On Nov 28, 2011, at 9:26 AM, Ashwin Baindur wrote:

> This is a letter to all Indian editors of the English Wikipedia requesting 
> discussion, cooperation and help.
> Recently I was asked to give a three to four minute presentation on the state 
> of WikiProject India on English Wikipedia for the session on state of Indic 
> Wikipedias at the recently concluded WikiConference in Mumbai. At first I 
> thought nothing about the matter, but as I was compiling the report, I came 
> across statistics which would horrify any of us.
> To begin with, as of time of writing this post, WikiProject India has a total 
> of 90,021 articles. This is a very large number and second only to Hindi 
> Wikipedia's 100,588 articles. Since all these English articles cover only 
> India or some aspect of its geography, history, culture or its people, this 
> set of 90,000+ articles is important to all Indians, representing the largest 
> core of knowledge about India on any Wikipedia project.
> But all of this is not high quality stuff. User:Svick on English Wikipedia 
> provides a useful service to WikProjects on English Wikipedia. He provides a 
> WikiProject-wise listing of articles which have improvement tags such as 
> {{unreferenced}}, {{cleanup}}, {{copyedit}} and so on. In his report for 
> WikiProject India, at the following url:
> http://toolserver.org/~svick/CleanupListing/CleanupListingByCat.php?project=India
> you will find that of the 79435 articles in this project which were assessed 
> by Svick, a total of 52077 articles or 65.6 % are marked for cleanup, with 
> 86271 issues in total. These are tagged with 82 different types of tags, the 
> most populous being :
> * Articles with unsourced statements (6815)
> * Articles lacking reliable references (1989)
> * Articles needing additional references (4840)
> * Articles lacking sources (8970)
> * BLP articles lacking sources (1297)
> * Articles needing cleanup (2751)
> * Articles containing potentially dated statements (9317)
> * All articles needing coordinates (14571)
> * Articles to be expanded (1020)
> Besides this, there are 40,338 articles unassessed for importance and 20,527 
> for quality, making a backlog of 60,865 assessments.
> In addition, of the 90,000+ articles, there are 43,843 stubs and 10,986 start 
> class articles. All these need to be developed in time also.
> Besides these are a very large number of cryptic articles, articles 
> pertaining to India but not tagged on the talk page with the WikiProject 
> banner. The articles themselves sometimes need more cleanup tags than are 
> marked at present.
> You may have read Sven Manguard's special opinion editorial in the Signpost 
> some time ago 
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2011-10-31/Opinion_essay
> wherein he has drawn attention to the hundreds of thousands of articles 
> needing cleanup and improvement on Wikipedia as a whole.  That is exactly the 
> issue with WikiProject India, as of now. 
> To me it appears that - Something needs to be done URGENTLY. 
> My own suggestion is that this can easily be tackled if all of us do a little 
> bit every day. Many hands make light work. There are about 450 active editors 
> listed on the WikiProject members page. If each of us decided to do just one 
> cleanup task each day, then we can do away with 1,64,500 odd problems in a 
> year. Over time, these issues will fall to negligible levels. 
> Please reply to this thread with your views. Firstly, do you agree with me. 
> Is there a problem or am I sensationalising the case? What exactly are the 
> issues and how do we resolve them. Can we as Indians rise to the challenge 
> and bring down these backlogs to manageable levels. Please  give us any 
> ideas, inputs, insights or critiques that may occur to you. 
Many thanks for your note, Ashwin.  I think this is a really important 
discussion and I agree wholeheartedly with you about the need to do something, 
and the need to do it urgently!

I notice your initiative to Collaboration of the Month on a select set of 
nominated articles - and that's fantastic.  That's exactly the kind of stuff 
that needs to be done.

Here are few thoughts that I had

We need to create a sense of community and collaboration.  It would really be 
nice if as many interested editors as possible sing up.  One comment I've heard 
from some wikimedians is that there isn't enough collaborative editing.  Can we 
create some vehicle for this?  For instance, can we take some time out in 
community meetups and do a little bit for one or more of these articles?  Can 
we create some kind of mini-events equivalent to hackathons?  For instance, can 
we create an Edit Utsav every (just throwing this out as an example) on Sunday 
afternoons every week?
We need to make a start - no matter how small  Even if you choose to do 2 
articles per month for Collaboration of the Month, that's great and we should 
take it from there and slowly build up.
We need to create excitement and momentum.  For this to happen, we need to be 
generous in our celebration.  I think every article that interested editors 
work on as part of your Collaboration of the Month should be celebrated - on 
this mailing list, on the WP:INDIA talk page, on various social handles (let's 
shamelessly exploit Tinu's vast fan following here) and maybe even in the press.
We need to have something to work towards (in your parlance, a beachhead...  
:-)).  I have an idea.  There are a bunch of discussions happening on various 
offline initiatives.  One challenge that these will face will be to select a 
reasonable set of acceptable quality articles on India.  I don't know what that 
number should be or how long it should take - but whatever the determinations 
are on both of these, what if you have these work with the offline initiative 
(which I also know is also very dear to your heart.)
We need to magnify an already big message.  One common refrain I've heard from 
many who are interested in editing Wikipedia is  the equivalent of "everything 
is covered; I don't know what to edit".  Asking folks in India to edit about 
India is a powerfully relevant message - and one that they are likely to 
intuitively connect with.  ..and as you've outlined, there is no shortage of 
articles - many of great importance / relevance.  Maybe this could be a message 
covered in every outreach sessions that community folks undertake?  [Edit] 

In all of this, do let me know if there is anything we can do to help and we'll 
do our best.  



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