IndieWebCamp Organizing

From IndieWeb


IndieWebCamp Organizing is a great way to bring together your local IndieWeb community. It is also quite challenging, requires co-organizers, and key details to succeed that are documented in this page.

If you have never organized an IndieWebCamp before consider organizing a Homebrew Website Club meetup first. It’s a lot less work, and will help you get experience with planning and organizing IndieWeb events. It’s also a good way to help grow local attendance for a bigger camp.

What You Will Need

Organizers

To organize an IndieWebCamp, you’ll need 2-4 organizers.

Having only 1 organizer will almost certainly mean things will get missed and the event will likely not happen or have few participants. Organize a HWC instead.

Co-organizers also help keep mutual motivation going, everyone encourages everyone else.

It can also help to divide up roles:

  • At least one detail-oriented co-organizer. If that’s not you, get one. If you lack one, it’s unlikely to succeed.
  • At least one onsite co-organizer (or someone who works at the organization hosting the venue).
  • One organizer should be exceptionally people-friendly, preferably outgoing and highly emotionally intelligent to handle outreach, getting volunteers (and speakers if any), and coordinating volunteers before and during the event.

Thus 2 is the minimum viable: 1 for physical venue stuff, 1 for detail-oriented virtual stuff. Avoid making that the same person as they may burn out.

2011 had 4 organisers. More than 4 hasn’t happened in practice.

Date

IndieWebCamps usually (but not always) take place for 2 days, typically over a weekend.

Locking in dates far in advance will encourage greater attendance, especially for participants that live farther away from venues/cities.

Consider:

  • Public holidays: Avoid clashing with public holidays as people may already have plans.
  • Adjacent events: IndieWebCamps sometimes coincide with conferences held the week before. Not only can this help increase attendance to the camp, it can also be used as selling point for the conference organiser.

Venue

An optimal venue for an IndieWebCamp is one with a large space where everyone can gather for introductions and demos, and smaller rooms or breakout areas where participants can hold separate sessions of 5-10 people at a time.

Consider:

  • Distance to public transportation
  • Ease of access (is there step-free access, lifts, etc.)
  • Availability of power (or extension cords)
  • Guest WiFi (ask if usernames and passwords are needed)
  • Good ventilation (see #Health and Safety)
  • Family-friendliness. IndieWebCamps are open to interested parties of all ages, but some venues may have specific rules or restrictions (see #Family-friendliness)

Ask a venue if they have their own code of conduct, community guidelines, security and health and safety policies.

Participants

You’ll need at least 5 participants (at least 4 in-person) to have a meaningful IndieWebCamp.

If you cannot get more than 5 people together locally, consider organizing an IndieWebCamp Online instead, or keep organizing regular Homebrew Website Club meetups until you grow your local community large enough that 5 or more of them will commit to participating in an IndieWebCamp.

IndieWebCamps work best with no more than 30 participants. Any more means introductions and demos need to be shorter (or the time to accommodate them longer), it can take longer to organize sessions, and more rooms will be needed to host them.

Exception:

  • IndieWeb Summit events typically plan for (and have successfully accommodated) a capacity of 50+, up to 100 in some instances. Summits are planned by experienced IndieWebCamp Organizers who have organized multiple IndieWebCamps and typically at least a Summit or two, and require additional work beyond what is described here in how to run an IndieWebCamp

A ticketing system is useful to help track event attendance, contact participants before and after the event and help plan ahead for day. See IndieWebCamp Ticketing.

Before

All proposals for IndieWebCamps start in Planning. This can be used to gauge interest, decide on a date and get venue suggestions.

Promote the Event

Once you have some organizers, a venue and a date:

