WordPress Community Team Proposes Using a Decision Checklist to Restart Local Events

photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters

WordPress’ Community Team has been discussing the return to in-person events since early December 2020, and has landed on an idea that would allow local meetup organizers to determine readiness using a COVID-19 risk-assessment checklist. This would enable organizers to restart meetups when it is safe for their communities, instead of applying a blanket global policy.

Countries like Australia, New Zealand, The Bahamas, Iceland, and Vietnam, are a few examples of locations that are doing a decent job containing the virus. In contrast, the United States logged more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day this week, pushing the daily average to over 2,700. While the situation remains bleak for many areas of the world, vaccines are rolling out to vulnerable populations, albeit slowly and with a few snags.

In the previous discussion that happened in early December, WordPress lead developer Dion Hulse shared some feedback from Australian organizers who have been eager to restart their meetups.

“One of the problems faced in Australia (and probably NZ & Taiwan too) has been the blanket worldwide restrictions companies have put in place,” Hulse said. “Australia/NZ have been lucky, the pandemic has been successfully contained – Australia has seen less than 30k cases this year, and NZ 2k cases. To put that in context, the USA has recorded more (detected) cases in 3 hours today than Australia did all year, and more in 30 minutes than NZ.”

Hulse said a few Australian meetup groups were denied the go-ahead for restarting because of the global restrictions, which has “led to the abandonment of meetups once again (as online meetups have simply not worked here, as most people can still go out in person, so there’s been no major push from most Australians to the online platforms like elsewhere).”

The Community Team’s proposal for a checklist takes these more unique situations into consideration and allows organizers to move forward in areas where public health measures have adequately curbed the spread of the virus. A few example checklist items include the following:

  1. Is your country’s (or state’s) average positivity rate over the past 28 days under 4%?
  2. In the past 28 days, has your country or area’s basic reproduction number stayed under 1?
  3. In the past 14 days, have there been under 50 new cases per 100,000 people reported?
  4. Does your local government allow for in-person events?
  5. If there is a cap on the number of people who can meet at a time, will you as an organizer follow this guideline?

Contributor feedback so far includes recommendations for dealing with violations of the guidelines and assessing the need for contact tracing in case meetup attendees are exposed during an event. Cami Kaos recommended that the team share a list of locations that have already been vetted using the checklist and have not met requirements.

“My hope is that this would reduce a lot of duplicated time and effort for areas that we already know aren’t yet, by the standards we’re setting, safe,” Kaos said. “It would save time and disappointment for organizers hoping to meet in person and also contributor time and energy for those deputies who will vet the applications to hold in-person events.”

Since the virus is mutating and countries are adapting in different ways, the situation can change rapidly, so organizers would need to be prepared to roll back to online events if conditions for safe meetups deteriorate. WordCamps are still out of the question for the time being, but the Community Team is seeking feedback on the proposal by January 15, 2021, including additions to the checklist and recommendations for public health resources that could aid in guiding the process.


7 responses to “WordPress Community Team Proposes Using a Decision Checklist to Restart Local Events”

  1. Australia, New Zealand and to a point Taiwan………are isolated islands.

    I, someone who lives in Toronto, Canada…can fly to Beijing, I have land access to the rest of Asia, Africa and Europe.

    It is more difficult for outsiders to reach Australia and New Zealand. Coming from Canada it would take me 18-24 hours depending if I go via LAX/HAWAII or via Japan/China/Korea/Philippines.

    Local meetups and WordCamps haven’t been really local in such a long time.

    If we want to keep things safe, at least for the beginning…It should be locals who present at local meetup groups. Like at WordPress Meetup Group Toronto, it should be someone from the Toronto area. Same for WordCamp Toronto, not someone from Buffalo, Chicago, Rochester or even Ottawa.


    Same thing for every other local meetup group and wordcamp.

    Obviously this wouldn’t apply to WCUS WCEU WCASIA.

    Also, we should avoid WCUS/EU/ASIA for at least a year or two and just do WC (CITY).

    The regional events tend to have way more people. Let’s keep numbers slightly lower for a while. At least for 2021 and 2022.

  2. Maybe it would be cool if somebody from the systems team at .org creates a page that will pull information from public APIs with information about infection rates etc. and distill them into the above checklist.

    Data is available, all that would be needed was to create a page where you could enter your country (or select it from a dropdown), and you would get a list:

    Is your country’s (or state’s) average positivity rate over the past 28 days under 4%? ✅
    In the past 28 days, has your country or area’s basic reproduction number stayed under 1? ✅
    In the past 14 days, have there been under 50 new cases per 100,000 people reported? ❌

    Something like this. That would make the lives of the meetup organizers a lot easier.

    • While the information is available for many localities, WordPress.org can’t actively verify the data is accurate for every country, and not every country has it in the same formats. Some countries the information will vary state-by-state as well.

      Sometimes computers are not the answer, and human vetting is more effective. If a local group felt that it were safe within their city/state/country to run an in-person event, they’re the best person to source their local health organisations numbers and keep up to date with the ever changing situation and restrictions.

      Since my comments on the original post, Australia has had a few quarantine breaches, which would have meant that locally (in my state) we’d not have been able to safely run a meetup in January, but in December last year or February next month might be okay again.

  3. I think the UK is the best place to organize the first post covid-19 Community gathering given it is the first country that has started vaccinating.

    Also, covid-19 sounds dumb when we have covid-20 (is it covid-20 or covid-21) around the corner.

    Please stay home one more year, we can do this online, please I beg the WP community, let’s not contribute to making it worse.

    • Not sure about the UK but I second the rest.
      For some reason my comment from the other day wasn’t published (either because of a bad connexion over here or it got lost in moderation) but please let’s all be patient and reassess the situation mid-spring.

  4. In Germany, there are no signs of an improvement in the overall situation. The problem is currently worsening, although the first vaccinations are being carried out.

    Due to the federal division of Germany into 16 states, there is unfortunately no uniform approach to Corona at present. The situation is difficult to assess in terms of the risk of infection as well as the legal situation.

    There are currently no signs of an improvement in the situation. Even if I personally wish the situation would be different, I do not see a way to make presence events happen.

    Take care!

    Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)


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