The Wikimedia Foundation’s partnership with the Brazilian community continued to take shape this past week with my third visit to Brazil in seven months. As previously announced, the Wikimedia Foundation is in the process of engaging a Program Director to lead our work in Brazil. On this visit, I partnered with two community representatives to interview ten shortlisted candidates for the position over two days. I also joined a São Paulo community meetup, Wikisampa 11 and had dinner and drinks with community members on Friday and Saturday.
The interview process is an innovative partnership with the Brazilian community and it is going really well. It is truly a Wiki-community collaboration. User:Castelobranco and User:Everton137 were nominated through a community process to join the interviews. The three of us worked together on the interview plan and met as a panel with each candidate for a little over an hour. We debriefed on the candidates and were in agreement on the candidates who we would like to have continue in the process. It was a valuable experience for the candidates as well and gave them an immediate taste of life in the Wikimedia world.
The innovation doesn’t stop at the interviews. Our finalist candidates will begin a public assignment (designed on-wiki) this week that requires them to work with the Wikimedia community and each other to complete a brief research assignment. We will all have an opportunity to see them work collaboratively in the community. This will provide valuable insights as we narrow to a smaller priority list of candidates who will come to San Francisco for final interviews. Many thanks to the Brazilian community for nominating candidates, suggesting the collaborative approach and for participating actively in the process.
Wikisampa 11 was held on Saturday at the cafe in the very cool Centro Cultural de São Paulo. We had a great group of Wikipedians in attendance along with some interested newcomers and a few candidates from the interview process. Included in the group attending was User:Yanguas who has 98,491 edits and counting in the article namespace (167,469 total) since joining the project on May 31, 2006. That’s over 80 edits every single day for over 5 years! Incredible!
Topics of conversation (those that I was involved in) included the recently launched Grand Prix challenge focused on improving 5,000 articles for an offline version of Portuguese Wikipedia, opportunities to work with higher education to increase contributions to Wikipedia and challenges of being welcoming to newbies in order to expand the Portuguese editing community. I also had a fascinating discussion on the social impacts of technology.
Barry Newstead leads Wikimedia’s efforts to support the growth of our projects in priority geographies around the world including Brazil. He is the Chief Global Development Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation.