Capture from WPBuilds episode 285 with the WPTavern episode and 4 windows with Nathan and guests

GatherPress in the WPBuilds show again!

GatherPress was featured again on WPBuilds’ “This Week in WordPress.” Hosts Nathan Wrigley and co-hosts/guest Colin, Michelle and Marc discussed GatherPress for a full 20 minutes, highlighting its potential to replace for organizing WordPress events.

Nathan recapped his conversation with Mike Auteri and how GatherPress began in 2019, developed by Mike and a growing community team. Marc says how much he loves this idea! They discussed pros and cons.

You can read the transcript below.


From 21’57” to 41’05”


okay so this is this is absolutely
fascinating and we mentioned this on a previous episode but I I wanted to highlight it again a because we’ve got a different panel and B because I’ve
actually produced the piece of content that it was related to so Michelle
the co-host of the this weekend WordPress show I’m just gonna keep saying it Michelle she put me in
touch with somebody called Mike Auteri and uh we had a really interesting chat about a plugin that he and a growing
team of community members are getting involved in and it’s called some it’s called GatherPress now if you
have attended a WordPress Meetup or or any event that probably wasn’t a WordCamp
then you’ve probably come across something called it’s a SAAS platform and for historical reasons
which I don’t really know it has become the de facto way of organizing and
communicating with people about your events so you know for example the
WordPress London Meetup which is restarting thank you Dan Maby and Paul Smart the event system that you
going to go through is however Mike had this intuition that wouldn’t it be nice given that we’ve got a CMS
wouldn’t it be nice to take this functionality into a plugin so in 2019 and then through the years of the
pandemic Mike started working on this and and has now got to the point where he thinks it’s pretty much capable of
doing the job that Meetup would do and so he’s put it out there he’s put it out there for public consumption
there’s a GitHub repo actually everything’s linked to in the show notes this is on the the WPTavern website I
put the podcast there and you can find The GatherPress uh slack group you
can find the the Twitter Channel you can find all of the different pieces the plugin website the GitHub repository
they’re all in the show notes but he’s really keen to take this forward and to go into a stage where it’s being battle
tested out in the wild with with real events and seeing what feature set is needed but I just thought this was kind
of interesting it was recently acquired by a company which
governs a bunch of SAAS products and so maybe there’s a bit of sweet timing here in that you know questions often get
asked don’t they when there’s an acquisition how will that keep going and also according to Mike’s calculations
the WordPress Community spend close to a quarter of a million dollars a year on accounts for
Meetup I think it was $234,000 a year if his math was correct
and he thought maybe that could be you know used in some other vein so whether you’ve got a grudge against
or not I’m going to open it up to the panel just go for it what do you think good idea got legs no way who
knows my biggest concern with it when I so Mike reached out to me a long time ago to see if I’d be willing to look at
it and give some feedback and some ideas and my biggest concern with it was how
many people are discovering their local WordPress meetups specifically through
25:06 so I ran a very unscientific poll on my
meetup group and asked them how did you discover this group and of the people
who answered less than 20 so again not scientific but still gives you some
anecdotal information I think only one out of 20 had discovered the group
through everybody else had discovered it either through the Facebook group or they had been
invited from another per through another person and that was the primary way is somebody told me about it several people
had seen it on their dashboard so you will see local events show up on your
WordPress dashboard and several people had found it that way so as long as we’re able to continue to put like the
local Meetups on the dashboard regardless of whether they’re part of or not and I suspect that
25:58 can somehow feed into there right for your local I don’t
not sure how that works I’m not a developer but I think that this should be a really good alternative and can
save groups a lot of money so every official WordPress Meetup that’s on
26:17 is paid for by (Note, meant there are a lot of unofficial ones in
that they are not officially sanctioned and paid for by (note: meant they are not talking about
WordPress so yeah when I say official that’s what I mean yeah there are a lot more that aren’t that are being paid for
by people like you and me who have started their Meetup and want to have control over the entire thing as opposed
to co-opt it with with so this would be a way for you to still
have a lot of autonomy over your group but save a lot of
money and be able to put it right on your own websites like for example is our local website
for our Meetup and that’s you know right now everything’s going on and then I’m sharing it other places but if
it was right on the website that would be a lot easier to do Mike in the podcast he he was mentioning that he
carried out some other anecdotal survey actually I don’t know if he said that but he said that in his experience
he was able to show that the dashboard widget has become the thing for the
Meetup which he attends and organizes it really was coming from the dashboard widget and yeah when I go to my
Meetup account I only visit it to RSVP to something I’ve seen somewhere else
which is typically the dashboard widget or on social media I go to click the black RS you know I don’t know
what the wording is but you know I want to go to this event button and then I log out and I’m gone and so it’s not
really doing any of that maybe I’ve switched off notifications maybe I should be getting email but the dashboard widget would be the way to do
it and I think Mike’s intuition around this project is that if it got some legs
