CIS-A2K/Indic Languages/Nepali/Discussions/2011

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This page documents the discussions I have had with few Nepali wiki community members. For these discussions, I reached out to everyone I knew and tried to connect with some I didn't through Email-user facility/talk pages. I have created this page based on those interactions. Since then, some community members whom I couldn't contacted earlier have asked to share their views. I request you to share them directly with me personally at shiju@wikimedia.org. I request you NOT to post directly on this page. (In the cases below, I have removed personal details to protect privacy, any personal remarks to try and keep the learning focused and the discussions constructive.) And most important is, all the initial discussions that happened in 2011 were to get the community started sharing the ideas. This will continue in 2012 and in coming years also. Please post your comment/opinion/views regarding the below discussions on the talk page of this page.



2011 Assamese Bengali Gujarati Hindi Kannada Malayalam Marathi Nepali Odia Sanskrit Tamil Telugu Summary of discussions

Discussion with Rajesh Pandey from Nepali wiki community[edit]

I heard first about Wikipedia while doing a Google search for some kind of academic research when I was in my university. I might have used Wikipedia before I noticed that it is an encyclopedia. We used to refer to Wikipedia and howstuffsworks.com. Howstuffsworks.com was more appealing to us because a teacher of mine recommended in our class. Me and my friend Dewendra found that we could edit Wikipedia, change it to whatever we would like. The power to change lured towards Wikipedia and it felt like the web is in your hand. That was far before web 2.0 was popular. We kept on experimenting in English Wikipedia and I created an article on KnightOnline. I don’t remember much about the title of the article but I know it was related to KnightOnline, a massively multiplayer game that we used to play at that time. We were crazy about that and we used to watch Youtube videos in the internet about it. I knew about the game and put some content that was based on the experience in the game. I might not have cited any references since I was a novice user at that time. The article got deleted very soon while I was bragging my friends about the article I created in enwiki. The very next day I was disappointed to see that my article was deleted. I felt sad.

Another incident was I knew about the country level domain name for Nepal. I tried to experiment by reversing the en prefix of Wikipedia to ne.wikipedia.org. To my surprise I found that there existed a Wikipedia that was similar to my language, some of the content of which was written in Nepali. Indiver Badal was the only admin at that time and he had developed a tool to write in Nepali and he had the link of this tool at the homepage. I started to edit some of the articles that I had interest in. Another user Eukesh used to add articles on The Simpsons and articles on Medicine. He was a medical student and he used to add articles on Medicines. He was active in a lot of Indic wikipedias and Specially in Newari Wikipedia. A user called Jose77 asked me to translate some articles from English Wikipedia and when I did, he requested in meta for my adminship and it was granted in December of 2006. I was unaware of that but was surprised to see some changes in options. I didn’t know I was an admin but I had access to some of the tools like block users and delete articles. That was fascinating. Lot of things happened accidentally and they amused me pulling me towards Wikipedia. I think this might not be a case today because everyone knows about Wikipedia and they might not think these are great achievements. They have already seen web 2.0 in Facebook and Google plus.


In early 2006, while I was in the university, I read a PDF document which said that the future is in the hands of Wiki software and it talked about how wiki started. It was not so interesting but I read about it and I always thought there is something called wiki which might change the world that was what I had in my mind about the Wiki-software. I preferred to hear about Wikipedia but it was just about the software. I wished to read more but that was what I got from that document. I never got that document again and it’s still a mystery to me.

