Thanks Yohann for explaining the accepted mode of functioning of WMIN.

I have several objections to the specific proposal and more importantly I
think WMIN ought to have more general guiding principles and perhaps evolve
explicit guidelines so that proposals are treated fairly, in ways that are
more inclusive, long-term and not one-off, sustainable and offer greater
impact at lower cost.

* There are numerous contributor to Wikimedia Commons who have hitherto
travelled at their own cost and contributed images and media. Many of them
are extremely knowledgeable, identifying the subjects and choosing images
that have encyclopedic value. I suppose that in future, every WMIN member
is going to ask for travel expenses to be covered.

* There are a number of specialist organizations that exist to support
specialized interests. In other words, Special Interest Groups exist
independently of the Wikimedia movement. Partnership with these groups
ought to be the way to go, because it adds the greatest value and is a
viable long-term option. There are a very large number of mountaineering,
trekking and travel groups operating in the area of the proposal - many of
them with qualified subject matter experts involved (with masters or Ph.D.
level expertise in geology, paleontology, glaciology, botany etc.). Some
organizations like the Youth Hostels or the Himalayan Club could easily be
introduced to the idea of contributing images related to travel under a
free-license. [One of the proposers kindly sent me a mail in response to my
earlier mail explaining that the team members had interest and expertise in
photography, ornithology (actually said someone was an ornithologist!),
lepidoptera, botany and geology - I have not seen the publication record of
the said members but based on their wiki activity I am unable to see an
acceptable level of expertise] In terms of these subjects, there is a lot
more to see at mid-altitudes and there is no ethnology involved once you go
above the tree-line.

* There is a vast literature on the Himalayas (See for instance ) and none of the proposers appear to have substantially
contributed to articles related to the project. There are a few image
additions and minor edits. Adding images is probably the easiest activity.
It is possible to add a large number and it can appear impressive but using
these images in articles is a lot tougher. Even tougher is to make articles
of sufficient depth and value. If the list of proposed articles that will
be augmented by this project is offered, it will be easy to demonstrate
that relevant images can be sourced without the need for this project and
that images are *not* the stumbling block for most part.

* The proposal costing is also somewhat disturbing. I see the proposed
costs as something disturbingly akin to the ploy of a tele-sales
commercial, unintended though it probably is. The full cost of the
expedition is a large amount which we show here and the amount we ask is
only a fraction of it - ie it appears as if you are saving a great deal of
money and therefore that this is a very valuable mission to fund. Someone
with some interest in sailing could show how expensive a yacht is and what
special training it takes to be on it and write up a proposal asking for a
fraction of a supposed budget to be defrayed. Someone interested in
skydiving or gliding could put a cost of the sport and ask for a fraction
of it to get some aerial photographs. [And of course we can always point
out that there is a shortage of aerial images and mariners views from
around India] [The Telesales method for those who are not aware of it is to
show how much you save by buying a product and these figures are often
dramatically boosted and augmented by delivery and voice effects]

* The Wiki Loves Food is an excellent case to study for comparison - it
might be considered successful if the number of images is counted but if we
look at image usage in articles and the quality of articles containing them
- we will see that the impact is low. Of the 9129 images in the category
for 2015 - 247 have been used in articles - about 2% (using )  Wiki Loves Food
however is a far more inclusive project - and the expenses are low and only
for prize money and it is quite different in the way of functioning (as
also things like Wiki Loves Earth, Wiki Takes * )  Compare this level of
image usage with some Indian users: User:AshLin 222 used out of 362 images
- 61% used in articles; User:Vinayraj: 2594 used out of 16086 16% ;
User:Jkadavoor 638 used out of 1342 47%; User:Shyamal 6710 used out of
11984 56% used in articles.

* Here are some alternate ideas I can think of for the 2 Lakh INR being
proposed - if you took a 7000 rupee compact camera (would be even cheaper
if we tried second-hand) and lent 25 of them to a well-established
organization we could do a variety of interesting experiments - views of
the mountains through the eyes of Sherpas or views of an Uttarakhand
village through the eyes of a resident over the course of year. I am fairly
certain that the organizations to support the idea can be found.

I pointed out the proposal to some people who live in the Himalayas and are
veteran mountaineers and they felt the prices indicated were on the higher
side. One of the jokingly asked why there were no budget items for
Wikipedia flags to be planted along the way. Satire aside, I am sure WMIN
can think of wonderful activities that are inclusive, have high impact,
cost little and build community goodwill and demonstrate good judgement. It
is about whether WMIN can open up the organization to ideas from outside,
to not behave as a club but be an ennabling organization with everyone
being as useful as a member. And that should give me and millions of
Indians an excellent reason why we can remain non-members and expect
organizations to be useful.

best wishes

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 4:00 PM, Yohann Thomas <> wrote:

> Hi Shyamal
> The Executive committee is given that much liberty to take decisions which
> are in the benefit of the community.
> In this case, for the above mentioned grant the applicants are well known
> Bengali community members. Also as seen in the grant application,
> endorsements are made from the bangla community members of both India &
> Bangladesh
> If the chapter members feel that the EC has taken a decision in haste ,
> the members are welcome to discuss this in our WMIN mailing list.
> Regards
> Yohann Thomas
> Executive Committee Member
> Wikimedia India
> PS Shyamal, I strongly suggest that you become a member of the chapter :)
> !!
> Yohann Thomas
> On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 11:51 AM, Shyamal Lakshminarayanan <
>> wrote:
>> I am not a member of the Wikimedia India Chapter although I am very much
>> interested in seeing it function as a mature organization. I suppose that
>> Wikimedia Chapters from around the world have evolved a set of best
>> practices and have ensured that these are shared somewhere. These ideas
>> will probably make the requirements of chapters a little more than just the
>> minimum legal requirements involved in maintaining the status of a legal
>> entity according to the laws of the lands in which the chapters operate.
>> I raise this point as a rank outsider because there is a claim in a
>> recent project proposal that it has been "endorsed" by the Wikimedia India
>> Chapter. My expectation then is that this has been given due diligence,
>> discussed by all members and the summary/minutes/transcripts made public.
>> Even ideas on Wikipedia that do not involve any money go through a greater
>> amount of (not to mention transparent) discussion than what we see here and
>> it seems to me that some of these basic discussion procedures that we take
>> for granted as part of the spirit of Wikipedia should be compulsory for
>> organizations associated with the WMF.
>> Would be very happy to be proved wrong here.
>> best wishes
>> Shyamal
>> en:User:Shyamal
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
>> To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
> To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit
Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit

Reply via email to