Grants:PEG/Kannan Shanmugham - WikiSangamotsavam 2012/Malayalam Wiki Conference 2012/Report
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This is the report in English of WikiSangamothsavam, the wiki conference of Malayalam wikimedians, held on 2012, April 28 and 29 at the District Panchayat Hall, Kollam, Kerala, India. The Malayalam version of the report is available here.
Setting up the team of organizers
The local team for assisting the Kollam Wikimedians to host the conference was set up on 15th February 2012. The members met at Town U.P school, Kollam and elected Dr. N. Jayadevan as the chairman, Mr. Kannan Shanmukham as the General Convener and Adv. T.K Sujith as the treasurer. The full list of the members of the organizing committee can be viewed here.
Name and logo for the conference
The name and logo for the conference were decided by online voting on Malayalam Wikipedia. The logo for the conference was created by Malayalam Wikimedian Mr. Rajesh Odayanchal.
Spreading the word
A Wikipedia page was created for the event. Facilities were made available to register for the conference both online and offline. Ordinary participants were to pay Rs. 300 and students, Rs. 150. Early bird registrations were given a concession of Rs.200 on the registration fee till March 31, 2012.
Colorful posters and brochures were printed for distribution. The brochure was created by Mr. Ajay Kuyiloor with the aid of an open software. The posters were displayed in most public places in and around Kollam. To fix posters at certain places, help from contractors was sought. The banner was printed on cloth on the decision of the committee that plastic shall not be used for the purpose. Two hundred attractive environment-friendly bags which were distributed among the participants were sponsored by Dr. Fuad Jaleel, an active Wikimedian from Kollam.
Mr. Sugeesh designed the certificate and delegate pass to be given to the participants of Wiki-Vidyarthi-Sangamam, the parallel workshop for student Wikipedians.
A press conference was conducted at Kollam Press Club. Dr. N. Jayadevan, Kannan, and V.M Rajmohan, the members of the welcoming committee, participated in the press conference. Many mainstream print and visual media persons attended the event. A copy of the Annual report of Malayalam Wikiprojects were given to the reporters. Good coverage on the conference was given by both print and visual media.
Malayalam Loves Wikimedia-2
To encourage Malayalam Wikimedians to upload pictures of educational importance to Malayalam Wikipedia and other Wikiprojects, the pre-conference event, "Malayalam Loves Wikimedia-2" was launched. It was a 60 day long pre-conference event which started on 15 February 2012, and ended on April 20, 2012. Wikimedians participated in the event with enthusiasm. 11,159 images were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons as a part of this event. The maximum uploads were by User: Vinayaraj, who uploaded 2917 pictures. More details here :
Keshaveeyam on your fingertips
Keshaveeyam on your fingertips was a pre-conference event launched to maximize the outreach of Malayalam Wikibooks. This project was jointly initiated and executed by sarvashiksha Abhiyan Chathannur B.R.C and the reception committee of WikiSangamotsavam. Keshaveeyam is a long poem written by K.C Keshavapillai according to the legend "Syamanthakam Mani" mentioned in the Indian Puranas. 12 chapters of the poem was added to Wikipedia by 50 students from the author's own birthplace, Paravoor. This 102 page book is presently not available in print. More details here.
The organizing committee decided to improve upon the existing Wikipedia handbook and print 1500 copies of it. As it was difficult for the committee to release the printed versions of the booklets in a short span of time, the first 200 copies were distributed in digital version. 1500 copies of it were to be printed later. Mr. Anil Kumar did the typesetting and designing of the layout. After receiving the grant from the Wikimedia Foundation, the booklets were printed. These are currently being used for Anchal IT@School Wiki program and other workshops held within the state.
The organizing committee decided to print 200 T-shirts for the participants of the conference, using the financial aid from Wikimedia India chapter. The effort was coordinated by Prasobh abd Sivahari Nandakumar, prominent wikimedians from Ernakulam. Even though the t-shirts were delivered on time, they were of inferior quality and was not accepted. The company had agreed to fulfil the order with better quality materials and have delivered it to the wikimedians at Ernakulam. Distribution in Ernakulam has already started, and the other registrants will get the t-shirt via active wikimedians who live in their area.
