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Eric Holscher


Using a Welcome Wagon to help first-time conference attendees

Eric told us a little bit about this idea on this year’s OSCON episode, and I’m so glad he took the time to write it up. Conference organizers: steal this idea!

At Write the Docs, we’re working to make the community easier to join because we want everyone to feel welcome. We do this with the Welcome Wagon program, which helps attendees at both the planning and the attending stages of the conference. We hope that this breaks down barriers to help them get the most value from our community.

Changelog Interviews Changelog Interviews #358

OSCON 2019 anthology

We’re on the expo hall floor of OSCON 2019 talking with Eric Holscher, Ali Spittel, and Hong Phuc Dang. First up, we talk to Eric about his work at Write the Docs, ethical advertising, and the Pac-Man rule at conferences. Second, we talk with Ali about her passion for teaching developers, her passion for writing, and her new found love for podcasting. Last, we talk with Hong about her work at FOSSASIA, the disconnect between America and Asia in open source, and several of the cool open source projects they have on GitHub.

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Breaking Cliques at Events

Eric Holscher:

…most events develop an “insiders” group who’s been going for a long time. These groups tend to feel like exclusionary cliques for first-time attendees, and actively hurt the community’s goal of inclusion. I’d like to propose a simple rule that we have at the events I run, which I think makes inclusion easier for everyone.

The rule is: For every year you have attended the event, you should try to meet that many new people each day.
An example makes it clear: If you have attended this event for three years, you should try to meet three new people each day.

Event organizers should be reading and promoting this article to EVERYONE involved in their events. The outcome of implementing this concept speaks for itself.

New people only have to meet one new person each day, a useful and attainable goal
People coming back for the second or third year feel a bit more responsibility to be stewards for the community, a valuable role for them to play
The organizers and long-time attendees need to meet the most people, and they are the most valuable in spreading the culture of the event – they are also the most exciting for new people to meet!

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