Programa Catalisador do Brasil/Recommendations
This document is the second progress report emerging from the Brazil Catalyst Project (BCP), and sets out a draft strategic action plan to promote the desired outcomes of WMF as regards Brazil. It should be read alongside the BCP pages within the meta wiki – which document all activities done during the time of the BCP, including the first progress report – and by its annexes that bring details of some relevant elements supporting the actions here suggested.
The desired outcomes of the BCP are:
- Increase the number and diversity of participants in Brazilian WM projects
- Raise awareness of WM and presence in Brazil
- Extend reach of WP/WM in Brazil
- Create excitement in existing WP/WM communities
Macro Actions Proposed Edit
- Establish a new dynamic with the existing community by identifying its leaders, collecting better data and engaging in projects that attract positive energy and engagement
- Engage in projects that recruit entirely new sets of readers and editors
- “I am a Brazilian, and I am a Wikipedian”
- The things that make me Brazilian? I curate them on Wikipedia.
- Leverage major global events: World Cup, Olympics
- i.e. Does your samba school have a Wikipedia page?
- Leverage regular national events: Fashion week and others around digital and Brazilian culture
- Partnerships for offline and mobile
- Education: partnerships with Universities and others
- Establish a WMF presence in Brazil and hire a National Program Director
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) Analysis Edit
This is a preliminary SWOT analysis meant to guide the implementation. Actions proposed or taken should be viewed as playing to strengths and opportunities, and minimizing weaknesses or neutralizing threats.
- Expanding community increases overall viability of Wikipedia / WMF in Brazil, lowers dependence on any single community of editors and readers
- Local organizational presence significantly increases odds of meaningful funding and resources in Brazil
- Cultural relevance to Brazil, and strong ties to events that will be featured in the Brazilian national consciousness
- Increased data flows from “on the ground” to headquarters correlates to better strategy.
- Costs time, money, and bandwidth – this plan will only work with a meaningful commitment to see it through, not just “launch and go”
- Existing community is fractured and “tired” – and thus will require time and sensitivity that could otherwise be directed into building projects
- Not a strategy that the WMF “ecosystem” has experience in executing
- Language barriers may lower ability to maintain rapid and tight links with WMF headquarters
- Increase the vitality, size, and diversity not just of existing communities, but of the number of communities themselves.
- Access new sources of funding from national and regional agencies and governments
- Interface with Brazilian institutions that need Brazilian partners
- Actively participate in shaping media conversation around WF/WM
- Great timing in advance of World Cup, Olympics, which will tie into Brazilian national pride and can be connected to participating in Wikimedia as part of being a Brazilian in the global network.
- Build partnerships with brother and sister groups like House of Digital Culture and other free culture / commons-based production projects.
- Energize existing community (if handled right).
- Rejection of strategy by existing community (if handled incorrectly)
- Perception of “takeover” or “sellout” by existing community
- Rejection of WF/WM by new community
- Lack of funding or commitment
- WF/WM representative gets caught in community debates and forced to choose “sides” in debate or “rule” on disputes.
The BCP’s limits should be acknowledged up front. Brazil is an enormous and very diverse area and this is reflected within the Brazilian WM community. As with many other online communities of volunteers within commons-based projects, the volunteers’ motivations, ways of action, participation, and dedication vary immensely. This characteristic also impacts in the ability of the community to reach consensus in regard to structural and self-preserving processes and also impacts in the ability of the BCP to reflect all and every nuances of such community. Thus, there is a real need for WMF sensitivity in pursuit of the goals above, and in regard to the long term preservation of the projects the Foundation elects as its priorities. The community is not a cohesive entity and there are multiple opinions and factions on every issue, often shifting in composition from issue to issue.
Building a larger and more diverse community is part of the answer: right now, the existing readers and editors have a collective history of fractured relations, competition, and rejection of any perceived “interventions” by outside entities including but not limited to WMF. No matter what action we take, there will be some negative reactions from the existing community simply because of the collective history. Framing the proposed actions’ through the lens of the goal of increased participation, and increased diversity, both as ways to increase the long term stability and viability of Wikipedia and associated WMF projects in Brazil, is a route that will not accidentally “activate” this collective history any more than necessary. This approach draws on the existing strategic position of the present and future community of volunteers, but also provides an organizational framework to engage with more traditional institutional stakeholders in Brazil, such as Universities, government, companies, and others who may not have felt comfortable engaging via the “free for all” channels currently available.
