I also think that it should not be a reason to apply the same rule for all but to try to find an approach that will allow the national WordCamp in the country whose community show interest in it.

      I also think that this theme should be on the agenda at the WCEU Community Summit in Paris.

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  26. Having attended and spoken at WordCamp Netherlands in Utrecht, I thoroughly enjoyed the event and, above all, I really enjoy spending time with the Dutch WordPress community. I’d love to see the community continue to grow and flourish.

    An interesting data point for the Dutch WordPress community to perhaps compile would be the number of potential event attendees who do not attend based purely on distance and travel time/cost.

    I believe that, if the community continues to grow through perhaps growing existing meetup groups (13!) to running a WordCamp in each of those regions once a year (a WordCamp in the sense that the camp is run in a lean and volunteer-driven manner), the communities individually would grow, culminating in potentially restoring WordCamp Netherlands, with an even larger and stronger group of community members.

    Imagine a world where each individual city WordCamp grows to over 100-200 people, and those camps then all make a strong advertising effort for a larger country-wide camp (if that happens again in future). Doing some napkin math, that would take the national camp size to 1300 attendees. To my mind, that’s pretty amazing!

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  27. Just to be clear. The event is not “killed” by WordCamp Central. The only “ask” was to rename it to “WordCamp Utrecht, Netherlands”.

    @sarah Your headline is very misleading.

    The organizers themselves decided to not have the event because they don’t think the request is warranted, despite the fact that the City.Name WordCamp initiative has been rolling out globally successfully for the last seven years, and the organizers have known about it.

    It is their decision not to have WordCamp in the Netherlands at all.

    The WordPress community is quite active in the Netherlands, as the numerous meetup groups show. People will attend at a “WordCamp Utrecht” as they would come to a “WordCamp NL.”

    We won’t know, however, because the organizers rather not have an event at all than prove this hypothesis right.

    Disclaimer: I volunteer sporadically on WordPress Community Team, and I am a WordPress Meetup organizer in Florida. I, however, don’t speak for the team. My comment is my opinion alone.

    You can read the official “Additional Context around WordCamp Netherlands” on make.wordpress.org http://bit.ly/2nA7lXA

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    1. We won’t know, however, because the organizers rather not have an event at all than prove this hypothesis right.

      This not true. There will be local WordCamps in The Netherlands.

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  28. So the fuss is about naming, yeah? Whatever city its going it be in, name it “WordCamp ThatCity” and proceed as you would have otherwise.

    That way other cities are more able to make their own WordCamps if they so choose.

    Unless … your goal is to be the only WordCamp and you want to dissuade other cities from running their own, which doesn’t seem very friendly or community-oriented?

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    1. Nobody is suggesting that, the point is that National WordCamps seem to now have restrictions placed on them that are ott, heck WC US, is ok but not other nations? I think city based ones are cool, but having an additional National one where people from all over the country can meet in one central place is also important. If a country has a proven record of well organised National WordCamps why take it off them? By your own argument one central organisation dictating who and who cannot have a National WordCamp is even less friendly or community-orientated.

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    2. See Emmanuel’s post, just above yours for why your post is misguided. Or Jon’s just below yours.

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    3. The issue with that is it is a one size fits all approach. And we all know one size does not fit all.

      Set aside the Netherlands for a minute and i’ll use another example.

      Word Camp San José.

      You know where that is? California, right? Nope. You may have missed the accent on the e. It’s not California. It’s San José… Costa Rica.

      Costa Rica is a tiny country with a population of 4.8 million people. Roughly 1/3 of the population lives within the San José metropolitan area. It is also it’s technology center.

      The odds of a WordCamp happening in another region of Costa Rica (which has 7 provinces) are basically nil.

      It makes far more sense to name it WordCamp Costa Rica and allow them to market and brand it as WordCamp Costa Rica. It would elevate the perceived importance of the event and make it more attractive for people in neighboring countries such as Nicaragua and Panama to attend. Not to mention people from the United States, etc. who might want to go to a WordCamp and visit paradise on the side.

