Transparency Report 2: The Accessibility Principle

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In a series of posts, we lay bare our processes and list the tools that we use. For the sake of absolute transparency and so that other events may pick up a few, since we’ve already tried and tested them. We’ll be revealing the organiser selection, speaker selection and volunteer selection criteria and processes.

In the first few discussions, when we started thinking of a WordCamp Pune, we agreed that the most meaningful interactions happen in small groups and more intimate activities than lecture talks or conference like settings. Taking inspiration from BarCamps, we decided to have about four parallel tracks that let 200 attendees split into four groups of 50 each.

Then three things happened:

  1. More people started coming to our meetups from outside Pune city. We started having people over from the whole division. The meetup group’ membership swelled to almost 300 (It is more than 600 now). We realised we had to increase the number of participants.
  2. The discussions at our meetups became livelier and friendlier whenever we switched to Hindi or Marathi from English. We realised we had to become more inclusive in terms of language and regions. We also had to make it more accessible to everyone.
  3. The more technical and/ or advanced topics attracted about 10 – 20 odd people per meetup. The beginner/ or non technical topics attracted a much larger audience of upto 36 in some meetups. Of the people interested in WordPress, majority were beginners.

Our keywords at this stage were:

  1. meaningful interactions
  2. small groups
  3. intimate activities
  4. parallel tracks
  5. number of participants

    Everything we do should encourage more meaningful interactions between the participants. For that to happen, activites at WordCamp Pune must be done in small groups. Instead of lectures and talks that only involve one way or at the most two way interactions, we should have activities that involve more discussions and many to many interactions.Intimate activities like Workshops, QnAs, Panel Discussions, etc had to find more space in WordCamp Pune. Also, since we were now expecting a large number of people, we needed to have multiple parallel tracks to divide them into smaller groups.
  6. majority are beginners
  7. more inclusive
  8. more accessible

However, the most important factor that we set as the most crucial was accessibility. WordCamp Pune had to be accessible to almost everyone interested in WordPress, irresepective of their role, skill sets, expertise, language, location and financial status.

This is what decided everything else including how many days should the WordCamp be, when should we organise it, where and how should we structure it.