Eric Chuang 莊桓亦 and Hend Chen 陳瀚宇 have organized a hybrid WordCamp for the WordPress community in Taiwan and all over the world.
In this episode of Post Status Excerpt, David chats with two organizers of the upcoming WordCamp Taiwan 2021 — Eric Chuang 莊桓亦 and Hend Chen 陳瀚宇. They both share great insights into what the WordPress community is like in Taiwan — and what kind of restrictions both COVID and the government have placed on in-person events. Crafting a smart “hybrid” approach, they share how they are tackling their upcoming WordCamp and how it will bring together their community. They hope having English sessions will bring more talent and influence to Taiwan’s WordPress community.
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Eric Chuang: [00:00:00] Yes, I’m sorry. I accidentally click leave the meeting.
David Bisset: No, it’s okay. Some people get a look at me and then hear my voice and then they instantly dropped the meeting. It’s fine. I’m not trying not to take it personally. Just think about how my wife feels. She can’t do that. She lives with me. So it’s been a while.
When’s the last time that I’ve seen you at the virtual meetup.
Eric Chuang: About almost a year, I would say maybe, or maybe, oh yeah. Last year in November.
David Bisset: Yeah. how did I get involved in that. Did you invite me? You must have, because I really don’t like sticking my nose in other people’s business.
Eric Chuang: First I joined the mega meetup and yes, I thought it was brilliant.
So I just emailed you with, without any, without. Any notification, I guess I just emailed
David Bisset: you.
Yeah. Just like how my kids asked me for money. It comes out of the [00:01:00] blue and say, Hey, hi, I need some of, I need some of this blank. Yeah. The mega meetup was actually pretty. It was pretty good. We’re still doing it off and on here and there.
What are, and I remember now you inviting me in, was a nice, great meetup that we had. I’ve been there. I think it was twice or three times over the. What are your local meetups like right now? Are you able, are you able to meet in person over there now? Or how what’s the situation over there?
Eric Chuang: So this year in Taiwan, we actually had raised our alerts from we have the level one to actually, we went to level three and oh, in person gathering. Abandoned. We’re yeah. We’re post. So we were not allowed to hand hold any in-person meetup, but things have been better now.
And now we have [00:02:00] restarted our Tahlia and meet up again. And we started, we restarted from last month. Yes. So now we can still. Present.
David Bisset: Oh, that’s fantastic. And about how many people sh so you’ve had one since then one meetup or how many?
Eric Chuang: Currently in Taiwan we have one in-person meeting, but we have to, we actually have two this month.
So one in our place and the other is in the middle Taiwan.
David Bisset: And did you have meetups consistently through the pandemic? How is the strength of your local WordPress community?
Eric Chuang: Oh actually we try to make it virtual as well. We, yeah, we it was that time that I started to I started to I started to connect people virtually.
We used we used [00:03:00] virtual value, gathered how to make people participate and we can check. By groups. Yeah.
David Bisset: So what’s your background? I’m sorry, go ahead. No. I’m interested a little bit about you. And I don’t I don’t know how many people know about you and hint. Hint is also on the call.
He’s just very quiet. Care to just tell us a little bit about yourselves before we go into.
Hend Chen: About local meetup.
David Bisset: How did you, how long have you been in
Hend Chen: WordPress? I enjoy WordPress two years ago and I seen WordPress we’re friends, like big family because we can help each other in emit app and social media.
Do you find it?
David Bisset: Do you find it’s easy to find people, other people who know WordPress in your area?
Hend Chen: Baby, because we know each other big we joined meet app and know each other use pressed. [00:04:00]
David Bisset: Yeah. You say it’s like a big family. You must not know my family. We constantly fight actually.
It’s beginning to, yeah. It’s beginning to get my, like my family in that a little bit. Eric, how long have you been in WordPress again?
Eric Chuang: I would say maybe four years. Four years since I was, yeah, since I first joined a WordPress meetup in Taipei and yeah.
David Bisset: Oh, so did you start the meetup or do you in the one you’re in
Eric Chuang: as, for, as for organizing meetups it has been three years, so I joined the WordPress community in 2017 and in 2018 we have, we had our first work camp in Taiwan.
And then after that we started our logo meetups.
