Hello all, I am sending this mail, as I am soon going to be leaving for Kolkata and as such a particular incident reminded me how we can do a free of cost basic outreach, to spread the word about Wikipedia. The incident occurred when I was traveling from Mumbai to Kolkata, just after the conference, and not having time to change, I boarded the Duronto with my conference t-shirt on.
The passengers in the compartment I was in, though initially kept to themselves, started speaking to each other as often happens on long (28hr) train journeys. Very soon the focus shifted to my t-shirt and the resultant was that I ended up explaining the world of Wikipedia to them for hours. I should mention, it was a very varied crowd and maybe that is why it happened. There was a lawyer, a psychiatrist, a scientist, an engineer, and a couple others whose occupations were unknown to me. I won't say it was very fruitful, or that I showed them any live demo or ppt. Rather I focused on a few crucial question which were on their minds: - What is Wikipedia? - Who runs Wikipedia? - Is Wikimedia a sub-project of Wikipedia? - Who edits Wikipedia? - How many employees are there and how many volunteers? - Is it really free? If so, how does it earn money? - Reliability of Wikipedia - If anyone can edit, is it reliable? - Who monitors info? - Copyvio and reliable sources - What do I get out of it, if not money? - Role of a Campus Ambassador - How to edit? - Why edit? - Edit what? - Presence of Indic language wikis - How to edit Indic language wikis - Sister projects like Commons, Wikibooks - Entry of Foundation in India and creation of India Chapter However, as it was my first journey, I did not note down their emails to follow them up. The number was also limited, only 6. But hey, it was free and killed a lot of time, while at least telling people that Wikipedia can be edited and it has indic languages as well as sister projects. Hence, a sincere request to all Wikimedians. If you are traveling in a long distance train journey, try wearing a Wiki t-shirt if you have one. If you don't but the audience seems interested go over, say hello and ask where they work. When they ask you back, say, "WIKIPEDIA" and see the reaction. That should get you started. You can always try it. If it fails, then the only thing is you have to wash your Wiki tee at most. But at least you spread the awareness. I am not saying that this will retain people and inspire them to start editing, but at least they might go back and try and look at Wikipedia in a different way, or seek out new info. Am again going to wear a Wiki tee on my journey, will tell you if i have a similar experience. -- Regards, Debanjan* - Lets make this world a better and more informative place*
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