Later someone showed me that there are some text written in a page called “Special:AllMessages” which had all the text that could be translated. I started translating and it would automatically reflect instantly. I didn’t know about translatewiki at that time, may be it even didn’t exist. Within a week a lot of the homepage and the user interface were translated. Eukesh later said, I was in a break for a week and when I came back to Nepali wiki, it was completely translated and he smiled and that made me smile too. By then there were three admins in Nepali Wikipedia and we never argued because there were very few users. Most of the users were from my university and from the Capital Kathmandu. Obviously a lot of users didn’t have internet access. I had the internet because I stayed in my University hostel and it was the same for Eukesh. Internet was very expensive at that time. Indiver was an IT professional and so it might not have been a problem for him to get an internet connection. Those days, people liked to register their homepages and the web was exploding every day

Eukesh and I stayed in the hostel of the same university but they were at different places. One day Eukesh said he wanted to have a meeting and wanted to talk about Wikipedia. Until then we only knew each others with the usernames. We met at the university premises and talked a lot about wiki. He also talked about Bots of which I was not aware of. He talked about Pali wikipedia, Marathi wikipedia, Bhojpuri Wikipedia, Manipuri Bishnupriya Wikipedia, Hindi Wikipedia, and obviously Nepali and English Wikipedia. He might also have talked about Newari Wikipedia but I don’t remember. To me it was only Nepali Wikipedia. There was never a comparison and I was happy with what we had. I didn’t know about the statistics and I just loved to be in it, I never cared about how many articles we have and I met him. He said he changed a javascript file that he got from some kind of Russian wiki community, and by adding it we could write in our language even if we don’t have an input method. He said he implemented that tool in a lot of these languages including Nepali. I had better internet connection. I was a student of Computer Science and Engineering, He was a student of Medicine and he was smarter and he could even program these things, he would edit those entire html and css tags, run bots, and manage things. That was really cool. He had a lot of interest in this and he said he added some data from the census website of the government. I was more into translation and he was more into adding content.

After my graduation I knew the open source community and I was much closer. Eukesh had to focus in his studies; however we tried to organize some events in software freedom day 2007 where three of the so called admins and few of my active friends were present. That was the first public event that we did to talk about Wikipedia.

The platform we talked was best suited for Wikipedia. Nobody guessed that few people come and talk about this nonsense web page, but they were surprised and were happy when we presented on it. There were lot of things that people had in their mind and there were common things what people had been doing, we were overwhelmed by the responses and there were a lot of responsibilities we could handle if we had approached further. We took a step back and chose our usual way of editing Wikipedia. We knew the people from the government, people from open source, people from universities, but we felt editing is the only. We thought people would be aware of Wikipedia as technology expands and as people have access to internet. After that event we started to have discussions and meetups about how should we proceed. There were lot of things to do from maintaining the community to increasing number of articles, getting the minimum requirements in a specific Wikipedia to call it as a Wikipedia(Every Wikipedia has to have a minimum sets of articles to call it an encyclopedia) We had to fulfill that criteria first.

As recession started, we were not sure of the future of Wikipedia in Nepal, while we would just keep reverting vandalism and we were not so optimistic. After the end of the recession we became more volunteers and contributors, people started asking about Wikipedia and we would tell them about it. Most people already knew about English Wikipedia and now they were interested in Nepali Wikipedia. Occasionally I would visit their home and tell about how to do a specific thing. I would organize meetings and talk about strategies on how we should proceed with Wikipedia. We would talk about Wikipedia chapter, its model, whether it should be a Nongovernmental body or a private institution, non-profit organization, so and so on. Should the model be welcoming everyone or should we restrict the chapter to a restricted number of people. We did not want to have a restrictive policy and didn’t want a user to be left outside the circle and thus the chapter’s discussion has been going on since then. So far we have not come to a conclusion to select a restrictive policy. We felt that all the users are equally important for the community. We keep on discussing after regular intervals of time.


Let us move on to questions from personal stories.

1. How you reached Nepali Wikipedia?

I heard about Nepali Wikipedia while we were playing pranks in our computer lab.


2. Why you decided you must contribute to Nepali wikipedia?

I decided to contribute on Nepali Wikipedia since there were few or no users at all while I joined.


3. How active are you?

Activeness might be a comparative thing. I am very active.