David Bisset: Yeah. So what’s the what’s the word press community in the community that associates with you folks in [00:05:00] Taiwan? Is it like a lot of developers, a lot of WordPress, beginners or users? Are they people trying to build websites or just what’s the mix like?
Eric Chuang: I think. Most people or maybe hand can answer these questions.
Hend Chen: I think there are different job in our bid up that developer designer we, we Clare to different job join us. So in our bid, Oh one they are, they have different jobs. One is CIF and one is no year
David Bisset: oh, wow.
Hend Chen: So it’s not the only
Eric Chuang: developer
David Bisset: you got your food and your legal needs taken care of right.
In your own meetup. So these people are from different backgrounds, not necessarily developers they’re business owners. It sounds or they’re working for themselves.
Eric Chuang: Indeed. Indeed. We have [00:06:00] various people here in Taiwan.
David Bisset: So what subjects do you usually talk about at your meetups?
Is it more beginner stuff or is it Gutenberg or is it plugins or what’s the usual, what’s the typical?
Eric Chuang: It actually depends on which meetups in our local meetup where in Korean. And usually we have some. Beginners oriented topics, like how to troubleshooting your website, how to install plugins or how to start with block editors, that kind of stuff.
But the Dean Taipei which is another meetup and Taiwan there are more like SEL managers or developers or. Plugin sharing.
David Bisset: Yeah. I’m really trying to interrogate you, you to please forgive me. [00:07:00] What we talk a lot about in the recent, the WordPress community has talked a lot about like young people in the next generation to continue to like WordPress getting bigger and growing.
Do you see a lot of young people in your communities and the last couple of years, or is it mostly old folks?
Eric Chuang: By definition, I think David, you are, you’re young people, correct answer,
David Bisset: but then now that you read the card I gave you correctly do you see like school, age, teenagers, college people.
Do you see any of that coming through or do you tend to. Do you see it? Do you see any trends in far as the age and the kind of people that come in, do you think its like a younger fresher crowd or do you think it’s like an older, more mature? Oh
Eric Chuang: actually I recently I found there are couple of couple of younger generations join us.
For example, we have. We actually have a member, a young, enthusiastic who is in his third year of high [00:08:00] school. And he tried to, we actually have him to. Co-organized our local meetups. Wow.
David Bisset: Yeah. That’s great. Young
Eric Chuang: blood. Yeah. So he, current he’s currently helping us with the meetup venue.
David Bisset: Oh, wow. And hand, how old are you? Cause you looked so good.
Hend Chen: No, I’m older than Eric. I ordered it.
David Bisset: Whatever skin moisturizer you’re using keep going, because wow. I think my kids are, my kids look older than you. Of course, maybe this, maybe it’s the stress of being my, me being their father.
Let’s talk about work camp Taiwan now. How many is how many work camp Taiwan’s have there been? Is this the second? Did I remember that?
Eric Chuang: With this third word camp or in Taiwan, but if the [00:09:00] first word camp Taiwan, we had two war camps type. Hey, before.
David Bisset: Ah, yes. So this means like this mean that covers the entire country.
Which implies that how did this get started? Especially with the COVID stuff coming through. When did you decide, or when was there a decision made that an in-person meetup was possible that it could happen and who was involved in that?
Eric Chuang: Actually I was inspired by a deputy work press community, deputy code Harry.
I’m not sure if
David Bisset: his name is.
Eric Chuang: Hairy. Yes. H a R I Harry. Oh,
David Bisset: okay. Sorry. I was thinking Harry and the Hendersons for a second that this didn’t take well. Okay. You were inspired by a deputy. And what did that deputy do that inspired you?
Eric Chuang: He was asking whether Taiwan is doing, do you have a hybrid word camp?
Because in Taiwan our authority allows us to have [00:10:00] in-person gathering. Within 50 people and 50
David Bisset: people and under
Eric Chuang: 50 people in honor. So that means we can legally hold our in-person meetups while we make those meals. Watch show of a watch party of WordCamp fishing. So he was asking whether we can try this kind of hybrid format of four camp.
And I was, I w I was like, oh, that sounds interesting. So we started it.
David Bisset: Wow. So first before we go any further, what’s the date of the word campus?
Eric Chuang: It’s December 11th and 20 and 12th, December 11th and 12th.