Another part of the answer is to build a set of campaigns that tie into Brazil itself. Brazilians have a strong sense of national pride, and of what makes Brazil special. Whether it’s national music, samba schools or football clubs, or national times on the world stage like the World Cup, making a connection between being Brazilian and curating, a Wikimedia resource about what “makes you Brazilian” can create a connection that doesn’t yet exist.
In coordination, government investments in digital access points can also be connected into this campaign – physical spots where people without broadband can connect via public investment, which can and should be connected into the idea of collective ownership and curation of content in Portuguese. These digital access points could be key elements of a long term strategy – could we design something akin to a “captcha” system as part of logging on that creates edits or content? Can we partner with the government agencies that run these access points to connect their use to being a Wikimedian/Wikipedian?
Altogether the lines of action focus on the small steps needed to set up a stable, legal institutional presence in Brazil, prepare that presence for partnerships, initiatives and funding, and begin the brainstorming process as to how that presence might begin to take action.
Lines of Action Edit
The general goals set above imply a series of specific actions that, in one way or another, deal with community structure and support, outreach, partnerships and other opportunity identification for WMF projects, including mobile and offline, and improvement of the perceived acceptability of WMF projects in Brazil.
Establish a WMF presence in Brazil and hire a National Program Director Edit
An institutional presence of WMF in Brazil will accelerate activities in the region, by providing an infusion of energy, effort, and potentially cash for the support of community-driven initiatives and Foundation driven initiatives. This action is not a risk-free action, and the primary risks are to the dynamics with the existent community. But there are ways to minimize and manage such risks.
- General recommendations in regard to dynamics with the Community:
- Define the role of a WMF representative in an up-front and neutral manner
- Establish a set of “checks and balances” so that the limits on the WMF representative are clear
- Establish clear direct and indirect communication channels
As reflected in the first BCP progress report and in the new set of interviews and conversations with Brazilian volunteers done from December to February 2011, in addition to the constant watching of project-based community discussions, there is no consensus in regard to which structure should prevail within the existing community of volunteers. There are strong emotions for and against the formation of the traditional chapter structure and also for and against the current “Mutiroes” structure , or even debates as to whether or not they could coexist. Strong dissent and emotions also appeared when we tried to “float” and discuss alternative possibilities, such as the presence of a community organizer (See Annex X – Phrases from Community Discussion of Possible Structures). However, there are identified community needs that justify institutional representation whose goal is to increase the number and diversity of the Portuguese speaking Wikimedia community in Brazil, and collaterally within other Portuguese speaking regions.
Some of these needs are derived from the barriers imposed by language, and others in regard to the lack of clarity related to the possibility of “representation” and “what can be done” by the community under the name, flags and projects supported by the WMF. The needs under “what can be done” also reflect the lack of trust of some institutions in Brazil (government, etc) to develop projects “with a group of volunteers” and the bandwidth of the WMF headquarters to deal with such regional partnerships and projects in the absence of dedicated staff.
Other needs are project-specific, such as to simplify and clarify process and norms to newcomers, and thus related to outreach, translation and simplification efforts. We will provide suggestions on these in more detail under other action lines.
Finally, the existence of a structure facilitates the flow of grants/funds to and from Brazil.
However, even with such identified needs, the acceptance of official representation of WMF within the Brazilian Wikimedia will likely not be an easy process. There is a clear fear from part of the community in regard to the role of such official representative and the possible interference of such person in determining “what the community can or cannot do”. Such fear – and risk – can be mitigated, though not eliminated, by a very clear description of the representative’s role, and a constant communications process with the various groups of volunteers and group of needs.
This communications process might include an establishment of “checks and balances” processes that can empower and motivate the community, and also guarantee that voices from groups with different opinions are heard (through direct or indirect channels with all and any volunteer, such as advisory boards). The existing situation will require extreme sensitivity from the WMF in structural design and the selection of a formal “representative” (which we herein call “National Program Director” or “NPD”).