A total of 61 people attended as participants, out of which 20 people availed the early bird registration facility and 34 people registered before the last date. 7 participants registered as students. There were 125 participants altogether during the first day, including guests and media personnel. The second day saw participation from 124 people, including 50 school students.
The details of the programs are available on the Malayalam version of the report here.
Wiki Students' conference
Selected school students from around Kollam were invited to attend the Wiki Student conference and Wiki-workshop which was held as a part of the conference. The workshop was held in Kollam Government boys higher secondary school, which is located close to the venue of WikiSangamotsavam. The program which was planned by Vishwaprabha, Rajesh Odayanchal, Junaid and Mirshad was executed by Sugeesh, Akhil and Dr. Fuad. An introduction session to Wikipedia editing was conducted. A Wikipedia Quiz was conducted by Viswaprabha. Dr. Fuad Jaleel introduced Wikibooks, WikiQuotes, Wikictionary and WikiBooks to the participants. All students were given certificates of participation and WikiSangamotsavam kit. The students reached the main conference hall after the lunch to listen to the afternoon session.
Project goal and measures of success
Wikisamgamotsavam is the conference of Malayalam wikimedians, users and experts working with Free software, Malayalam language, and Malayalam computing. The meet-up is intended to facilitate discussions among Wikimedians regarding the future programs of Malayalam Wikimedia. Those interested in Wiki-projects of Wikimedia Foundation, who are not registered users on Wikimedia are also encouraged to attend. Educationalists, researchers and free software activists are particularly encouraged to attend. The conference provided a platform for the public to discuss with Wikimedians, clarify their doubts and submit their suggestions.
Measures of success
Among many measurable and immeasurable parameters, the following were identified as focused targets:
Increase the number of registered users
The Malayalam community had a steadily increasing number of users as well as edits since 2007. However, at often intervals, the rate of growth have shown a stagnant value. This could be attributed to several reasons. However, one important observation one could derive is the need of a sustained periodical stimulation in order to attract and retain new users both as editors as well as readers.
The conference has resulted in a spurt of both active as well as registered users. The raise in the following figures since the event as given below is a clear indication of this accomplishment:
|Description||January 2012||February 2012||March 2012||April 2012||May 2012||June 2012||July 2012|
|Article Count||23 k (+2 %)||23 k (+2 %)||24k (+2 %)||24k (+1 %)||24k (+1 %)||25k (+2 %)||26 k (+4 %)|
|Edits per month||16 k (- 9 %)||13 k (-20 %)||13 k (+2 %)||11 k (-20 %)||14 k (+33 %)||20 k (+43 %)||19 k (+7 %)|
|Contributors||757 (+2 %)||770 (+2 %)||786 (+2 %)||795 (+1%)||808 (+2 %)||826(+2%)||844 (+2 %)|
|Active Contributors||86 (- 15 %)||83 (- 3 %)||87 (+5 %)||71 (- 18 %)||77 (+8 %)||94 (+22 %)||108 (+15 %)|
Increase the quality of articles
The conference enlightened the importance of enhancing value of each Wikimedia article by way of depth of content, sufficient and reliable citation, effective inter-wiki linking and efficient templates and category management. Although not all quantitatively and figuratively measurable, some of the following parameters can help identifying these achievements.
- The rate of change of new articles.
- Sustained maintenance of depth of content with respect to the rate of growth of new articles.
- Creation and refinement of categories and overall re-structuring of the category hierarchy.
- Development and adaption of templates in such a way as to improve user-friendliness as well as cross-wiki integration.
- Newly conceived experiments to introduce Article Feedback Tools, input methods and language and media interfaces
- Increased levels of editing supervision (in terms of anti-vandalism, assistance to new users and user-to-user discussions via talk-pages and mailing lists)
- Target oriented collaboration projects (eg. WLM, Wikisource content in other scripts such as Arabi Malayalam etc.)
- Cross-project interlinking between Wikipedia, Wikisource, Wiktionary and Wikiquotes.
