November was a month of announcing projects and programs as well as conducting innovative across our Focus Language Areas.
Marathi Wikipedia Workshop for Writers of Sandarbh Science magazine
On 18 November, an introductory Wikimedia workshop was conducted for the writers at Sandarbh Science magazine. Sandarbh Society is a registered society and public trust established with the main objective of publication on science and education. They also conduct lectures, demonstrations, workshops and other such activities in addition to networking of school teachers interested in bringing in innovative approaches in education. The workshop was aimed at introducing Wikimedia projects and creating/editing Wikipedia articles to the writers. Participants were completely unaware about Marathi Wikipedia and editing. They were trained in basic editing skills and search for the concerned articles, categorisation and translation from other language wikipedias. Participants worked on articles and made edits. Images were also added to Commons and into articles. 59 articles were edited. 11 participants took part in the event.
Kannada Wikipedia Orientation Workshop at Gubbi Labs
A Kannada Wikipedia orientation workshop was held at the Entrepreneurship Centre, SID, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru on 26 November, 2017. The day long event was aimed at adding content to Kannada Wikimedia projects on topics such as ecology, environment, wildlife and sciences of Karnataka. The event was organised by Gubbi Labs in conjunction with CIS-A2K. Gubbi Labs is a research collective and social collective run by environmental scientists. The event was attended was attended by 8 participants of which one member was female.
The participants created six articles and expanded one article. The impact of this workshop was the fact that participants were made aware of the importance of open access data. It helped initiate another similar workshop in Mysuru. Upon sharing the idea for projects like Wiki Loves Butterfly Idea, a participant was interested in starting a project titled 'Wiki Loves Spiders'. We are hoping to take this project forward on Kannada Wikipedia.
Indian Women in Law Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
CIS-A2K has been working with Indic Wikimedia communities in an effort to bridge the gender gap on Indic Wikimedia projects. To this end, CIS-A2K's last work plan period hired an independent research intern who undertook the development of a toolkit that details best practices which may be followed for encouraging the participation of women. In addition to this toolkit, CIS-A2K has also been conducting edit-a-thons and workshops in order to bridge the content disparity on Wikipedia wherein one finds more biographies of accomplished men than of accomplished women. CIS-A2K has collaborated with Breakthrough, a human rights organisation working to make violence and discrimination against women and girls unacceptable, in order to overcome these biases on Wikipedia. With the beginning of this program period, CIS-A2K has also been working with Feminism in India in order to continue such edit-a-thons as part of our initiative to bridge the gender gap on Wikipedia.
We are all aware of the large reach and popularity of Wikipedia. However, what most people don’t know is that, according to a study conducted in 2011, globally only 9% of the editors on Wikipedia were women. And the percentage for India is even lower, just 3%.
Wikipedia recognises the systemic gender bias that is created because of factors such as these and thus enables its diverse range of users to edit and create Wikipedia pages, with reliable and authentic sources.
Feminism in India conducts monthly Wikipedia edit-a-thons with different organisations exploring various facets of gender in India, thus increasing content on women and marginalized communities on Wikipedia as well as training women to create and edit Wikipedia pages and hence increasing the number of women editors.
For November, we collaborated with The Centre for Internet and Society and co-hosted one on Indian Women In Law at CIS’s Delhi office. The edit-a-thon was aimed at creating/editing Wikipedia pages of Indian women lawyers and judges who lack representation on the platform currently.
The CIS and FII Team prepared a list of women judges and lawyers a week before the edit-a-thon, while most of the names did have a page on Wikipedia, they had very basic and limited information (stub pages). We used online resources for references.
We were a group of 6 participants in total with one person participating remotely. The event began with a discussion on Wikipedia and its gender gap and on the whys and hows of Wikipedia editing for new-comers.
After that, each participant chose one or more Indian woman lawyer or judge absent from Wikipedia, and started digging through the internet looking for interviews, news reports and e-books to write comprehensive Wikipedia articles on them.