Additionally, we recommend the establishment of processes of constant and transparent interaction with the community. These processes will provide clarity from WMF in regard to the limits of responsibilities and intervention capacity/power of the NPD, because there are clear risks that community members might ignore established community procedures and norms and call for the direct intervention of such a person as a moderator or decision-maker . Consistently referring to the NPD’s role as being primarily to expand the number and diversity of readers, editors, and WMF participation, may be a key element of acceptance, as that fits both WMF goals and does not contemplate “management” of the community.
Opening an office or a representation in Brazil involves a series of logistical steps that are outlined here. The steps are not provided in great detail, but should give an idea of the necessary procedures the WMF will need to follow. The implementation of such steps will require the contract of local Brazilian professionals, mainly a recruiter, a lawyer or law-firm and an accountant, who will prepare the documentation and registry functions as needed. The hire of a law firm or accountant is the first step, since such professionals can receive power of representation or attorney to act in name of the WMF in Brazil in order to take all the necessary steps in regard to the office opening and team hiring process.
- Summary of action recommendations for Logistics:
- 100% subsidiary with tax status of a non-profit foundation, registered within all needed governmental departments and agencies, including a local Bank experienced in dealing with international non-profit (donations) transfers;
- Located in Sao Paulo city, possibly in a non-profit/tech shared work space, with like-minded organizations and space for community activity and volunteer engagement;
- Hire personnel: a National Program Director and an Project/Office Manager/Assistant;
- Constitute a National Advisory Board, inviting community members, possibly through community election process, representatives from like-minded communities and thematic experts.
Legal structure: Edit
Taking into consideration the lack of a formal Brazilian chapter or consensus around structure possibilities driven by volunteers – which would allow other juridical structures for a WMF representation in Brazil, the recommendation is the opening of a 100% subsidiary with tax status as a non-profit foundation (Branch, Representative Office or Agency of a Foreign Non-Profit Entity), with limited representation powers in accordance to the level of risk the WMF agrees to support (see below “Legal Risks”). Such structure needs a series of registries in different governmental institutions, such as Receita Federal (Tax Authority), the Central Bank, a local Bank, and the Ministry of Justice (which validates the non-profit Foundation status).
Brazil has less than a handful of urban centers with a sum of characteristics that would justify the choice for where to place the WMF representation office. Based on general aspects such as population size, market, access to Internet and mobile phones, infrastructure and services, airport connections, strong academic and non-profit sector, community presence and certain community activities (such as WMBR presence, meet-ups, projects, Mutiroes, unofficial ambassadors etc), Sao Paulo city is the recommended choice.
Sending Money to Brazil: Edit
One of the obvious justifications of opening a local office is related to simplification of international monetary transfer to support local community and activities, but also to receive local donations and grants. There is bureaucracy and cost involved, but these are simplified in the case of a 100% subsidiary foundation. The basic steps here are the opening of a local bank account (in this case there are two interesting options of banks that provide more complete services, including dealing with the Central bank, and good fees: Banco do Brasil and Citibank) and the registry with the Brazilian Central Bank (headquarters in Brasilia and offices in Sao Paulo).
Structural needs: Edit
Finding a physical space in the city can be completed later based on the budget allocation. Co-office spaces and start-up spaces – something new in the city’s entrepreneurship scene (such as the “The Hub” , “Cecília’ , “Casa de Cultura Digital”, or “Ponto de Contato” ) – are available and may be compatible with WMF institutional culture. In any case, we suggest places with easy public transportation access and flexible working spaces that allow some of the outreach and community activities proposed later in this plan, such as the “one day in the office”, “summer of code”, meetings and community meet-ups, among others.
To determine the size of a team, it is necessary to ask how much bandwidth the foundation has to support local activities and opportunities identified by a local representative and also to understand the community of volunteers’ willingness to contribute to WMF driven initiatives. The community feedback has been positive whenever there is a call for volunteer help; however, there are two issues to take into consideration: time of response (if some initiatives are time sensitive, there will need to be some back-up plan since the community time of response is unpredictable) and coordination. Additionally, in many occasions the same group of people (in general from the WMBR community) are the ones accepting non-specific project driven activities , even when those are posted within all possible channels of WMF project communication (Esplanadas, Agoras, Cafes and Mailing lists) , thus there is a need to be sensitive about “burning out” such members.
