Thank you for your responding to me, Barry.  I would like to point out a
few issues, if I may, to set the context to my stated wish about what India
Programs should be doing.

A significant proportion of the events listed in your reference were
community events and if we consider only those conducted by the India
Program team we would see a smaller list which is not so impressive. Some
of these events had minimal help from India Programs. For example in the
GNUNIFY Wikipedia event conducted in February by the Pune community,
Nitika's presentation was used and that was all. (Since I had myself added
the entry to this page thinking it to be a collation of India outreach
events, I am not protesting its inclusion). There are other such events
where the involvement was low and these need to be excluded, keeping only
those conducted primarily by India Program personnel.

I see your point about value being added by these activities. Any outreach
is useful. However, India Program resources are scarce and valuable ( both
in the point of view of your multi-100,000$ budgets and limited capacity of
the very small team). In this context, it is the mix of activities carried
out and the proportion of its components that worry me and the community.

The presence of a small outreach activity is definitely justifiable as
keeping a pulse on the overall community and in touch with reality. IMO the
conduct of two events a month by India Program staff is more than adequate
- it still means 24 events a year, a very sizeable contribution. Hence,
events should be carefully chosen for maximum impact deriveable and maximum
diversity of experiences. It should be driven by only one staff member,
assisted by volunteers, and Hisham should appear there to enthuse the
participants, as per the time he can spare from his main agenda, not get
involved in the training himself. (More on this later).

Comments on Roles

* From what I have seen, the community will concur with me that adding
Shiju to India Program staff is definitely the right way to go. Shiju has
identified the "state of the nation" very well. He needs to keep working on
this field without being distracted by other things. But now the need is to
build the Indic language infrastructure - community building beyond a
certain point is the business of the community itself, not India Programs.
India Programs needs to tackle programs/seed projects/tasks which cannot be
easily done by the Indic community and which will lead to
empowerment/growth/development of the entire Indic movement.

* There is considerable confusion of roles of Noopur, Nikita & Subhashish.
The roles are nebulous and the explanations/justification for their
activities not convincing. Noopur had, to my mind, potential to be a great
GLAM resource. Yet she is doing suboptimal activities. So we have three
people working but the responsibilities/areas are not what the community
feels are required. Of the three resource people, one is more than enough
for the outreach, outreach handbook, WikiPatrika & communication roles
required. The other two and Hisham should be addressing things that are not
being addressed. These activities could be done by Subhasish.

* IEP - Gives the impression of prematurely being abandoned by the India
Program, the IEP version 2 is terribly behind schedule. It gives the
impression that Hisham and his team are once bitten, twice shy. The ghost
of IEP can only be laid by struggling through to a successful model, not by
trying to do other activities to make up the lack of success. At least, one
person should be deployed full time on this -  Nitika. We need IEP, Hisham
& Nitika to make a good success of IEP 2. In no other way, can we retrieve
our reputation. I say, our. because the Indian community feels let down,
unhappy and involved in this program, it is nt a matter of the IEP & the
CAs/Students only.

* Liaison with government, academia, industry, Institutes of learning,
NGOs, etc. The aim is to familiarise, educate and create opportunities
which are beyond the reach of the common wikipedian. Sadly, this is not
being pursued with any sincerity, much less any purpose. Some of the
community members feel, it is not happening at all. The nation's top movers
& shakers need to be engaged by Hisham, not the newbies & Indic editors.
This should be Hisham's primary agenda - vision, leadership & engagement at
the highest levels.

* GLAM & preservation of Indian Culture. This requires a full-time
commitment. Part-time responsibility, and one-off projects simply wont do.
Noopur is well-suited for this and it should be one of her major
commitments. WikiPatrika & some other smaller commitments may be part of
her responsibilities.

In the absence of concrete action on things that really need doing, and the
far too large emphasis on community building by India programs, which is
frankly in my opinion, none of their business, Barry, I feel skeptical
about the cost to value derived by this multi-hundred thousand dollar India
Program program.

People in the general community may disagree with me on individual issues,
but the general unhappiness of most concerned editors on Indian community
are based on these lines.

You would do well to consider from a Project Management perspective, what
are the goals of the complete year for the India Program, where we want to
be and the exact activities & events needed for this. As of now,
Hisham/India Programs seems to be functioning month-to-month, in a reactive

On my side, I have only a desire to see the community, chapter and India
Program all succeed and prosper. And my support for this wish of mine is
assured to all concerned.

Warm regards,

Ashwin Baindur

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 4:22 AM, Barry Newstead <>wrote:

> Hi all,
> On mobile: We are working on this. Deals take time to consummate and are
> confidential until they are finalized with partners, but there is work
> going on in India and we hope to have some good stuff soon.
> @Ashwin: At one level I agree, but another way to think about this is as
> follows...It is useful to differentiate between things an editor "can" do
> and what an editor "actually chooses to do".  There may be thing that an
> editor can do, but chooses not to do that is still worth doing and India
> Programs can fill that gap.  On Outreach, India Programs is a) helping to
> cross-pollinate learning across the community and take more of an
> analytical approach to assessing Outreach than had been done before Nitika
> started to really focus on this; and b) bring added capacity to help us all
> reach more groups (look at the volume of outreach that has happened since
> Nitika started pushing on this theme - not pure coincidence).[1]
> @Srikanth: I don't think we should be ready to say there is no need for
> group X to focus on activity area Y, since group Z exists. Existence does
> not equate with "satisfying all of the needs in India". India Programs will
> stop supporting outreach the moment the chapter or local communities feel
> they are fully able to met all of the demand for learning about the
> Wikimedia projects from groups across India.  Even today, the India Program
> team seeks ways to support community members or the chapter to do the
> outreach and does outreach sessions when a) they are asked to provide
> support; or b) where there aren't community members ready to take the lead.
> General point: IMO the debates which crop up regularly on this list over
> "who should do what" is tangential to the goals we all share of
> strengthening our community and realizing our mission in India. The
> capacity represented by Existing Community + Chapter + India Programs is
> nowhere near the need required to reach the full potential of the movement
> in India, so what is there to fight over?  The more appropriate question
> IMO to ask is: "How best to work together in a way that we utilize the
> differing capabilities to maximum effective, given we're a long way from
> reaching a point where we are "finished with our mission"? It would also be
> cool if we celebrate what people actual "do" and debate the efficacy based
> on the results (since all of our work is experimental in nature and
> unproven at this time) rather than debate "who" should do the work.
> My 2 paise. ;)
> [1]
> Kind regards,
> Barry
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