*DNA Blog : "Konkani Wikipedia climbing up the Indian language ladder"*

Recently the CIS- A2K team organised a four-day workshop in collaboration
with Goa University for students of MA (Konkani). This workshop involved 38
students creating 43 new articles on Konkani Wikipedia, which is
incubation. We hope that these efforts will contribute towards bringing
this seven-year-old project out of incubation into a live Wikipedia project.

Guest post by* Subhashish Panigrahi*, who works with the Access to
Knowledge team. A2K works towards the promotion of Wikipedia and its sister
projects in India.

Recently the CIS- A2K team organised a four-day workshop in collaboration
with Goa University for students of MA (Konkani). This workshop involved 38
students creating 43 new articles on Konkani Wikipedia, which is
incubation. We hope that these efforts will contribute towards bringing
this seven-year-old project out of incubation into a live Wikipedia project.

Before a Wikipedia shapes up as a live project, it undergoes an incubation
process. A community of volunteers gradually grows to sustain this
Wikipedia in incubation with active contributions. The Konkani Wikipedia
Incubator started way back in 2006. However, owing to many reasons it could
not take off. One of the major reasons has been the usage of multiple
scripts. Because of political and religious reasons, Konkani has multiple
writing and verbal standards  as also multiple scripts. Devanagari is the
official script, but Konkani is also written in the Roman script (also
known as Romi), the Kannada script (in the Konkani speaking regions of
Karnataka, primarily in and around Mangalore), the Malayalam script in
Kerala (Kochin region), and in Perso-Arabic script. The most used script
for Konkani is Devanagari. Goa University is world's first university to
offer a master's programme in the Konkani language, in which the writing
standard is in Goan Konkani written in Devanagari. We met with the students
and introduced Konkani Wikipedia to them. Four students volunteered to
coordinate the workshop. They discussed plans for the workshop and its
prerequisites, going through the list of articles on Konkani Wikipedia,
writing a unique article by collecting resources before attending the
workshop. To our surprise, all of the students including the four
coordinators came up with at least two pages of written content before the

*Day 1: Intro yourself*
To start with the first day of the workshop held at Krishnadas Shama State
Central Library, Goa we had an “Adjective Name” activity. It was fun to
know how people judge themselves with adjectives. I turned out to be
Sub-Hashish and *Nitika* turned out to be Naughty-Nitika! Then we had a
discussion about the articles students planned to write. A few of them were
not sure if articles on social issues or biographies of a writer could fit
into Wikipedia framework.

*Editing time*
Article titles were decided, everyone was ready with their homework write
ups and books for adding sources. Only four-five of them knew typing in
Devanagari. For the first time some of them typed few words and they typed
correctly. I could see the glow of triumph after they typed correctly using
Transliteration layout. My experience with majority of the Indian language
outreach participants had been more or the less the same; most new
wikipedians struggle to type. This time we printed some handouts with the
layout for typing help. It worked well. Students managed to type albeit
with small typographical errors.

*Game time*
We had to cut the session for an activity break and invited them to play
“Tumi Kashi Asat” (meaning "How do you do?" in Konkani). This is a game I
learnt from my colleague *Vishnu*. To make it more interesting we got it
translated to Konkani by our coordinator Supriya. The host has to make some
body movements and ask “Tumi Kashi Asat?” and bend forward. The
participants have to move their body in the reverse way and answer “Ami
bari ashat” (I’m doing well). This replaced the caffeine intake for the
four days and kept all of us lively.

*More editing post lunch:*
The editing spree went on for rest of the day. Regular doses of small fun
activities were served to keep the Goan tides high. To our surprise all of
the students created articles; I don’t know if I could judge them as "Stub"
or "Start" class articles. For me it was the greatest start for a language
to have the asset of these sweet Wikipedians, even as the Konkani Wikipedia
has seen many struggles and spent seven years in incubation.

*Rat and frog game*
There was surprise for participating Wikipedians: Rat race. Participants
sit on chairs and one of them is made to stand in the centre. The rat makes
others run and replace each other's seats and one of the participants
becomes the 'rat'. This rat race brought back old childhood memories and
for a moment everyone forgot their age. At the end of it students sat down
to take a deep breath and we taught them some basic Wiki codes (bold,
italics, and adding references). To our surprise all of the students had
created their first articles by the end of the day.

*Konkani (Devanagari) keyboard layout and typing*

*Day 2: Climbing up the ladder*
This was the day to tell the students about the advanced options and ensure
addition of more citations. Citations on Wikipedia are very essential for
readers to validate the facts. But bringing this to the students who just
had started learning to type in their language a day earlier was not easy.
The second day was spent giving small breaks during the editing session for
small activities. Running, jumping, and shouting fueled the students to be
happy editors and not burdened. We managed to teach them the advanced
options for proper Wiki-formatting (Bold, Italics, Heading, and Category),
and citations. By the end of the first two days 22 students created 24
articles (about 42 pages of written content). Everyone clapped for their
friends. We welcomed them to Konkani Wikipedia community.

*Day 3: Fresh batch, new start*
16 new students from MA course were welcomed. Four student coordinators and
one from the first batch of students joined us. The entire day was spent
having lots of fun, creating articles and basic know how of Wiki syntax.
Half the students in this batch knew how to type using the Devanagari
InScript layout. Our first and second day taught us how students ask their
fellow students more than they ask us for small help. Thanks to the Fedora
Devanagari keyboard layout, it helped us to look and guide the students.
All the students created their first articles.* John, Supriya and
Vaishali *(from
the first batch) gave final touches to their respective second articles.

*Day 4: No need to say good bye!*
This was the day to do two very important things; applaud their
contribution on the first day and tell about contribution of their friends,
teach about the advanced options and extending support further. Seeing the
newspaper coverage about the workshop featuring some of their friends was a
delight for our new Wikipedians after two long days. A few of them came
forward to share their experience about the workshop and their vision for
Konkani language.

At the end of four days all of them bid us farewell. It felt like saying
bye to good old friends. These were the foundation days and the biggest
editing rally Konkani Wikipedia Incubator has seen in the last seven years
with this milestone that the students had created. Happy faces of our new
found friends is going to be a great piece of memory in this personal

*Important links:*
Konkani Wikipedia Incubator
Konkani Wikipedia Workshop (21-24 August 2013) at Goa State Central Library
Konkani department, Goa University, Goa
Media files (Photos, videos, presentations, etc.)

Bio: Subhashish Panigrahi is a Wikimedian from Odisha and currently working
as Programme Officer for Access To Knowledge at The Centre for Internet and
Society (CIS-A2K), Bangalore. Prior to his work at CIS-A2K Subha was also
part of the Wikimedia Foundation’s India Program as a consultant. He
contributes to Odia Wikipedia, donates pictures, presentations and videos
to Wikimedia Commons, writes, speaks and conducts activities for South
Asian language communities for Open Source, Digital natives and
Collaborative contribution models. When not online, he travels, goes
biking, meets new people, cooks and tastes various cuisines, learns new
languages, and explores the world outside. subhashish @ cis-india.org

Copy edited by *Rohini*: rohini at wikimedia dot in

Tinu Cherian

Important Note : Non-commercial reproduction for informative purposes only.
The publisher ( DNA ) of the above news article owns the copyrights of the
article / content. All copyrights are duly acknowledged.
Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit 

Reply via email to