Talk:Wikipedian in Residence/Creating a Wikimedian in Residence position

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Community Feedback[edit]

This is a draft recommendation based on interviews with affiliates with successful and established Wikipedian in Residence programs and individual residents and champions for roles at institutions, as well as the broader body of documentation that discusses residency roles (including This Month in GLAM, several reports from Wikimedia UK, and the Wikimedia Foundation’s experience supporting residents through its grant programs). I would love feedback from community members who have worked as residents or helped developed residencies, especially in response to the questions below.

Some notes on the document:

  • This document has been created as a general framework to describe the options available to affiliates, Wikimedians and partner organizations that might want to create a Wikipedian in Residence position. This document is not designed for “selling” a residency or as a “how to”, but instead is designed to help communities once there is agreement with the partner in creating a residency. For more information about developing partnerships, see the GLAM portal on outreach Wiki and the Partneships and Resource Development portal on Meta.
  • The document is designed with a limited number of interviews and documentation. If you have documentation or examples that help illustrate these pieces of advice please add it below.
  • I am not making recommendations about which options are “correct” or “true”” in this document, because each cultural and community context requires local organizers to adjust their expectations and design of Residency roles. This has also resulted in a complex and long document -- feedback on clarification is welcome.

Thank you in advance, and I really appreciate your feedback in the below sections! Astinson (WMF) (talk) 01:49, 16 August 2018 (UTC)


What recommendations suprised you?[edit]

  • The Wikimedia Fellows program sounds great and I missed that before; I hope to bring that in Italy. --Marta Arosio (WMIT) (talk) 10:22, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
    • @Marta Arosio (WMIT): Really glad that this helped introduce a new program! You should definitely talk to the WikiEd folks about the program: I think its a really interesting model of explicit fellowship to expand the impact in the University space. Astinson (WMF) (talk) 13:35, 16 August 2018 (UTC)

Are there particular experiences that you have had with a Wikipedian in Residence position that either support these recommendations?[edit]

Are there pieces of advice in this recommendation that don’t match with your experience?[edit]

The statement that Wikimedians in Residence do not create new content is not universally true. The document states that only non-WiR positions such as interns, Visiting Scholars, and Wikipedia Fellows directly edit, but there are a lot of examples of WiRs who do edit directly, such as myself at NIOSH as well as Science History Institute and (I think) Consumer Reports.

I suspect direct editing is more prevalent for STEM WiRs than for GLAM ones. STEM institutions don't have a "collection" in the same sense that GLAM institutions do; their output is generally text-based publications. So while GLAMs are more likely to engage on Commons and Wikidata, STEM institutions are more directed towards text-based contributions on Wikipedia. (Additionally, STEM WiRs generally do not restrict themselves to using their own institution's publications, but cite broadly with the goal of improving the topic. I personally have a self-imposed rule that sources from NIOSH authors should be less than half of the sources I use in an article, to avoid the appearance of being promotional.)

@Mary Mark Ockerbloom, Bluerasberry: and others may have more thoughts. John P. Sadowski (NIOSH) (talk) 23:20, 14 November 2018 (UTC)

Is there any documentation, examples or practices that might help better illustrate the recommendations?[edit]

I feel like all my feedback fits into this section, my general feedback is that:

  • I think that the document assumes too much knowledge and would benefit from more links an explaining acronyms (e.g GLAM) and other specialist terms.
  • It would benefit from an overview of what Wikimedia does and an overview of the kinds of project that can be done with Wikimedia (not just linking to 100s of case studies, more an executive summary), I think that this could be reused and maybe generalised a bit.
    • This page is not designed to persuade folks new to the space -- we need a separate entry point/handout/concise for that audience. This is for folks who already have an idea of what they want to do, but need a better sense of what they "can do" -- if you have links or specialist terms that you are seeing that need clarification: feel free to rewrite or link directly. My brain/eye for this stuff in this document is not seeing it very well, since I have been working on it for so long. Astinson (WMF) (talk) 14:03, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
      • Thanks, I'll put something together and add some links in, I feel like its helpful to remind people of things as they're learning. --John Cummings (talk) 09:00, 20 August 2018 (UTC)
  • It may be worth mentioning Open Access at least a few times as many organisation's OA goals will link up to their goals working with Wikimedia.
  • Provide links to Wikimedia's overall goals including the 2030 statement at the start and also in the establishing shared goals section.
  • A list of previous residencies somewhere (I know one exists) would be helpful to normalise the role, to show it is a thing that has been done a lot before.
    • This is a subpage of that page -- and will be closely integrated once its ready for more broad use, Astinson (WMF) (talk) 14:03, 17 August 2018 (UTC)

Specifically for each section I think:

Why a Wikimedian in Residence role[edit]

Suggest 'experimental' is replaced or accompanied by 'innovative', this carries more connotations of breaking new ground and less about risk without tangible implemented outcomes.

What does a Wikimedian in Residence do?[edit]

I think Creating new content on Wikimedia projects needs clarification, maybe something abotu they don't write contact directly but can help others to create content.

In the list of other options mention campus ambassadors?

In communications or marketing one way I've found helpful to explain what I do is to say that Wikipedia is a place to share knowledge about the subjects you work on rather than about the organisation its self.

