Dear All

I wanted to share with you an update on the work that Shiju[1] is doing on 
Indic languages[2] as part of India Program.[3]  A guiding principle for the 
thinking and efforts of our team is that community building should be the most 
essential aspect of all the work that we do.  In the context of small Indic 
communities, Shiju has been working to try and identify the various elements 
that need to come together to foster community building.  This update is about 
the Community Building pilot[4] that was run for the Assamese community.  For 
context, community building means different things to different people and in 
fact there was a very interesting post[5] that Shiju put out that articulated 
his thinking on this and, hence, our priorities.  

The results of these efforts have been outstanding
number of editors on Assamese Wikipedia has increased to 31 in April 2012 (from 
18 in December 2011 and just 10 in November 2011.)
number of Wikiprojects increased to 6 (from a situation where there were no 
reasonably active ones in December 2011- and including 5 Wikiprojects 
independently conceptualised and managed by the community)
average monthly edits on Assamese Wikipedia increased to about 5000 in April 
2012 from around 3000 in November 2011
There are 5 key factors that are responsible for this remarkable growth
Strong communication.  This started with Shiju building personal connections 
with Assamese editors and then encouraging them to communicate with each other 
on-wiki, online and in meet--ups and outreach sessions.
Initial push.  Shiju visited Assam in January where he spent time in 2 towns 
with 7 of the most active community members, who also conducted 2 outreach 
sessions. This visit has proved to be really useful because it helped to 
energise the community and also helped to establish a personal relationship 
between Shiju and these editors (and also, amongst the editors themselves.)
Encouraging collaboration.  Wikiprojects and outreach are really useful to 
galvanise a community and helped build personal equations. It's wonderful to 
see the increase in Wikiprojects and 
Building capacity & confidence.  In all the work that has been done for the 
Assamese community, the endeavour has been to build capacity.  For instance, 
support was given to get basic outreach material including FAQs prepared and 
outreach sessions were guided by Shiju.  It's inspiring to see the Assamese 
community now take things to a whole new level and plan out an ambitious 10th 
Healthy environment.  This is the last - but probably the most essential point 
- and it is something I want to call out because it is what will help or 
severely hinder the abilities of individual communities realise their dreams 
and potential.  The reason why the Assamese community is making such wonderful 
steps forward is because there is 
a set of editors with the right level of initiative and motivation
a strong sense of co-operation and good spirit amongst the editors
an extremely welcoming approach to new editors
None of this would have been possible without the efforts of every single 
Assamese community members.  In the early days when Shiju started off, he was 
interacting with Bishnu, Dipankar, Gitartha, Jyoti & Prabhakar - who helped 
organise the first meet-ups and outreach sessions.  Thanks to their efforts, a 
list of thank-yous would now be 31 strong!  Thank you and congratulations to 
all of you!

To the Assamese community, I wish you the very best for your 10th 
anniversary.[6]  There are exciting plans including your photo contest and your 
article contest and the meet-up and the outreach session.  I know that you are 
doing most of the event largely independently (with Noopur[7] providing media 
assistance for the 10th anniversary and an India Chapter[8] grant[9] supporting 
you.)  This is the true signs of a community that is coming of age.  There are 
tremendous opportunities in outreach to get new editors, initiatives like your 
article & photo contests to improve content and in proposed projects like 
offline to make transformational changes in the community. 

With regard to the way forward for India Program, the pilot design page[4] on 
meta[3] has now been updated.  The next steps are going to be to see how we can 
adapt or build on these experiences with other communities, and as we move to 
other communities, do them in a more scaleable manner.

To all community members - across languages across India - if you did want any 
help in any aspect of community building, please feel free to reach out to 
Shiju[1] at  Please also do add comments or ideas or 
suggestions you might have to the Community Building Pilot's talk page.[10]



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