Taking this into account, the senior official should be complemented by hiring a second staff member – a “program and special projects assistant” (to manage administrative details and bureaucracy, deal with scheduling issues, but also assist within community initiatives when needed. These two staffers would be the foundation of a WMF effort in Brazil. Additionally, depending of the powers that will be vested in the representative, there may be a need to have a support network of professionals, such as accountant and lawyer/law-firm, either on short term or long term retainer.
The suggested name and nature for such representative, hopefully harmonizing with roles and processes existing in other country based offices, is National Program Director.
National Advisory Board: Edit
Constitute a National Advisory Board, inviting community members, possibly through community election process, members from like-minded communities and thematic experts (legal professionals, entrepreneurs, foundations, academics, etc). Such Board, would have a mandate of supporting and establishing transparent and documented channels of communication with the community and also to legitimize some WMF’s efforts in Brazil. It also need support networking efforts of the National Program Director, and help to identify and open partnership possibilities. This would be a voluntary, not-legally constituted board, with a temporary mandate. The board is not above the community, nor the National Program Director, having only an advisory and support role.
General Legal Risks: Edit
There are some core issues to be aware when dealing with legal risks in Brazil. Here we will deal specifically with Internet-related risks, such as “internet service/content provider” civil liability and copyrights, and point to some possible mitigation strategies.
- Summary of recommendation in regard to legal risks:
- Clarify limits of OTRS system in relation to legal claims/notices procedures;
- When relevant, engage with government, agencies, local associations, companies, institutes and a network of legal professionals and academics on Internet best-practice discussions and implementation;
- Possibly have a “ready to go” law firm, lawyer or network of pro-bono lawyers.
Background on Brazilian regulation and practices: Edit
Trends on civil liability: Edit
Take-down notice process: Edit
Upon receipt of a take-down notice, ISPs and other internet companies in Brazil are expected to remove the content, but the affected institution may then challenge the removal in court. The recipient can actually answer by requiring a court-ordered take-down-notice, but needs to take down the content immediately after receiving such order. This system effectively places the legal burden on the producer or host of the “censored” content and allows only after-the-fact remedies. The current practice has developed somewhat informally and is not established by law, but the Brazilian Congress is currently considering legislation that would codify it under the debates of the Civil Rights Framework for the Internet (“Marco Civil”). The proposed bill - which received close attention from civil society groups and which has passed through a long process of public consultation - renders web hosts liable only if they fail to comply with a direct court order to remove content, rather than requiring them to preemptively self-censor. The bill was still awaiting passage as of February 2011 . Another bill of relevance is the one focused on data privacy protection, which brings a set of practices that institutions would need to observe when collecting personal data information through its Internet services and platforms . The current text – which still can be significantly changed – tries to be in symmetry with the Marco Civil (Section III) and determines that the institution will need to make clear – when collecting data – why, how, for what and for how long they will keep and treat personal data. The Marco Civil asks for at least, a 6 months-period of connection logs archive, so the institution can assist in civil and criminal investigations.
Recommendations in regard to mitigating risks in advance: Edit
- Structure local office work to avoid unnecessary exposure, including personal liability of employees;
- Present and install transparent, clear and easily findable procedures and channels in Portuguese regarding to OTRS and take-down notices, clarifying the limits of community response and responsibility for responses and the need to legal response/intervention from the Foundation/local office. Check the possibility of an “ombudsman” system and its symmetry with OTRS and take down notice systems. Establish clear communication channels, work-flow and deadlines;
- Present and install clear and easily findable rules in regard to privacy, treatment of user data and personal date identification in the case of court-orders;
- When applicable, present and install transparent, clear and easily findable procedures and channels regarding child safety, in Portuguese;
- Present clear and easily findable information about how WMF and how its projects operates, including its non-profit and volunteer-base character;
- When relevant, engage with government, agencies, local associations, companies, institutes and a network of legal professionals and academics on Internet best-practice discussions;
- Possibly have a “ready to go” law firm/lawyer/network of pro-bono lawyers.
Engage in projects that recruit entirely new sets of readers and editors Edit
Building a Message Edit
- Summary of recommendation in regard to messaging:
- Build a message before formally going into Brazil, about WMF goals and perspectives in regard to Brazil;
- Build project-specific messaging to energize existing community and attract newcomers;
- Engage with and support community driven efforts to build project-specific messaging.to attract newcomers;
- Collect supporting data on Portuguese language projects to support messaging and initiatives.
Prior-to-arrival messaging: Edit
A necessary first step, even before hiring personnel, is to build a clear message in regard to the objectives of WMF institutional expansion into Brazil. Not just in concern to its goals, but also why Brazil. This message can, actually, determine the success of the long-term project, and help to avoid misunderstanding with the community and possible partners, since it will set the expectations and the bandwidth of attention the WMF intends to direct to efforts within Brazil.
Focusing on a goal and message that does not criticize the existing community, but focuses on the need to preserve the long term viability of WMF and its projects by reaching out to increase the number and diversity of readers and editors and other participants is recommended.
The general message will also assist within the process of recruiting the right person for the National Program Director, and hopefully will bring energy to the existent community and future one. Putting faces in the message – such as Jimmy Wales, Sue Gardner, Barry Newstead, Kul Wadhwa and others – can also spur motivation and excitement.
Project messaging: Edit
Establishing project specific goals, and maybe actual metrics of expected growth, and prioritizing projects towards such goals are necessary steps in order to set timeline for actions and time investment. This may require data collection on Portuguese based projects, such as the suggested below. In any case, such understanding will support useful project-specific messaging. This can be done through the direct engagement and support of community driven messaging initiatives, such as the February “community banner” initiative aimed to attract new Wikipedians or through WMF driving initiatives fostering “general engagement” or “specific-initiative messaging”, such as around University or GLAM partnerships. Additionally, to promote positive/supportive third part driven message is crucial to bring legitimacy to the projects. An example is to relate stories like “Wikipedia Can Promote Health Worldwide, Say Doctors” which could be appropriated to the Brazilian reality and then promoted or success stories coming from partnerships in Brazil and abroad (ex.: from Public Policy initiative, as a support for PP-like Brazilian initiatives).
Collect supporting data: Edit
This action also supports other actions recommended within this plan (such as community initiatives and partnerships), but has special relevance to message building. We need to understand better the dynamics of the community, and its demographics to build messaging and to establish priority among projects, partnerships, travel, etc. Thus we recommend collecting data with the tools already available to the WMF, such as the ones developed by Editor Trends Study , or other WMF conducted studies on Wikipedians demographics. There are, already, plans to collect data in regard to internet mobile usage of Wikipedia applications, but what we propose goes beyond the existing research . If the data reveal low usage, this can inform messaging – “the goal of the Brazilian NPD is to increase every number of usage by one order of magnitude, and that’s how you can and should measure our work” etc.
Provide Materials in Portuguese Edit
- Summary of recommendation in regard Materials in Portuguese:
- Based on the evaluation of budget available for translation, time and quality pressures: decide on an official initiative of “call-for-help” (from the community and like-minded communities, such as Open Translation community) or the hiring of official translators to translate outreach, manuals, and training materials.
One of the main barriers to achieving WMF goals in Brazil is the language – it’s as simple as that. English speakers received natural and constant support from WMF and that is true for the USA and for countries with large English speaking population, but that is not the case of Brazil. It is true that English is part of the official high school curriculum in most of the Brazilian states, but very few Brazilians are actually fluent. Thus, an extra effort is needed in regard to localize content, so that it is accessible and editable.
The difficulties already shown and pointed out by Wikipedians and Wikimedians during interactions with the WMF, and the complaints about the lack of technical people and Wikipedia stewards who speak Portuguese, are a clear proof of pressing need. (See Annex XX - Phrases from Community on their needs)
The first set of materials that deserve immediate attention are the public outreach materials and manuals, including initiative-based materials (such as the Ambassadors and Public Policy Initiative, how to edit Wikipedia, open licensing issues around Wikipedia), to be accessed by newcomers and used in numerous training and engagement initiatives. These materials may also contribute to bring more clarity and peace to current “high-heat” discussions around Wikipedia articles deletions and reversions. The second set of materials is those focused on information and data that can be picked up and used by the WMF Brazilian representative, the community and the Brazilian media.