YesY Done on the two content clarifications. As for the Ambassadors, I don't think we have seen campus ambassadors be much of a thing anymore (correct me if I am wrong?). That format of support died early in the US Education program, and doesn't get revitalized very often as a formal role, I don't think. For the kinds of institutions that would traditionally have an "ambassador" I am trying to focus on staff roles and responsibilities: especially academic libraries and teaching and learning centers, should think of it as "part of their existing work" rather than a separate function. Astinson (WMF) (talk) 14:00, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
@Astinson (WMF):, oh one more small thing, for visiting scholars you say they're for Wikipedia specifically, there's also one for Wikidata, I think this model could be useful to others too so might be worth mentioning. --John Cummings (talk) 09:00, 20 August 2018 (UTC)

@Astinson (WMF):,Excuse me I do not understand this paragraph (Wikipedian in Residence roles are not….). A Wikipedian in Residence can not create content on Wiki?--Modjou (talk) 22:12, 21 August 2018 (UTC)

  • Hello @Astinson (WMF):,I do not know if I understand but the position of Wikipedian in residence no longer allows you to produce content on Wiki platforms. is it correct?--Modjou (talk) 14:35, 24 August 2018 (UTC)
  • @Modjou: We have been really careful, especially in the early days of Wikipedian in Residence positions, to focus on the roles on uploading batches of existing content, and help professional participate in Wikimedia platforms -- it reduces the potential for conflict of interest, and helps distinguish between the role of the Resident and volunteers who contribute directly to the project. We have seen several roles cross this line over the years, but its not always been very good -- and as I mention elsewhere, we could apply different titles to content-creation roles, to better define the expectations of the roles. Astinson (WMF) (talk) 21:32, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
@Astinson (WMF):, Okay thank you very much.--Modjou (talk) 12:41, 1 October 2018 (UTC)

Steps for creating WIR roles[edit]

To me each of these steps needs its own section, also mention that chapters and user groups can often help you in this process e.g WMUK has a long history of working with orgs to set up WiR roles

What formats do Wikipedian in Residence roles come in?[edit]

Change the word formats to length in the title?

@John Cummings: Not all of these are length-based formatting questions. I tried to figure out a way to cleanly seperate these different, for lack of a better word, formats of positions -- but I am not finding a good organizational structure -- if you can recommend a good structure that would be awesome Astinson (WMF) (talk) 13:48, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
@Astinson (WMF):, sure, if I think of anything I'll let you know but the classifications here are fuzzy so I feel your pain. --John Cummings (talk) 09:00, 20 August 2018 (UTC)

Establishing shared goals[edit]

Link to the goals and activities of Wikimedia including the 2030 statement and maybe WMF year report


Hope it helps --John Cummings (talk) 12:52, 17 August 2018 (UTC)

Do you have any other comments you would like to share?[edit]

  • Please avoid terminology like "early career professional", which may encourage age-based discrimination. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy 17:00, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
    • @Pigsonthewing: I wasn't thinking about that language challenge, but realistically most institutions are funding positions at that level of experience (the few exceptions have been in the UK as far as I am aware). How would you reframe it then? Do you have preferred language to describe that level of budgeting? Astinson (WMF) (talk) 13:43, 17 August 2018 (UTC)
  • At enWP I work primiarily on removing promotionalism. I am glad to see the material on the WiR not doing promotional work for the institution. But the document itself has a good deal of institutional and promotional wordinewss and jargon. It's more practical to do directly than to explain here. I'm going to rewrite some of it, if I may; if you don't like what I've done, just revert me.DGG (talk) 14:54, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
    • Hey @DGG: happy to have rewriting for clarity -- sometimes its hard to get out of the spoken advice framework. Astinson (WMF) (talk) 14:39, 21 August 2018 (UTC)
      • Just so you know what I'm doing, the way I edit is in many small batches over several days. DGG (talk) 18:53, 21 August 2018 (UTC)
        • Very happy to see that: I am that kind of copyeditor as well :D Astinson (WMF) (talk) 22:46, 21 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Hello, thank you for this document because I learned a lot by reading it. This will help us a lot on the individual Wikipedian project in residence that we want to launch.--Modjou (talk) 23:10, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
    • Hello @Astinson (WMF):, I would like to know if it is possible to ask for a project grant for one or more Wikipedians in residence to the individual name and not the user Group?--Modjou (talk) 15:39, 3 October 2018 (UTC)
    • Let me explain. Due to the limit of the grant request imposed, my user group can not submit this project. We would like to submit it on behalf of the Glam-Wiki Coordinator of our community. Is it possible? Best--Modjou (talk) 15:39, 3 October 2018 (UTC)
      • We have support WIR positions in the past, as part of integrated programs -- usually as part of the the Annual Plan Grants of affiliates. I am happy to give feedback on such a proposal, but that is more a judgment call that the program officer and grant committees typically make on "what is appropriate", @Modjou:Astinson (WMF) (talk) 01:24, 4 October 2018 (UTC)

Possible page import/move to meta[edit]

@Astinson (WMF): With the possible move of the Wikipedian in Residence page to meta:Wikipedian in Residence (discussion here), would it be reasonable to also move this page to keep all the info consolidated together? Evolution and evolvability (talk) 11:18, 28 November 2019 (UTC)

@Evolution and evolvability: Please do! I wrote the documentation so that it can be used to help folks make the roles: would love for it to be profiled and connected :) We don't have any plans in the near term to do more with it, so go for it, Astinson (WMF) (talk) 00:20, 5 December 2019 (UTC)