  1. Create a wiki page with the year and city.
  2. Divide up key organizing responsibilities. Decide who is co-ordinating with the venue, finding sponsors, arranging food, etc.
    • Add an Organizers section to the wiki page and include roles
    • Include {{addyourself}} template shortcode so others can indicate roles they can help with
  3. Accessibility. Consider both physical and mental disabilities that might prevent or deter individuals from deciding to attend your event.
    • Check your chosen venue has an accessibility statement/section with sufficient details for participants who may need to know in advance if they can physically access the venue.
    • Summarize and link to accessibility details on the event page.
    • See Berlin 2019 for an example.
  4. Get sponsorship, paid either directly to organizers or via the IndieWeb Open Collective. You can get sponsors for either the entire event or for specific items:
    • Food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee/tea)
    • Workshop materials (pens, sticky notes)
    • Travel assistance (see https://2016.indieweb.org example)
  5. Update wiki page as more is known.
    • Create an event cover image and/or logo
    • Add a photo of the venue
    • Include start and end times and the schedule for each day
    • Participating section that has links to:
      • Code of Conduct
      • Venue code of conduct. For example when events are organized in Mozilla spaces we add both Codes of Conduct to the wiki.
      • Discussion and attending remotely
    • Travel section that includes routes to the venue from public transportation
  6. Stub subpages, categorizing pages by including [[Category: IndieWebCamp CITY YEAR]], replacing the city and year:
    • Session proposals
    • Schedule grid
    • Demos
  7. Announce it! Once the venue and date are locked down, and there’s a decent main wiki page for the event, it’s time to publicise the event.
    • Feel free to also manually POSSE the event to Facebook, LinkedIn or other event tracking systems to help folks who use such systems to keep track of the event and invite others.
    • Ideally, publicly announce/broadcast a newly created IndieWebCamp just after a current IndieWebCamp where participants had a great time and are in the mood to look forward to another IndieWebCamp. Folks watching remotely may feel particularly compelled to want to go in person to the next one.
  8. Set-up ticketing
  9. events.indieweb.org. Setup an IndieWeb Events page for folks to RSVP to and with an area for ticketing
  10. Track venue capacity and create a waitlist if necessary.

Two Weeks Before

Arrange Pre-Event Social

You may want to arrange an evening event before IndieWebCamp.

Add venue ideas for a venue to the wiki page and use {{addyourself}} so participants can indicate their interest and availability.

Organize Supplies

Main article: IndieWebCamp kit

Organize a set of supplies that can be used to run the event. Bring these items to the venue, as it’s unlikely they will supply them:

  1. Nametags and lanyards
  2. Large Post-it notes for scheduling
  3. Stickers
  4. Pens, markers

Stuff to borrow from a venue (or bring if they lack):

  1. Surge protectors, power strips or extension cords - We all need power, and best to make it easy to secure.
  2. Displayport/HDMI adapters
  3. Video streaming kit and microphones

One Week Before

Confirm Catering

If you are catering food for an IndieWebCamp, be sure to arrange and confirm any catering orders before the camp, as close to the camp date as possible so you can provide a reasonably accurate estimate of the number of folks that will be present.

For sustainability reasons, organizers of the past several IndieWebSummits have opted to only sponsor vegetarian food options (with vegan options), we recommend doing the same for your IndieWebCamp.

Send a Reminder Email

Main article: message-before-iwc

Send a notification email/text to all participants to remind them of the event in advance.

Two Days Before

Create Signage

Create signs you can display at the camp. Useful signs can include:

  • Venue directions and/or access instructions
  • Which lanyards to use for photo policy
  • WiFi access details (network name, password)
  • Room names

If you have organized a pre-event social, create a sign for your table(s) so that people can find and identify you.

You can find logos, direction signs and other printables on the IndieWeb branding GitHub repository.

Send a Final Reminder Email

Main article: message-before-iwc

Send a final notification email/text to all participants to remind them of the event in advance. Include any last-minute details, such as the weather forecast, and details of the venue and pre-event social.

During

Before Participants Arrive

  • Set up venue tables/chairs/projectors/whiteboards
  • Put up signs
  • Lay out lanyards, name badges and pins
  • Setup session grid
  • Get food/snack/coffee delivery (or bring in)
  • Pay for expenses via open_collective (recommended)

Day 1 Welcome

  • Thank everyone for coming.
  • Introduce yourself and the other organizers.
  • Mention any venue-specific details (fire exits, toilets, kitchen, access, etc.)
  • Ask, by a show of hands, who is attending an IndieWebCamp for the first time. You can use this information as a guide as you help participants plan session topics.
  • Present the code of conduct and identify points of contact.
    • Make sure you have a number of volunteers who are available throughout the event as points of contact and who have listed themselves on that page for reference.

Introduction Session

Do the Introductions session.

Discussion Sessions

Day 2 Welcome

  • Introduce the plan for the second day.
  • If participants already have a website, encourage them to post their hack day project goals.
  • Recommend making at least a small improvement to their own site, before attempting anything more ambitious.
  • Point people to what to make at IndieWebCamp if they are unsure.

Demos Session

  • Regroup everyone for demos
  • Check if anyone needs to go early so that they can present their hack early
  • Kick it off by showing a brief demo yourself (set a good example)

Closing Session

  • Thank everyone for coming.
  • Thank the venue and the sponsors.
  • Ask everyone to help clean-up the venue.
    • Before starting clean-up, announce upcoming IndieWebCamp events in-person! Both already scheduled, and especially any IndieWebCamps with recently confirmed venues and dates.
  • Organize collaborative cleanup and return the venue to a cleaner state than when you showed up.

Throughout Both Days

  • Organize sync-up for lunches/dinners/coffee
  • Take photos

After

Thank Participants

Main article: message-after-iwc

That same evening, or within a few days at most, send a notification email/text to all participants thanking them for attending.

Direct the excitement from the completed event into looking forward to the next IndieWebCamps!

Archive Sessions

  • Immediately after (or during if you can keep up) upload and post photos on the wiki.
  • While the event is fresh in your mind, apply information learned from sessions to topical pages on the wiki.

Upload Videos

If there are recordings and/or remote participation you will need to upload the videos.

Tips

Tips for having a better, more effective, enlightening, productive, inspiring IndieWebCamp experience.

Teaching

Try to get a feel for the general experience level of the participants. Should there be an introductory session to microformats? Did people just drop in because they want to start running their own website?

Sitting down with people who are new to the web can be extremely beneficial for more experienced developers. When was the last time you had to explain closing HTML tags? Or how to change the font size of some text? This will also enable people to better understand the hurdles others face when they first try to start their own website.

Teaching can be your hackday goal. Maybe you do not get anything done on your own site, but someone else gets their first domain and self-written page of HTML online!

You might have to offer teaching someone. If they say they don’t want to keep you from your own project, make it clear to them that you do not mind. Keep lowering the bar.

Enable people to ask questions

People might not want to ask questions when they see everyone being busy with personal projects during hackday. Try to break the ice for them by having more seasoned people stand up and declare what they will help with. Let it be clear that they do not mind being interrupted with questions.

Are there any people willing to help setting up HTTPS? Are they willing to make time? Let them call this out. Or maybe there are people who have extensive experience with WordPress? And others are just getting started having their own website and have chosen to use WordPress? Point them at each other.

Have a location pointed out for people to build

During the 2023 Nuremberg IWC a specific session was proposed to “Just Build Websites”. This gave people a place to go if they did not want to join any specific track at that time.

Some venues have had this form naturally. E.g. previous Berlin meetings at the Mozilla offices had sessions in meeting rooms, and long tables outside in the common area where people got together to work on things outside of planned sessions.

If you are at a venue that does not have a natural place to hang around, it is a good idea to explicitly point one out.

Family-friendliness

IndieWebCamps have not historically provided a specific child program or supervision. Organizers may choose to do this but there are legal concerns which must be considered.

If child care is available upon request (e.g. [1]) include a note on the wiki page and make preparations for all day both days.

Keynotes

Here are some notes about keynotes at IWC/Ss so far:

  • IWS has had 4+ keynotes recently. IWCs as of 2019 have 1-2 keynotes
  • It could be a 10-15 minute keynote without any slides. ‘Keynote’ usually comes with a context of ‘lots of hours of preparation’ which we should explicitly dispel
  • Keynotes are fairly new (the past few years only)
  • They are not required
  • The current recommendation is to contact other/previous organisers of IWCs and ask how they organised their keynotes.
  • The presenter(s) do not need to be there in person, remote keynotes are also acceptable (recommendation: test the setup with the presenter in advance to make sure everyone is comfortable with the technology and it all works)

Health and Safety

Main article: health-and-safety

In addition to taking COVID precautions, in-person event organizers should document Health and Safety rules and guidelines in general to help encourage and provide at least some degree of safety at events. This is also an important accessibility consideration to be inclusive of the immunocompromised and disabled.

E.g. if you have any respiratory symptoms, or any symptoms of a cold, flu, RSV, Covid-19, please do not attend in-person.

This section needs to be rewritten to document current practical IndieWebCamp best practices:

In addition, please review:

In the US, check local sewage and wastewater data as a gauge of virus levels in the area:

You can also check local county health department sites for case numbers. Previously, the CDC tracked transmission with Community Transmission levels but unfortunately that stopped with the end of the public health emergency 2023-05-11.

Brainstorming for in-person IWCs:

  • fund daily rapid tests for all participants,
  • perhaps IWC branded KN95 masks for folks, complimentary N95 masks as well for all participants

Examples

Examples of precautions and policies from other organizations and meetings:

TPAC 2023

https://www.w3.org/2023/09/TPAC/health.html

  • recommends masking in all public places 72 hours before the event
  • recommends taking a rapid antigen test before your departure
  • recommends masking during your entire travel journey
  • requires participants to wear a mask in all common spaces and meeting rooms
  • offers KN95 and N95 masks at event registration
  • requires daily COVID rapid antigen test kits and provides the tests to participants
  • encourages notifying them of positive tests for contact tracing and other assistance

FAQ

Main article: FAQ

Why is there a high bar for registering

Q: Who is IndieWebCamp for?