4. What do you edit and what type of topics you usually edit?

I edit for various reasons including reverting vandalisms in wiki, to complete the void that exists there, to guide people who want to edit. In the end I feel homely so I edit Nepali Wikipedia. I feel wiki is a developing thing and it is maturing. Eventually it will mature with time.


5. Have you attended or conducted outreach sessions?If yes, what was the outcome? What were the positives and negatives from these outreach programs?

We conducted some outreach programs and the feedback was very impressive. The positive things were people were interested to do a lot of stuffs, and they were interested.


6. How active are the sister projects (Wikisource, wiktionary, and other projects) in Nepali?

Some of the sister projects such as Wikitionary are active and there are just more than a couple of users who are active in these projects.


7. How are the technical challenges/issues been for your language? Now, is it easy for a new user to start contributing in wiki easily. How about interface translation and other things?

The technical challenges that the users face while editing Wikipedia are there are virtually no grammar and spelling correction software for Nepali. Very little software has been developed but very few people know about it. There are no translation tools to translate from English to Nepali or Nepali to English. The input methods are not accessible to all the users, such as Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya’s Traditional and Romanized keyboard layout. A user has to find the input method himself in his system in most cases. The keyboard layout provided in Wikipedia doesn’t render when fonts are not available in users system and all of these do not help while a user wants to contribute.


8. How is the interaction between Nepali wiki community members? Is there is enough interaction?

The interaction within the community happens via emails, writing in user pages, mailing groups, phone calls and so on. Interactions are always beneficial be it within the community or between communities


9. Could you share any and all ideas - small or big, sucessful & not-so-sucessful - that you think can help drive Nepali and other Indic language projects?

The following things can increase users and motivate them

  • Organizing events in various schools, colleges and universities
  • Organizing Media events
  • Participating and creating awareness / publicizing Wikipedia in public events including FOSS events.
  • Hackathon, Wikithon and or other special events.
  • Urging the governmental bodies to put their content publicly in Wikipedia which might be helpful to the general public such as maps, demographical and statistical data.


Thanks for being interested in Nepali Wikipedia project and thanks for the patience to read all these. I hope these things will be fruitful.


Discussion with Bhawani Gautham from Nepali wiki community[edit]

1. How did you hear about Wikipedia? How did you reached Nepali Wikipedia?

I had to search some composition of a medicine after opening Google website I typed that (as most of the internet users do) and found en.Wikipedia.org with searched composition on the top of the search list. After clicking there I reached en.wiki and found satisfactory answer. It was very surprising whatever I typed on google, wikipedia was on the top with detail description. Then started to go to direct en.Wikipedia daily. I found log in, edit, view history etc on the top of the pages and the left side there were other languages (except Nepali). I logged in created my talk page instead of user page as user B.S.Gautam. After few days I created Rhenock page which is my village market. When I searched Sikkim, I got Nepali on left side,oh it was very surprising wikipedia has Nepali version also. From that day I started editing Nepali project. Later on I started as present user, my previous account is also ok (not blocked) I have to unify.


2. Why you decided you must contribute to Nepali wikipedia?

At that time Nepali Wikipedia had less than four thousand articles, I don't remember exact numbers, I saw English Wikipedia has answers of each and every questions and most of the wikis were larger than Nepali wiki, that's why I decided to contribute to increase the articles. After that I concentrated to Nepali Wiktionary and contributed more than 1000 words(articles).


