Wikimedia India Blog

Building Knowledge Society

Natural World Edit-a-thon Bangalore

Wikipedians in Bengaluru and neighbouring cities with an interest in the natural world conducted an edit-athon in the city to improve articles on the plants, animals, geology and other aspects of nature on Wikipedia. Helping identify and obtain reliable sources, learning to structure an article, paraphrase, cite and polish up articles was also on the agenda. The workshop was aided by wildlife enthusiasts User:Chinmayisk  and User:Shyamal. Noted naturalists Dr.Subramanya and  Dr.Vijay Barve , Wikimedia Program Director Ravishankar and Wikipedian Dinesh Kumar interacted with the participants.

Excerpts of the Interview from the Hindu Article

Talking about the workshop, Chinmayi said, “The focus was on enhancing wiki articles related to the natural world. We discovered that most articles about flora and fauna are either faulty or have become outdated. In this workshop, we have bought together a host of naturalists and wiki enthusiasts. We hope that the workshop will help them learn more about using edit functions on Wikipedia and get a forum to share nature-related information and media. In this workshop, the participants are building new pages and updating older ones in real time. Most participants are regular users of wikipedia, but are editing articles for the first time.”

Wikimedia project manager Ravishankar contends, “We are also looking at popularising the use of Wikipedia in regional languages. In the realm of wildlife, we find that many Indian animals do not have much information uploaded on wiki pages. This anomaly is caused since English is not the first language of most Indians. If we make Wikipedia in local languages more popular, more information will make it to the public domain. The response to this edit-athon has been very encouraging. We want to conduct such events across the country. Having a broad range of contributors and content is necessary to achieve our goal. These events bring more contributors and help add more content ”

Wildlife enthusiast and one of the organisers of the event, Shyamal says, “Most people who participate in such events are motivated to learn about the natural world. We lack a lot of information on nature, flora and fauna. Wiki needs authentic scholarly information and these workshops aim at putting this information out in the public domain. Most of the information is available only in expensive and rare books or science journals. This is an attempt to ensure that a lot of this information comes in the public domain.”

Subramanian Sankar, an avid birder came from Chennai to attend the event. “It is very informative. I have learnt a lot. I think that these workshops will go a long way in improving the quality of information available on Wikipedia.”

The list of articles that were edited during the workshop

On the whole the workshop  had a positive impact and was well appreciated by those who attended it.

Wikimedia Community at AdaCamp Bangalore

Wikimedians with Adacamp Bangalore 2014 participants.

Wikimedians with Adacamp Bangalore 2014 participants. Picture by Suki under CC-BY-SA 4.0

AdaCamp is an amazing initiative to increase the participation of women in open technology and culture.

The AdaCamp at Bangalore was held on 22nd and 23rd of November 2014.

The Camp was true to its claim and was designed to encourage women in every possible way . The atmosphere at the Camp was very cordial and of mutual respect. The programs were of unconference nature which made it very inclusive . Special programmes like Imposter syndrome workshops  showed the commitment of the makers to address the issues of women in open technologies and culture.

Women from the Wikimedia Community made significant contributions to the camp by volunteering and also by  conducting various session including and not limited to Wikimedia Projects. We conducted two sessions with regards to wikipedia  

  1. Introduction to Wikipedia, Led by Chinmayi S K and Netha Hussain

  2. Wikipedia workshop, Led by Netha Hussain and Parul Thakur

Introduction to Wikipedia :  This session was held on Day 1. It had a mixed group of first time editors to those who had the experience of editing wikipedia and had to face issues.We began the session talking about various parts of a wikipedia page and how are they significant along with their uses. There were long detailed discussions on inserting content into the page what kind of content is allowed , what would make it credible and where to host it , use of references and what kind of reference would strengthen the article. Here we also figured out why some edit or articles were disregarded and there was also a mention of sponsored edits.

The other things we were able to cover during this discussion  were  : Macros and templates , Namespaces , Wikitionary, Talk pages ,Portals  and  GLAM initiative.

At the end of the session we also had a very insightful discussion on the diversity of  Wikimedia editors and the plunging numbers which are a cause of concern . How diversity affects the quality and type of articles being written and How one could contribute to increasing the number of women editors ( leading initiatives like Women’s History Month and others ) .

