RFP/Portuguese Wikipedia Qualitative Researcher

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This (old) job opening has long been closed. If you'd like to work with us, please see our current job openings.

Statement of Purpose

The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) is looking for a short-term researcher to conduct a series of qualitative analyses on the Portuguese Wikipedia to better understand the structure and dynamics of the PT:WP community. This research will be informed by and in conjunction with the quantitative research being conducted on PT:WP. The Qualitative Researcher will help steer the direction of the quantitative research and provide insight into any emerging numeric trends. The Researcher will help answer why the active editor base is not increasing at the same rates as in the past and provide specific recommendations to WMF and the PT:WP for what the PT:WP community can do about it!

Background Information

The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, a top-ten Internet property.

In December 2010, the Brazil Catalyst Project (BCP) began which developed open, documented and collaborative approaches through which the Wikimedia Foundation could support Wikimedia projects community in Brazil, with the goal of growing the contributor community and readership in Brazil. Ultimately, the project focused on creating a set of recommendations for initiatives and pilot projects that would help advance our collective mission in Brazil and generating systems, processes, and methods for advancing Wikimedia in other geographic areas. One outcome of the project was that there is a great need to improve the understanding of the structure and work dynamics of the Brazilian community in general and the Portuguese Wikipedia specifically. The research to be conducted by the Qualitative and Quantitative Researchers will help to establish this. The quantitative research will begin with a focus on the Editor Trends Study (for Portuguese), and then move into more specific areas regarding admin activity, new editor activity, and general editing stats. In parallel, a Qualitative Researcher will work on informing the quantitative work with specific community knowledge and provide insight into the actual causes of emerging trends.

Scope of Work

  • Analyze the outcomes of the quantitative information, and provide insight based on community-specific information, such as policies, bot activities, talk-page information
  • Outline landscape of PT:WP, including general policies, overall processes, deletion policies, etc. Also, dig into users talk pages and identify the use of bots and templates, and assess their uses
  • Map historical PT:WP information onto broader numeric trends, tying in, wherever possible, cause and effect relationships (e.g., how # of policies effects # of editors)
  • As needed, recommend specific areas for improvement and change in the PT:WP to foster a healthy environment for new and old editors, and to create the highest quality information possible
  • Communicate outcomes and implications of research to broader Wikimedia movement and PT:WP community specifically on a continuous basis (e.g., blogging, email, on wiki)


Expected output includes:

  • A timeline indicating important points in PT:WP history
  • The development and maintenance of pages on meta.wikimedia.org containing the information from the research in PT:WP, in Portuguese
  • An executive summary highlighting results of analysis and recommended implications, in both English and Portuguese
  • A more detailed report containing research results and outlining detailed recommended next actions
  • A list of recommended items for further research

The work will be centered in Brazil, but the fellow may make one trip to WMF headquarters in San Francisco in order to engage with other staff and researchers.

Term of Contract

The contract will be for a duration of ten (10) weeks beginning with an anticipated start date of September 1, 2011.

Required qualifications

  • Masters degree, PhD candidate or PhD in relevant field such as social science, history, or sociology strongly preferred.
  • Experience wrestling with historical, sociological or anthropological questions pertaining to the success, growth and survival of communities, social movements and large scale collaborative work
  • Experience wading through dense and complex historical archives or other textual social data
  • Experience working with nonprofits or community driven projects
  • Strong communications skills across various avenues and to various audiences
  • Comfortable operating in new environments and dealing with ambiguity of a "startup"
  • Passion for the mission of Wikimedia and positive can-do attitude
  • Speaks both Portuguese and English
  • Wikimedians/Wikipedians a huge plus!

Payments, Incentives, and Penalties

The contractor will be paid USD $30 on an hourly basis. The contractor will need to cover all legally required deductions, taxes and benefits out of this amount. Approved out-of-pocket expenses may be invoiced for reimbursement.

About 20 hours per week is expected, with a maximum of 30hrs. Any charged hours over this amount must be approved by the supervisor.

Points of contact for future correspondence

Jessie Wild, Special Projects Manager

rfp@wikimedia.org