and it got some buyin from the community it could become an official project at a
I don’t know domain name a multisite network setup so that
you’ve got something akin to a single sign on you use your credentials and and it does all of that
and he’s already built the functionality you know you got to link it up to some SMTP company or what have you but you
can reply to people that have received an invite but haven’t replied or people who have agreed to attend and it
automatically creates an attendance page and you know it just does all that heavy lifting really that would do
so the the idea at the moment and Patrica who might be in the comments I don’t know she put a proposal together
saying let’s run this in tandem like why not just run it with a meetup and GatherPress at the same time and just
see what the what the missing feature set is so anyway sorry Marc or
Colin over to you I personally love the idea I I just am I can’t tell
you how much in love with this idea I am and maybe it’s because I’m toying with the idea of starting a local Meetup
here I have always gone to to look for WordPress meetups and
other things but mostly WordPress meetups that’s where I go and and
I’ve always kind of had a kind of this love/hate relationship with since 10 years ago or whenever it was
that I found my first WordPress Meetup but the key as you mentioned
Nathan is going to be Community wide adoption of this project and I hope that
it goes somewhere because you know first of all it’s community driven it’s open source it’s
all the things that WordPress is and and why not include this in there as well
since meetups are a big part of what grows our community in the first place
to some extent I can’t quite work out why it doesn’t why a project like this didn’t
gather you know didn’t occur a decade or more ago because it almost feels like
going to a SAAS platform is peculiar given given the capabilities of all of
the people involved in the community it feels it’s like you know nobody’s inventing the wheel here there’s calendars and email and you know a page
that’s put together with some kind of archive or I don’t know it’s odd I
find it I think there’s a lot of you know a lot of brain damage it gets in gets into building something like this
and maybe nobody everybody was like this is so easy to just go on Meetup and and
honestly you know back when it was you know the the foundation Meetup was adopted by the
foundation years and years ago and so it just kind of became the de facto standard of how we did things and you
know if you look at you know one of the other subjects you’re going to be bringing up shortly is this idea of
different types of events you know there is the this is the way things were traditionally done and now all of a
sudden I think it’s post pandemic and we’re kind of looking at things and going we have to come up with other ways to do things now and that’s probably
part of the thinking is okay let’s look at everything we’ve been doing and let’s see if we can make some things better I
I don’t know I mean that’s my speculation but I kind of like the idea that if if I was running a Meetup like
let’s say in my part of the world I kind of like the idea that if I had this capability within a within a plugin I
could then make my page look like how I want it you know just create a pattern
consuming the data that GatherPress uh brings to bear and then make it look like where I live apart from you know
not this white black and red generic thing which honestly it’s so
uninteresting absolutely doesn’t sell anything does it you know it’s not giving anything about the venue or the
kind of I don’t know I just think I gotta tell you I do have notifications turned on on Meetup and every time I get
a Meetup notification I just roll my eyes like nine times out of 10 because it’s like this is going to be something
else I’m not interested in going to right okay so yeah I you know I like
I said I have a love/hate relationship for it I prefer to do the work and go for looking what I want to I don’t need
to have all these notifications and suggestions and and like you said the website is not
compelling Courtney joins us saying I think a decade ago folks looking to
connect used Meetup more okay okay that’s an interesting point um also the
WP project uses a few paid services that specialize in what they do okay so there’s connections to for example
things like Slack and GitHub okay so there’s wheels within wheels there’s cogs in the background that I’m really not that familiar with the
other the other thing to keep in mind is that there is a level of control that has to happen at the
level in order to make sure these are all mapped together and that they’re that they are part of the ownership of
the different groups so they know what’s happening and know what’s going on so I’m a Meetup organizer I you know take
the time to go put things out on and then I share it and I do and I and whether you like the
notifications or not Marc a lot of our members remember to put to come to and we meet at the same time every month
first Monday of every month 6:30 but that’s what reminds people to actually join the Meetup or to which is why I
have them turned on in the first place is exactly yeah yeah so it’s like you know I
have to take all the other stuff in order to get to the stuff I want but you know as a community team member because
I am on the community team as well and I was part of the re I can’t remember what we called it but the re re I
can’t think of words re-energizing of meetups post pandemic is that we
were able to like I’m a super user for WordPress on meetups so I can go in
and look at all of the different meetups and I can you know message people through there how is your Meetup going
are you ready to get things up and rolling again so we had that for about a year getting you know reaching out to the different meetup groups to make sure
that if they wanted to get started again if they didn’t how could we find other people in the organization and so there
was a lot of work that happened and because it was all Central in one place on that was easy for us to
easier for us to do than if we had to start trying to find all of those different meetups other places so I
