OpenWetWare talk:Hiring

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Notes from Meeting

(feel free to add)

  • Possible positions:
    1. Technical Administrator / Extension Developer
      • Responsibilities would include server maintenance, updating Mediawiki distribution, OS, etc. Would be nice to have capability to develop custom extensions as well (though there was some concern about the how those would be maintained long-term).
    2. Community Developer
      • Responsible for cultivating the growth of communities on the site. These would include things like technical communities, new-user admin/welcoming, information management (e.g. consensus protocols), etc.
    3. Founding CEO / Evangelist
      • Responsible for raising money, talking to the press, etc.
      • Suggested that before we can get this person we need to have a tighter description of the long-term mission of the site (since we would need someone who was very passionate about it).
  • Comments on why a Community Developer would be useful.
    • There was concern that by focusing too much on the specific things we would like an employee to work on (e.g. a new extension or a help page) we would be creating a non-scalable system for getting these things done in the long term. (and also a system with an expiration date when the finding for the employee ends in a year).
    • Alternatively, we should could focus on hiring someone who would cultivate volunteer communities from the OWW user community. They would essentially be there to facilitate the growth of many of these groups rather than take on leadership of any particular one.
  • we decided to specify the job descriptions for the technical/admin and community developer positions and wait on the CEO position for the time being.
  • It was also suggested that we should pursue supplemental funding if we find a person we want but can't afford. (the thought was that it would be easier to get additional funds since we have some now, and we'll have a clear target for its use)
  • Possible short-term goal: Develop a more open (as in making what OWW offers and how one can help more obvious than Community Portal) community in order to find motivated users to be recruited as "Community Developer(s)". Possible way is to have a page of "OpenWetWare Services" listed like Google Products. I will start working on this in the next week and present my material by the next meeting. -- Jenny

Brainstorming for job description

Figured this might be a good way to start to specify the things we'd like an OWW employee to work on. (in no particular order - please add!)


Server maintenance

  • Upgrades to Mediawiki
    • Testing compatibility of extensions and addons (UMS, mailing lists, etc)
    • Installing new extensions and their prerequisites
  • Monitoring
    • Disk, CPU and memory usage
    • Security: intrusion attempts, etc
  • Capacity planning
    • Hardware and software benchmarking/tuning
    • Server migration
  • Backups

Development of new technical tools

  • Being able to develop MediaWiki extensions would be a 'nice-to-have'
  • OWW software distribution / private wiki roll-out
  • how to integrate with existing/future tools


Development of new wiki content

  • Tutorial pages (how to start a new lab)
  • Help pages
  • Maintain a calendar of conferences, workshops and events relevant to OWW community (calendar idea mentioned during last SC)
  • Develop the Directory of people and improve visibility on available ressources/skills within OWW community (maybe linked to categorization)
  • Highlights
  • Foster a community

Organization of existing content

  • Information management
    • Categorization, Semantic web

Wiki Maintenance

  • User Management
  • Deleting pages

Spokesperson / CEO

  • Getting more funding
    • writing OWW concept paper for circulating with potential sponsors.
  • Spokesperson for interacting with media / external parties
  • Surveys, 'market research,' figure out what people want/need

Meeting agenda

  1. "Facts on the ground" - how much funds do we have available and what are the going salaries for the type of people we'd be looking to hire. (jason)
  2. Prioritize the list above
  3. Sketch up a rough draft of a job description
  4. other?

Possible dates

As decided at the last SC meeting, we'll be holding a seperate meeting to talk about hiring someone to work on OWW full/part time using the money available from the NIH grant. We'll need to decide what sort of background we're looking for / can reasonably find. If you're interested in contributing to the discussion but can't make the meeting, please write me (jasonk at mit dot edu) an email with your thoughts.

The meeting date will be Dec 5: Noon-1pm EST in Room 68-151. If you would like to call in please contant jasonk at mit dot edu. Thanks.

--Vincent 14:11, 5 December 2006 (EST): Following the meeting on Hiring someone:

From a User perspective,it would be great if that person could be at least a 50% 'Facilitator' for the OWW community. 'Facilitator' meaning that this person would try to address issues related to:

  • Building a stronger sense of community with OWW
  • Improving visibility of available resources within the community (knowledge, technical skills, experimental skills ...)
  • Helping people willing to contribute to get involved (visibility of on-going projects, be able to point current OWW trends and active discussions)
  • animate and coordinate sub-OWW-communities:
    • Administration
    • Implementation of extensions
    • Consensus Protocol editors
    • Scientific writers
    • ...
    • The 'Facilitator' would support these open-groups to define their mission, short and long term goals, organize their conference-call meeting once a month, define their deliverables and chase them 'gently' to fulfill what they agreed on (no need of much technical knowledge, just someone to go through a check list and make sure that all networks are up-to-date.

I agree that this person should also be able to communicate outside of the OWW community. It would be good to have that person producing communication tools/documents to liaise with:

  • Funding bodies
  • General public and scientific Media
  • Other communities of people having skills or experience in fields where OWW needs to strengthen (programmer is an obvious example)

At the end of the day, I see that person as someone with a lot of people skills (often over the internet, to ease the task ...), with a good sense of organization and coordination.

--reid 21:57, 11 December 2006 (EST) Regarding fostering community, I think this is important, but it's not totally clear how someone would foster community. Do people have specific ideas/examples? One that comes to mind (which may or may not fall here exactly) is to have a nice page with publicity materials ready to go: oww posters, how to order business cards, link to a tour of oww, etc.