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.

(Rangakuvara (talk) 05:35, 18 November 2017 (UTC))

Sir, Lots of discussions are in progress, while harassament to a Wikipeida (Kn) editor has not noticed by any one. One side you say, we have to encourage, other side you are punishing and discouraging a moderate and effective, and Born star (status) editor like me. I have been editing and creating hundreds of articles, mainly in Kannada half a dozen in English. But my ID has been blocked since months, and no one investigatges what is the matter. I write as RAGNAKUVARA ID, and RADHATANAYA in kannada language. Thats all the mistake they say. I was not aware about the wikimedia rules. Uploaded several pics. recd from my friends. So, the message says, "u ar operating in multiple names". (Father's name Rangarao, son of Rangarao), (Mother's name Radhamma,son of Radhamma) I'm 73 years age, Right eye cataract operation is due on 20th, (Mon) Nov, 2017. With one eye I'm writing. Even now I'm editing for kannada articles. I'm frustrated for not getting any justice. YOU ARE PUNISHING ME AS IF I AM A CRIMINAL. PLEASE HELP ME. GOD SHOULD ONLY SHOULD HELP ME.

Program timeline[edit]

The program will have three distinct phases:

Needs assessment (November 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 (December 2017)

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 (January 2018 - March 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. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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)


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.