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Grants:PEG/Ravidreams - Tamil Wikimedians/TamilWiki 10 years/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2013-14 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • You may still comment on this report on its discussion page, or visit the discussion page to read the discussion about this report.
  • You are welcome to Email grants at wikimedia dot org at any time if you have questions or concerns about this report.

Compliance and completion[edit]

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?
Answer YES or NO.
Is your project completed?
Answer YES or NO.
Did you use any of the grant funds?
Answer YES or NO.

Activities and lessons learned[edit]

This section describes what the grantee did, and what the grantee learned from implementing the project. This section should be useful to others implementing similar projects and is an opportunity for the grantee to reflect on the project's performance.


Provide a detailed list of activities performed to complete this project, descriptions of these activities, and the amount of time spent on each activity. This section should also include a list of participants, or a link to pictures, blog posts, or videos from the project or event.

International Tamil Wikimedians meetup for two days during September 28, 29 (2013)[edit]

The spirit of Tamil Wikipedia 10 years celebrations

We had a two day meetup of Tamil Wikipedians during September 28 and 29, 2013. This was the first major international event that brought all Tamil Wikimedians under one roof. This gathering can be thought of as a WikiConference for Tamil Wikimedians.

Around 30 core Tamil Wikimedians from various parts of India, Sri Lanka, UAE and Canada attended this event besides fellow Wikimedians from other Indian language communities, Wikimedia India chapter and organizations like CIS A2k which work towards a common goal. Around 150+ participants attended the 2nd day event. A good number of these were be like-minded people from the academia, press and other FOSS projects.

The first day of this gathering was marked by a tour to Mamallapuram, a cultural heritage site for Tamils. It helped in ice-breaking and capturing pictures for commons and promoting Tamil Wikipedia community.

Tamil Wikipedia 10 years - Interviews in English from Indian Wikipedia community

The second day had two sessions. In the morning, there were tutorials and guest speeches regarding basic Wikipedia editing, professional photography skills and translation skills. In the evening, we had a public celebration commemorating 10 years of Tamil Wikipedia. We cut a birthday cake and felicitated active Tamil Wikipedians with a memorable certificate of appreciation. We also highlighted the growth story of Tamil Wikipedia and contributors from across the world.

Throughout both the days, we had many informal discussions on strategic moves for the growth of Tamil Wikimedia. We also had intense discussions with CIS-A2K and Wikimedia India Chapter, who were our invited guests.

12 month long essay contest[edit]

We ran a 12 month-long essay contest that aimed to improve the quality of 10,000 most important articles that each Wikipedia should have. The contest started in June 2013 and concluded in May 2014. Winners were announced every month and two championship awards for overall activity were given. The first month saw improvement for over 100 articles and the essay contest brought in many new contributors, fun, healthy competitive spirit and sustained activity to Tamil Wikipedia.

Outreach efforts[edit]

Commemorating Tamil Wikipedia's 10 years, we planned few outreach efforts:

  • Prof. C. R. Selvakumar, a veteran Tamil Wikipedia user, gave a guest lecture on Tamil Wikipedia at Tamil Virtual Academy, a Tamil Nadu Government institution (24th September 2013). The event was well attended by 25+ people comprising of Tamil Internet pioneers. A discussion that started here went on to get 20 volumes of encyclopedic content in Tamil released under Creative Commons license.
  • A professional press conference was held in Chennai Press Club to reach the mainstream media. An official press release was circulated through fax to 50+ mainstream media outlets. (25th September 2013)
  • 60 Tamil Wikipedia T-shirts and few pan-India Wikipedia T-shirts were distributed among active Wikipedians.
  • We ran an active social media campaign for the whole year through our Facebook group and enrolled 5500+ members.

