WordCamp Toronto 2011

General Feedback

Hi everyone,

This document is a compilation of all the feedback we’ve received. Enjoy the read!

All the best,

The WordCamp Toronto Organization Team

The Pros

"Excellent! Worthwhile. Welcoming. Useful. I am one of three older participants at Wordcamp

who are planning to work on a WordPress website for our downtown housing co-op."


"location was accessible and spacious. Appreciate the effort made for carbs at breakfast & accommodating vegetarians at lunch wi-fi (I had no real problems, it skipped out sometimes but always came back)"


This will be a long one... for my work, we run a conference every two years, with the most recent one occurring immediately before WordCamp. While my conference is 2.5 days, and with a different focus and set up, I must say you've done a wonderful job. Colour me impressed. I'm envious that your registration fee was so incredibly low. As a delegate, thank you so much for that. Pricing the conference as you did makes it accessible to everyone. The venue was fantastic and the scheduling was well done. Breaks were long enough without dragging or having too much down time. And, the swag was pretty sweet. Seriously, how did you do so much for so little!?!?


“All of the presenter and information was useful and interesting.”


"rooms were comfortable

location great

price and value

good to split advanced and beginners"


“Totally AWESOME!  I'm in Word Press overload.  So much info!  Speakers were wonderful.”


“The event was very well organized. The staff were very friendly. The speakers were knowledgeable and full of information. It's great value for $30.”


"Great Venue - The classes were well spaced and accommodated everyone well.

Excellent organization - Splitting things up into three streams was a very good idea and allowed people to learn based on their level of expertise.

Good food - I liked the danishes :)"


“Affordable, accessible and well organized, with a good selection of speakers. Good build up of information from one session to the next in the developer track.”


"The atmosphere, the people, the coffee snacks onsite, the venue.

I got a good vibe from all the speakers, who weren't fazed when things didn't go as planned -- that's cool..."


"I learned a lot, and had fun. The price was amazing, and the quality worthy of any IT conference I've attended. I especially enjoyed hands-on Sunday."


"Almost everything. The presentations were great. I also got a lot out of hanging out with peeps at party and in the hotel. Facility was really nice too. In general a class act all the way.

You guys did a great job catering to all levels of experience. I really appreciated that."


"I was incredibly impressed with the whole event - especially how well organized it was. I felt all all through that I was in good hands.  

There was a good variety of information passed to us and in addition you had three levels going at any given time!

The food was great and the leaders all really nice people.

You cared about each of us as individuals and did your best to see that we understood and kept up.

The assistants were very helpful. Thanks from me to Rick and Ben."


"GBC was a great facility for any small event (<1000) involving Internet tools and applications. The combination of seats with ""tables"", power outlets and WiFi made it very easy to move around, confident that you would have these all avaialble.  BTW, I had no issues with using the WiFi.

I was only able to attend Saturday. But Brendan Sear-Shriar's and Rugh Maude's presentations made the event well worth attending. Brendan demonstrated an interesting new tool while Ruth gave the first ""organized"" outline of SEO tactics that I have come across.

On-site registration went well; food was handled quite well for an event of this size."


The venue was amazing, the speakers inspiring and the organization was excellent. It was a well rounded, professional event with fantastic attention to detail.

Other than the internet, the venue was awesome. Perfect for laptop toting geeks.

"The event was a great for like-minded people to come together to learn. It was a good location, good facilities and the team created a nice vibe with a friendly, casual, fun environment."

"It was great! Thanks a lot. What a great value!"

"Great information! Incredible price for so much learning. Everyone - organizers and participants - were wonderful and helpful.  am from London, ON and NO One here seems to know anything about WP. It was so wonderful finally being able to meet people who know about this awesome program and make themselves available to help out.

I commend all the organizers on getting a great event set up and running in a super venue. Thanks for getting out-of-towners (me included) super accommodations at a great price. Bonus for all the ""Swag"" an a great after party on Saturday. Lunch and munchies were awesome! GBC was a great place to hold the sessions.

Glad that you will be posting the sessions. I would love to get notes for all of them."

"- the price

- the location

- the diversity of speakers

- the schedule"

"WordCamp Toronto 2011 for me overall, was a huge success !  

I am very grateful to the organizers for all of their time and hard work involved, and can't wait for WordCamp Toronto 2012.  The value received in the presentations, swag bags, and networking was far greater than the cost and kudos to everyone involved."

"-great space

-loved that there were so many power outlets"

I thought the venue was FANTASTIC. The food was great as well. There was a little bump at the beginning of lunch with the tables, but was quickly solved by pulling them away from the wall. Looking at the line up of speakers, I thought you covered the gamut well. I did read the comment about the middle ground and disagree with what she said. If you need something more advanced that what was covered in a session, each and every speaker was approachable to ask those questions.

Basically everything.  Very organized when at registration desk.  Friendly - good food and coffee.  All organizers were extremely helpful and approachable.  I was in the Users section and was working at a beginner level.  The room was very good.   Having slides on slideshare is also awesome, as some things I didn't understand (because I'm a beginner) and now I can go over my notes and look at the material on Slideshare.  Wonderful.  Looking forward to the video as well.  When I arrived, I knew that I wanted to develop a WPress website, but when I left I was positive that I wanted to go in that direction!

"Most of the talks were fabulous.

The 'help' that TAs provided was wonderful - not just from a technical perspective, but friendly and supportive.

I'm in complete awe of what you folks accomplished with this conference. Thank you."

"Location.  Enthusiasm of volunteers and presenters.  The choices available in each time slot.

I thought it was very worthwhile.  Thanks."

"1) Ran smoothly and ON TIME

2) The positive and friendly energy

3) the quality and diversity of the speakers

4) the organization/leadership team was awesome and so were the volunteers

5) Well-organized

6) Food was great and plenty of variety to choose from

7) The price was affordable for anyone and there was great value for your money

8) I knew about the t-shirts, but loved the surprise canvas bag, water bottle, buttons and stickers (and I think a lot of people appreciated the prizes at the end)

9) George Brown was an excellent choice for venue


Good mix of sessions, everything ran on time, food was great.

The Cons

"Things to consider for next year:

* Serve lunch somewhere with tables so people are forced to sit together and inevitably talk :)

* Lightning/Ignite Sessions

* Happiness Bar"

"Would you consider more for bloggers who use WordPress for personal use/for fun as opposed to business focus?

Hands-on sessions for beginners on Saturday? "

You already know about the Sunday noon glitches.  I was especially looking forward to that session, because I had problems maintaining a local installation, and was looking forward to tips.  Suggestions: 1. tell people where to download WP and XAMPP or whatever.  But suggest they wait until the session to unzip and install, so things get installed in the right place.  2. If this remains on the Sunday, have a half an hour late on Saturday for people who need the software from USB/CD to load it then.

Maybe just me, but parking was a pain. If it is at GB next time, could they not notify folks ahead of time about Adelaide being restricted? Maybe include a parking map - street as well as parking lots.

"Maybe next time have the Saturday night ""party"" right after the final speaker of the day?  As an out of towner, I was tired at the end of Saturday (having used up every brain cell possible to keep focused on talks), but I could have gone for a drink right after, but to wait 2 hours and then meet with everyone, didn't work out with my schedule.

In the Users room, the internet was dropping, but I didn't really have a problem (Mac user).  "

Honestly, there really wasn't anything that I didn't like. I as a speaker was treated well and couldn't ask for more.

"- WIfI issues!!!

- no experienced end-user stream

- not enough help to figure out which stream to be in; which sessions

- less wheat at lunch!! LOTS of people can't eat wheat, you should have an option available other than fruit and vegetables (which don't fill you up)."

"I belong to Toastmasters so we prefer to use this formula - Glow/Grow/Glow. My multiple Glows are above. My ""grow"" you did an awesome job. There are always growing pains with a first-time event, and even massaging it if you continue with it (I teach at UWO Continuing Studies so I'm familiar with the learning issues. I have also done event planning for organizations so I know what goes on behind the scenes).

Someone did suggest something I felt might help. During Sandbox, divide PC and MAC users into two different groups. It will:

1. make it easier to manage with less people

2. be less confusing for everyone (people weren't sure if the directions were for MAC or PC as there was such a high learning curve pushed by time constraints).

And give yourselves more time for Sandbox.

There were a few small things but I know you'll iron them out and, overall, I have nothing else to share that you probably haven't thought of already."

"Workshops were a bit rough. For the install wordpress, maybe split that Mac/PC. For Mac Mamp is a bit more flexible. Also, maybe to post instructions before the event so more people would have wordpress preinstalled.

For multisite, same thing, maybe have instructions posted beforehand. Also, the instructors were a little scattered."

"I would have liked more hands on experience in the New User track on Day 1 in conjunction with the speakers.

More time for Q&A would have been good as it felt very rushed in the afternoon.

The food situation was not good - please consider a different caterer next time! "

Not enough for the WP pro devs. Hardly anything as a matter of fact. Mtl had some Perry advanced talks, particularly nacin and Otto. Not enough WP luminaries, none really in fact was there any one from Automattic there at all? I didn't attend the Sunday sessions, but would it not have been better to have a second day of speakers?

There was so much to take in and no way to take in multiple sessions at once. I spent more time figuring out who I could afford to miss, rather than choosing which to see.

Locating the building was a bit challenging, in spite of Google Maps (it's "hidden"). Also the $3.00 parking lot on George Street seems to have filled up early so spent 15 minutes looking for parking (even with help from Google Maps on iPhone). (Did much better with parking lots around Ryerson.)

"Just a thought - for me at least the Sunday stuff would have been best on the first day - and possibly the most complex stuff toward the end.

I was not always able to keep up, as things seemed to move very fast so you could get through all the material you wanted to cover.  

The ""beginner"" stuff was not really for beginners. But I think everyone was ok with it.

You might tell your speakers to explain some of the less known terminology as they go along in some simpler way.

Some of your speakers could use a short lesson on how to use a microphone. Some mikes are multidirectional and others omnidirectional. With the omi ones you have to hold the mike differently.  "

Obviously the Internet thing was cumbersome, but whatever - we all got online eventually. When I think about it, there weren't many tech issues - which is rare!

Let us have the install files in advance for the work we did Sunday. We could have downloaded and installed an hours worth of software from home / office before arriving.

"I don't think the lockstep downloading and installing stuff worked.  At other conferences, people show a series of printscreens in a powerpoint to show the steps and then people have the powerpoint handout as a reference when they do it at home later.

If you have a computer lab, and you can ascertain beforehand that all the participants are starting with the software they need, it can work.

With so many different laptops, and such a range of skill / experience -- this is one SNAFU that could have been foreseen, no?"

WiFi was pretty weak, but that's almost always the case with these events.

"WiFi was a flaky at times, but this wasn't really a problem overall.

Saturday was great, but I think Sunday could have been organized a bit better. For instance, there was no closing remarks at the end of the 3 seminars like there was on Saturday...it just kinda ended abruptly. "

It was too hard to get on the wireless for quite a few people.

poor a/v - couldn't see screens very well.

"wifi issues


Sunday morning installation disasters"

I heard the soup was cold at lunch, so that was a bit of a disappointment.

"The day before WCTO, I looked over the descriptions on the website. I figured I'd fit into the end-user stream but at first glance, the descriptions of the morning sessions came across for basic/non-users of WP. I've created my blog site on WordPress.com and figured it out on my own, so consider myself more than a basic non-user.

The Designer stream looked more interesting but I found it disappointing that the instructors just jumped into their presentations without getting a sense of who was in the room and at what level. After sitting through the morning Designer sessions, I look at them as a way to have absorbed enough info to have a conversation if or when I do need to hire someone to take my site to the next level.

To that end, my friends and I had hoped to learn about how we can do more with the sites that we have created (by our selves!!!) on WordPress.com. We're proud of what we've accomplished, our blog sites serve our needs for the moment but we'd like to know if there are things on WP.com that could help us utilize it more effectively.

Instead, we felt that all of the instructors were trying to sell us on their products for sites on WP.org. Is WP.com such an inferior product? I think not. If WP thinks so, don't offer it. And please don't make those of us who are quite happy to use and support it feel inferior either."

Other Suggestions/Additional Comments

"I think WordCamp is a fantastic initiative. This is my first year attending WordCamp - makes sense since my WP blog is less than a year old.

That said, it also seems to me that I wasn't the only one attending WordCamp for the first time and that the usual attendees/organizers are part of a tightly knit circle that have suddenly become popular with the masses who would like to learn more about using WP (ie, people like me).

Many of us have full time jobs outside of the tech world, and have started side businesses or blogs for different reasons. And so, the structure of the conference comes across as serving more of the experienced users, coders, designers and the intermediates are just lumped in with the beginners.

For future WordCamps, perhaps during the registration process it would be good to gauge the experience levels of participants and then structure the conference accordingly with instructors who can adapt to users with different levels of experience.

Also, a general session with a WP expert where you can just ask questions about your existing site - .com or .org - would be great. I know there are the support forums but if you're going to be in a room full of experts...

I fully appreciate how difficult it is to organize a conference. And so I offer all of these comments as suggestions with context. "

While I could read the schedule well on my computer, people with iPhones had trouble. Maybe lighten up the colours? Also, your site made my computer run like crazy. Otherwise, fantastic conference. A big thank you to everyone involved.

George Brown College was an excellent venue for this seminar.

very well done with just some adjustments, hope will do agin

"Overall great event, I hope the videos and slides are shared publicly soon.

I'll definitely be there next year!"

I think it would be valuable to have an advanced end user track for people who already know the basics of WordPress but aren't ready for or interested in the developer track.

"Since George Brown wants to position itself as #1 in digital-related instruction, get then to open up some of their labs to participants next year.  If they don't, offer to take wordcamp to Ryerson :-)

All in all, I think it was a great event.  It'd be cool to have stuff Sunday morning, too, next year if you can get more speakers to fill those slots.

Thanks very much for your time in putting this together."

"There was a real split in the audience between beginners and advanced people. The middle was missing. I attended the advanced and learned a lot. I wouldn't mind seeing some midway classes too.

Also, it'd be cool to partner with Google and tie the analytics and ads into the wordpress work."

"It would be cool to have everyone already set up with local dev WordPress on their machines before they arrive. Not sure how you'd pull that off.

Or maybe even a server available just for the conference."

"Not a big deal - but I arrived ontime and the $3.00 parking lot was full so I had to pay $18 for a municipal one and walk a few blocks. I survived!

Do try to keep the cost low as you have done. That was a big perk!

Again thanks for a TERRIFIC weekend of learning and community!!!!!!"

A few beginners commented that they didn't understand from the presentation descriptions what things meant.  Specifically the PressWork description wasn't understandable and the some didn't know what SEO means - need things spelled out better.

It would have been nice if sessions technical level had been labeled. WP Multisite and Chip's presentation felt like black diamond slaloming to some while Mo's was geared to informational and required no prerequisites.

"Glow again - awesome job! Thank you so much. I've been working with WP for a few years. Have had a blog: suzaneboles.wordpress.com. Used the free site to create a website for a non profit organization: pwaclondon.wordpress.com.

My website was created using FrontPage. I've been trying to get it revamped using WP. That has been my biggest learning leap. Your sessions were great. I really benefit from visuals and asking questions. I now fell comfortable more logging into my new site (which is currently under construction, by me).

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Thank you and to all your sponsors for a great event."


"You should have a much longer session right at the beginning to introduce the speakers and the topics, to answer questions, to figure out technical obstacles (eg WiFi) and to generally get people started on the right foot. I was so flustered by not being able to get online and not knowing which stream or sessions I should be in,

You should have one long ""break"" where speakers and technically advanced / knowledgeable people are available to give hands-on assistance. I learned a lot, but now I don't know how to execute half of what I learned.

Go easy on inviting speakers who are just there to shill their products / plugins, whatever."

-keep it in the same location next year!


Just do it again!

No, just thank you very much!  To everyone who planned and gave their energy to this amazing weekend.  Thank you!  Having the TAs in the audience was great, as well.

I'm a "middle-user" in the streams but I could find something to go to during every time slot. Only one talk in the dev stream was way over my head, but I still learned something.

Re-cycle nametags

Great job! Can't wait to come back next year!