  1. Personal site passion. IndieWebCamp is focused on the IndieWeb and those that are passionate about it firsthand.
    • Are you passionate about having and using your own website for your identity and your content?
    • Then IndieWebCamp may be for you!
  2. Having a personal site. Having a personal site shows that you're willing to invest the few minutes it takes to buy a domain and set it up. Want to but don't know how? Check out Getting Started. Which brings us to:
  3. Interested in learning. IndieWebCamp is for folks hungry to learn about how to make themselves even more independent on the web.
    • One measure of a desire to learn is, do you have the time and patience to read? Check out the Getting Started page as an example.
    • Beyond reading, another measure of the desire to learn is to practice what you've learned. Did you try following the steps in Getting Started? Which brings us to:
  4. Ok asking for help. IndieWebCamp is a community which partly means we help each other out, which definitely means that asking for help is strongly encouraged!
    • Are you ok with asking for help?
    • Did you get stuck with any part of Getting Started?
    • Did you ask in our Chat Forum?
    • If you're in one of the cities they happen, did you come to Homebrew Website Club to get started?
    • We are building a community of people who are comfortable with admitting they don't know everything, and thus actively ask questions. Which is also another indicator of interested in learning.
  5. Setting up IndieAuth. This takes mere minutes, with the help of Getting Started, and if you get stuck, our chat forum. By spending just a few minutes setting up your site with IndieAuth, you demonstrate that there's a much better chance you will be productive for several hours at IndieWebCamp, both with working on your own site, and hopefully with collaborating with other such creators as well!
  6. Adding yourself to the wiki. This also takes mere minutes, and very importantly demonstrates that you are willing to make at least small edits to the wiki.
    • IndieWebCamp as a community thrives and depends on community contributions of time:
      • to setup and run IndieWebCamps
      • to lead and participate in sessions
      • to take collaborative notes in Etherpad
      • but most importantly, to contribute to our community wiki.
    • By wikifying, yourself, session notes, and helping improve subject matter pages, you demonstrate that you're not only interested in the IndieWeb, but in IndieWebCamp as a community, and that commitment to community is important to us.
    • If that's not your thing, that's ok too, you may use all of the resources on the IndieWebCamp wiki for free, CC0, because that's how strongly we believe in this community.
    • We do want you to benefit from the wiki, regardless of whether you contribute to the wiki or not.
    • IndieWebCamps events themselves are specifically for this community, for those that believe in contributing to and helping to grow an intentional positive community, and enjoy doing so.

Update IndieWebCamp Template

Update this template to include your camp when you’ve at least locked down a date, venue, and have 2+ co-organizers:

IndieWebCamps
2024 BrightonBuild a Website in an Hour March (P)Front End Study Hall April (P)Front End Study Hall May (P)DüsseldorfFront End Study Hall June (P)Planning More Camps & Popups • … •
2023 Build a Website in an Hour July (P)Build a Website in an Hour September (P)Multi-Lingual Personal Websites (P)NurembergCreate Day November (O)San DiegoCreateFest (O)
2022 Analog Meets Online (P)Personal Libraries (P)Create Day March (O)DüsseldorfCreate Day July (O)BerlinCreate Day September (O)How to Make the IndieWeb More Approachable (P)Create Day December (O)
2021 Respectful Responses (P)Webmentions Beyond Webmention.io (P) • Very Sensitive Data (P)Create Day July (O)Microsub (P)IndieAuth (P)Gardens and Streams II (P)Create Day October (O)IndieAuth 2 (P)DüsseldorfCreate Day December (O)
2020 OnlineAustin London (O)Garden & Stream (P)West (O)Micropub (P)IndieAuth (P)Get Started with WP (P)microformats2 (P)Friendly WP Themes (P)East (O)Create Day (O)
2019 AustinOnlineNew HavenBerlinDüsseldorfUtrecht9th IndieWeb Summit (Portland)AmsterdamOxfordNYCBrightonBerlin2SF
2018 BaltimoreDüsseldorf8th IndieWeb Summit (Portland)SFOxfordNYCNürnbergBerlin
2017 BellinghamDüsseldorfNürnberg7th IndieWeb Summit (Portland)IstanbulNYCBerlinAustin
2016 NYCMITNürnbergDüsseldorf6th IndieWeb Summit (Portland)NYC2BrightonLA (Santa Monica)BerlinMIT2
2015 Cambridge MAGermany (Düsseldorf)Portland & Brighton (5th Summit) • EdinburghMITSF
2014 SFNYCPortland/NYC/Berlin (4th Summit)UK (Brighton)Cambridge MAOnline
2013 Portland (3rd Summit)UK (Brighton)Hollywood
2012 Portland (2nd Summit)UK (Brighton)
2011 Portland (Summit)