think there’s just a level of trying to make sure that it replicates a lot of those same features so that from the
top down we’re still able to see everything that happens still able to interact with organizers and if
organizers fall off or you know stop work you know being part of their meetups that we can still reach out to
other group members so there’s a lot that needs to go on to make sure that we still as WordPress are supporting and
helping the different groups all over the world to stay healthy okay that’s a
really interesting context as well because that puts a completely different spin on it to me I had this idea that it would all just be great to
go to WordPress plugin because it would just be great to have it inside of WordPress but you’re saying that it
really had utility especially in that period where it needed the community needed a bit of a
kickstart because of the because of the nature of the I guess the pyramid structure of the of the permissions
that you get and what have you and if you’re a super user you you had more power yeah that is interesting okay I
guess though having said all that that could be built inside a multisite network it could be absolutely it’s just a matter
of making sure that all of those boxes are checked before we would migrate to something like that so that we don’t
lose any of what we have now right Colin anything on this
well I have a soft spot for Meetup you know ah controversy yes no no no no
not at all I I think obviously with anything like this there’s there’s pros and cons to everything right so I have a
soft spot because like me Meetup is an OG of the internet you know and so it
has been around forever and the way that I found my first WordPress
Meetup was very likely because I was already on Meetup for other things like
blogging or learning to code when I was younger or whatever it may be
because there’s other interests so the thing that I think we’d lose from moving
all of the WordPress events into its own thing I think there’s a lot to gain far
more to gain than than this one thing but is people that use WordPress are not
just the people that build WordPress or the people that like to talk about the Community of WordPress or people that uh
make money on WordPress there are people that knit that use WordPress every day
there are people that flyfish in amazing rivers throughout the
world that use WordPress every day and none of them are engaged in the communities that the four of us are
and so if they’re on Meetup and they’re in a fly fishing group but they need
help with their website if they happened to see like Michelle had brought out if they happen to see that in the Rochester
area for her now there’s a Meetup that has to do with the software that she’s using to run her website well then you
end up going to that and then now you’re you get some help which was huge the WordPress meetups back very early on
and probably still today I do attend a fair number of them is that someone could go in there and say how do I
update my blog colors yeah right how do I XYZ right nowadays WordPress is
incredibly complicated compared to what it was when I started with it so yeah I
think that there’s some of that you know just the overlapping of these
different communities that we would lose by it all being so WordPress Centric
it’d be great interesting yeah you know it’d be great because now you have the ability to bring some of those features
onto WP builds website now and now it communicates maybe even with the site and if there’s an
event both of them could be up to date with each other and all of those things would be fantastic and obviously when
you have control of the source then if a if Meetup has a feature or does not have a feature that someone has been wanting
for a long time it could easily get done but there is that little bit of an overlap the vend diagram of why someone
uses WordPress as opposed to the fact that they use WordPress and the reason why they use WordPress is
probably just to sell their jewelry or whatever it may be whatever their
interest is um so that’s something I think we would lose and I might shed one tear for Meetup when that
happens but maybe there’s a way to use the Meetup API too if
Bending Spoons is you know fine with it maybe there’s a way that these Meetups could still be reflected in the
Meetup ecosystem so that that still happens if I’m in Phoenix Arizona
and I look up events that are in my area it would still be really cool if there was something that showed hey there’s
going to be like 15 people at a coffee shop talking about WordPress on Monday wouldn’t it be you know maybe I’ll pop
in there because I heard of WordPress or whatever yeah that’s really interesting you put a really different side to it
and I think I think both you and Michelle have painted a a really credible picture for why it’s not a question of throwing the baby out do you
use that phrase for throw the baby out with the bath I try not to I was just as soon as I said it
familiar with it yeah okay but you know you know what I mean you don’t just throw throw good after battle or
something like that um and there’s a lot of maybe there is a lot more utility in it than I thought um that’s that’s
fascinating but the idea of yeah I kind of like the idea of it being federated some way around a central
multide network and let’s say that on WP build I installed that plugin and I could then in some way connect to that
and advertise my WordPress related events obviously there’d have to be a gatekeeper saying yeah Nathan’s allowed
but this other thing over there which is nothing to do with WordPress and all the inevitable spam I just kind of like the idea of that but you make a really good
point if we’re trying to find new people then maybe maybe something based
upon WordPress is kind of is locking them out because unless they’ve already found their way in they’re going to
struggle with something that isn’t like Meetup yeah maybe there is something about the API okay thank you for that
that was that was interesting I enjoyed that that was very compelling Colin I’m rethinking all of it now yeah I think I
think I’m back have a lie down after this


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