Supporting Indian Language Wikipedias Program

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In 2017 - 2018, the Wikimedia Foundation and Google working in close coordination with the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), Wikimedia India chapter (WMIN) and user groups will pilot a program encouraging Wikipedia communities to create locally relevant and high quality content in Indian languages. This program will (a) support active and experienced Wikipedia editors through the donation of laptops and stipends for internet access and (b) sponsor a language-based contest that aims to address existing Wikipedia content gaps.

Background: Wikimedia & Indian languages[edit]

In India, Wikipedia exists in 23 Indian languages. All of these Wikipedias are in the early growth phase having a range of articles from few thousands to 100,000+ articles. The typical size of an Indian language community is only to have around or less than 100 people making 5+ edits every month. While there are many social economic and technical reasons for the size and activity of the Indian language communities, learnings from successful projects in the past have demonstrated that we can provide specific interventions to support these communities.

  • Many active Indian language Wikipedia editors tend to contribute more actively when they are provided support for contributing equipment and internet expenses. This was evident from the success of the pilot program initiated by the Wikimedia India chapter. The recently launched hardware donation program also had a lot of interest from the Indian region.
  • More than 80% edits of all Wikipedias are made by around 2% editors of the community. While many editing promotion activities aspire to attract new editors who are hard to retain, we can sustain more editing activity by empowering existing active editors.

Combining these insights, we propose to create locally relevant and high quality content in Indian languages by launching this pilot program which will (a) support active and experienced Wikipedia editors through the donation of laptops and stipends for internet access and (b) sponsor a language-based contest that aims to address existing Wikipedia content gaps.

Program timeline[edit]

The program will have three distinct phases:

Needs assessment (December 2017)

Needs assessment of currently active editors in Indian language projects will be done to better understand:

  • Which Indian language Wikipedia communities are most affected by affordability related barriers when editing?
  • How many Wikipedia editors need support for internet access and computers?
  • The necessary specifications of laptops and internet connection in order to effectively edit Wikipedia.

Distribute resources (January 2018)

Based on the learnings from the needs assessment, we will work with the communities to identify recipients of laptops and/or internet stipends. This will be managed through a transparent, on-wiki application process with endorsements from fellow community members. We plan to distribute new laptops for 50 editors and provide the internet subscription cost for 6 months to 100 editors.

Article writing contest (February 2018 - April 2018)

The Indian language Wikipedia communities that express interest to participate in the contest will come together and develop a writing contest focused on content gaps. Participating language communities would compete for three months. Besides individual prizes for top contributors, the winning community will be supported to get an exclusive capacity building training event to improve their skills for contributing to Wikipedia.

Participating organizations and communities[edit]

(Interested communities and user groups can sign up below)

  1. Tamil Wiki Community would like to sign up, I believe that we have already implemented this model in our community and have a good response and got some considerable progress in the wiki members contribution. Am sure that this help us to improve our community in a great way. --Dineshkumar Ponnusamy (talk) 17:47, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
  2. Hindi Wikipedia would like to sign up. We have recently concluded a content creation contest which was organised to celebrate Hindi Day (14 Sep). The community has also participated in Wikiwomen contest. The community is planning many activities which are in line with the mentioned programme. Keeping in view the bigger geography, The mobile and internet revolution well under progress and community's lack of past experience in arranging such activities; the helping hand of Foundation, Chapter, CIS and Google is nothing less than a blessing, noth8ng better could be asked for. I'm sure Hindi community will be able to show best results. --Anamdas (talk) 01:10, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  3. Malayalam Wikimedia Community: Our community have many contributors who are potentially highly active with valuable contributions for most wikimedia projects including Wikipedia, Wikisource, Wiiktionary, Wkidata and wikimedia commons, but limited by lack of own suitable computer or flawless internet access. They will also be highly enthusiastic in conducting / participating on theme based regional/ national contests as has been shown always in the past. ViswaPrabhaവിശ്വപ്രഭtalk 16:15, 16 November 2017 (UTC) Support Support -- Ranjithsiji (talk) 11:00, 8 December 2017 (UTC)
  4. Gujarati Wikimedia community would like to sign up. Our community has many members who, if get external support, can contribute even more. Our community has been contributing to most of the wikimedia projects Wikipedia, WikiSource, Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata, WikiQuote. Some members have reported having constraints in terms of resources (e.g Laptop, internet connection, WACOM pad, good DSL camera etc.), that keeps them behind in increasing their contribution. --Aniket (talk) 13:09, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
  5. Kannada wikipedia community would like to sign up.In our comunity some members contributing using mobile due non availability of laptop/computer of their own.If you provide support from above Program its helps us to contribute more.Sangappadyamani (talk) 11:05, 2 December 2017 (UTC)
    1. Support I support above comment made by Sangappadyamani & it would be best this project would focus rural areas. ★ Anoop / ಅನೂಪ್ © 07:30, 13 December 2017 (UTC)
    2. Support I endorse this. This is a very good program & I would like to sign-up Kannada community --Vikas Hegde (talk) 13:24, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
  6. Odia wikipedia community would like to sign up for this program. In Odia Wiki community there are some active members who face problems regarding the availability of these type of resources (shared computers,poor internet connection, unavailability of a good camera and other supported hardwares/paid softwares for any effective glam project. Like the world famous Rathajatra). They have been actively contributing to different wiki projects like Wikisource, wikimedia commons , wikipedia , dictionary etc. It will be really helpful for the Wikimedians to contribute more. --Chinmayee Mishra (talk) 19:24, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
  7. With the support from Marathi Community, we are ready to take up project on Indo-Japanese Culture at Department of Foreign Language, Pune Univeristy and Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune. What I have seen, not only students but also teachers from these institutions are very much interested in writing or researching about Indo-Japanese Culture and Japanology, but there are very less or no computers, internet resources available at these institutions. By setting up computer resource mini lab, in these institutions will help us in getting specific encyclopedic content. --Abhinavgarule (talk) 00:04, 14 December 2017 (UTC)
    1. We are working on Marathi Wikipedia and Marathi Wikipedians would like to be a part of this program by participating and contributing. We are working in rural area along with the girls around the village.This is very important project for enhancing the literature in Marathi.
    2. Marathi wikipedia would like to sign up this program.we are working on rural area thats why we got shortest techinical support for this program.the assistance of resource(laptop)will really enhance their contribution.and also I would like to be a part of this program by participate and contribute.
  8. Punjabi Wikimedians would like to sign up for this program. In Punjabi community we have some active members with appreciable contribution on wiki. The assistance of resources (computers,internet connection, good camera and other hardwares/softwares) will really enhance their contribution. Manavpreet Kaur (talk) 15:30, 16 December 2017 (UTC)
  9. Telugu Wikipedians would like to sign up for this program. One of our active community members got selected for infrastructure support from earlier programs and as his problem with laptop was resolved, become very active from then. So, We could see this assistance will enhance contributions. --విశ్వనాధ్.బి.కె. (talk) 03:20, 17 December 2017 (UTC)
  10. Sanskrit: I would like to sign up for this programme. Assistance of this kind will help us a lot, like content generation or to conduct outreach activities. -Sayant Mahato (talk) 11:35, 19 December 2017 (UTC)
    1. # NehalDaveND (talk) 10:57, 16 December 2017 (UTC)


1. What is the role of Wikimedia Foundation and Google in this project?

Google and Wikimedia Foundation are interested in increasing the content available in Indian languages online and see each other as valuable partners in supporting this. Google is aiding this project by supporting the cost of the pilot program through a grant. They are also providing valuable information on topics that the Indian language internet users are seeking.

2. What will be the role of CIS, Wikimedia India chapter, user groups and communities in this project?

CIS will be the implementing partner for this program in India. They will do the needs assessment, coordinate the process for distributing laptops, internet stipends, individual prizes and facilitate the community capacity development after the contest is over.

Wikimedia India chapter has expressed interest in supporting this program as a guiding and advisory group. The chapter will support the selection of recipients for laptops and internet access stipends. They will also play an active role in outreach engaging communities and individuals to participate in this program.

User groups and communities will inform and help the community members to make use of the support offered. The communities will coordinate among themselves to design and conduct the contest. They will also conduct outreach events and edit-a-thons encouraging the communities to participate in the article writing contest.

3. Is participation in this program mandatory/limited/conditional?

No. Existing editors who would benefit from the support for laptops and internet access can apply individually. It is not necessary for them to take part in the contest for article creation either as an individual or along with their community.

4. Can we create articles of our own interest?

This program has a special focus to create articles that are most sought out by users online but not yet present in Indian language Wikipedias. By this focus, we hope to serve as many people with free knowledge. Therefore, we encourage you to choose topics of interest from the suggested list of articles. The list of topics will be added soon. However, we will be thrilled to provide more topics if the community would like to have internal focus in any selected category. For example, if a community wants to write more on health, politics or current affairs, we would try to get more topics from those categories.

5. What are the rules for the contest?

Based on past successful collaborations like Wikipedia Asian Month and Punjab Edit-a-thon, we are proposing that a contest can be held to encourage content creation. However, we fully acknowledge that this is best managed by the communities themselves. Therefore, we are looking forward to the communities to come together and run the contest after framing appropriate rules, facilitate participation and declare results.