It is true that the WMF has trusted in volunteer based translation, however, a more concentrate effort is needed if the objective is to systematically attempt to increase the number and diversity of editors in Brazil. Such effort can actually be done by a formal call for help from the existing community or like-minded communities (such as the Open Translation community) or through the hiring of professional translators. The results may vary in quality and speed, but both alternatives are available.
Build Institutional Partnerships Edit
- Summary of recommendation in regard Institutional Partnerships:
- Clarify what type of partnership is of WMF interest
- Legitimize those driven by the community within WMF’s goals
- Focus on a small number of high-impact or core-project-based (such as mobile and offline) WMF-driven partnerships
- Start partnerships that could migrate from WMF-driven to community-executed or third-party-executed
Partnerships are essential institutional to institutional strategies of attracting others to support, legitimate and validate WMF’s work and message. Such arrangements are crucial in Brazil, if, in addition to the goal of increasing the numbers of editors and readers, WMF wants to increase the quantity and quality of open content available through its projects – from Wikipedia-pt to the Commons, and also to increase their legitimacy as reference content.
Partnerships can be community-driven or WMF-driven, based on the bandwidth of and power invested in the local representatives. Community-driven partnerships have the strength of being developed and executed by community members, with little need of support from WMF, rather than legitimation and recognition.
Community-driven partnerships: Edit
Community members have been driving partnership opportunities for some time, however, none of those have been institutionally recognized. Thus, there are requests from these volunteers for an official recognition of the role of such Brazilian based institutions looking for official partnerships. Such an example is:
- Example: Brazilian Society of Knowledge Management: An existing community-driven partnership opportunity is with the Brazilian Society of Knowledge Management (BSKM), based in Brasilia (Brazil’s capital). Two very active Wikimedians have been fostering this potential partnership and the proposal is to have the BSKM as an official, voluntary and non-exclusive partner (probably through the signature of an MoU or Letter of Understanding) that provides training to organizations to adopt MediaWiki and engage with other projects, such as Wikipedia-pt. BSKM has already proved its commitment, by brokering connections with universities (IBMEC), companies (Banco do Brasil), schools and research institutes (IPEA) in its region. However, this partnership may be limited as regional (Brasilia) and have a focused impact (governmental, for-profit, and academia, mainly in regard to building skills to use and implement MediaWiki, with hard to measure collateral effects on Wikipedia-pt and other projects). In any case, supporting and formalizing such a partnership can boost motivation and energy within the volunteers leading it, and show a path for transition from user-driven collaborations to something formally related to WMF.
WMF-driven partnerships: Edit
WMF-driven partnerships are crucial to demonstrate to the community which types of activity may be relevant for a WMF goals, and also to share experiences and successes of partnerships carried out by the community or the WMF in other countries. Such actions have the strength to support the community to focus energy, time and effort in a certain direction that has shown successful results in the past. It also may be auxiliary in taking the community out of unproductive discussion cycles on how to prioritize initiatives. Additionally, if replicating initiatives already in place in other countries, it has the practical opportunity of using existing materials and strategies, which can provide efficiency and avoid new learning / product development cycles (and thus save time and money).
The involvement of the WMF within each partnership may vary from just describing an opportunity and engaging volunteers in the scoping and execution of a certain partnership/project (Type A) to opening an opportunity, engaging community and providing overview and resources, such as materials (Type B) or investing direct WMF resources into executing a certain partnership/project (Type C). Some examples and style of relevant partnerships are:
- Type A: Universities (Ambassadors and PP-like initiatives)
- Type B: Universities (Ambassadors and PP-like initiatives), Foundations (such as Fundacao Roberto Marinho), GLAM-type partnerships, Research Institutions (such as IPEA)
- Type C: Hardware companies (To foster offline initiative), Government (To foster offline initiative), Mobile Telecom companies (to foster mobile initiative), Government (such as Ministries and Agencies)
Type B initiatives have high probability to become Type A initiatives after the first months of execution and consolidation of procedures .
