WordCamp Leipzig 2023 – Smaller in size but equally amazing!

Yesterday, I visited WordCamp Leipzig. It was the first in-person event in Germany since 2019. It was a WordCamp, but also special in some ways.

Taking a train to Leipzig

When attending a WordCamp, I usually have to book trains (or flights) as well as accommodations. For this WordCamp tough, I just left my apartment at a little after 7:00, walked less than 10 min to the train, took an ICE for around 1:40h, picking up some quick breakfast and a coffee at Leipzig central station, then a tram to the venue, and finally I arrived the WordCamp at just about 2h after leaving my apartment. It was almost as if it was a local WordCamp in Berlin.

Meeting the local community

This WordCamp has always been targeted for the local community of Leipzig. Some people travelled a bit longer than I did, at least one even from another country. But I still had the chance to meet some new community members, I have never met before, as well as some, who regularly attended the WP Meetup Berlin via Zoom.

A single track schedule with invited speakers

I usually write a bit about the specific sessions I have visited at a WordCamp. But since this one had only one track, it was simple: I attended all of them 🙂

All speakers were invited by the organizing team. Some of the topics were not amongst the ones I would usually join at a WordCamp with multiple track, but I enjoyed all of them. Some with more in-depth knowledge transfer, some more broad.

The Berlin community member Maja also gave a talk about accessibility. While I knew many of the things already, some of the new regulations coming in 2025 were new to me:

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Translation: @MajaBenke explains to all attendees, why a #website must be #accessible! Already today! But especially in 2 years, for even more sites. #WCLE23

No lunch!

WordCamp Leipzig wanted to be “as minimalistic as possible”. That’s why we were asked to find ourselves something to eat for lunch. The venue was well located for this idea. Within 100 m there were plenty of food options for every taste. I joined a group for some (vegetarian) burger, and we talked a lot about plugins, settings/options and other developer topics.

But it was not, that the organizing team was not at all catering for us. We could have free drinks (non-alcoholic) and mate or cola helped to stay fit for the afternoon schedule. In the afternoon, we also had cake and muffins. In between talks, we often went outside to get some fresh oxygen and talk.

A long and short day

Attending 7 talks in a row without the chance to do something else, like talking to sponsors on a larger WordCamp, the day felt long. But also quite short, because all of a sudden the last talk was finished, and it was time for the closing remarks.

After thanking the organizing team (of 5 people) as well as the global and local sponsors, the team announced, that there will be a WordCamp Leipzig in 2024 as well:

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Translation: And #WCLE2024 will take place in 2024 in… Leipzig ?

The organizers asked everyone to leave and suggested, that we find some people to go somewhere for some socializing. But while standing outside, one of the organizers informed us, that the venue agreed to host us for some more hours. And since the free drinks were still not empty, people could then buy beer and other drink and someone suggested to just order pizza, we stayed for an “after party”:

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Translation: Definitely no afterparty #WCLE23

I spent another 4h talking to attendees about various topics, and someone finally explained to me, how Instagram works ?

Time to go home

I took a tram back to the train station and fortunately, I was able to share the train ride back with Heiko, who lives really close and who booked the same train. Just before midnight, I was finally home after this WordCamp, which really felt like a local one to me.

Was it really a WordCamp?

Last week, WP Tavern wrote about the new WordCamp formats, the community team is experimenting with, and WordCamp Leipzig was one of the events mentioned. Some people on Twitter started to argue, that this is not a WordCamp, but a meetup.

In my opinion, it was very much a WordCamp. If attended other WordCamps with just a single track, and also ones, where speakers had been invited. Not having lunch, was not an issue, but a great opportunity to connect to the other attendees and everyone could have the food they want.

So what else would people expect to call this a WordCamp and not a “full day meetup”?

A new event format for more communities

I’ve already heard that the British community is thinking about organizing a similar event. It would have more attendees and probably lunch, but also at most a low-key after party. I think it’s an amazing format for small or new communities to get started in organizing their first event.

This was indeed, with the exception of the “unofficial” WordCamp Jena back in 2009, the very first WordCamp in the former East of Germany. Seeing that the organizing team already decided, that they will do it again, is an amazing sign! And speaking of the team, they did a great job to make everyone feel welcomed. So, a big thanks to all the organizers!

Would I do an event like this as well?

I was thinking about something like this for Berlin. We even somehow tried to have it in 2015, but then the WordCamp became bigger and more “traditional” than intended. I don’t have plans to organize a WordCamp in Berlin this or next year, but I might want to try one of the new format than as well. But before having a WordCamp, I would really like to organize a do_action: Charity Hackathon in Berlin!

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Bernhard is a full time web developer who likes to write WordPress plugins in his free time and is an active member of the WP Meetups in Berlin and Potsdam.

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