For the last 18 months, the Engineering & Product Development department
has been experimenting with the role of “Community Liaison, Product
Development” - a staff member embedded in the Product team and tasked with
factoring community concerns into our software development process, keeping
editors informed about what we’re doing, and maintaining a dialogue between
those who write code and those who write articles.
While there is always room for improvement, I think this role has shown a
lot of promise. We have a number of large projects coming down the
pipeline (e.g., visual editor, discussion systems) and we need more help
reaching out to our contributor communities, especially our non-English
speaking projects, as our outreach there has traditionally been challenged.
We’d like to recruit a small number of English-speaking or multilingual
editors to do the Community Liaison job with different development teams
In particular we’re looking for people with a strong history of
contributions to our projects who can provide sound and reasoned judgment
and are trusted to do so by their community. Speaking other languages in
addition to English is a major plus, as one of the objectives here is to
ensure we can properly interact with and support non-English projects.
I’ve included the full job description below.
Our immediate need is for help with the Visual Editor. We’d like to hire a
few community liaisons to help inform different Wikipedia language
communities of the upcoming launch, create spaces for feedback and
discussion, synthesize feedback for the Visual Editor team, and other
activities required to support the Visual Editor launch later this year.
If this is a role that would interest you, please e-mail Philippe Beaudette
And if you know someone else who might fit the role, let them know about
it :-). We’re provisionally interested in hiring 2-3 liaisons, at an hourly
rate commensurate with experience. This can be a part-time role, but we’ll
need at least 15 hours/week for the length of the engagement (minimum 3
months). Please do apply if you think it’s a role that suits you, and if
you find places we haven’t notified, spread the word!
Director of Product Development
Community Liaison Job Description
Background Information and Statement of Purpose
The Wikimedia Foundation’s Engineering & Product Development Department is
looking at ways to more effectively incorporate broad community
perspectives in decisions and hold dialogues with our editors about the
scope, pace and features of upcoming changes to Wikimedia projects. As part
of this, it is hiring additional Community Liaisons from our volunteer
Scope of Work
Support and improve our ongoing software development projects, in
Building up a network of volunteers from both English language and
non-English language wikis, increasing the number of projects we can
Engaging the community in the software development process, by acting as
a conduit for community questions, bugs and and feature requests, talking
to editors about our work and how they can participate in it effectively,
and recruiting them for workgroups and studies;
Being available from time to time to provide expertise and knowledge
about our projects, including but not limited to training
externally-sourced staff in the way our projects work, answering their
questions, and providing expert advice on an ad-hoc basis;
Ensuring that our community is represented in the decision-making
process and that our planned software adequately reflects user needs;
Monitoring Wikimedia projects, with the assistance of a network of
volunteers, for emerging issues that have an impact on Engineering
Other duties as needed.
Effective Community Liaisons will be:
Experienced users of Wikimedia projects, capable of representing our
community within the Foundation and vice-versa.
Strong communicators (both verbally and with the written word), able to
explain our products to different groups of users with different levels of
Able to focus on the larger picture, understanding which concerns and
views are widespread and which are marginal or individual.
Approachable, as both users and product developers must be able to trust
these people for the relationship to function.
Self-motivated - they will be given important projects and expected to
execute with little to no supervision.
Strongly empathetic - they excel at understanding the perspectives of
others and bridging the gap between different approaches to the world.
Willing and able to remain resilient in the face of frustration from our
users, in order to get the job done.
Other positive attributes or areas of knowledge include:
Diverse language skills. While the Wikimedia Foundation communicates
internally in English, we aim to be able to talk to our different
Experience with the software development process. You will be thrown
into teams that are actively working on new features; having a background
that reduces the slope of your learning curve is a plus.
- Familiarity with multiple Wikimedia projects is a major plus; we are
about more than just Wikipedia.
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