Netha Hussain and Parul Thakur

Netha Hussain and Parul Thakur. Picture by Gurpreet Kaur under CC-BY-SA 4.0

Wikipedia Workshop :  This workshop was held on Day 2 and was a hands on session. We had three women who joined this session. The session initiated with the basics like creating an account to login and leveraging the sandbox to test and edit. On the AdaCamp internal document, a number of resources to help attendees make their first edits. For the purpose of this session, Netha and Parul shared the project pages of the previous edit-a-thons on Women Parliamentarians and Scientists. Biographies are a good starting point and hence we wanted to show these pages to the attendees. We spoke of adding categories, banners, making minor edits and backing them up with references. Throughout the session, we individually helped attendees modify/create/edit content.

Both sessions had a positive impact and was well appreciated by those who attended it. Here is two  pictures of the group after the sessions  .

It was encouraging to see the attendees being interested in Wikipedia sessions and as facilitators, we really wish to address the Gender Gap. More and more women participants in such sessions encourage us to take Wikipedia to a level where we could see equality both in terms of women editors and women specific content.


Attendees from the Wikimedia Community at Ada Camp :

Pavithra Hanchagaiah, Netha Hussain , Rohini Lakshané, Parul Thakur, Chinmayi S K , Nappinnai Krishnamoorthi , Juvairia Nv.

See also:

* In Love with AdaCamp – A blog post by Parul Thakur.

10 years of Telugu Wikipedia

Write-up by Rahmanuddin Shaikh, a Wikimedian from Hyderabad.

Telugu Wikipedia completed 10 years on December 10, 2013. Several training sessions, also known as Wiki Academies, were planned by the Telugu Wikipedia community to mark the occasion. One such session, the Te-Wiki Shikshana Shibir was organised at Hyderabad on December 8. It was the fifth Wiki Academy ever held in the city.

The Wiki Academy saw a turnout of around 21 people coming from various teaching backgrounds, right from a professor of Telugu from Osmania University to a teacher at a private school. Teachers, professors, student-teachers, and instructors participated in the event. It has carved the way for organising Te-Wiki Dasabdi (Telugu Wikipedia decennial celebrations) with more enthusiasm.

The Telugu teaching community has affirmed that it would make use of the Telugu Wikipedia in and out of the classroom. Many of the participants have already turned into Wikipedia editors. “A few of the difficulties the Telugu teaching fraternity faces have been solved by the Telugu Wikipedia,” said one of the participants hailing from Mysore CIIL. “I’ve been horrified by the mere touch of keyboard and mouse, this Telugu Wikipedia seems promising to deal with my Computerophobia,” said HoD, Telugu Osmania University, Prof S.V. Satyanarayana. The professor also urged the organisers to conduct one such workshop for his students in the coming days.

Event page on Telugu Wikipedia

Photos of the WikiAcademy

Cross-posted at WikipeDNA

Edited by Rohini Lakshané: rohini at wikimedia dot in

Kannada Wikipedia completes 10 years

The Kannada Wikipedia completed 10 years on November 17, 2013. An account of the anniversary celebrations held in Bangalore written by Wikimedian Pavithra H.

Banners at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Kannada Wikipedia

Wikipedia has been a key source of knowledge for everyone from a student writing her assignments to a scientist conducting research. It is the world’s fifth most accessed website. Since its inception 10 years ago, the Kannada Wikipedia has grown to accumulate around 13,000 articles and still has a long way to go in terms of building an encyclopaedia in a 2000-year old language.

Wikipedians from different parts of Karnataka had gathered at the tenth anniversary celebrations. The chief guest was the father of the modern Kannada dictionary, Nadoja Prof. G. Venkatasubbaiah. Other guests included T. R. Anantharamu, a retired scientist with the Geological Survey of India, National Award-winning film director Abhaya Simha, and Dr. U. B. Pavanaja from the CIS-A2K (Centre for Internet and Society – Access To Knowledge) team.

Registration desk at the tenth anniversary of the Kannada Wikipedia

Dr. Pavanaja shared his opinions on the importance of building the Kannada Wikipedia and spoke about his stand on the upcoming areas for its development. He finds that articles are lacking in informational value, and focus should be on adding such value to them. Nadoja Prof. G. Venkatasubbaiah insisted that youth engage more with the Kannada Wikipedia. He feels that the Kannada Wikipedia should grow with continued participation. T. R. Ananthramu said that as a scientist, he understands challenges in research activities such as digging out accurate information on a topic. He said he believes that domain experts need to actively participate in the Kannada Wikipedia to add the right content, which will, in turn, help everyone get correct information.

