[Foundation-l] WMF Chapter Development Director job posting

Barry Newstead bnwikimedia at gmail.com
Wed Aug 18 19:01:15 UTC 2010

I am pleased to share the position description for the new Chapter
Development Director position [1] with the Wikimedia Foundation. We are now
open for applications and aim to fill this position with an outstanding
candidate by November. Thank you to those who shared perspectives on the
Chapter Development role on the Meta page [2] that was set up a few weeks
back. The process of defining ways for chapters and WMF to work together
effectively is an ongoing one that I look forward to continuing with all of
you and with our new staff member. Please do forward on the posting and
suggest candidates. It would be great to find candidates from within the
Wikimedia movement.

 The position description draws from the input received on Meta as well as
informal discussions and input received from various sources. [3] The
description provides a window into how I am thinking about the relationship
between chapters and WMF. Let me share some of my thoughts in the interest
of openness and transparency. These are just preliminary thoughts and I
welcome ongoing feedback about where I'm on point and where I might be

 Let me start by saying that I am very committed to the chapter mission to
"empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop
educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to
disseminate it effectively and globally"[4] In my analysis (and I think most
share this conclusion), we are still a long way from realizing this mission,
even in our largest chapters. We, in the Global Development team, are
investing in Chapter Development roles (we plan to add to the team in the
future) to support the realization of the mission.

 For me, success in five years would be to be in a position where 75% of
chapters would be rated “effective” and over 50% would be rated “very
effective” based on an objective set of mission-focused metrics I would like
to develop collaboratively with chapters over the next year. In addition, I
would like there to be at least 60 chapters that are reasonably [5]
representative of the global population. It would be great if we generate
some shared goals in the coming months.

 I have designed the WMF role as articulated in the position description
with success metrics in mind and with an orientation toward mutual
cooperation and a strong respect for the fact that virtually all of the
chapter participants today are volunteers and that our future strength will
remain in the initiative, commitment and creativity of volunteers, even as
we add staff and spend money in chapters and at WMF. I expect that the WMF
staff (as well as capacity building support on organizational development)
will help make voluntary action easier, more scalable and more sustainable,
particularly for the leaders who have expressed a certain level of fatigue
in carrying the full weight of their chapters.

It is important to be clear that I see the Foundation and chapters as
independent organizations who are both ultimately accountable to the
Wikimedia movement. In my team's work, I would like to earn our role by
demonstrating our value. We do and should have clear agreements about the
work we do together along with our financial relationships. These may
require some trade-offs; however, these should lay out mutual expectations
that encourage positive, productive work that supports the Wikimedia
mission. As such, I would expect that we are able to negotiate and abide by
contractual agreements that help us all do our work.

 A final word on openness. This note is an attempt to be open about how I'm
thinking now. I want my team's (and our) work to be open and transparent to
the movement. We should share publicly our thinking, reports on our
activities, evaluations of our successes and failures and a standard report
card of our effectiveness. I don't see this as a mechanism for reward or
punishment, but as a way to open us up to the movement at large and most
importantly to enable us to be a learning community where we can critically
assess our work and adapt. I hope this note is a reasonable start.

 I look forward to working with you all, to having your feedback and to
bringing a strong Chapter Development Director on board soon.


 [1] See

[2] See http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Chapter_development

[3] Berlin Chapters meeting discussions, strategy project, Wikimania
discussions, generous proactive input from Delphine Menard reflecting on her
prior experience, thoughts provided by Sebastian Moleski and an email
exchange with Bence Domokos

[4] See http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters

[5] Added “Reasonably” caveat as we might not be in a position to have
chapters in places such as the People's Republic of China for policy reasons

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