We’re going into our third year of Virtual Coffee, and what a whirlwind it’s been! Virtual Coffee wasn’t a pre-planned community, something we spent careers trying to develop. It was a natural connection among people who wanted to be a part of something, to share, to find friends in the midst of a pandemic. Virtual Coffee has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my entire life. I’ve met so many people who have been willing to listen, support, give, and be generous with their talents. It started with a tweet. And then it grew into something beautiful.

The thing about our community that we’ve always realized is special, is the intimacy of the group. The closeness that comes when you know the people, when you’re not entering a slack of 1000+ people. And one of the hardest things we’ve been trying to figure out is how to maintain that special intimacy, especially as a community of volunteers.

Here’s the thing, we’re proud to support developers at all stages of the journey. But you can’t do that unless there’s a balance of developers at all stages of the journey. You can’t do that if you exhaust your volunteers. If you don’t respect the time of the people who have so willingly given it to support others in tech.

And going into this third year, right when we’ve had a huge influx of interest and sign-ups, we made a really, really hard decision to pause new membership. Here’s a little bit of what went into months of conversations on this:


First, and foremost, we have to protect what’s special about this group. There are plenty of groups out there that have open admission. We’re not one of them. Intimacy is literally part of our tagline: An intimate community for all devs, optimized for you. Although it was a hard decision, we hope that it shows how much we care about this community. We are willing to pause new membership to support and preserve what we have and take the time to figure out how we can continue to do this with more people interested in being a part of the community.


We want to support not only all of our members, but especially all of our volunteers. Ideally, we have about 10+ volunteers every Tuesday and Thursday during our coffee chats. We also have teams for Monthly Challenges, Lunch & Learns, Documentation, Audio Visual Content and more. Every single person is currently a volunteer. An influx in membership means more impact on all of our volunteers. And we want our volunteers to know that it’s ok to take breaks, to say they don’t have time.

I need to share this story because it shows what an amazing community of people we have. We recently had a huge influx of folks sign up for a Virtual Coffee and we knew we couldn’t cover it with the regular number of volunteers. So we put out a message letting our room leaders and notetakers know that we anticipated a huge group for the following coffee chat. And our volunteers showed up. And they were willing to change their schedules to support our team. I was personally touched to the point of tears. What an amazing group :heart:

And out of respect to all of our volunteers, we have to ensure they have the support they need. We’re working on making sure that’s possible.

Support Structures

The need for support changes based on the needs of the community. We’ve grown a ton over the last couple of years. We’ve been working on documentation, processes, onboarding, and more to make this a safe and welcoming space. Those things have been incredibly important to our community’s health. As we prepare to welcome new members, we are evaluating our current support structures to ensure a similar experience for new members.

There is so much that goes into community. And a couple of years ago when I was learning to code, I was so lucky to find a supportive community. I would love that for every single person. And I’m so glad to see there are so many communities popping up in the tech industry. I am also proud of our community for pausing new memberships because it’s a good indication that we care about our community; that we’re willing to forego new members to support our (amazing) community as it is now; that we’re working hard to find ways to support new members in the ways that previous members have been supported. I’m proud of our group making a hard decision. It shows we love this community, and we want it to be special for every person who comes into it. We hope to open it up again soon. I can’t give you a date, but I can give you the goal: to ensure that when we open up again, we can support you as part of this beautiful community.