David Bisset: So I don’t have a calendar in front of me. Is that a Saturday or a Sunday or is it a Friday or is
Eric Chuang: it yes it’s a Saturday and Sunday.
David Bisset: Okay. Yeah. You still have Saturdays and Sundays over there, just like we do. Yes. Thank you. Thank [00:11:00] you, Mr. Lee. Thank you, Mr. Brain. So you mentioned before, I was about to ask you what the challenges for organizing and running events like this are not just because of COVID in health, but because of there are, I was, I’m glad you brought it up.
Cause I didn’t know a way to bring up government the government. Every government’s got something, no matter where you live, but I know yours was particularly picky in particular, and I’m guessing the number of physical people meeting together is one of those things. One of those challenges how are you going to do that with this work camp?
Are you going to have, who’s going to show up physically and who’s not, or how does that work?
Eric Chuang: Actually in our idea of hybrid war camp the men session will be online. It will be a virtual word camp as usual. It’s still a virtual workload camp. So every everyone in the world can do.
Watch the word came online while [00:12:00] we use we asked some meetup organizers to organize their meetups. So there will be five meetups during the event and all meetups will be a watch party of our work camp session. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. In that case we can still have some offline interactions and while we make while we make sure that we fit the work camp sideline, because yeah, because it wasn’t allowed before.
In prison, war camps were not allowed before.
David Bisset: Yeah. So it’s kinda there’s a hub of. Of a group of people that are meeting in person that are that’s like a, that’s like a work camp, but all the watch parties or the meetup groups are interacting with that. And that collectively altogether is where is the work camp?
Taiwan. It sounds like to me. [00:13:00] So the, you have these people, not only from around the country, but all the way around the world, whoever wants to join in yes. How many people from the meetups together about is that. 50 or a hundred or
Eric Chuang: it still depends on the location. Like the meetup type hate.
They estimate that there will be 20 or 30 people and we estimate how many hands you journey. Try
Hend Chen: and keep around 20 people.
David Bisset: A it’s a nice, good social sizes, right? Yeah. So what are you planning on? Spoil us a little bit. What are you planning? What’s your speaker lineup look like? Or what’s your look like so far?
What you’ve got going on, what you have planned
Eric Chuang: work camp Taiwan is going to [00:14:00] be a few days after the release of word, press 5.9. We
David Bisset: actually, can we check the calendar on that? Cause that date’s been shifting at the time of just, you may want to look at I’m not sure I’m a little foggy right now, but 5.9 has been shifted around a little bit but anyway, let’s just assume, let’s just assume so far.
Eric Chuang: And so we actually invite a member from core team too, to demonstrate what 5.9 is going to be. And it will be our keynote.
David Bisset: Oh, wow. You’re not going to tell me a name. Aren’t you. You’re going to keep it a secret. Aren’t you who that is? That’s okay. I’m used to people keeping secrets from me.
Are you, is how many is it? Is it. It’s two days. So is attracts both days. Is there are anything dealing with contributors or what’s the schedule like?
Eric Chuang: [00:15:00] We’re going to have two tracks. One is the regular session track and the Ardagh is a workshop. So actually we have three workshops. So far, yeah, we have three, three workshops.
One is about localization. One is about security and cure two or four focusing on security. Yeah.
David Bisset: And then you’re going to have like normal speakers, non workshop speakers, giving their presentations. Yeah. So on both days, Oh, so is it going to be how much of it is going to be in English and how much of it is your Nate is the native language.
Eric Chuang: So there will be four English speakers and one English workshop and the rest. They are Excuse [00:16:00] me that we calculate. So there are two Mandarin workshops and
David Bisset: excuse me. Oh, it’s okay. I’ve run out of fingers to count on my own. I’m trying
Eric Chuang: to I’m bad. I’m bad at math. Okay. So we have 10 mandarins. We have 10 mentoring sessions and to two workshops.
David Bisset: Yeah. So you met her? No, go ahead. Go ahead. No, go ahead. No. So it’s Mandarin and English.
Eric Chuang: Mandarin.
David Bisset: Did I say Mandarin? I don’t know. There’s a show here called the Mandalorian. I’m just impressed. I didn’t say Mandalorian. Why do you have English involved in your conference? Is there enough people apart of your groups that speak it or you, or are you doing it for the sake of the outside world?