      So why not allow them to brand the WordCamp as WordCamp Costa Rica? Because of the city name rule.

      What works in the United States is not necessarily ideal for other countries and regions.

      WordCamp San José should be WordCamp Costa Rica.

      One size does not fit all.

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    4. I guess it’s not just about “naming” – it goes deeper and seems more about a general principle.

      What is this city-based dogma all about?

      Why can’t just country-wide WordCamps and City-based or Camps in the middle of it (for regions/states/cantons) live side by side and be fruitful to each other? —> THIS should be the normal way.

      Camps should be such as it is best for one country, city, state/region/canton/whatever. And if it were a country-wide WordCamp Netherlands PLUS some city-based — wouldn’t that be the VERY BEST that could ever happen? For a sound and growing community? Absolutely yes, it would be.

      Currently such rules existing hinder growth of the community and are a souce of frustration and a lot of community members going away. That hurts and is very sad.

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    5. Unless … your goal is to be the only WordCamp and you want to dissuade other cities from running their own,

      This is certainly not our goal. We are active in the community to let it grow, not to limit it.

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  29. Basically the “WP people are” doing a good job.
    But their arrogance is their worst trait.
    I have seen happen before to so many tech communities of yesteryear:
    1. Netscape
    2. Sun
    3. Compaq
    4. DEC
    5. Palm
    6. Lotus
    …for example.

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  30. When I organized WordCamp Maui in 2015 there was discussion over the name. WCS had just started imposing the “city name” rules. The actual organizing team had already discussed it, considering WordCamp Hawaii (state), WordCamp Maui (island) or WordCamp Kahului (town).

    You see Maui isn’t a city, rather Maui is an island and a county. There
    are in fact no cities on Maui, not even Kahului where the airport is. Which maybe is why we won that debate with central, but that discussion as civil and easy as it was in our case WCS took energy that could have gone elsewhere when 100% of the organizers and local community had already made a decision on what was best for them. We knew that WordCamp Maui was the right name for that camp, to put that up for discussion affected branding/design/sponsorship/speakers and all the other important and time consuming stuff organizers need to deal with.

    So… do I think WCS should provide some oversight and counsel, sure… but there should be way more control given back to organizers to make camps meaningful and unique to their local communities.

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  31. I must be missing something.

    Wordcamp Europe (a continent) is allowed, because “regional”. Wordcamp US (a country) is allowed. Wordcamp Netherlands (a country) is not allowed. Is this because one is a region that thinks of themselves as a continent, and the other is just a mere “region”? So are there guidelines on when a country is big enough to be considered a region?

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    1. These seem to be very valid points for me.

      All these rules, guidelines, whatever — call them dogmas — are just to much at this point. It takes a free and open spirit away from organizers who best know their audience and region/city/country. You cannot be somewhere located in the U.S. create rules for whole other countries on this planet and this “stupid” rules may hurt the community in the end.

      And to make this absurdity even worse, this team is called “WordPress Community Support”. In case of WCNL it looks currently as just the opposite of it…

      If a countrywide WordCamp WCNL will SERVE the community in this country best, then we should absolutely support it and help make it happen, regardless of name, size, whatever. The goal is a sound community, a growing community and the growth of WordPress as a ecosytem.

      Situations like laid out above, don’t help these goals – in no way.

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  32. Hot on the heels of the Plugin Repository debacle we get another tone-deaf, top down decision that ignores feedback from people outside the inner circle. It’s incredibly frustrating to watch Automattic and the WP Foundation make decision after decision that undermines the principles that drew so many to the WP community and promised to safeguard WP from just this type of takeover.

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  33. One can drive across the country in two hours or less.
    Lol that i want so see him do from Maastricht to Groningen….. I have been there once. It took more then 5 hours.

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