By the end of the day, the participants edited a total of 10 Wikipedia pages in English:
T. Meena Kumari: Carole Kalpana Kannabiran: Shinjinee Malavika Rajkotia: Shruti Leila Seth: Asmita Amita Dhanda: Shruti Janaki Amma: Shinjinee All India Federation of Women Lawyers: Carole Vrinda Grover: Mahika Shyam Kumari Khan: Alice Ratna Kapur: Mahika
Participants’ testimonies on their first experience of editing on Wikipedia:
Shruti: I had a great experience as I learned how to edit on Wikipedia and I also felt like I was a part of something bigger. I added to the profiles of the two Indian female lawyers on Wikipedia.
Alice: Never edited a wikipedia page before. Learned something new and it was a good experience!
Wikimedia Technical Workshop at Department of Mathematics, Savitribai Phule, Pune University
A Wikimedia Technical Workshop was conducted between 27- 28 November, 2017 at the Department of Mathematics, Savitribai Phule Pune University. The objective of the workshops was us to understand how Wikipedia works and what career opportunities there are related to Wikipedia and how one can contribute to and enrich the open source knowledge for the benefit of all.
On the first day, the students were given an introduction to Wikimedia projects as well as Marathi Wikipedia. They were also taught account creation and given a general introduction to Wikipedia , MediaWiki, and wikis in addition to Wikipedia structure, article structure, name spaces, common.css and common.js pages, and gagdets. In the post-lunch session the participants were given an introduction to gadgets, scripts, tool and bots.
On the second day, the participants continued where they left off by learning about advanced tools and bots like Archive Bot, Sign bot, Anti-vandalism bots as well as Phabricator. Finally, the session ended with talks about future projects and activities.
22 participants attended the event.
Jan Eissfeldt, Senior Strategist, Wikimedia Foundation visits CIS-A2K
Jan Eissfeldt, Senior Strategist, Wikimedia Foundation, recently visited The Centre for Internet and Society as he was passing through the city of Bengaluru in private capacity. We had a brief session with him where he, speaking in personal capacity, explained the strategic direction of the Wikimedia movement and how it all came about. Since the meeting involved the wider CIS team along with the A2K team, Mr. Eissfeldt started off with explaining the key milestones that prompted the process leading up to the drafting of a strategic direction document as opposed to s full strategy. The Wikimedia movement recently finalized and widely endorsed a document that formulates the direction of the movement for the next 13 years. This is the first time the document has been put together on such a large-scale involving myriad communities from across the globe through salons, strategy meetings and online interactions in a multilingual process.
Mr. Eissfeldt explained that the key concepts contained in the direction are a) knowledge as a service and b) knowledge equity. As the document explains, the vision is to look down the road 13 years and work towards that View by developing adaptive strategies aiming at realizing those two concepts. Although there have previous iterations with similar Exercises during the movement strategy process 2009-10, none so far have been on this scale or depth, systematically involving communities with conversations supported in languages other than English. Of the 17 global languages, experts were hired for, there were three Indic languages: Bangla, Hindi and Malayalam, the last of which did not attract qualified candidates to fill that role. An issue indicating the potential need for better outreach practices in the future. Mr. Eissfeldt remarked, we received some groundbreaking feedback throughout the consultation processes- more from Asia than anywhere else. In 2010, I don’t think we would have been able to do this.
A lot of the newly created user groups also participated and endorsed the strategic direction, apart from established groups and affiliates. Mr. Eissfeldt, who also works with the Support and Safety team at the Foundation, says that the participation of groups regardless of size may be because of the fact that the document is “speaking to heretofore unaddressed needs.”
The Strategic direction document creation took place in three cycles between March and October 2017. In 2018, the movement strategy process will embark on phase two to clarify movement roles and responsibilities in pursuing the two key concepts spelled out in the widely endorsed direction document: knowledge equity and knowledge as a service. Having more of an institutional focus, this phase is likely to be less multilingual than phase 1.
Twitter NGO Day
CIS-A2K was invited for a workshop organised at the Twitter India office in Bengaluru on 28 November, 2017 for non-profits. Speaking at the event, Twitter's Head of Public Policy and Government, Ms. Mahima Kaul, she laid out a few guidelines for those in the volunteer sector. Here is Twitter's handbook for NGOs. These include best practices adaptable to both organisations and individuals.
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