Media links[edit]

International media[edit]

National media[edit]

Tamil Media[edit]

Media Files[edit]

Random shots:


  • Wikimedia Foundation
  • Centre for Internet and Society, India.
  • Wikimedia India Chapter
  • Anna University, Chennai
  • M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation
  • Chennai Press Club
  • Tamil Virtual Academy
  • Tamil Development Board

Lessons learned[edit]

What lessons were learned that may help others succeed in similar projects? Consider the following questions and respond with 1 - 2 paragraphs.
What went well?
This was the first major event for Tamil Wikipedia in 10 years. So, the community was full of enthusiasm and the turn out was good. People came from all over the globe spending on their own ! Every one was full of ideas. Though the plan was ambitious, we pulled it off successfully. This has given us the confidence to organize better and bigger in future. The good will for Wikipedia among media, academia and public helped a lot. We managed to achieve most of our targets. We also made some unexpected wins like building institutional partnerships, getting content donations etc., Face to face interactions among majority of the core contributors has helped to boost the community spirit. We shot high quality professional videos and photos featuring volunteers which help in doing personalized outreach programs.
What did not go well?
Too many plans. Not so many volunteers, especially in the host city, made it taxing on the few committed volunteers. Though we started planning almost 5 months in advance, we under estimated the time taken for the complete grants process. Though our grant was approved, we couldn't get the money before the event. Though we managed last minute alternative funding arrangements thanks to CIS-A2K, we could have planned well in advance and avoided the stress. We planned to run the essay contest for the whole year. But, after the first few months, participation and enthusiasm declined. A contest running for 5 months would have been ideal based on the participation statistics we observed.
What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
We would start planning one year in advance. We would reduce the number of activities and the duration of activities. We would not hesitate to drop ideas if there are not enough people to implement them. We would freeze ideas at some point of time to give enough time for execution. Budget allocation for hiring professional event managers and daily allowance for contributors who take leave from employment to help should be considered. The activities would be committed assuming only 10 to 20% of most active contributors (who make 100+ edits a month) could contribute both offline and online for the event. A live daily journal would be used to document offline work done right from the beginning. This will give others an idea of the amount of work involved and will motivate them to participate and provide credit for the offline contributions. Better processes for sharing responsibility, credit and work load / flow between coordinators should be evolved from the beginning itself.

Project goal and measures of success[edit]

This section should reference the project goals and measures of success described in the approved grant submission. See Grants:PEG/Ravidreams - Tamil Wikimedians/TamilWiki 10 years to review the goals and metrics listed in the approved submission.

Project goal[edit]

Tamil Wikipedia 10th anniversary logo
Provide the project goal here.
To commemorate 10 years of Tamil Wikipedia and strengthen Tamil Wikipedia community and its outreach efforts.
Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 paragraphs.
YES. All our goals were S.M.A.R.T. goals as evident from the section below. We not only achieved the goals but we also surpassed them. We did miss some of the planned activities (we couldn't get the handbook printed in time) due to ambitious work load on a small community. But, the unexpected wins we had in building institutional partnerships and getting content donations far outweigh these small set backs. Overall, the celebration is a grand success.

Measures of success[edit]

List the measures of success exactly as provided in the approved grant submission, and evaluate your project according to each measure listed there.
We would deem these celebrations a success, if
  • at least 100 active Wikipedians and enthusiasts attend the conference, including participants from Sri Lanka and Malaysia;
  • at least 15 mainstream media articles are published highlighting Wikimedia projects;
  • a detailed documentation of ideas/issues/strategies/policies discussed at the conference is produced;
  • the active contributor count is maintained around 300 or above consistently;
  • 500 important articles that should be present in each Wikipedia are expanded from their current stub form.
Provide an overall assessment of how your project went according to these measures.
Letter from Tamil Development Board donating 20 volumes of encyclopedia in Tamil under Creative Commons license
  • Around 150+ people attended the conference, including international Tamil Wikipedians from Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and Canada. We also had Tamil, Telugu Wikipedians from other Indian cities, FOSS activits, Tamil enthusiasts from the government and academic sector attending the event;
  • We received excellent news coverage that included interviews in BBC Tamil Radio, All India Radio, 4 national English newspapers and 4 Tamil daily newspapers;
  • The active contributor count shot up to 370 in October 2013. Tamil Wikipedia crossed many significant milestones coinciding with these celebrations. Tamil Wikipedia registered the highest most active editor count (100+ edits a month) for any Indian language Wikipedia during January 2014;
  • 539 important articles that should be present in each Wikipedia were expanded from their current stub form to be above 15 kb size through the year long self-running essay contest.
  • 20 volumes of printed encyclopedias in Tamil were released under Creative Commons license to be used in Tamil Wikipedia by Tamil development board (a Government of Tamil Nadu institution).
All India Radio, Indian Union Government's official radio channel, interviews Tamil Wikipedians
If you were to plan a similar project, would you measure it differently? If yes, please explain how.
NO. Our S.M.A.R.T. goals didn't just count the heads that attended the event. Instead, we had clear measures like editor count, improved article counts, their sizes and the number of mainstream news articles over a sustained period of activity so that the long term impact of the celebration could be monitored. We are also working on a script to analyze and measure the impact of essay contest.


