Thank you, Bala. It really made my day to read your report and it never fails to amaze me as to what a wonderful community Wikipedia has in India.
And Tinu and Srikanth - humbled by your efforts and enthusiasm. Best, Gautam ________ http://social.prathambooks.org/ On 21 February 2011 21:34, Bala Jeyaraman <sodabot...@gmail.com> wrote: > The NIT-Trichy Pragyan Workshop report: > > Just got back from an awesome two days at NIT Trichy. This is only my second > evangelism/outreach event. I have been uncomfortable shedding my > semi-anonymity and showing up in public for a long time, but these two days > have taught me what i have been missing. The following report is written in > an anecdotal first person perspective and naturally feature me prominently > :-). > > Day 1: > > On day 1 we (Tinu and me) opened the Wikipedia stall at around 11.30 AM. > Srikanth joined us sometime later. We had been allotted a 12X10 Ft stall. > Students started trickling in soon after. The first day we made our pitch to > around 100 students or so. We also met four or five guest speakers / > panelists like Ajay Agarwal, CMD of Maxx group, Narendra Shenoy, director at > Unimold, Vice Admiral SKK Krishnan and Stefan Engeseth of Detective > Marketing. The response was overwhelmingly positive with students saying > that they will edit in the future. Most of the students we met claim they a) > know they can edit wikipedia and b) have made some minor edits. Some > admitted they didnt know they could edit and some believed they contribute > only to articles on academic subjects etc. We gave them the standard - give > back your knowledge to the world + participate in an exciting world wide > project pitch. Except one wikiskeptic who cribbed about the 16 million > dollar budget, rest were appreciative of Wikipedia and its work. We also > distributed a flier (attached as an odt file - commons doesnt support office > office documents) to the people visiting the stalls. The flier was designed > by me and Srikanth and. I believe it will work well for other indic wikis ( > a small customisation effort is required to replace Tamil with the relevant > language). > > The day wound down and we were thinking about packing up around 6, when we > met the guy who made our day. We saw this bespectacled kid staring at us > curiously and pointing out our banner excitedly to the adult who accompanied > him. We beckoned him to come over and asked him patronisingly has he heard > of wikipedia. The kid says yes. Have you edited wikipedia, we ask. He says > yes for that too. We look at each other meaningfully and say.. "what did you > do? correct spelling mistakes?". "No", he replies seriously, "i correct > wrong facts". He is an eighth standard student from Coimbatore and has been > editing wikipedia for a couple of years now. It took some time to get over > our shock and get his user ID. He says he does not use it much and edits > logged out most of the time. He was also not aware of that a talk page > exists for each user id and people can communicate with him. We showed him > how talk pages can be used and asked him to edit logged-in in the future. > > And thats the story of our run-in with [[en:User:Bvajresh]] and the > youngest (serious) Indian wikipedian, i have come across. Here's picture of > us with him > (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trichy_Wikimeetup1_2060.jpg) There > was one more surprise on day 1. While we were having dinner at the hotel, a > father and son pair wandered up to our table and introduced themselves. They > had seen our T-shirts and said they liked wikipedia very much. (Brand > appeal!) We invited them to next day's workshop, but they were leaving > Trichy the very night and couldnt accept the offer. > > Day 1 had definitely ended on a high. > > > Day 2: > > Day 2 began at 10 with the workshop/presentation in the NIT computer lab. It > had a seating capacity of around 100 and was filled up completely. Apart > from NIT students who had registered and were selected to attend the session > (yes they had more people registering than there were seats!), there were > also students from other colleges around Trichy who showed up for the > session. Three middle aged wiki enthusiasts also attended to hear about > Tamil wikipedia. One of them was a HOD of the Computer science department at > an arts and science college near Trichy. He was impressed with our workshop > and said from now on he will encourage his students to edit wikipedia. > > Tinu started the presentation with a general introduction to Wikipedia, the > foundation, its history, the various projects languages etc. In the Q&A > session that followed, someone asked how someone without paypal/credit cards > can donate money to the foundation. We explained the cheque mailing method > and assured him that there will be more options in the future. > > I did the second session. We went through how a typical wikipedia page looks > like, what is a talk page, how to view revision history and practised > editing in the sandbox. I took up the Sachin Tendulkar page in en wiki and > showed them how the content is sourced and how a page gets updated when > facts change. There were the usual doubts about reliability, who will > monitor disruptive activities and who will ensure the accuracy of the > content. Next i switched over to Tamil wikipedia and explained how easy it > is to contribute using the typing tool. (A big thanks to Junaid, Shiju and > our other ml wiki friends). Here we took up the example of the 2011 assembly > election article and learnt how to write neutrally without our prejudices > getting in the way. There was again a brief question session, which featured > some insightful questions about our external links policy, handling regional > language variations (srilankan Tamil vs Tamil Nadu Tamil), using Wiktionary, > the difference between Wikibooks, wikisource and wikipedia. Srikanth took > over next and the third session was about wikipedia hacking - bots, > mediawiki, programming tools, databases, scripts, software - stuff that > usually frightens me. This was again followed by a brief question-answer > session. > > While Srikanth was answering the questions, i discovered that someone from > the room had edited the ta wiki article i used as an illustration to > correct a grammar mistake. And also someone from the crowd had done what he > termed later as a test edit (something cluebot in enwiki would label as > "vandalism?"). The second edit had been reverted 12 minutes later by ta > wiki Admin Kanags (editing from Australia). We were able to use this as a > sort of real time demo how edits are monitored and accuracy/integrity > maintained in wiki projects. (We got lucky with that :-)). There was an loud > gasp of surprise from the audience when we showed how the vandalism was > reverted within minutes. The session ended with Wiki 10 celebrations - cake > cutting and photographs. Unfortunately the T-shirts from the foundation have > not reached the organisers and they weren't able to give them out - we had > to make do with chocolates, pins and laptop stickers. The entire workshop > lasted from 10 to 12.30 and was well received. (I have an invite from Amrita > University, Coimbatore to do a similar workshop there :-)) Microsoft > Wikibasha's Saravanan attended the session and we all had a long and deep > discussion with him about how important it is for the corporates/outside > orgs to speak to the community and get involved at the project level to > avoid misunderstandings and getting better results. After the presentation > was over, it was back to the stalls. This time we shifted to a open air > stall near the food court to be nearer to the crowd thronging the food > court. The stall remained open till 3.30 PM and had another 50 more > visitors. > > Another good thing that came out the stall was we were able to convince the > members of the NIT photography club to CC/SA licence their work and upload > it to flickr/commons. There was an exhibition of their works in the same > area where our stall was situated and featured several high quality images, > that can be used to illustrate articles on Indian subjects. They have > promised to set up flickr stream for their works with appropriate licensing. > > So there ends the long story of my visit to Trichy. A special thanks to Tinu > and Srikanth for egging me on come out and face the crowd and enlightening > me about the necessity for outreach work. And another special thanks for > student organiser Nivash and his team for their outstanding hospitality and > giving us a chance to connect with such an enthusiastic audience. > > Here are some photos from the event - > http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Tiruchirappalli_Meetup_Feb2011 > > regards > Bala Jeyaraman > [[en:User:Sodabottle]] > > _______________________________________________ > Wikimediaindia-l mailing list > Wikimediaindiafirstname.lastname@example.org > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l > > _______________________________________________ Wikimediaindia-l mailing list Wikimediaindiaemail@example.com https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l