Eric Chuang: We’re at [00:17:00] FC have, we’re actually getting more. Foreign speakers involved because we try to get the Taiwan, WordPress community. We’re trying to bring our community to the world. So yeah, one of, one of the purposes is to have other like foreign attendees to join our work camp.
David Bisset: And why do you, why is that so important?
I may know the answer, but I want to hear it from you.
Eric Chuang: You mean why bringing
David Bisset: Taiwan to no. Why bringing the speakers to Taiwan? Why is that important for you?
Eric Chuang: Because how do I elaborate lists? I think the main reason is just
Hend Chen: It,
Eric Chuang: English is still the most understandable language out around the world and having English speakers can [00:18:00] make can make this work camp more inclusive to people.
Speaking any kind of
David Bisset: language. Do you also think that it brings some knowledge. Bye. I can only speak from experience. I run board camp, Miami. It’s an America, it’s, the English is the only language, unless there’s a little bit of Spanish in there, but one of the reasons why I like to bring people to work camps locally from out of town is because our local community doesn’t have someone who knows about this subject.
Or this subject, we’re a big, we’re a bigger community, but that doesn’t mean we know everything. And, there are people that are community that want to hear about developer topics, certain developer topics, or certain marketing topics. And they just don’t get that from the local people in the area, because a lot of our people have been new their beginners or their users or their chefs or their lawyers.
They don’t have. Yeah. They want some, they want to talk to [00:19:00] someone or see someone face to face who has this knowledge. So if we can’t find it locally, we ship it in. We get people to speak. And a lot of those people are well-known in the WordPress community. We don’t just grab people cause they’re big names and put them on our stage.
We, just to make ourselves look good. Oh, look at who we have on stage. It’s because our local community, we want our local community to have this, these talks and this information and it’s online, but also it’s better. It’s also just as good as to have it inside the work camp in person, in front of everyone, in an audience.
Do you feel that, do you feel that way sometimes with your community? Like you like to bring in people because you want to expose the community to these ideas and these thoughts from these people?
Eric Chuang: Yeah.
David Bisset: You’re a man of few words. I like highlight you. You agree completely. But no, from one word camp organizer to another, I think that’s, if you’re thinking about the good overall of your local committee, [00:20:00] Then, word camps are supposed to be highly local, but if you’re stuck, not stuck, stuck as the wrong word, but if you’re in a place geographically or language wise there’s a little bit of a barrier, whether it’s physical or language or something else, then how do you get your WordPress community to grow or in knowledge and in.
And I think you have one of, I think one of your ideas, pretty good. One, get someone from core to do the keynote, explain about WordPress, get people, making, by making some of it English at all. It’s easier to allow certain speakers to be able to give talks at your event. I’m just glad that many people can understand and or translate that.
I listened to talk sometimes from speakers and my English. And so I’m, I almost need a translation and it’s still English. So speaking of the global community what do you feel, how do you feel Taiwan has been [00:21:00] considered by the global WordPress community? Do you feel like it’s been okay.
Or do you feel like there, there should be more attention to your general area of the globe? Do you feel like that there’s, there’s too much, there’s not enough attention being put in your, in, in that area. I was talking with Mary from word camp network camp, Mary Jo from Africa last week.
And we had the same conversation, the same question about, do you do you feel like I’m a little underrepresented in the WordPress community globally? Are you, or are you happy or what do you wish. The WordPress community can do to shine a better spotlight on your area because there’s some great talent everywhere, including your area.
Do you feel a little awkward or do you feel like you’re not missing anything in Taiwan from the WordPress community standpoint?
Eric Chuang: I think due to some. Language barrier. I think [00:22:00] Taiwanese people are nuts. Taking part into taking part in the global WordPress community proactively.
And meanwhile I think the world has a. Thing how the potential, what the potential of Taiwan community can bring. And that’s the reason why we’re, we are actually trying to bridge the global WordPress community and the local, the Taiwan, local WordPress community. Yeah. And But actually Taiwan is a tiny island.
And we’re not a very big market here. I think we’re a part of the Southeast Asia and I think, that’s how did I say. I think that’s also a chance for us to work with this [00:23:00] region.
