Grants:TPS/Shyamal/Himalayan workshop/Report

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Event name[edit]

Himalayan workshop which was part of Himal Kalasutra 2016 - 10th Mesarkund Forest Mela, Munsiari, Uttarakhand

Participant connections[edit]

Mela day - outdoor event - the Panchachuli range as a backdrop

This was a locally organized event ending in a fair on the Himalayan frontier of India and we had several sessions on Wikipedia (esp. the Hindi version), Commons and copyright/licensing, local mapping via OpenStreetMap. I travelled from Bangalore to Delhi via air and from Delhi to Kathgodam by overnight train and then a 12-hour drive on the mountains in a shared SUV (5 persons) from the plains of Haldwani-Kathgodam to Munsiari. I was accompanied by Dr S. Subramanya, professor of entomology at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore. The participants included local people from Munsiari and some fellow visitors who included several person associated with community-based biodiversity conservation. The local organization, Himal Prakriti, and its resource persons are particularly important here as they can keep the idea alive and contribute in the longer term especially with useful media for Commons. We had several sessions on Wikipedia and its ideas, Wikimedia Commons, copyright, licensing, OpenStreetMaps for local resource mapping (and there was much discussion on the dangers of sharing information on the locations of valuable and endangered trees) etc. We also went out to explore the local wilderness and stayed in a local homestay which allowed us to look at local culture.

Wikipedia indoor demo session at Munsiari, Uttarakhand

Some of the key happenings and learnings below from the indoor sessions:

  • A discovery was that people of the region are happy to use WhatsApp and Instagram to upload images but seemed to be a bit hesitant about using a browser and were quite happy to see the Upload to Commons app. It seems that there would be great value to localizing this as well as creating some kind of multi-share app that would save people the need to upload a single image to multiple sites and incur additional mobile internet cost.
  • We discussed some recent news from Uttarakhand, the large scale forest fires, and the fact that there was not a single freely-licensed image despite the fact that numerous people had pictures of it on their mobile phones taken while travelling to or from the plains. commons:User:Ramwik who was one of the organizers in the audience uploaded File:Forest_fire_in_Almora_District_2016.jpg as a demonstration and it was immediately used in en:2016_Uttarakhand_forest_fires which was a DYK on 23 May 2016 on the English Wikipedia.
Outdoor venue
  • We examined the Hindi wikipedia entry on en:Munsiari hi:मुनस्‍यारी and we critiqued it and compared it with the English entry (which was unlinked and the Wikidata interlink was too complicated even for me and I had to resort to adding an old-fashioned interwiki for the two entries). The entry was entirely unsourced and appeared to be written for and by a tourist. One of the statements in the Hindi wikipedia entry that amused the audience was a line stating in effect that the people of Munsiari were simple and straightforward. Needless to say the consensus was for removing that line. We then examine edit histories and other aspects of Wikipedia. It will take more time and handholding to get into more involved editing. User:Tillu.munsiari uploaded a picture of Munsiari that he had taken and we found the Hindi localization of Wikimedia Commons extremely deficient. It was possible to register a name and upload an image, make license choices and understand the fields in the upload form only if one alternately knew English. It might be useful to have a large scale review of all language localizations on Wikimedia Commons and call for action where needed. Most of our edits have been marked with the #himal tag (note: this does not seem to track tags in the hi wikipedia). Media uploaded have been placed in a hidden category commons:Category:Himalayan_workshop_2016
Indoor session on OpenStreetMap. Mapping local resources.
  • We made several field trips, photographed local plants of economic importance and noted local knowledge surrounding them. Several of us took pictures that we think are of encyclopedic value that will be uploaded soon - these are one-off attempts and the real success of the event should be best measured by local participation in the future.


New Creation: What was one useful outcome of the event for the Wikimedia movement?
Add a link to something new that was created as a result of your participation in this event (for example, you might link to a new tool that you and your co-participants made as a result of attending this event, or to a set of articles that the participants in your workshop created at the event).

We have several new images at commons:Category:Himalayan_workshop_2016 and an article of recent interest we created en:2016_Uttarakhand_forest_fires got the first freely-licensed image (taken on mobile by one of the participants) and it was a DYK on the English Wikipedia mainpage on 23 May 2016. We hope to see more media and content being added over time.

It is also important to fix some of the issues we noticed during the workshop particularly with language localization on Wikimedia Commons, it appears that there is no way for someone who does not know English to follow the fileupload page in several Indian languages including Hindi (I note that the localization on the German Commons page is far better but still uses an English information template).


  • The estimate made for the grant (INR 24240) was exceeded. One of the train tickets did not get confirmed and had to be obtained in a different category (tatkal). I also stayed on for a couple of nights more and local transport costed more than had been estimated. I will cover the difference.
Air fare			
	round trip Bangalore-Delhi	 9314
	Delhi to Kathgodam		 1457.9
	Kathgodam to Delhi		  717.9
Local transport			
	Kathgodam to Munsiari		 1000
	Munsiari to Kathgodam		 1000
	Bus - bangalore airport		  181
	Cab - delhi airport		  559
	x 8 nights @1500 		12000
Total			           INR  26229.8

Amount left over[edit]

  • None.

Anything else[edit]

PS: For a sample of this Himalayan village community's activity on Instagram see -