Community Relations Specialists
Community Relations Specialists (formerly called Community Liaisons, currently sometimes shortened as CommRelS or CRS) serve the Wikimedia Foundation, contributors and readers by supporting teams that collaborate with communities supported by Wikimedia Foundation. We focus on collaboration and communication with communities about product development, user-facing product changes and roll-outs, and any kind of priority project with special needs for collaboration with Wikimedia volunteers, even if it's not from the Product department we're currently sitting in.
Who we areEdit
- Erica Litrenta, Community Relations Specialists Manager
- Benoît Evellin, Thriving Movement – Growth team features
- Szymon Grabarczuk, Brand Awareness – Desktop Improvements
- Johan Jönsson, Thriving Movement – Apps teams features (Android, iOS), IP Masking
- Keegan Peterzell, Worldwide Readership – Structured Data (Media search - Computer-aided tagging)
- Sherry Snyder, Thriving Movement – Talk pages
- Nick Wilson, Worldwide Readership – Abstract Wikipedia
We mostly support Medium-term Plan priorities, sometimes sharing the following duties with other staff as appropriate and agreed:
- Participating in their planning process providing community perspectives and risk assessments.
- Designing communication plans for activities targeting Wikimedia communities.
- Drafting and posting information (from announcements to bulletins) and/or reviewing messages authored by others.
- Watching project-specific channels in time-sensitive project phases.
- Organizing calls for community feedback.
- Turning user feedback into bug reports or actionable tasks in major project phases.
- Facilitating conversations and meetings with the communities.
The Wikimedia Foundation hired its first community liaison in May 2011 (Maggie Dennis), in the since-dissolved Community Department. The initial role of the community liaison was to be a point of contact between Wikimedia community members and the Wikimedia Foundation and to answer general questions about the Foundation and internal processes. Over the course of the following year this job description transitioned away from liaison to Community Advocacy (which subsequently evolved into the Trust & Safety team).
In October 2011, Product hired its first community liaison with a focus on communications between product managers and developers (Os Keyes). An additional four community liaisons were brought aboard within the Product Department in June 2013 in order to communicate changes to community stakeholders during the roll-out of VisualEditor (Patrick Earley, Erica Litrenta, Keegan Peterzell, Sherry Snyder), and another was added in August 2013 to facilitate communication on Echo and Flow (Nick Wilson). The "Community Engagement (Product)" team was formally launched in June 2014, after its first director (Rachel DiCerbo) was hired. Two more people joined in 2015 (Benoît Evellin, Johan Jönsson) and 2016 (Chris Koerner) The team was renamed Community Liaisons in early 2016. The team was then merged with Developer Relations to become the Technical Collaboration team, with a new manager (Quim Gil).
In 2018, in response to the newly defined movement strategy, most of Developer Relations transferred to the newly created Developer Advocacy team in the Technology department. The Community Liaisons became Community Relations Specialists and formed a sub-team in the newly created Community Relations team, with an expanded mission. With the late 2019 dissolution of the Community Engagement department, the Specialists sub-team were split off to join the Product department, and their former ComRel colleagues joined the Communications department. In early 2020 a new part-time teammate was hired to work on the Desktop Improvements project (Szymon Grabarczuk).