Novel projects by the community
Several new projects have been either already started or on the anvil:
1. A pilot project as a real world working model incorporating selected primary and high school children from a very small geographic division, nurturing them with assistance from teachers and WM volunteers (See the project page about this program in laocal language from here). The objective is to create and improve on specific articles dealing with local history, geography and other knowledgeware while also educating the children on wikipedia methodology.
This project is tailored on a very small and manageable scale taking into account, of all practical constraints (such as internet accessibility, man power, user time limitations, social and financial bottlenecks etc.). However, as of now, it is positively expected of a successful and self-sustained growth. The outcome is exponentially beneficial as the involvement of school children automatically propagates to their teachers, parents and friends network. It also helps the children to improve upon their own academic excellence.
Since inception, the project is being continuously monitored and guided by volunteers.
On the long term, at various successful milestones, we plan to scale up the same model incorporating all necessary corrections on a massive scale throughout the schools of Kerala and possibly even all over India. The results could be gigantic on a world-scale!
2. Several representatives from movements such as social libraries, academies, free software and local self-governments have shown passionate enthusiasm to bring up eligible content to the WM repository. For eg. the library council have promised to gather, compile and improve upon a database of all Malayalam books ever published as well as a subgroup of editions they already possess in their member libraries. Wikipedia volunteers will help them in techniques and methods while their own volunteers will spare the resources. As the program involves administrative and organizational steps, a solid plan is still being drawn up.
3. During the event, the community volunteers had a closer interaction with the media representatives from print, on-line and audio-visual media. Most of them are in need of a better awareness and training on WM as both an input and output vehicle. The community is setting up plans for a separate, dedicated camp-cum-workshop for selected media personnel aimed at the training on WM mechanism and methodologies. The outcome will result in a catalyzed mass media outreach via their broadcasts. It will also reinforce more accountability and credibility in both WM citations as well as their news output.
This project is still in the planning stage, waiting for suitable time-slots conforming to the target participants.
What lessons were learned that may help others succeed in similar projects?
Let us start with the hard lesson learnt. To conduct a conference of this scale much effort (both offline and online) and volunteer time are required from the wikimedians on ground. So unless you have around 6 -7 Wikipedians on ground where the conference is taking place it is better not to try to conduct a conference of this scale.
WikiSangamotsavam was the first Indic language wiki conference conducted by an Indic language wiki community. The conference helped in boosting the activities of Malayalam wiki projects. The gave the participants an opportunity to meet the fellow Wikimedians. The outreach efforts could be boosted because of the excellent media coverage. Due to the outreach efforts, primary school students digitized the poem 'Keshaveeyam' and added it to Malayalam Wikibooks. Students from other schools are also involved in creating content for wikiprojects. During the discussions that happened during the conference, a new Wikipedia education project idea was born, and a pilot program of this is now happening in Anchal Government High School. A GLAM project is under discussion. We expect that many more new projects would be launched through the connections established by Wikimedians during the conference.
What impact did the project have on WMF mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?
The conference introduced the concept and awareness about the Wikimedia missions to a completely new set of people spectra. Besides directly influencing the people who attended the conference (both registered and casual visitors), a shower of related news highlights through the print and visual media instilled quest and curiosity among the common mass who hitherto were not at all aware of the Wikipedia (Wikimedia) or its existence in their own local language. This conference could be considered as the largest concerted effort within Kerala and among the potential Malayalam WM users so far in spreading and propagating the 'idea' and scope of Wikipedia.
As a result of the conference, there has been a steadily accelerating trend in the number and quality of users within the Malayalam community. Although less measurable, repercussions could also be observed in general Wikipedia participation in other WM projects such as en.wikipedia etc. from the target geographical bounds. Many users are now better aware about the sister projects as well (viz. Wiktionary, Wikisource etc.) than before. Some of them finds it more worthwhile to spend their productive time in such projects.