However, Type B initiatives, to become Type A, will require official calls-for-help from the community. Both types A and B have as objectives to increase the number of editors, readerships and quality of the knowledge inserted within Wikipedia and other WMF projects. Such partnerships need to foster the idea that is “good” and strategically relevant to use WMF projects as the perfect outlets for knowledge publication and diffusion and to generate innovative methodologies of education and learning within the knowledge society.
A list of potential partnerships identified can be found in the BCP meta wiki page. Some of institutions were already visited during the WMF trip to Brazil in January 2011 .
Establish a new dynamic with the existing community Edit
Generating a positive vibe: Edit
- Summary of recommendations to generate a “good vibe”:
- Set correct message and clear expectations;
- Bring faces to the dialogue (not just email addresses);
- Document and share good practices from other countries, communities and like-minded communities;
- Provide motivation, legitimacy and opportunities of formal engagement to community
- Establish a small-grants-making process that recognizes non-chapter-based activates
- Create a vibrant environment within the national office, which should present an “open door” ethos.
The existing community is open for interaction and support, but it is not open for direct interference or intervention. The community also seeks better guidance from the WMF in regard to project-based disputes and norm-setting process. Therefore, setting the correct message prior to any step towards the opening of a WMF representation in Brazil is crucial to set such expectations and demands in the right place. But this is not the only step needed. WMF needs to document and share) with the Brazilian community (or foster the documentation and sharing inter-communities) of sets best practices and procedures.
Additionally, guidance and support are related to providing motivation, legitimacy and opportunities of formal engagement to community. Such things may or may not involve direct funding opportunities to the community, but to establish a small-grants-making process that recognizes non-chapter base activates may be crucial to foster some community initiatives.
Here we list a series of activities that may promote the expansion of a positive engagement with the existing community, but also to attract new communities and like-minded communities’ engagement.
- Establish a small-grants-making process, where proposals are received from the community and elected by the community;
- Establish a Fellowship Program to foster academic discussion of WMF projects and its relations to innovation in areas such as learning, technology, information society, or to generate relevant data for local initiatives etc;
- Recognize the already existing, but still informal group of Brazilian Ambassadors, list Universities and subject areas in development, and support such Public-Policy like initiatives with materials and official recognition;
- Establish a “Visiting the Office” day, when the WMF offices in Brazil are opened for volunteer visitors and work; possibly have a couple of tables and spaces for volunteers to hang around;
- Organize “Brown Bag Lunches” with like-minded communities, existing community and opened to the public, in order to have the WMF Brazilian office as a reference to talks on technology, collaboration and open knowledge.
- Open the office for activities such as “Wikipedia Marathons”, where training and activities around writing and editing articles are developed;
- Develop a “Summer of Code”-like program to bring interns to develop and translate code for WMF projects in Portuguese
Harder issues: Edit
In addition to the above, there are harder issues also to be faced and looking at the current state of the existing Brazilian community of volunteers and its capacity to absorb newcomers. Such issues can be summarized by the discontent with practices and rules around deletion and reversion of editions, the tone achieved by certain discussions, and also the decrease on the rate of newcomers and new articles. Such conclusions were reached by a look at Wikipedia statistics, and on qualitative information coming from interviews, Wikimedia-pt discussion list, and Wikipedia pages discussions – some of which have been object of a considerable amount of Twits and even media attention. The design of such “harder”, “long-term” initiatives asks for better data, thus, once again, we recommend data collection, within the molds of the “Editor Trends Project” and other WMF available tools. The results of such analyses may indicate the need of initiatives focused on newcomers or initiatives focused on more senior editors, such as.
- Legitimize and support tutorships program;
- Improving channels of communication and learning;
- Improving Wikipedia user navigation and user interface, making user guides, materials, and rule more easily findable and direct.
- Designing “Revitalizing Programs” to deal with “biting newcomers” issues, improving collegiality;
- Identify leaders and ask their help and engagement with positive actions and programs;
- Legitimate their initiatives when whitin WMF goals.