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Should Wordcamp After Parties Be Free Of Alcohol?

Discussion in 'WordCamp Events' started by Kevin Muldoon, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. There is an interesting discussion going on over at WP Tavern about whether the after parties at WordCamp's should be alcohol free.


    @Rhys Wynne, @BrinWilson, and myself, have commented on the post.

    Here's what I said:

    I am a little late to this discussion but I thought I would give my two cents :)

    I was at last year’s European WordCamp in Seville and I am going to this year’s in Vienna.

    Firstly, I think we need to recognise that the organisers are doing their best to please everyone. Not only is it a thankless task, it is also impossible to please such a large group of people.

    Morten Rand-Hendriksen noted three groups:

    – Minors
    – Those with a problem with alcohol abuse
    – People who do not drink alcohol due to religious reasons

    With the age of drinking being 18 or younger in Europe, I don’t think this will be a major problem at European events, but I can see how it will be a problem at events in the USA.

    With regards to those who have a problem with alcohol, I appreciate people who are in this position. I drink once or twice per month at most, but even I don’t like attending some social events as I know that alcohol will be prevalent there.

    That being said, I don’t think it is fair for the whole event being dry because some people have a problem with alcohol. For others, who do drink responsibly, this event could be one of the few times they can get away from their normal work and family commitments and enjoy themselves.

    As others have said too, if the event was alcohol free, you would find that people would just go elsewhere anyways.

    The real question is whether after-parties should be considered social or whether they are a continuation of the conference itself.

    Reading the comments here, many people want the music put down low and alcohol removed so that they can mingle and network. Personally, I feel there should be more opportunities for that at the conference itself so that the after party can remain a social event.

    Again, it is hard to please everyone.

    This whole debate centres around exclusion.

    Siobhan McMinn mentions above she is vegan but accepts she cannot stop others eating meat at the event.

    I am vegetarian. At last year’s event I practically starved during the day time since there was next to nothing there for me to eat and when I advised staff about it they didn’t do anything.

    It didn’t help that the venue for Seville was a good half an hour walk to the city centre so I could not just pop out and grab a sandwich. I spoke to some people with other dietary requirements who suffered much more than me and were frustrated by it.

    It’s not something that hurts me too much as I am used to it as a veggy; but it is a little frustrating after being advised that you will be catered for.

    For me, the biggest problem with exclusion came from the organisers themselves.

    There were parties organised by (or for) Matt Mullenwegg and others that only certain people could attend. The guys at WPMU Dev noted that only some of their team was invited and others were not. Some went, others didn’t as they did not want to exclude anyone.

    The following night at the after party a VIP section was set up. Most people there didn’t seem to mingle.

    So if we are talking about exclusion, why were the organisers so keen on setting up different parties and setting up VIP parties at the official after party? Surely that is a bigger concern than whether alcohol is available?

    I know that important players in the industry need to connect as that is how deals are made etc, but I don’t think you can talk about exclusion without noting the fact that the organisers were part of the problem.

    For the record, it does not bother me too much whether the after party is free or not. If it’s alcohol free, I would probably attend a while and then go elsewhere so that I can have a beer.

    With music being played etc, the after party is not a great place to network anyways which is why I am looking at the after party as just a party to have fun.

    On a side note, if any of you are going to Vienna, be sure to come and say hello :)
    I'd love to hear what you all think of this :)


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