David Bisset: Yeah. Yeah. There’s, I’ve never been in that part of the world. I always wanted to though there’s always some beautiful places in Taiwan and Japan and all those islands in that area, then there is what can, the people in the WordPress community do to help.
Eric Chuang: I think I think what you what people can outside can do is to. To join, to respond our invitations. If we try to reach, if we try to reach this like speakers and but actually I think the men problems is still inside. As I mentioned, we haven’t been proactively participating in the.
So I wouldn’t say, I think the [00:24:00] resource from the global community is currently I think it’s enough because whatever I want to look for, I want to look for, I can get the answers. Yeah. So I think the support from outside is enough and. That’s that brings to another point of mine.
I think what our local community country can do is to do more localizations, to to encourage people to encourage people to. Join to follow the guideline, to know what WordPress community really is and so on.
David Bisset: And if we, if anybody in the WordPress community can help to make that better and easier for you, that would be a good thing.
And I’m sure some of the speakers would like some of the speakers could Lost my train of thought, this will be edited out, but [00:25:00] some of the, some of those people that need to be able to hear your invitations to, to come that word can be spread. And there is a lot of whether you’re a small island or your, a big continent, I think like Africa or Asia, I think there’s enough diversity in thinking.
That we’re missing so much potential in the WordPress community as a whole, and it can make us stronger if we listen to those voices and participate in those communities. That’s, and that’s why we did those mega meetups very early on because a lot of the meetup organizers with dealing with the first year of COVID, a lot of people had a lot of famous.
Things they needed to take care of, mental stress issues. So we thought, why don’t we just get one virtual meetup together? And then once we figured out these people were coming from all these different countries like yourself, then you know it’s a global community, but it’s, it really puts the global and the [00:26:00] global community.
Because like before, before COVID we always could communicate with people outside of our local areas or our country. But some people now depended on it now in the last year or two, to be able to meet new people or explore or get new ideas. And I’m very happy to hear though that the WordPress information that you’re able to find is available to you.
Not everybody has. That privilege, if I’m assuming that you mean you, is there, if somebody doesn’t speak English and it’s Mandarin, is there enough Mandarin information in WordPress for most people?
Eric Chuang: Not yet. And that’s what we are
David Bisset: working on. That’s the translation. Are you part of the translation team or work with them?
Eric Chuang: Yes. I’m yeah,
David Bisset: that’s okay. I haven’t had my coffee either. What time is it or.
Eric Chuang: You mean now it’s 10 half 10.
David Bisset: Oh, wow. [00:27:00] See, that’s past my bedtime. Yeah. How, if people wanted to sign up for work camp Taiwan, what’s the best way to do it? Actually
Eric Chuang: we have our tweet account and people can also find us on the word.
I think people can find us on the WordPress dashboard because we’re now on the dashboard. And if anyone wants to find us on the Twitter, Yeah, our account is word camp Taiwan. Straight-forward
David Bisset: oh, good. You didn’t try any fancy, a naming convention. Sarah, you almost fit it perfectly.
We’re going to drop a link for the Twitter account and the website into the show notes as well. So whenever people read the podcast, there’ll be able to click on all of this. If you have personal accounts to both of you, please share them with me and I’ll put them in. And the show notes as well.
[00:28:00] Is there anything else that you would like to share with the WordPress community?
Eric Chuang: Oh I want to make some, make a correction. I hate to do but I have to do yeah, we’re actually working teed up. Yeah. It’s the, ah, making the Taiwan. Yeah. Okay. MTW yeah, TW
David Bisset: it wasn’t that long couldn’t fit those characters in there after all.
Okay. That’s fine. I’m sure people will figure it out. It’s been a pleasure and an honor, and it’s good to see your face. It’s good
Eric Chuang: to see you and yes. And we are very, it’s our honor to, to be on your podcast.
David Bisset: First of all, it’s not my podcast. And second of all, I don’t know what you call a definition of honor, but I’ll let that stay.
I look forward to the time where we can see each other in person safely, whether that’s at a work camp outs, in the west, or, there’s some day, I truly believe. Not to say that you would go to Asia because I’m not, it’s closer to you than it is to me. That’s the reason why I bring it up.
[00:29:00] Working up Asia may be a reality someday. Again, they were close, they were closed before. But yes, I would love to be able to see you, both of you in person and be able to meet you and greet you and so forth.