At DrupalCon Barcelona, I decided to volunteer to fix the "event organization and promotion problem" around Drupal. We had a great "next DrupalCon" BoF where we discussed a lot of bigger and smaller details, and it was decided that we should retain this knowledge. Robert Garrigos announced the BoF initially to hand over the knowledge they learned while organizing the event, so we needed to find a permanent place to write up these notes.
This was also a good opportunity for me to step a bit ahead from the "internationalization and localization guy" stereotype. Now that we are growing the Drupal system to support local and international communities of all sorts, we should improve our infrastructure to help our own communities grow and promote themselfs. That is the next step for world domination, I thought.
I looked into the existing groups at group.drupal.org and found two related groups. There was a Drupal Camp group, which was started to help camp organizers, but then was misused in part to discuss course materials and then to host event announcements. Both of these were inappropriate use of the group, so after I discussed with Gregory Heller (the group maintainer), I went through all the posts, and regrouped (or in some cases degrouped - if this is a word) them, to clean up the organization group. Also added a new title and cleaned up the mission, so let's welcome the http://groups.drupal.org/drupal-event-organization group. Then also found out that the User Groups Metagroup (group for user group organizers) is also in a huge overlap with camp and con organization, so decided to contact Greg Knaddison (the maintainer there) and agreed that we fold that group into drupal-event-organization. Now this is done, so we have a central place to discuss cool ideas around Drupal related events from around the world.
The work is definitely not done there, I'd like to facilitate information sharing between groups more. Document what we discussed at the BoF, get Robert share more of the Barcelona tips, share our Hungarian event tips and get others follow suit. But helping event organization is not much, if we don't help event promotion.
To be honest, I realized there is an event calendar on groups.drupal.org at all, because I visited http://netvibes.com/drupal and seen they have a cool event calendar. Then I though it is some mashup or whatever and needed to go into the edit pane to see that the data directly comes from http://groups.drupal.org/event. I would say we handle events poorly, so I decided to also volunteer to help people promote their events. Here comes the tasks I'd like to accomplish (in timeline order), to improve event promotion:
- Fix whatever required to make date dropdowns work right for events. Now whenever someone edits an event, the month is set back to January. I know there is a plan to migrate to the CCK datefield and calendar modules and now groups.drupal.org still uses event module, as far as I know. I tried to search for an existing issue URL but was unable to find one. Given some direction and access I would be able to accomplish what's required here.
- Include an "Events" tab on groups.drupal.org which points to the event calendar. (I don't have the rights to do it now, although I would have done already, if I would have the permission)
- Event *locations*! Now we only have a time and a timezone setting possible. If we would have country and city information, we would be able to tell people what are the events near them (or in their town) with fine grained RSS feeds or whatever technology we choose. We first need to start collect the data of course.
- Event *types*! Now all events are equal, but we have bigger conferences (which should be more visible), local camps, meetups and even training events added. These need to have a type associated, so we can list what's "more important" better (eg. emphasize the global conference and bigger local conferences in the upcoming events block).
- Make it clear that it is possible to submit events without putting them into a group, so people can submit events for external groups (ie. local communities who have their own site). Even Dries did not know this.
- Upcoming events block. There is an existing block with this title, but it is quite clunky. Now we have so many events, that showing the upcoming 5-10 events might only span two days. We could use some location information here. Also, it does not seem to be a good idea to display upcoming events only on the groups.drupal.org frontpage. This would be great on groups.drupal.org but even better on drupal.org. I discussed this with Dries and he actually suggested we will be better to do it on drupal.org to provide event happening more visibility.
This is a long list, lots of stuff to do, and still it will probably expand as we go along. But I am confident that pushing this forward would help local as well as international Drupal communities to grow even stronger, attract more people and generally show off to the world, that they are numerous and welcoming. I am going to pair up the above points with issue numbers as I go along. There might be issues already for some of the points, in which case I would love to know about them, because I was unable to find them.
(Photos by morten.dk - http://flickr.com/photos/mortendk/)