This is a consolidation of the role and recruitment requirements associated to POPREBEL Tasks 2.1 (community management) and 2.3 (ethnographic coding) prior to and following my meeting with UCL (University College London), CUNI (Charles University, Prague) and UBFF (University of Belgrade) today. These roles will be engaged by researchers at each partner’s university under the guidance of our Task leaders.
This post can act as a central reference and I will be requesting that Jan (UCL), Maria (CUNI) and Haris + Isidora (UB) join the platform to continue discussion and resolutions here.
- Edgeryders - English and overall community management leadership, including community journalism programme
- UCL - Polish
- CUNI - Czech
- UBFF - Serbian/ Croatian/ Bosnian/ Montengrin
* Please note that the POPREBEL research includes other sites and cases beyond these four language groups however these were chosen as the core fora
Currently budgeted at 2.5PMs within each partners’ own budget = 10% time over 24 months (or equivalent). Head of Community @noemi has requested partners consider their own estimates based on better understanding of scope of work, and suggests an increase to 5PMs (20%) per role.
Job Description for a Multi-lingual Online Community Manager for the POPREBEL Project c/o @johncoate
In a set of online discussions about a subject as volatile as populism, a community manager/moderator needs to act in a manner similar to a referee at a sporting event. It is understood that everyone has a bias, whether they know it or not, but in this role above all else one must be scrupulously fair at all times and to all participants. Any hint of favoritism carries the potential of derailing an entire conversation either by “turning off” those who seek an honest airing of the issues at hand, or by turning the conversation into a debate about the fairness of the moderator.
Next, it is the responsibility of the manager/moderator to allow spirited debate to play out to its fullest extent while preventing that debate to devolve into personal attacks between those who hold opposing views. Not unlike a referee, a manager has certain powers available to enforce the need to ensure a civil debate. That includes banning outright a violator, either temporarily or permanently. However, similar to showing bias, too quickly or arbitrarily banning someone runs the same risk of alienating the participants or turning the discussion into a referendum on the actions of the manager. Thus, it is necessary to clearly describe what will and will not be allowed, and to warn someone before taking more drastic action. Too much lenience risks letting things get out of control. Overly strict management tends to stifle the free flow of conversation. So, lay out the ground rules and make it understood that within them, there will be judgement calls.
Third, be helpful. Often this means finding credible references that help move a discussion away from being dominated by unsubstantiated opinions. At the same time, if someone disseminates false information, even if referenced, pointing it out in a civil way is useful for everyone. Even better if you point to a source that contains the real facts.
Fourth, be welcoming. Actively invite newcomers to not just watch or read, but to express themselves. Some are comfortable expressing their views and others are not. As a corollary to being welcoming, it is useful to remind the more verbose participants to make room for others to express themselves.
Finally, always lead by example. As frustrated as the work often is, maintaining a cvil tone “starts at the top.”
Skills and qualities
- Able to write clearly and succinctly to suit a variety of people
- Tolerant of a wide variety of views, including those you don’t share
- Able to multitask, switching between social/conversational and admin tasks
- Willing to work a variety of shifts and hours of the day and night
- A strong sense of fairness
- Good attention to detail
- A genuine interest in others, comfortable with a variety of people
- A friendly welcoming nature and personality
- Ability and willingness to fairly enforce posted rules, without being autoritarian
- Be comfortable to work online and interact with others in a timely and responsive way.
Recruitment process considerations
Since it is a collaboration, I would like to know who the collaborators individually are who will manage this part of the process for their respective partners, and hopefully have a conversation with them. Or, failing a conversation, an email exchange where we can come to an understanding about the process and the prospective candidates. I could probably come up with some questions or, as you say, prototype posts, but that should come after talking to the others charged with this responsibility for their partnership.
- 1 x 2day training in Brussels month 3 (March 2019) with @johncoate and @noemi
- Academy course
- Ongoing mentoring
Currently budgeted at 2.5PMs within each partners’ own budget = 10% time over 24 months (or equivalent).
Job Description for a Multi-lingual Ethnographic Coder for the POPREBEL Project c/o @amelia
Populist themes resonate with a part of the European population. To people who reject populism, this resonance can be hard to understand and empathise with, as it seems at odds with the observed long-term trends towards societal prosperity and openness. Conversely, people who find populism attractive cannot reconcile what they perceive with the optimistic narrative of their political adversaries. Edgeryders is co-conducting a research project on populism in Europe, convening a participatory online conversation to learn what the rise of populist politics looks like from the point of view of Europeans living their daily lives. The project is a structured effort to listen to the voices of people on the ground, providing a breakdown of populism that encodes the point of view of the people directly affected by it, both supporters and opposers.
POPREBEL is looking to hire language specific ethnographers to collaborate with us on this project. This would run for about three years (January 2019 - August 2021), on a part-time basis. We have budget available for 10% of your time over 24 months or equivalent.
- Familiar with the theory and practice of ethnography.
- Comfortable with online ethnography.
- Experience with qualitative data analysis, specifically qualitative coding. The software is unimportant as we have our own, which you will learn.
- Ability to collaborate with other ethnographers coding the same dataset in different languages.
- Flexibility and willingness to engage in productive dialogue around coding decisions— good communication skills are a must.
- Good knowledge of English as well as one of the following languages: Polish, Czech, or Serbo-Croatian.
- Code the conversations, using a tool we built in-house called Open Ethnographer.
- Build an ontology of relevant codes, appropriate to ethnographic coding of the online conversation, and keep a detailed and organised codebook.
- Collaborate with other ethnographers to maintain a consistent multi-language coding ontology.
- Help to compile an ethnographic report at the conclusion of the project.
- Participate in the discussion towards improving both Open Ethnographer and the SSNA methodology.
The kind of qualitative coding we do has an added element to it: we use the codes to build a social semantic network, mixing ethnography and network science to produce a visualisation of the convened conversation. Thanks to the ethnography, now edges carry information about the meaning of interactions. This method of inquiry preserves the richness of conversation but provides some hard quantitative measures. With social semantic network analysis (SSNA), we can identify networks of codes, and measure their cohesiveness; identify emergent networks of specialists, who interact around specific keywords; and validate individual contributors, among other applications (to learn more, see: Semantic Social Network Analysis: the video).
As part of the role, you can also use the ethnographic/SSNA data to produce publications.
You can do the work online, from wherever you are, but you will be requested to participate in one or more physical meetings. Your travel expenses for these meetings will be covered by POPREBEL.
If you happen to be in Brussels, you can also come to the Reef, but that’s not a requisite. We coordinate and communicate through the Edgeryders platform.
Recruitment process considerations
- To apply : A short motivation letter, explaining why you want to do this and why you think you can deliver.
- Test coding
- 1 x 2day training in Brussels with @amelia
- Academy course
- Ongoing mentoring and bi-weekly calls