Monday, July 27, 2015

July 2015 Community News Flash

Greetings OWASP Community,

This month's feature article is about what to do when you outgrow your chapter boundaries. The process of growing or consolidating can include difficult political, financial and social decisions. I want to help chapter leaders navigate the process, make the right decisions and communicate the changes to the community effectively. We will also discuss when to consider consolidating less active chapters into a larger chapter to help jumpstart activity. 

The August Community News Flash will be released on a new schedule, moving to the beginning of the month. The change accommodates a planned series of Google Hangouts to complement news flash content. Next month, we will delve deeper into funding resources to help your chapter fund activities. Look for that the week of August 10.

Noreen Whysel
Community Manager
OWASP Foundation

In this Issue:
  • FEATURE: Outgrowing Your Chapter Boundaries
  • Upcoming Deadlines: WASPY's, Board Nominations/Candidate Questions
  • Chapter Activity: New Chapters, Leader Transitions
  • AppSecUSA: Chapter Leader Workshop and Women in AppSec
  • Resources

FEATURE: Outgrowing Your Chapter Boundaries

What do you do when you find your chapter is unable to accommodate its membership because of size or distance? How do you decide when it makes sense to split into two or more local chapters? 

Several country level chapters currently are in the process of splitting into local city chapters. This often happens when AppSec professionals in a city that is far from the main chapter's activities wishes to host their own events. Breaking into subchapters is not only possible, but is encouraged when a country or large metropolitan area exhibits local activity that warrants it's own chapter. Section 5.02 of the OWASP Bylaws (PDF) explicitly allows country and city level chapters to break into smaller, local chapters. The Chapter Leader Handbook further qualifies this allowance, as long as the new chapters do not overlap boundaries.

It is important to work with the current chapter leader when requesting to create a new chapter within an area that is already represented at the country or metro level. This can be a difficult and occasionally uncomfortable process, particularly if the issue is that the current chapter is not serving your local area adequately.

This is really OK. Chapters grow. At the country level, it may be difficult for a country leader to host meetings in every city where there is interest. In most cases the chapter leader will welcome the expansion and appreciate offsetting some activity to a local chapter. Also, the closer a chapter is to a prospective member, the more likely that person will pay for a membership, which is good for each chapter's bottom line.

When does it NOT make sense to split a chapter? Issues such as inactivity at the country level can be resolved by having alternate localities host chapter events on behalf of the country leader. It is difficult to justify splitting an inactive chapter into multiple chapters if participation overall is low. There may also be personal and political reasons for creating a new chapter which need to be examined as well. Such disputes, for financial and operational reasons, may not warrant splitting a chapter. Our dispute resolution process is available for addressing these kinds of disagreements.

Another big issue to address is funding. When joining OWASP, members self-select which chapter they identify with, and have the option to move their allocation to a new chapter upon renewal. In most cases, funding is available in the existing chapter's account that accrued from a share of revenue from events or membership dues. 

So, what happens to this funding when a new chapter splits off? Chapter leaders may need to negotiate an equitable split of the available funding or hold a vote among its dues-paying members. New chapters also have the option to request engagement funding which may make more financial sense if overall funding is low. We can help to guide and facilitate funding decisions.

Country level oversight may be desirable in some cases. We have a few country chapters that operate centrally, overseeing subchapters that share funding in a common, country level allocation. Korea and China are examples of centrally operated chapters. Both maintain external, common language websites and oversee regional activities from a central coordinating committee. Atlantic Canada, a new chapter covering Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick will operate this way. Other chapters such as Sweden and South Africa have opted instead to break into separate city level chapters. We have facilitated those changes in Sweden and are in the process of helping South Africa do the same.

If you are exploring chapter changes that require either a consolidation or splitting of an existing chapter, please let me know. I can help make the process a smooth one.


WASPY Awards - Deadline July 29 to Submit Your NominationsDo you know someone who does great things for OWASP, but never seems to receive the recognition they deserve?  Why not nominate them for the WASPY awards!!  The deadline to submit your nominees is July 29, 2015.  To learn more about the award including a list of rules and how to submit your nominees, please visit

2015 Global BoD Election - Deadline July 31 To Submit Your Candidacy Time is running out!  Please consider running for one of the four seats that are available in this years election. More information can be found here. Submit your candidacy today!

Questions for the 2015 Board Candidates - Deadline July 31 To Submit Your QuestionsOWASP Board elections are coming up soon, and individuals have submitted their candidacy. In order to hear what our candidates think about OWASP priorities, please submit your questions that you would like asked of each candidate.  The candidates will be asked the top 4-5 questions during their interviews.  The full cycle of activities and schedule can be found here.

Remember, to vote for the WASPY Awards your membership (paid or honorary) must be on file with the foundation no later than July 26, 2015. To cast a vote in the 2015 Election, your membership (paid or honorary) must be on file with the foundation no later than Sept 30, 2015.


New Chapters
New/Transitioning Leaders
Merging Chapters
  • Kenya/Nairobi: the inactive Nairobi chapter will merge with Kenya. Kenya team is incorporating historical info on past Nairobi meetings on their page. Nairobi leaders have been invited to join Kenya leadership team.
New Academic Supporters
New Student Chapters

TOOLS: OWASP-Community Open Hours on Slack

As you know, we have launched a Slack as a resource to discuss project and chapter activity. We recently added an owasp-community channel that will serve as a virtual Open Hours. I have selected Tuesdays from 10am-11am Eastern time as a weekly open hours slot, and may adjust the schedule as demand requires. You can also suggest a appointment time and I will be happy to log in. Sign up at


The full agenda for speakers and training sessions is now available for AppSecUSA to he held in San Francisco from September 22-25, 2015. Last chance for early bird pricing is August 1. View a recently released Highlights Video from last year's conference. Register soon!

I am proposing a series of chapter leader workshops, covering fundraising, membership development, communication tools like the wiki, Social Media and Slack, and ideas for activities and community engagement, among other topics. If you would like to help out, present or suggest a topic, please let me know:

Plans are being made for a panel and workshop on Women in AppSec with a goal to introduce application security as a career option for women. For details, visit and join the OWASP Women in AppSec Community Group, at


Funding Resources:
Donation Scoreboard - Current Chapter Funding Allocation:
OWASP-Community Slack Channel:



Feel free to contact me at any time if you have a question or suggestion. To create a trackable case, please use the contact us form at

Noreen Whysel
Community Manager
OWASP Foundation

Community Manager Open Hours on Slack:
Join the #AsktheCM channel Tuesdays from 10am-Noon EDT.

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