Our part-time community ambassadors to the Czech and Korean communities play important roles in the New Editor Experiences project. @aripstra and I (@Neil_P._Quinn_WMF) have been managing them for several months, but they would strongly benefit from supervision from someone more skilled in community engagement, which would also free us to focus on own areas of expertise.
This task is temporary; once someone is hired for the planned new editor strategist role, they will take over management. If that hire does not happen for some reason, we will reevaluate where the responsibility should be in the long term.
Purpose of the community ambassadors
The ambassadors' main job is to act as a bridge between their communities and the New Editor Experiences project at the Wikimedia Foundation. The project is focused on midsized Wikipedias, and we originally chose the Czech and Korean Wikipedia as representative community for our field research.
After that field research, we decided that because we had developed particular knowledge and particular relationships with those communities, they would be ideal communities to help us try out our ideas for increasing new editor retention. Since Czech and Korean are the focus communities for the whole project, it's essential for us to have ambassadors with deep experience in those communities and mastery of the language.
So, their day-to-day responsibilities are:
- keeping their communities informed about the progress of the project (e.g. by regular short newsletters about the project)
- advising the WMF about conditions in the Czech and Korean Wikipedias
- running feedback and participatory design activities to help guide the development of our various new editor ideas
The main projects currently planned are related to software development for better onboarding and mentoring, so for now that will be the focus of the ambassadors' work, but if the Community Engagement department starts any projects of its own and wants to work with the Czech and Korean communities, that will be part of their primary responsibilities too.
So far, our ambassadors have had quite a bit of extra budgeted time, and we've been looking for useful side projects for them which fulfill the broader goal of better connecting their communities to the Foundation and the global movement. For example, @revi has been helping the Communications teams set up social media accounts in South Korea.
In my and Abbey's opinion, this project's connection to specific communities greatly increases its chances of success. So hopefully these community ambassador roles will serve as models for future collaborations like this between the Community Liaisons and Audiences.
The bulk of our management happens in a weekly 30 minute check-in with each ambassador where Abbey and I review the past week's work and discuss plans for the upcoming week.
Outside of the meeting, we have any additional discussions necessary via chat, email, or occasionally an extra meeting; consider what work should be done in the future; and think about anything we should do to support Martin and revi personally.
Overall, I'd estimate that the average workload, including the meetings, is about 4 hours per week—and would likely take Benoît less time because he has much more experience with this. He would also have to stay updated on the progress of the project, but that's already something he's doing.
These positions are currently being funded from the Chief Product Officer budget, and we expect to continue throughout the New Editor Experiences project. We've currently budgeted for roughly 5 hours per week of work from each ambassador, and have often been below that, but we'd be happy to increase it to 10 hours per week (assuming, of course, that Martin and revi are able to take on the extra workload).
Abbey and I have enjoyed leading New Editor Experiences and working with Martin and revi, but we're now very ready to get back to our main areas of expertise. However, we are definitely not planning to leave the project entirely, both because design research and quantitative analysis are important components of the project and because we have institutional memory that shouldn't be forgotten.
So we will continue to be available to the project in a supporting role, which would definitely include working to make this handoff smooth. In particular, we'd both be happy to continue to attend the sync meetings for at least a month (Abbey in particularly has interest in attending even beyond that).
As we continue to support the project, we will also continue to remind others from Audiences of the importance of deep community engagement to this project and the need of proactively working with them as our ideas develop.
Responsibilities as of January 2020
While Trizek stays in charge of the day-by-day, Johan (WMF) will now be responsible for the administrative side of the management, as communicated to the relevant WMF people.