3. How active are you?

I am active on Nepali Wikipedia, there are large numbers of stub articles, still we don't have basic things which every Wikipedia should have. There were grammatically incorrect mediawiki interface languages which were to be translated on translatewiki.net, I have been doing that also. I want to contribute to sa.wiki also because Sanskrit is mother of indic languages but I don't have time to work. Maximum time I supposed to spend for translation work (like donation translation, meta wiki translation, translatewiki.net, stewards election translation so on) but I could not do that also. We have less contributors in comparison to other wikis. Most of the Nepali people live in remote areas where there is no internet facility and maximum people are computer illiterate. I hope the number of contributors will increase in the days to come. I often work till 11 at night and start early in the morning whenever I get time. I don't use my time in browsing Facebook, watching TV, playing computer game. Some time broad band failure makes me unhappy


4. What kind of topics you usually edit?

I use to edit the articles having grammatical mistakes because people use to blame instead of correcting mistakes. I have translated Hindu Puranas, Philosophical articles, Science(basic for common people) based articles, Geographical and Political articles(state, Countries, Capitals etc). Besides these I have been adding article based on culture. As Sysop and crat I am working on wikipedia articles like FAQ, Wikipedia self learning lessons, wiki duties, changing on main page, news, making templates etc.


5. Why do you edit?

Edit on the wikis other than Nepali to share Nepali culture and knowledge to the people who don't understand Nepali. I use to edit Nepali wiki because I want to provide knowledge for the people who don't understand other languages, I want to make Nepali wiki very rich. There are other reasons also- it became my hobby, it's fun for me and I like to make relations with the people like you (the wiki-median) who contribute not for money and don't have selfish motive.


6. Have you attended or conducted outreach sessions?If yes, what was the outcome? What were the positives and negatives from these outreach programs?

No.


7. Have you attended or organised community meet-ups? What was the outcome? What were the positives and negatives from these meet-ups?

I have attended meet up (but not related to wikis) like literature, I introduced wiki and requested them to contribute, there is no positive sign. I will be successful in coming days, I hope.


8. What has been your experience in adding content or encouraging content on specific topics?

Specially Nepali related topics, we have to keep in mind of various nationalities like Indian Nepali, Bhutanese Nepali, Nepali and others, Some time we (contributors) face problem of different views.


9. How active are the sister projects (Wikisource, wiktionary, and other projects) in Nepali?

We have two other projects Wikibooks and Wiktionary. Wikibooks is inactive, Wiktionary also is inactive at present but has more than 4800 articles.


10. How are the technical challenges/issues been for your language? Now, is it easy for a new user to start contributing in wiki easily. How about interface translation and other things.

I think there may not be any problem to new users for writing Nepali, new users are logging in and editing, we have both transliteration and transcript tools. I don't think there is any technical challenge for contributing in all three projects. We have tutorial lessons, help articles, sandbox and question box etc for new users.


11. How is the interaction between Nepali wiki community members? Is there is enough interaction?

Yes, we have enough interaction system, we have village pump(Chautari), We are having telephonic talk between some sysop and b'crats.


12. Could you share any and all ideas - small or big, sucessful & not-so-sucessful - that you think can help drive Nepali and other Indic language projects?

  • Wikimedia India should request to all state government and CBSE to include introductory lessons on Wikipedia in the syllabus of Secondary schools.
  • Media are ignoring Wikimedia's contribution in the building of nation, for example they have not covered the Mumbai, wiki conference (which was a boost for indic wiki). We should convince them by writing articles on news papers and making TV programmes.
  • Allowing print media to print important article Wikipedia FAQ, Tutorials etc. which may encourage people to come forward.



Discussion with Saroj Dhakal from Nepali wiki community[edit]

1. How did you hear about Wikipedia? How did you reached Nepali Wikipedia?

Google took me to Wikipedia , and reached Nepali wikipedia from the language link on the right side on the main page in the English Wikipedia , that was a long ago might be in the year 2005, but I was not readily ready to contribute since I did not know what the Wikipedia was all about.


2. Why you decided you must contribute to Nepali Wikipedia?

I was perusing my Computer Science and Engineering Degree . I came to know about FOSS movement and got enlightened . I started localization of Different Linux Distros and Learning Management Systems to Nepali language . I thought I'd be meaningful to help Nepali Wikipedia to create awareness to help those Nepali who cant comprehend in other languages except in Nepal.