See Also

  • IndieWebCamps/Attendance
  • remote participation
  • To-do: Add some key pieces and simpler getting started organizing aspects like https://www.edcamp.org/organize
  • IndieWebCamp kit
  • How to organize a conference that’s open to everyone: Thinking about the needs of all participants is key to a successful event.
  • Brainstorming re: diversity outreach. Thread: https://twitter.com/TatianaTMac/status/1183777380709666816
    • "Do you know what spring started my speaking career in 2018?

      A white male colleague recommended me in lieu of himself for **one talk.**

      From that single recommendation, I’ll probably close 2020 with over 30 speaking events in < two years.

      1/ Thread" @TatianaTMac October 14, 2019
  • 2018-10-25 An Organizer's Guide to Pronoun Buttons
  • A newsletter with Quick Tips For Conference Organizers 😄, Speakers 👨‍🏫, And Attendees 🙋‍♀️ https://mycamp.rocks/
  • If you’re an organizer, please consider reading this thread for improving the longterm D&I health of the community and in particular the events you organize: https://twitter.com/SamanthaGeitz/status/1167065400502345728 and unrolled: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1167065400502345728.html
    • "Hey, friendos.

      I know a lot of you listen to the things I and other women say about their struggles in tech, and you want to help, but you don’t know how to make it better. You want us to feel welcomed at the conferences/companies you love, but don’t know how.

      So I have a story" @SamanthaGeitz August 29, 2019
  • Why online events are boring, and how to make them better.
  • Recommended reading for present and future organizers: 2020-07-23 Ben Werdmüller: Masculinity isn't effectiveness
  • to-do: reduce & simplify what is required to organizing an IWC. Clearly document Minimum Viable IWC Organizing, as it what it takes, empirically, to organize a successful IWC, not what anyone thinks is "required" due to any assumptions of first principles or entitlements or expectations. Go through the top implied "required" parts of the document and critically assess whether or not each step is actually necessary, or was
  • add a "Methodology and principles" section that describes the all volunteer nature of IWC Organizing, and thus expecting & designing for limited volunteer labor, and what makes for a successful IndieWebCamp (or failures), note explicitly that in the past some volunteer organizers have burnt out, walked away from organizing, or even had repeated failures due to having difficulty finding co-organizers for essential roles
  • add to methodology, principles for adding to or editing steps to organize, starting with: 1. if you're not an organizer, you have no perspective on what is *required* or even *recommended* for implementing a successful IndieWebCamp. You can make requests of what you'd like to see organizers consider, if they have time after they do required things. Non-organizers are not in any position to be making demands / claims as to what it takes to make an IndieWebCamp work, unless they are willing to do, and frankly experienced doing, the work.
  • ^ 2. if you are an organizer and something has worked for you but no one else, then maybe you have a good idea for organizing, or maybe you have a good personal best practice. Regardless, you don't know whether another organizer will actually be able to do it, or if it is even necessary for that other organizer to successfully run an IndieWebCamp. Good to document what has worked for you personally, by name, in the Brainstorming section so others can be inspired, build on your good ideas. If it does work for others, we can move something to the main section.
  • ^ 3. the more steps to organize, the more points of potential failure overall. Every step added to a list means a longer list which means it's easier for someone to *miss* one or more items from the list. Every item added to a list of steps puts the other steps at risk. If gains from a new item are not high enough to outweigh the additional fragility and other risks, then that item should not be added to the list
  • ^ 4. the more steps, the more intimidating / hard it looks to organize, the more labor it takes, The more that discriminates against more people organizing an IndieWebCamp. To be blunt, long lists of steps are anti-inclusive of folks that don't have the same time/resources to put in to organize. The harder it is to find & encourage new IWC Organizers, and have past IWC Organizers be inspired to volunteer their time again.
  • Brainstorming: pre-camp meeting by organizers of the camp, possibly in Zoom, at least chat (some organizers are not on chat), or email perhaps, to confirm who is bringing what, idea by David Shanske, +1 Tantek Çelik