This section ties this project to Wikimedia's broader goals, and shows what the project accomplished.

What impact did this project have on WMF's mission and the strategic goals? Please answer in 1 -2 paragraphs and include specific measures of impact such as the number of readers or editors reached by a particular project, or the number of articles edited or improved.

Stabilize infrastructure[edit]

Professionally shot profile videos featuring contributors help in outreach
Though Tamil Wikimedia community is not a registered entity and an informal group of volunteers, the event put a face for the project and boosted the brand awareness for Tamil Wikipedia. We have identified key partners in top academic institutions who have welcomed us to use their facilities in future for such events. We also interacted with CIS and Wikimedia India Chapter in a formal way strengthening our relationship with these organizations. Coinciding with the celebration, Tamil Virtual Academy offered infrastructure support for Tamil Wikimedia programs. This includes access to facilities like Internet, computers and conference halls in their campus. We also strengthened our relationship with Free Software Foundation, Tamilnadu which now actively takes up Tamil Wikimedia outreach, especially in strategic priorities of WMF like filling the gender gap. Tamil Wikipedia is getting recognized as a key area of Tamil computing as evident from it being a regular field of discussion in Tamil Internet Conferences. We are also getting regular invitations from educational institutions to conduct outreach. The professional videos and photos we shot provide a base for conducting outreach in a professional manner.

The above activities align with the following Wikimedia Movement Strategic priorities regarding stabilizing infrastructure:

Expand public awareness and support for the Wikimedia movement.

  • Spread information about Wikimedia’s mission, vision, values and practices. Help people better understand our work, and motivate them to help us do it.
  • Grow the number of Wikimedia donors, to ensure steady, robust support.
  • Increase capacity to safeguard the movement's reputation and support the advancement of legal conditions that enable unimpeded access to information online, worldwide.

Increase participation[edit]

Tamil Wikipedia's generation Next celebrates

A month after the celebrations, in October 2013, Tamil Wikipedia crossed several significant milestones which stand testimony to the increased participation.

  • We crossed 1000 total contributors milestone.
  • We registered 118 active editors who edit at least 5 times a month. This is the highest in ten years and the first time we crossed 100.
  • We registered 27 new editors joined during October 2013. This is the second highest enrollment in ten years after the 2010 June state wide essay contest time.
  • We registered 25 very active editors who edit at least 100 times a month. Later on January 2013, we went on to register 34 very active editors which is the all time record for any Indian Wikipedia.
  • We went from 1 to 2 contributors for every one million Tamil speaking population now. This is the second highest activity level among Indian languages.

We also observed enrollment of new editors from diverse groups:

Tamil Wikipedia's women editors gather for the celebrations
  • 5 prize winners for the essay contest were from Sri Lanka.
  • 4 prize winners for the essay contest were brothers from two families.
  • 4 prize winners including the championship prize winner were school students.
  • 2 undergraduate students including one female editor became active editors after they came to Tamil Wikipedia essay contest.
  • A retired bank staff who attended the 10 years celebrations event became an active contributor afterwards.

These people are our ideal target groups who are capable of providing active contributions.