3. How active are you?

I was quite active during my Engineering Days, and still active .I have been given Sysop right too . I localize the interface in translatewiki.net . Plan to run a bot and give more time to wiki and I have been a key member in the Nepali wiki team to create awareness in the public running social feeds in Facebook and twitter and taking part in conferences to let people know what is Wikipedia and why we need to focus on Wikipedia especially in Nepali Wikipedia .


4. What kind of topics you usually edit?

I edit Biographies, Technical articles, arcticles related to Village life and cultural and traditional things that have already become extinct in Urban life in Nepal .


5. Why do you edit?

I get personal satisfaction, in Wikipedia it feels like a family . I feel the things those I share is useful to people ..I feel proud to be an entity in the formation of the repository of the free knowledge .


6. Have you attended or conducted outreach sessions?If yes, what was the outcome?

This November I had taken part in a conference "Strengthening Research using Social Networks" organized by Nepal Library Association , I presented in topic "Why Wikipedia " . I found overwhelming enthusiasm and found out so many resources in public domain that can be digitized and uploaded to wikibooks/wikisource , but have not officially organized the sessions .


7. What were the positives and negatives from these outreach programs?

Positive of the Outreach program is that , we can get more contributors, we get to explore our new focus areas and Negative area is we tend to invest our precious time in that and sometime we may not get best return of our investment .But overall the positives are more and dominant .


8. Have you attended or organised community meet-ups? What was the outcome? What were the positives and negatives from these meet-ups?

Yes, it brings synchronization among the members . Sometime it is not possible to attend but do exchange the minutes and the strategies we make. It helps us to act to the point of focus . Negative is that we are geographically diverse people in Nepali wiki and all the people are not able to attend ..sometime this brings gap in understanding and sometime important points are missed from/by person not able to attend.


9. What has been your experience in adding content or encouraging content on specific topics?

Adding content to the specific topic is a good practice and should be encouraged , but should not be limited to . My personal experience is I am a technology related professional I'd better add technical articles but I may also add better topics related to cultural and traditional points since I was brought up in the countryside area .


10. How active are the sister projects (Wikisource, wiktionary, and other projects) in Nepali?

We have Wikibooks , Wiktionary and Wikipedia in Nepali . I was a temp admin in Wikibooks have helped to redesign the main page there and add some books and clean up the Wikibooks . Whereas I have added hundred and pus words in Wiktionary .


11. How are the technical challenges/issues been for your language? Now, is it easy for a new user to start contributing in wiki easily. How about interface translation and other things.

UI is up to date me myself,user:Bhawani Gautam and usesr:Rajesh Pandey are active in UI localization and fine tuning it . But since computer literacy itself low in Nepal , now it's growing we have a lot of hopes. Few NGOs and organizations like Computer Association of Nepal and FOSS Nepal have lots of programs in Computer literacy .Universities,Colleges and Schools have added Computer science in their Curriculum . Once the web fonts are out I hope and sure we'll get better number of contributors .


12. How is the interaction between Nepali wiki community members? Is there is enough interaction?

We communicate often in informal ways like phones,chats and emails . For formal things we use community page and Google group.


13. Could you share any and all ideas - small or big, sucessful & not-so-sucessful - that you think can help drive Nepali and other Indic language projects?

  • User: Rajesh Pandey has developed a machine translation software that has helped us generating articles from English language with lesser efforts .
  • We have organized wikithon , even though outreach was not great , we got considerable attention from the existing users .
  • We are planning to reach colleges and organize orientation classes to the intermediate level + students about wiki but have not figured out how to accomplish that .
  • We have to reach person to person especially among the Educated people . People might have seen Wikipedia but might not be aware of the principles underlying it . I was one who had seen Wikipedia and used it but did not contribute for 2 years even though I knew it was editable . We should reach the people and make them aware that Wikipedia is Free(Free as in freedom ) and how it's going to help others and the contributors themselves .