I’m writing this shortly after the official announcement, finishing Wednesday morning Chicago time. The suspicion was already there – after an almost week-long silence on the travel advisory page and then suddenly a sponsor tweet that was still left in Buffer suddenly posted on Tuesday night which was quickly removed.
I can only imagine the difficulty and stress of making the decision. Travel plans, conference plans, monies spent, resources deployed, it’s a huge investment that could not be realized due to Covid-19. Without a doubt it is the absolute correct call. Again, this is exactly the right thing. I commend all the individuals involved. I commend their decision, and fortitude in the face of what will certainly be some people not respecting such a monumental test of a group of organizers. Covid-19 is serious and its magnitude is certainly not yet known.
The excitement and anticipation around this event have been huge, but there are too many unknowns around the health issues unfolding right now in the region to explicitly encourage a large public gathering bringing together over 1,300 people from around the world.Matt Mullenweg
Hindsight is 20/20 but my only complaint is that this should have been done a week ago. People were still making decisions and with 9 days notice there will definitely be expenses that can’t be recouped. I suspect there was intense discussion during the week of February 3 and I feel that when there is doubt, there is no doubt. Being aggressive would have been the best call.
Finally, the WordPress community has a number of major conferences throughout the year. WordCamp Europe is just over three months away and could still be impacted. As referenced yesterday with more details today, six more major companies have announced their withdrawal from this year’s Mobile World Congress, scheduled to take place in Barcelona, Feb. 24-27. Let’s be as prepared as possible and as understanding as possible with the organizers who are evaluating data and safety in real time.
P.S. I really want to send immense gratitude to Wordfence for creating a cancellation fee assistance package (use the official announcement options first) but this is a great example of how community works. Thank you again Wordfence.