The conference has been able to penetrate the WM concepts to some niche areas as well. Such areas include students and teachers of all levels, library activists and staff, media staff, people from co-operative movements and local self-government offices and GLAM institutions. Many of them have taken the cue from the sessions and discussions and are in the process of conceiving novel ideas that will yield tremendous mutual benefits and impacts. Some examples: (1) Members from the state and district library council have developed a new interest in setting up a project for digitizing all qualifying books within their repository. Over a long term systematic plan, they envisage a large contribution to the wikisource, almost completely on their own bare some minor technical assistance from the community volunteers. (2) The enthusiasm of school children were particularly noticeable. They have been quick and effective in capturing the intricate details of Wikipedia creativity and user level techniques. Their involvement in WM projects are definitely going to produce secondary wave effects through their parents, teachers and friends.
Several sessions during the program were focused on copy rights issues, credibility, citations and such other aspects. These have imparted a clearer vision and confidence to the existing and emerging users. The output is observable as a net enhancement in the quality in terms of editing, refining and interweaving WM articles ever since the conference.
The Malayalam community has been very special and different than its counterparts in one particular kind: since the beginning, the active volunteers have always been in good touch and harmony one to another. They have been closely and intimately connected to each other mostly by social networks and mailing lists. In fact, this has been one of the prime reasons for the projects enduring success. However, many of them had never seen or met their peers all during these years. Conference gave an opportunity to bring these birds of the same flock together at one place and reinforce the friendships into much more concrete levels. During the events, they shared a lot of technical and political wisdom among themselves both off and on-stage.
As an overall hallmark, one could notice that 'Wikipedia' has suddenly become a word that is mostly recognizable by a majority of the internet users within Kerala. Most now understands that Wikipedia is a 'very special' collaborative idea that is concomitant with the new age of Internet. The conference has stimulated and amplified the already existing mass consciousness with a new vigor and passion.
Reporting and documentation of expenditures
Did you send WMF documentation of all expenses paid for with grant funds?
Details of expenditures:
The budget for the conference was created following a discussion among the members of the Organizing committee. It was decided to meet the directors of IT@School, IT Mission and Akshaya for requesting the financial assistance and sponsorship for the conference.
But many of the expectations regarding finanical support didn't worked out as community expected. So most of the expenses for confernce is covered through the Grants Malayalam community recieved either from Wikimedia Foundation or from Wikimedia India chapter. A small portion of the expenses is cover through registeration fee also.
The grant applications to the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia India Chapter were approved and WMF provided Rs. 1,35,000 and Wikimedia India chapter provided Rs. 83,000 as grant. As we didn't received amount before the conference all the expenses before and during the conference were covered by the personal interest free loans provided by malayalam wikipedians Mr. Jyothis, Mr. Shiju Alex, Dr. Johnson A.J, Mr. Vishwanathan,Kannan shanmugam and Adv. T.K. Sujith. These loans were returned to them after receiving the grant from the Wikimedia Foundation. A sum of Rs. 15,250 was obtained as the registration fee.
Early Bird Registrations 20= 20x200 = 4000
Registrations 34= 34x300 =10200
Students 7 = 7x150 =1050
Total ..........................61 = 15250
Detailed financial report
|Wikimedia Foundation Grant||135000||Food||38816||(Rs. 37750) was donated by Wikimedia India chapter|
|Chapter grant||83550||T-shirt||46000||donated by Wikimedia India chapter|
|Registration||15250||Return of advance||102000||-|
|-||-||Stage, decoration, arch||12000||-|
|-||-||Sound and light||15010||-|
A balance of 25,949 INR is with us.
Will you be requesting re-allocation of remaining grant funding?
Yes, A balance of 25,949 INR is with us. We are planning to use this amount for the Malayalam Wikipedia 10th anniversary related expenses during 2012 December.
Will you be returning unused funds to the Wikimedia Foundation?
Will you be requesting an extension or were you granted an extension?
At the end of conference there is a balance of 25,949 INR with us. But since we have 10th anniversary of Malayalam wikipedia coming up in 2012 December we are planning to re-purpose this amount for the Malayalam Wikipedia 10th anniversary celebrations (during December 2012) related expenses. Please let us know the formalities associated with this.
Please link to related grant proposals here: