The WordCamp Stuttgart #WCSTG was special: with a sustainable and diverse agenda, inspiring sessions and an impressive backdrop at Hohenheim Castle. Raidboxes was there as a Gold Sponsor. Our personal review.
WordCamps and sustainability
WordCamp Stuttgart was a pioneer in the field of "green" camps. This is probably due in no small part to the organising member Simon Kraft: with wpforfuture, he is initiating an initiative to make WordPress more sustainable. See our article How green is WordPress? with tips for developers and users of WordPress & WooCommerce.
Raidboxes is also a pioneer for sustainability with its WordPress hosting. More and more hostare jumping on this bandwagon, including Stuttgart. We're happy about that, as long as it helps the environment.
The ecological cornerstones of WordCamp Stuttgart:
- Pure vegetarian and vegan food, this was estimated to save up to one tonne of CO2
- Avoiding disposable packaging and tableware, including at the coffee bar
- Little print and little swag
- No T-shirts for the participants
- Sustainable topics on the Contributor Day and in the sessions
- The Orga's request to compensate for CO2 emissions via atmosfair
We sponsors were also encouraged not to distribute unnecessary material. And - where possible - to use public transport. Future WordCamps can certainly take their cue from this green agenda.
WordPress and diversity
The organising team in Stuttgart worked hard in advance to present a session plan that was as balanced as possible. In the end, 8 out of 29 speakers were female, after initially only three women. Simon emphasised in conversation that the actual goal of WordCamps - balance - was still far from being achieved. But overall, the situation has improved considerably when you think back to the German-speaking camps four/five years ago.
It is anything but easy for the organisation to recruit female speakers. Discussions about other events, for example on Twitter, show that the accusation quickly arises that as a woman you are now only being asked to fulfil a quota. And not from a purely professional point of view. The topic is complex. Even when writing about it, I have to be careful not to slip into clichés. But the commitment is worth it.
The more colourful the speaker landscape, the more topics can be offered. And in the end, the more people feel represented by the WordPress community. See also the diversity initiative of WordCamp Düsseldorf.
Overall, WordCamp Stuttgart looked like this:
- About 200 tickets sold
- Around 170 participants
- About a third of them from the Stuttgart area
- Other countries represented: Switzerland, UK, South Korea, Hungary, South Africa, India, Macedonia, Finland, Belgium
The castle of the University of Hohenheim as the venue impressed all participants. It was probably the most beautiful WordCamp setting so far, which clearly fostered creative conversations:
Separate rooms for discussions and quiet work supported this concern. The small organising team of Simon Kraft, Dennis Hipp, Matthias Kittsteiner, Christopher Kurth and Nadine Hipp did a great job, and not only here.
GDPR & Law for Webworkers
Melvin Louis Dreyer and Maha Paris from our partner Händlerbund contributed a session on GDPRfor web workers. A vexed topic for creatives, but one that concerns all freelancers and agencies. See our postsand tips on this:
- GDPR & WordPress: Technical measures
- Borlabs Cookie: The GDPR solution for WordPress
- 5 popular GDPR plugins for WordPress in comparison
- Conversion killer data protection: Important, but underestimated
Also our e-book "GDPR-Guide for WP agencies, freelancers & website operators". It familiarises you with the most important contents and recommendations of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The lecture dealt with the basic principles of GDPR, which every freelancer and every company must take into account. For example, since GDPR , data processing of natural persons is generally prohibited; you need consent (opt-in). This is based on voluntariness, which is why cookie banners, for example, must have a special form. See our guide on this.
As Melvin explained, there are still many ambiguities, grey areas and legal bases in the implementation of GDPR , some of which contradict each other. His recommendation:
You should already take the cookie ruling to heart now, even if the legislative development is not yet finally clear and court rulings are still pending.
Because this lack of clarity can change quickly, then one should be prepared. And this despite the fact that GDPR makes it much more difficult for many companies to analyse purchasing behaviour and optimise their processes.
The purpose limitation of collected data is also important. If a buyer provides his or her address in an online shop, this may be used for shipping, for example. But you may not pass it on to partners without further consent, or have the recipient visited personally by the sales department. Another pillar is the transparency and security of data processing by you or your agency:
- Data subjects must know what happens to which of their data or how it is processed.
- Among other things, a meaningful data protection declaration serves this purpose
- The lawfulness of the processing must be ensured at all times
- Likewise, the accuracy of the data must be ensured
- The data must be stored securely from access by third parties
Do you have questions about GDPR for web workers and agencies? Feel free to post them in the comments and we'll make an article out of it together with our partner Händlerbund. You can watch the complete presentation here:
In this context, a big thank you to the WordPress.tv team for their voluntary and quick work! See all sessions of WordCamp Stuttgart in the overview.
The WordPress Health Check plugin
Torsten Landsiedel presented in Stuttgart how to work with the plugin Health Check & Troubleshooting. With this, you can deactivate all plugins for the admin only and switch to a standard theme. Afterwards, the plugins and theme can be reactivated individually. This is how you can track down a plugin conflict, for example. See his article on our blog on this topic.
With the Health Check pluginyou can also find numerous other errors in the configuration of WordPress and WooCommerce. Among them are cases where even experienced supporters are at a loss at first glance. Torsten gave the example of incorrect mass processing of posts when the PHP variable max_input_vars of WordPress is set too low.
However, this requires professional knowledge and careful interpretation of the entries in plugin . It is not easy to decipher the individual values and debug information correctly. This is because they are not documented in plugin itself.
However, there are also points of criticism of the plugin. For example, errors and warnings are thrown out even in the standard WP delivery state without installed plug-ins. Practical, however: You can add your own routines to the tests via PHP filters. You can also remove individual tests. For example, if your Managed Hosting has integrated functions that do not need to be tested. Or if your WordPress configuration delivers distorted results.
The session "Health Check plugin" is also available on WordPress.tv.
Sessions for developers
Overall, there was a good mix of talks for users, marketing and WordPress development at WordCamp Stuttgart. Our product developers Jeffrey and Marcel attended the more technical sessions. Jeffrey's impressions:
- How to recover from a security breach: Otto Kekäläinen presented a case from his practice in which five pages of a client's site failed at the same time. He described how he checked them step by step. Was it malware? Where was the backdoor? And how did he restore the system? See his talk.
- ddev, Docker and a local relationship: Frank Schmittlein explained how to use the PHP development environment ddev with the container tool docker to develop locally. To the session on WordPress.tv.
- Understanding git: David Remer was all about the version management system git. What does git do under the surface? And how does it store its information in its own files? Understanding this is very helpful for recovering code that you thought was lost.
- Build, maintain and sell a WordPress plugin: Robert Windisch gave an insight into the product development of WordPress plugins. When do you sell them for free, and when in the premium model? He used the plugin MultilingualPress as a basis for this process.
The WordCamp Retreat Soltau is also looking for speakers. You can submit a topic yourself or suggest another person. You can find more information on the camp blog.
WordPress and social responsibility
Caspar Hübinger rounded off the lasting impact of WordCamp Stuttgart. Those who know his lectures know that they look beyond the community's horizons in a very special way. And that they hold up a mirror to us. Because as "techies" we all have a responsibility: WordPress and its use cases always influence society.
His talk "Being human in times of digital dehumanisation" revolved around the following questions:
- How do I ensure that commercial marketing intentions are compatible with my own values?
- How do I manage not to manipulate people at some point in the process, whether intentionally or unintentionally?
- Can I avoid becoming someone I don't want to be? With which product/provider/offer do I draw the red line?
- Under what circumstances do I need to redefine this line?
Because we all market ourselves or our company in some form. That is exactly why we should ask ourselves the questions mentioned. "Another word for marketing is propaganda" - Caspar explained this reference very forcefully, based on his own family history. His one grandfather refused National Socialism, the other collaborated. Caspar's question to himself is:
How would I have behaved if I had had the foresight? How existential would the disadvantages have had to be in order not to choose the easier path?
What does this have to do with us and WordPress? "We are now living in the age of surveillance capitalism", is his answer. See "the age of surveillance capitalism" and the book of the same name by Shoshana Zuboff. Humans are increasingly being divided into segmentable clusters in order to manipulate us. The goals are total predictability and controllable consumers - with the help of what is called online marketing.
All this is going on under the guise of the supposed neutrality of technology. And with our data as the driving force and currency:
One example is Google. Google's self-defined goal is to organise the world's information - refinanced by online advertising. But who decided this goal? Who commissioned it?
We all depend on and use services like Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc., as Caspar vividly showed. So we can be critical and still be blackmailable as digital workers. Let it be an opt-in - as it was back in Germany's darkest chapter. as digital workers, we make ourselves accomplices to the machinery of surveillance capitalism. "We have the choice to take over the means of production of surveillance capitalism, or to choose another profession" - he said.
But we also have a perspective: the positive change one makes through a decision of conscience will save a human life at some point. Even if it is in another generation. You can always work towards a new ethic in your (marketing) job, even if it is only in small steps.
Something of us will want to take stock at some point. We should live in such a way that we do not feel any regret at that moment. Being human means always questioning the basis of our own decisions. Just as we should always question those of surveillance capitalism.
Caspar Hübinger's talk got under the skin. And he took all those present to task. You can find the complete session as a video on his blog or here:
Raidboxes at WordCamp Stuttgart
Our stand was very well attended on both days. Customers were asking about new features, such as the extended WordPress templates or the RB Login Protector. But also numerous interested parties informed themselves: from freelance developers to larger agencies. Here, too, WordCamps are becoming increasingly professional. Our team explained to them the advantages of our Managed WordPress Hosting, and why your site runs much faster with it.
After the camp is before the camp: We look forward to seeing you at WordCamp Düsseldorf #WCDUS at the end of November! Or at the WordCamp Retreat Soltau #WCRetreat in 2020. We support both camps as a sponsor.
Do you have questions about our sustainable and particularly fast WordPress hosting? Then talk to us directly on site. Or contact our WordPress experts at any time.