Hi AshLin,

Thank you for the post on the latest Wikipedia Pune meetup.  I
personally find smaller Wikipedia meetups to be more engaging and
interesting (for the simple reason that you meet with people who are
as passionate about our projects as you are).  Despite that, outreach
is a very important part of our work as a team of Wikimedians and we
must plan to get a larger group of potential Wikipedians involved in
our meetups.

> * There is an urgent need for outreach, no matter how fruitless results may
> seem in the short term, both for editors in English and Marathi wikipedias.

Indeed.  If we are to create a movement in India, it must be done with
attention from the mainstream media.  Most of the media attention that
our projects have received in India has been from the print media, and
as I understand we must have our projects and volunteers covered by
television channels which will have a higher impression rate on the
general public and can draw a significant amount of attention.  At the
same time, skilled volunteers can support a pan-India communications
network of media-persons and train more volunteers to draw the
attention of the media on our newest projects and their projected
impact on users accessing our content.

This can be done through various means.  Through effective
collaboration amongst volunteers across Indian cities, we can organize
Wikimedia events and meetups with different levels of focus and
sophistication e.g. events that focus on the academia, students and
teachers, social entrepreneurs and activists, writers and researchers,
media people etc.  This is because these classes of individuals are
likely to have more interest and available time for pursuing something
on Wikimedia projects.  Such focused events captured by television can
pique the curiosity of individuals who fit the profile of an average
Wikipedian (who is by no means average).  Additionally, with regard to
the Wikipedia project, my experience has been that Indian users are
likely to be passive consumers of information rather than active
creators of valuable content.  In order to have a breakthrough with
identifying users likely to edit content on our projects, we must
engage our audiences with topics with which they are most likely to
relate to and feel a sense of ownership about.  A Wikipedia
editing-workshop organized at the GNUnify event in Pune did not manage
to get a lot of interest from the conference participants even though
there were scores of students and other participants available for
tracks and presentations by Wikimedians.  Amongst the few who joined
in for training workshop, [[User:Rangilo Gujarati]] was one who
actually made an attempt to edit a few articles on Wikipedia (he made
a few edits about his native city and school).*  Inasmuch my efforts
at GNUnify bore fruit and I am very proud of this.


A large number of photographers from India are now uploading pictures
of great quality on flickr under free licenses making them available
for use on our projects.  The usability team at the Wikimedia
Foundation is working on an upload wizard to make it user-friendly to
upload media on to WMF servers.  This will all contribute to a
palpable shift in interest of photographers towards the Wikimedia
Commons as an avenue for their work to be featured on Wikipedia and
other projects which is a win-win situation for both Wikimedia and the

Therefore, as a part of our outreach focus we must highlight different
projects to draw the attention of potential Wikimedia enthusiasts viz.
the Commons (photographers), Wiktionary (lexicographers), Wikibooks
and Wikiversity (educators), Wikinews (media students), Wikisource
(librarians and archivists), Mediawiki (developers) etc.

AshLin, even though our efforts at outreach may not show immediate and
conclusive proof of interest and participation, in the longer scheme
of things we are slowly but surely having a positive impact on
community growth.

> * The planned activities approach should be replaced by the "How can
> Wikipedia help you - how can you help Wikipedia" approach.

Spoken like a true Wikipedian!  At a Bangalore meetup organized in
December 2010, Danese Cooper said, "The open-source movement is all
about enlightened self-interest."  Unless we understand and accept
this philosophy, we will find it tough to sustain our work and the
movement in India.  For attracting potential long-term contributors
our marketing strategy should be focused on structuring and selling a
mutually beneficial relationship between the volunteers and our
projects.  Young students are probably our most precious resource and
the most loyal subscribers to the ideas driving our movement.  Events
and campaigns must center around the idea that the opportunity cost of
working on our projects is lower than pursuing other goals since our
projects give people an opportunity to work with some of the smartest
people on the planet.  (-:

> * It was felt that only one event be planned to be undertaken in different
> directions. However, if more was achieved in that field - great. Example -
> only one GLAM was to be approached this year, but if opportunity, or more
> important volunteer effort was forthcoming, do more.

At this juncture, collaboration with GLAM institutes can be optimized
by gathering support from professional volunteers working in the
cultural segment of the non-profit sector.  Identification of such
individuals is an onerous task, given that many of these volunteers
might not be aware of the work and potential of Wikimedia projects in
these segments.

> * The monthly meetup must continue, so that a hard core of Wikipedians is
> built up and activities discussed here even if the actual work was done by
> people in between in their individual capacities and individual interests.

Hardcore is good. :)

I like what you're doing there Ashwin.  As a chapter representative, I
forsee that once WMIN is fully functional it will be able to extend
organizational support to volunteers around the country to make their
lives easier by provisioning for the infrastructure and possibly
professional help for back-end work and follow-through.

* From my experience of the days when I was a anti-vandal on the
English Wikipedia, there was a time of the day when the entire country
of England would explode with activity on school  articles.  Most of
these edits were un-constructive vandalism and they were quickly
identified and reverted by RC patrollers.  Reverting vandalism is much
more easier now than it was in those days given the availability of
more advanced tools, vandalbots and inbuilt features in the software
which take care of most obvious problems.

I believe there is a huge potential to convert these young vandals
into productive contributors.  We must understand that these users are
younger than the average reader and therefore they must be addressed
in a different manner.  For one, we must use different warning
templates for belligerent IPs resolving to schools and block them for
a shorter duration to minimize collateral damage.  Additionally, the
encyclopedia must become more tolerant towards article creation on
schools and universities because it is highly likely that first-time
contributors will write something about their institute or school or
city when they attempt to make their first edits to the project.

We must actively advocate use of pseudonymous account creation for
obvious reasons and in order to protect the real-life identities of
minors, and adults who are not supposed to be editing Wikipedia at
work. ;-)

Anonymity can also bring out the best (and the worst) in individuals
as elucidated by David McCraney who blogs at "You are not so smart!"
<http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/02/10/deindividuation/>.  This is a
very interesting perspective on individuality, anonymity and the

Best wishes,

Anirudh Bhati

+91 9328712208
Skype: anirudhsbh

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