WordPress Foundation To Foot The Bill For Meetup.com Organizer Dues

In what I believe to be an excellent use of the WordPress Foundation, Jane Wells has shared news that the foundation plans on footing the bill for Meetup.com Organizer dues that need to be paid by the founder of the meetup group. Considering the amount of these dues range from $12-19/month it’s not exactly cheap.

We’re setting up an official WordPress account on Meetup.com right now, and over the next couple of weeks will be working with existing meetup group organizers, people who want to start a new meetup group, and the helpful folks at Meetup.com to put this program in place. WordPress meetup groups that choose to have their group become part of the WordPress account will no longer pay organizer dues for that group, as the WordPress Foundation will be footing the bill.

This is exciting for several reasons. First, it means local organizers who are giving something back to the project by way of their time won’t also have shell out $12-19/month for the privilege. That alone is a big step. Second, it will open the door to more events and leaders within a community, since leadership and event planning won’t need to be tied to “owning” the meetup group. Third, more active meetup groups means more WordCamps, yay!

This is great news considering how many people use Meetup.com to control all aspects of their local WordPress meetups. Reading through the post, it looks like there are no strings attached but I wonder if by joining the official WordPress Meetup Group if at some point in the future, there will be some sort of Meetup guidelines published that those users will need to follow. If there are any guidelines that will need to be followed, I would hope that they are no where near as stringent as the WordCamp guidelines.

If you’re already a Meetup.com WordPress group organizer or looking to get started, be sure to take the survey so it gives the foundation a good starting point.


14 responses to “WordPress Foundation To Foot The Bill For Meetup.com Organizer Dues”

  1. There will be some guidelines, but not as extensive or as stringent as for WordCamps. It will basically boil down to budget transparency, ensuring equal opportunity for members to plan events, and, “Don’t be a scammer or a jerk.” Waiting to see if anything surprising gets reported by current and hopeful organizers in the survey, but so far it looks like those should cover the problems we’ve heard about. Before we get to the point of doing the official opt-in, I’ll publish the expectations/guidelines, but the above are about what I’m expecting.

  2. WordCamp guidelines went from free and easy to surprisingly aggressive and implemented in a rude and prescriptive manner. Jane, you got your way, but no way on earth would I put my local WP group under this banner, generous though the offer is. I hate getting involved in political arguments so it’s easier to just keep away from the foundation entirely.

    Until the foundation ceases to be a dictatorship for life then I’m afraid I, like many others, will continue to be wary of it and its motives.

  3. I help organize a meetup in Pasadena and I, for one, think this is a good idea. We’ll have to see what the guidelines are, but I can’t imagine this being a big deal for people who donate their time and coin to give back to the community by providing a space to share ideas.
    Anyone running for-profit meetups might prove to be a different story, but let’s see what comes of this.

  4. I was going to pass on this post, since I am not involved with WordPress Meetup.

    In her announcement, Ms. Wells gives a clear-enough peek at the Meetup future;

    Over time, we’ll be talking to organizers and looking at what other expenses we can absorb and what other support we can provide to local groups. For now, we’re starting with the organizer dues.

    With the “WordPress” moniker for the subdomain name on Meetup, how was this ever NOT going to be brand-compliant with the front office?

    The vast, overwhelming part of the greater overall WordPress community & ‘world’, consists of a pristine Great Unwashed. Statistically, hardly any WP-users are actually involved with anything even semi-quasi-officially WordPress.

    WordPress ‘horns in’ on a mere microscopic slice of the WordPress scene. Partly, it would be too big a job, to go Borg on it. Partly it really ‘works’, to let it be organic. Like compost … which is the base of the whole Biosphere. Humble, but effective.

    Those who want/prefer to be independent … join the crowd. Easily 99.99% of us are, have been, and will remain so.

    Anything branded as “WordPress” has to be kept on-message, and that message has to be centrally-managed.

    The real action is on the outside.

  5. I filled out the survey and hope that I am considered to be a possible Meetup.com WordPress organizer. I was considering having my own meetup group for the last two months and ended up helping another marketing group instead because their meetup organizer was pretty burned out. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep these groups going.

    I have no problem working with the folks at WordPress and they have every right to ensure their brand is being used correctly and with the right “esprit de corps”. In the past all of our marketing meetings with “WordPress” in the title received major attendance.

    There is great need for sharing tips, strategies, practices and ideas concerning WordPress. Rules are needed to make sure we are all on the same page.

    Our community needs this type of group. – Jan

  6. Jane – why do you feel like a punching bag?

    I ask out of genuine concern and a reality that some people can feel like they’re being got at when they’re trying to do something to please multiple needs.

    And maybe that’s it – you need to please your employers, and you need to please your community. That’s really really tricky – especially if you can’t encourage the change that would make the community happy. Like I’ve said for years and years, WordPress needs to be run like a community project. That means really dull things like committees, organisation and votes. Without them it’ll always feel like you telling everybody what to do – and that can’t be great for you or for others.

    I love WordPress. I love what you, Matt, and countless others have done for it and for our work. Perhaps in future it’ll be even more amazing – just try and find a way to include the really strong actors in the community. Already I’ve sensed things are happening. Over in England there’s something called WordUp with events in London and Edinburgh that aren’t covered by WordCamp at all, and I hear they’re doing well.

  7. @Anonymouse

    Until the foundation ceases to be a dictatorship for life then I’m afraid I, like many others, will continue to be wary of it and its motives.

    I ask out of genuine concern…

    Frustrations are understandable, but ‘giving in’ to them can be expensive.

    One can have ‘genuine concern’, yet still indulge in unfortunate rhetoric. Often though, the rest of us must first deal with the adverse elements of the ill-considered rhetoric, while the positive elements in one’s view must take a back seat.

    Being nasty usually trumps being concerned.

  8. Like @alex – while I’d love someone to pay my Meetup.com dues, I’ll be waiting to see what’s inside the gift horse.

    #1 issue for me is maintaing ownership of the group so that 6 month from now when the WP Foundation decides groups can’t charge for meeting attendance to cover venue or food or organizer’s costs and we want a divorce I can go back to the way it was.


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