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Meet a Joomla User Group:  Milano Centro, Italy


The third Joomla User Group (JUG) that will be interviewed is Milano Centro. And as perhaps you might have guessed, this JUG resides in Italy. Let's meet the organizers!

Where is your User Group located?

The Joomla User Group meets in Milan, Italy. Before COVID we were hosted at a school, but after COVID we have some difficulties to find a fixed free location, so our meeting point changes from time to time choosing the most appropriate solution trying to meet the requirements: that it is free , well connected by public transport and also accessible for wheelchair users.

For how long has this User Group been organizing events?

We started organizing our first meetings in 2016 at a coworking space that was hosting us. Over the years we have organized and participated in several events in the Open Source world, much of them in presence and some of them in a virtual way.

How many people are involved in organizing and how many visitors are joining your meetings?

The people involved in the active organization of the JUG are 3: Davide Messia, Fausto Nenci and Luca Racchetti.

During the meetings we manage to have about 10 people in attendance. While in online events we managed to reach up to 50 people for the most interesting topics.

Are your meetings in person, online or hybrid?

We did the events in all three modes! Surely each mode has its strengths: the online presence has allowed us to do "cross JUG" events and to reach Joomlers outside Milan and from all over the world, while those in person allow us to go out for a pizza together at the end of the meeting!

How did your JUG evolve during the years?

We  went from an initial period of great enthusiasm, with participation by enthusiasts or just curious people. The participation as volunteers and speakers in some editions of JoomlaDay Italy have helped the growth of our JUG. Then, unfortunately, COVID reduced participation, leaving only true fans of the project and community active. Recently thanks to the end of COVID and the arrival of Joomla 4 things are changing. Hopefully Joomla 5 will be the new stepping stone!

What topics are usually/mostly being presented at your meetings?

We have several meetings that we repeat periodically. One that surely comes in handy several times is the one that explains how to contribute to Joomla testing that we often do before Pizza Bugs & Fun. Another kind of meeting we often do is to explain the features introduced in a new Joomla release: we have people who are always interested in what's new and are happy to explain to the rest of the group.

We have also had several meetings to present indispensable components such as those for making backups, managing privacy policy and GDPR, mailing lists, and website optimizations.

Other meetings that were certainly interesting were those to introduce Open Source Matters board members to the community.

Which topics have been popular lately to get information about?

Within our telegram group (https://t.me/JoomlaMilanoCentro), where we are more than 100 people, we are often asked for support related to upgrading from Joomla 3 to Joomla 4. We realize that several extensions are not compatible with the new version or users expect them to still work on Joomla 4 even without updating them. Within the group we are also asked how to perform daily maintenance of their website or advice on which extensions to use.

What difficulties do you face organizing your JUG?

Our main difficulty is to find locations that can host us for free, as volunteers we cannot afford the costs of renting a space and not being an association recognized at the Italian legislative level the places given for use by municipalities are not accessible by us. Another problem we encounter is the difficulty in finding new speakers who are willing to share their knowledge with the rest of the community.

What is your most precious meeting? (your best meeting)

One event that definitely gave us great satisfaction was the series of meetings organized with 11 Italian JUGs called "Joomla User Groups Night": A series of 10 evening meetings of about 1 hour carried out with the purpose of preparing users for the Pizza Bug & Fun carried out just before the release of Joomla 4 and letting them know the new features that this version brought within the CMS.

Another very interesting event was the JUG Project, a full weekend where Joomlers talked about Joomla to Joomlers. During this event we also had the opportunity to compare ourselves as members of other open source software communities.

Do you have a question we should ask you, and what is your answer?

We believe the question that is missing is "Why do you do it?" 

Many of us do not use Joomla to make money; it is not a tool that is part of our work. But in spite of this we like to spend time on the Joomla project and its community, which has allowed us to meet people and form real friendships. So we love to be active and grow this wonderful dream!

Do you need extra volunteers, or help?


Since 2019 an annual JoomlaDay has not been done in Italy, which was the meeting event for the whole Italian community and the opportunity for JUGs to make themselves known and create links in the territory.

As active Joomlers we are ready to organize a Joomla Event that will relaunch the CMS on the Italian web, but we also need your help as members of the Joomla community in making the value of these events known and perceived.

After COVID there is a perceived decline in in-person networking opportunities where we can meet, review and shake hands. This has led to a decline in audiences at events (both in-person and online) ready to listen and learn about new Joomla developments.

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