Abhay Simha whose father Ashoka Vardhana runs a book publication and grandfather, G.T. Narayan Rao was a science writer, underlined the need for timely updating and reprinting of science books. Realising the benefits of the Creative Commons licenses introduced by Omshivaprakash H.L., the Chair (Special Interest Group) of Kannada Wikipedia, Abhay has released science books written by his grandfather under a CC license. He hopes that references from the books are added to Wikipedia and the knowledge contained in them is shared with everyone.

Next was a demonstration on editing Wikipedia by Omshivaprakash followed by a session on the Creative Commons licenses by Kiran Ravi Kumar, who is an engineering student living in Mysore. The event ended with an edit-a-thon by the Wikipedians in which new articles were created. Active editors of the Kannada Wikipedia who have been contributing for years were given mementos to mark the occasion and to acknowledge their contribution. A few Wikipedians shared their experiences about the difficulties that a new Wikipedia editor faces and how to overcome them.

It was a fruitful event to help understand and realise the need for exponential growth of the Kannada Wikipedia and to make a rich and free encyclopedia for the Kannada-speaking community.

Photos of the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Kannada Wikipedia from the Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA) and Flickr.

Event page on Kannada Wikipedia.

Edited by Rohini Lakshané:

Cross-posted at WikipeDNA.

Tamil Wikipedia completes 10 years

A number of Indian language Wikipedias complete 10 years in 2013 — Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati, Sindhi, Bhojpuri, Kashmiri and Sanskrit. The tenth anniversary celebrations of Tamil Wikipedia were held on September 28 and 29. Tamil Wikipedia has 965 contributors, 56,000 articles, and gets approximately 175,000 page views every day. Here is a brief account of the event by Sowmyan Tirumurti, Executive Manager, Wikimedia Chapter (India).

Visit to Mahabalipuram (By C. R. Selvakumar)

Visit to Mahabalipuram (By C. R. Selvakumar)

On September 28, Tamil Wikipedia contributors took a bus tour of the historical town of Mahabalipuram and spent a large part of the day interacting with Wikipedians they had met for the first time. Tamil Wikipedia has many expatriate contributors. Some of them had flown to Chennai to attend this event.

The first edit to Tamil Wikipedia was made 10 years ago by Mayuranathan, an architect of Sri Lankan origin and a resident of the UAE. He shared the history of Tamil Wikipedia with the participants. He was the only editor for eight months. Sundar Lakshmanan, one of the co-founders of the Wikimedia Chapter (India), was the second Tamil Wikipedia editor ever. He provided much needed technical help, which Mayuranathan had found necessary. Ravishankar Ayyakkannu who currently leads the group’s activities was the next Tamil speaker to start editing the Wikipedia.

C. R. Selvakumar, a professor based in Canada, also attended the anniversary event. He has shown a lot of enthusiasm for maintaining the integrity of the language. He has been encouraging the community to use existing Tamil words where possible, and helping them create new words where none exist. Many government organisations and universities that work on the Tamil language have replicated a large amount of the content from their dictionaries to Tamil Wiktionary. Though the use of new words potentially hinders new contributors on Wikipedia, these words have now taken root, and are used in popular Tamil magazines.

September 29 began with a workshop on editing Wikipedia. Then, a professional translator advised participants on what makes a good translation. The third presentation was on basic photography tips and instructions on contributing images to Wikipedia. Next was a session by the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) group of Chennai. They shared how they have been able to take the free knowledge movement to the public in general and to the students in particular. Some students who participated in free knowledge activities have landed good jobs based on their meritorious contribution to the movement. In the next session, many eminent leaders of the free knowledge community of Tamil Nadu shared their thoughts on the activities that can be undertaken.

Tamil Wikipedia tenth anniversary cake (By C.R. Selvakumar)

Tamil Wikipedia tenth anniversary cake (By C.R. Selvakumar)

Two books in Tamil on open source software were released. One of the books is a guide on GNU/ Linux authored by Nithya Srinivasan. It is available for free downloading here under a Creative Commons license. Active Tamil Wikipedia contributors were felicitated with a certificate at the end of the event.

The Tamil Wikipedia community has a very vibrant youth brigade ready to take the movement to greater heights. Their enthusiasm and camaraderie were inspiring.

It was a challenge to capture the spirit of the event in mere words. I have only narrated the sequence of events with a brief background.

More photos on Wikimedia Commons

Edited by Rohini: rohini at wikimedia dot in

Cross-posted on WikipeDNA.