The above activities align with the following Wikimedia Movement Strategic priorities regarding increasing participation

Through 2015, the Wikimedia Foundation will

  • Encourage the health and growth of Wikimedia communities and the projects they sustain.
  • Support the recruitment and acculturation of newer contributors by encouraging a welcoming environment on the Wikimedia projects, as well as supporting community leaders who are eager to serve as recruiters, guides and mentors for newer volunteers.

  • Encourage diversity by conducting outreach among groups that have the potential to bring new expertise to the projects, as well as by supporting leaders from underrepresented groups in their efforts to cultivate new members from within their communities.

  • Support offline and social events to increase community cohesion and commitment to the projects.

Expand Wikimedia’s global footprint through catalytic investments and chapter support.

  • Design and deploy catalyst teams to pilot activities spurring growth in readership and editing in the high-priority areas of India, Brazil, and the Arabic-speaking areas of the Middle East and North Africa.

  • Support Wikimedia chapters with financial or other assistance to enable them to serve their local Wikimedia communities effectively, and contribute to the health and growth of the overall movement. A priority will be pursuing outreach to expand and increase diversity in the contributor base. 

  • Support volunteer initiatives that fuel the growth of communities and projects around the world, including meet-ups, public outreach activities and other volunteer innovations.

Improve quality[edit]

  • The essay contest expanded 539 stubs on most important topics to above 15 kb level
  • We got 20 volumes of encyclopedic content donated under Creative Commons license. This will be uploaded to Wikisource and will be used as high quality reference and content source to boost the quality of numerous articles. This was also the base activity for forging institutional partnership with Tamil Virtual Academy.
  • We shot 25 professional videos and 100s of profile photos which will improve the quality of outreach we do. This will be the base activity to campaign for Tamil Wikipedia and forge more institutional partnerships in future.

The above activities align with the following Wikimedia Movement Strategic priorities regarding improving quality

Provide support to the Wikimedia movement in the development of institutional partnerships and alliances.

  • Provide project funding for efforts to connect Wikimedia projects with the work of institutions of culture and learning.
  • Give global visibility to these efforts through our communication channels. 

  • Develop and maintain documentation of best practices, blueprints, standards, and metrics associated with institutional partnerships.

Increase reach[edit]

Encourage innovation[edit]

  • We designed a self-running essay contest that can be judged objectively by any one without relying on judges or adding to the work load of few contributors. The design and prizing strategy was also aimed at encouraging sustained activity and real time competitive spirit. We are also working on a script to analyze the effectiveness of the contest using a data driven approach.
  • The documentary we shot on Tamil Wikipedians is first of it's kind in Global South and helps in doing outreach in an innovative manner.
  • The two day meetup helped to brainstorm various ideas for Tamil Wikimedia improvement.

The above activity aligns with the following Wikimedia Movement Strategic priorities regarding encouraging innovation

Increase access to information that drives community, decision-making and action.

  • Implement a web analytics tool to provide mission-critical information to the Foundation and the movement as a whole. 

  • Provide better information about the movement to enable everyone to better support it, by developing and publishing diverse measures of the health and growth of Wikimedia communities and projects. 

  • Foster a healthy community of researchers interested in analyzing Wikimedia, provide access to relevant data, and highlight important questions to be addressed.
  • Conduct regular reader and editor surveys in order to take the pulse of the community and identify pressing issues or concerns.

Support the infrastructure of networked innovation and research.

  • Continually improve social and technical systems for volunteer development of core software, extensions, gadgets and other technical improvements.

Promote the adoption of great ideas.

  • Organize meetings and events bringing together developers and researchers who are focused on Wikimedia related projects with experienced Wikimedia volunteers and staff.
  • Showcase and recognize the greatest innovations of the Wikimedia movement, and create community spaces dedicated to the exploration of new ideas.

Reporting and documentation of expenditures[edit]

This section describes the grant's use of funds


Did you send documentation of all expenses paid with grant funds to grants at wikimedia dot org, according to the guidelines here? Answer "Yes" or "No".


Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions and dates. Review the instructions here.
These expenses should be listed in the same format as the budget table in your approved submission so that anyone reading this report may be able to easily compare budgeted vs. actual expenses.
Note that variances in the project budget over 10% per expense category must be approved in advance by Project and Event Grants program staff. For all other variances, please provide an explanation in the table below.

We received the grant money after the majority of the expenses were done. So, we recalculated our budget based on actual expenses and asked for reallocation which was approved. As we had precise planning on budget before we received the grant amount, we present the expenses tallying with the proposed budget.

Project budget table
Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Cost per unit Actual and budgeted Total cost in INR Actual and budgeted Total cost in USD (approximate) Notes
1 Conference Hall Conference hall for second day celebrations 17,330 276
2 Accommodation Twin sharing rooms for two days 23,460 374 Most of the participants were from the city and we found cheap and best accommodation from academic institutions. They were located near the venue. So, we saved on local transport cost.
3 Travel Travel scholarships 11 40,800 651 9 scholarships each at 1,200 INR for participants from India; 2 scholarships each at 15,000 INR for participants from Sri Lanka.
4 Food Snacks and Tea for 200 people for second day evening session. 7,050 112 We saved on the food budget by going dutch for the two day event.
5 Felicitation Certificates Certificates for 100 active contributors recognizing their contribution for the last 10 years 100 certificates printed 100 80 8,000 128
6 Cultural tour Tourist bus to carry 50+ persons. 1 Tourist bus 1 7,500 7,500 120
7 Essay contest prizes 12 first prizes, 12 second prizes, 12 special prizes and 2 championship prizes. Championship prize will be 3000 INR (~45 USD), first prize will be 1000 INR (~15 USD) while second and special prizes will be 500 INR (~7 USD) each. For months when there were no special prize winners, we distributed the remaining cash to other winners evenly. Cash prize 30,000 478
8 Essay contest certificates and postage Certificates for contest winners 1 certificate 40 certificates 25 1,000 16
9 Media outreach For arranging a press meet. 6,300 100
10 T-shirts Custom designed T-shirt highlighting Tamil Wikipedia. 1 T-shirt 60 T-shirts 252 9,120 145 Actual cost is 15,120 INR. We received a sponsor of 6,000 INR towards T-shirt production from a Tamil Wikipedia user.
11 Professional photography and videos Videos and photograph expenses related to covering the event and creating promotional materials for Tamil Wikimedia projects. 37,840 603 Actual cost is 60,000 INR. Wikimedia India Chapter funded the rest of the budget.
12 Miscellaneous 11,000 175 Expenses for stationary, banner printing, travel conveyance for organizers, telephone and Internet expense, minimum balance for exclusive bank account, prize money for mini contests.

(Assuming 1 USD = 62.72 INR based on the value on 24 November 2013)

Total cost of project
1,99,400 INR
Total amount requested from the WMF Grants Program
1,99,400 INR
Total project budget (from your approved grant submission)
2,27,560 INR
Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission, this total will be the same as the total project budget if the Project and Event Grant is your only funding source)
1,99,400 INR
Total amount spent on this project (this total should be the total calculated from the table above)
2,27,560 INR
Total amount of Project and Event grant funds spent on this project (this total will be the same as the total amount spent if the Project and Event Grant is your only funding source)
1,99,400 INR
Are there additional sources of revenue that funded any part of this project? List them here.
Yes. Wikimedia India Chapter provided 22,160 INR for professional photo shoot. Tamil Wikipedia user Jagadeeswaran donated 6,000 INR for T-shirts. New Horizon Media provided gift coupons worth 5,000 INR for essay contest winners.

Remaining funds[edit]

Are there any grant funds remaining?
Answer YES or NO.
Please list the total amount (specify currency) remaining here. (This is the amount you did not use, or the amount you still have after completing your grant.)
If funds are remaining they must be returned to WMF, reallocated to mission-aligned activities, or applied to another approved grant.
Please state here if you intend to return unused funds to WMF, submit a request for reallocation, or submit a new grant request, and then follow the instructions on your approved grant submission.