Over a period of 3-4 years, a couple of like minded community organisers and contributors from various domains have identified a few key issues in the Indian WordPress community.
I have been hosting a show (The BaapWP Show) where I regularly speak to Meetup & WordCamp organisers in India and try and understand what’s going on with their local communities. Earlier, I used to speak to them privately, now I do it publicly!
The point is that most community organisers in India are working separately, alone and in their own silos. However, all of them face the same kind of issues.
Here are some common issues that we’ve discovered. This list is not exhaustive but it’s a great start:
- There is no scope or avenue for mutual cooperation and knowledge exchange between community organisers in India.
- Meetup attendance is low and sporadic.
- Many community members in India don’t have the opportunity or access to community platforms like WordCamps in India and outside.
- We don’t collaborate much with other FOSS communities.
- We don’t have enough evangelism opportunities in places where there isn’t any active community.
- WordPress translations aren’t very good and their isn’t much quality control in place to ensure usable translations. The focus is still on volume rather than quality.
- Translations of WordPress to many Indian languages are incomplete and either stagnant or moving very slowly.
I started a project called BaapWP sometime ago, where one of my goals was to facilitate the growth of the WP community in India. I have a selfish business interest here. I feel that more the communities grows, I’ll have a wider market to sell training programs, courses and events to individuals and teams. However, it causes a little confusion.
I spoke to Alexander who owns the JaiWP domain and he’s agreed to allow us to use JaiWP as the identity of the platform/ project that I’m proposing. I’m going to move some of the projects started at BaapWP to JaiWP including the BaapWP Show which will be rebranded as the JaiWP Show, from the next season.
We couldn’t find a single issue that arose that because WordCamp India isn’t happening or one that will resolve when a WordCamp India happens! 🙁
What will JaiWP be?
JaiWP is proposed as an informal, independent, voluntary, cooperative, non-profit, private association of WordPress Community Organisers in India.
- Informal: Not formally registered or recognised by any authority. Members are expected to be not interested in power, prestige or recognition. It’s just a group of like minded people working on things that interest the group.
- Independent: Not endorsed and no formal relationship with the WordPress Foundation or another organisation or agency.
- Voluntary, non-profit: All members work voluntarily without any profits or compensation.
- Cooperative: Instead of working in silos and on your own, the members decide to cooperate and help each other out.
- Private: Membership is by invitation only and existing members reserve the right to decline new members without an obligation to disclose the reasons.
- Association: Members decide to work on a few common ideas and projects as a team, instead of working alone.
- Increase mutual cooperation and knowledge exchange between community organisers.
- Assist the activities of make.wordpress.org in India.
- Create common projects and resources that can help existing local meetups.
- Create projects and organise activities to expand the community to newer locations.
- Establish scholarships and international exchange opportunities for members of the Indian WordPress community.
- Establish relationships and explore areas of collaboration with other FOSS communities.
- Assisting Creation of WordPress Translation Style Guides
- Organising Workshops on Introduction to Open Source
- Assisting Independent Events at different meetup groups
- Establishing a fully funded Scholarship for WCEU 2018 for one Indian woman
- Establishing fully funded Scholarships for WordCamps in India in 2017/2018 for students and others starting with WCNashik 2017
- Organise public and open conversations within the community using webinars and other online platforms.
In the coming few days, we’ll set up JaiWP.com (defunct, right now) and start making announcements and launch resources. We’ll also create ways for anyone to get involved in their own capacities.
Again, this is not a central body that hopes to control anything or consolidate any kind of power. So, there is no pressure or obligation for anyone to join in. Also, it is absolutely fine to work independently and outside this group. We’re hoping that that is exactly what will happen eventually and we will be able to offload some of the goals and retire most of the projects in some time. I’m personally confident, we won’t need this group at all in a couple of years!
What if you want a WordCamp India?
We believe that by helping create new communities and helping existing communities draw in more attendance through exciting events, a WordCamp led, organised and managed by the local community would evolve organically. We are only interested in the work at the roots of the community instead on the stage at the top.
If you still wish to have a WordCamp India, there’s nothing here that prevents you from working towards it. In fact, a lot of the activities here will help you do just that. The initiative as a whole will not focus on WordCamps in terms of guidance, mentorship, sponsorship or any such thing. We’d like to work only on meetup events and smaller, accessible events that promote WordPress. So, we are going to ignore WordCamps completely.
So, even though, my opinion is to ignore WordCamp India completely and focus on this project, individual members are free to explore and be involved in any discussions and preparations for WordCamp India and obviously, any WordCamp or another event of any type.
I feel that if we shift our focus and work on these things, we should be able to create more co-ordination, collaboration and growth for the Indian WordPress community. I feel something like WordCamp India will be realised automatically in time without any push or influence from this group.