Wikimedia Fellowships/Endorsements

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Attention: These pages are out of date and have been retained for purely historical value. Please see Wikimedia Fellowships for current information.


The fellowships program sources both potential fellows and fellowship project ideas, and matches them together into actionable projects. Input from all movement stakeholders on project ideas is an important part of this process, because it helps program staff gather background on each idea and understand what kinds of fellowship projects are high priorities for the Wikimedia movement. The WMF Community Fellowships program wants to know which project ideas you see particular value in, which projects you think are the best fit for the fellowship program, which you think will most help us meet strategic priorities, and why.

How to endorse an idea[edit]

  1. Become familiar with the criteria for evaluating project ideas listed below.
  2. Browse the list of open project ideas for any that interest you, and evaluate them based on the given critera.
  3. Post your endorsement of any project that fits with the overall program and project criteria in the section provided at the bottom of the idea page. Describe why you think the project idea is of value and a good fit with the selection criteria.
  4. Concerns, questions, or suggestions to develop an idea further are also very helpful. But please post these on the idea talk page instead of in the endorsement section, as endorsement is intended for statements of support only.
Please Note
  • Endorsements by volunteers interested in working in collaboration or in an advisory role with a fellowship recipient on a project are highly encouraged.
  • Project ideas do not need to be in the form of fully-fleshed project plans or proposals at this stage, so the idea should not be evaluated solely based on how complete the proposal is. Your input could help develop an idea further, or nudge it in a new direction. It might also spark a new fellowship project idea.
  • At the point that a project idea is selected and matched to a fellow, a full project plan will be built out and posted on meta for further community input.

Evaluation criteria[edit]

Fellowship project ideas should be evaluated according to their overall fit with the following set of criteria:

Project submission criteria[edit]

When submitting a project, the proposer of the idea is asked to consider and address the following points:

A great fellowship project is...

  • Targeted - addresses strategic theme(s) or goals
Ask: How does the project fit with WMF goals and current fellowship program theme(s)?
  • Actionable - has concrete deliverables and outcomes
Ask: What will the project drivers do, how will they do it, and what will change as a result?
  • Impactful - can have impact on a large group of people, articles, projects
Ask: Does it serve the many or the few?
  • Sustainable - builds volunteer-driven continuity over time
Ask: After the fellowship is over, how could the initiative continue?
  • Scalable - has the potential to transfer knowledge or approaches to multiple languages or projects
Ask: How can the project model solutions to generate movement-wide value?
  • Measurable - can demonstrate impact
Ask: How will we know if the outcome is successful?

WMF strategic priorities and annual goals[edit]

Several of WMF's 2012 goals are specifically focused on editor retention, so participation and retention has been selected as the central theme for 2012 fellowship projects. Editor retention is an area where WMF is particularly in need of more short term community projects, especially action-oriented experiments, pilots, or initiatives led by community members and aimed at increasing the number of new, active and highly active editors on the projects each month. Fellowship ideas that are likely to result in increasing editor activity in visibly measurable ways (for example, see the last 2 charts on the monthly report card) are considered high priority.

A project must meet some basic conditions to be considered for a Wikimedia fellowship:

  • fellowships are temporary positions, so projects should be scoped to 12 months or less
  • projects should not undertake work that should be done by volunteers (such as editing Wikipedia articles)
  • projects should have a clear need for leadership (by a fellow or team of fellows), and funding and logistic/organizational support (from WMF)
  • because this is not a traditional academic fellowship or general academic grant, even research projects should be targeted to solve relevant problems and aim for actionable outcomes

Fellowship program goals[edit]

The goal of the fellowship program is to:

  • scale and increase sustainability of the work of volunteers in the Wikimedia movement
  • provide opportunities for professional development for community members
  • expose the Foundation to fresh ideas and perspectives and experiment with new approaches in order to grow and sustain the movement

How your input is used[edit]

Fellowship projects are chosen based on a number of factors, including WMF's organizational capacity for supporting fellows and projects and availability and fit of fellowship candidates to take on any given project. Endorsement is not a vote. Although we cannot guarantee that a highly endorsed project will be selected for immediate fellowship, or that a project with anti-endorsements will never be chosen for fellowship, endorsement and debate of project ideas is taken into account when prioritizing fellowship project ideas.

In the event that an idea is highly endorsed and deemed to be a good fit for fellowship, but is in need of further input to develop into an actionable project plan, working groups may be convened with interested volunteers, researchers, WMF staff and advisors to assist the prospective fellow in building a more concrete project plan.