Supporting Indian Language Wikipedias Program/Report

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Project Tiger

Background[edit]

In 2017–2018, the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) and Google collaborated to start a pilot project in India, working closely with the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) and the Wikimedia India chapter (WMIN). This project, titled Project Tiger was aimed at encouraging Wikipedia communities to create locally relevant and high-quality content in Indian languages. The name Project Tiger was chosen to reflect the Indian metaphor of a tiger representing a strong, or brave person (Baagh in Hindi, Puli in Tamil, etc).

Through this project, support was provided to active and experienced Wikipedia editors in the form of Chromebook donations, and stipends for Internet access. Additionally, a three-month-long editathon was conducted, as well as a language-based contest on Indic Wikipedia that aimed at addressing existing Wikipedia content gaps.

Needs assessment[edit]

As a part of Project Tiger, CIS-A2K facilitated a needs assessment process in the month of December 2017, prompting a large number of responses between December 2017 and March 2018. Among these, the highest percentage of responses came from Wikimedians who were associated with Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. A notable percentage of responses came from students. Among 190 responses, it was found that 16% of users edit Wikimedia projects on mobile phones. Additionally, out of 189 users, 51.85% said they use laptops for editing. 73 users reported that they share their devices with others to make contributions.

Our learnings from this process are:

  • 150 users who contribute to Wikipedia belong to the age groups of 20-35 and 35-50. Younger community members can consistently bring in more contributions and have a sustainable presence within the community. Supporting these young Wikimedians is very important.

Users with personal devices can make more contributions to Wikipedia than those without them. Sharing devices between users is a barrier to maximising contributions.

  • Most users are genuinely interested in contributing to Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.
  • There is a requirement for skill development activities (Writing skills, tools, gadgets) within the Indian Wikimedia community. Skills development will directly result in increased contribution to Wikimedia projects. Additionally, Wikimedians also showed interest in obtaining easier access to books, journals, etc.

Chromebook distribution[edit]

CIS-A2K received a large number of requests for Chromebooks and access to the Internet from community members CIS-A2K observed 271 requests for laptop and internet access (including draft requests, requests from IP address, and withdrawn requests by applicants).

In the first round of responding to these requests, 26 requests were answered with support. 11 of these 26 Chromebook recipients are female Wikipedians. In the second round of responses, CIS-A2K supported 24 requests. In just two rounds all Chromebooks were distributed among the users. Total Chromebooks are delivered are 50. The first stage of distribution involved delivery of Chromebooks to Odia Wikimedian Ssgapu22. Subsequently, we prepared a help document intended to make the Chromebooks convenient to use for Indian Wikipedians. Then the Chromebooks were transported to the recipients, either by courier (35–40 Chromebooks), or in person by community advocates at events. CIS-A2K has successfully shipped Chromebooks even to rural areas in India including the border areas of West Bengal. CIS-A2K has made a final third list which serves as a waiting list, with 25 pending requests that are open for support. Support via Chromebooks has created a noticeable increase in all forms of contributions by Wikimedians to the Wikimedia projects. The results are documented below:

For the Laptop, I was expecting a windows laptop actually, but this is good. Previously I was using windows laptop for all my works but never worked with Chromebook. When I got unboxed this at the CIS-A2K office, I was saw something new. And when I started using this, I feel the power back up, it's at least 10 hours. For the wiki works, this laptop is perfect. --Ssgapu22
(Odia Wikimedian)

My laptop is working nicely. Internet support is also wonderful. Both things are helpful for me for my upgradation on marathi wiki and other related activities. - आर्या जोशी

SL. No. Metric Dec 2017 to Feb 2018 Mar 2018 to May 5 2018
1 Articles created 297 351
2 Edits (zero namespace) 6,180 8,710
3 Edits (all namespaces) 9,056 16,059
4 Commons uploads 1,482 615
5 Bytes added 1.8 MB 2.33 MB

Chromebooks are built to have a thin, and light design with good battery backup, and were believed to be ideal for use within the Indian Wikimedia Community. However, the feedback we got from users indicated some drawbacks including but not limited to the lack of a user-friendly operating system (Chrome OS), transition cost (from Windows), and software incompatibility (Auto Wiki Browser, Media Wiki software, etc). Many of the Chromebook users participated in SVG Translation Campaign 2019 in India, where it was also found that installing Inkscape was difficult on a Chromebook, requiring developer level knowledge. Finally, Chromebooks have very little internal storage which made it difficult for users to store files locally.

Challenges:

  1. The distribution of Chromebooks was time consuming, which may have been reduced with better planning.
  2. The absence of partnerships with multiple courier services increased the time taken to deliver the Chromebooks, especially to rural areas.
  3. Establishing contact with every single Wikimedian was a challenging task due to non-availability of contact details and delayed responses.
  4. Some Chromebooks suffered technical issues, and the users requested that they are repaired. However, CIS-A2K could not cover this within its budget, and because of this, a few users faced issues in repairing the devices, and claiming warranty.

Internet Stipend Support to Indic Wikimedians[edit]

As mentioned before, CIS-A2K received more than 200 requests asking for assistance to access the Internet. Some of the users who requested this were also from Pakistan. Out of the users who requested this, CIS-A2K selected 44 Wikipedians (12 female and 32 male). Eleven of these Wikimedians belonged to the Malayalam community, the largest to receive this support, followed by six Wikimedians in the Kannada community. A budgeted amount was allotted to each recipient, within which the best available Internet connection was chosen. The planned support program covered 6 months of Internet access, but due to developments surrounding increased access in the 4G market in India, the cost of Internet significantly reduced. Most Wikimedians opted for a Reliance Jio connection over a fixed/wired connection. Recipients in the first round were asked to purchase a portable internet modem, and an Internet connection. CIS-A2K reimbursed these costs on receipt of bills. For recipients who were unable to incur initial costs, CIS-A2K provided monetary support in advance, after which the recipients sent the corresponding bills to CIS-A2K. At the end of December CIS-A2K requested WMF to extend support for the next six months. Accordingly, CIS-A2K requested community members to send bills for these expenses. In the second round, expenditure was reimbursed for around 20 people .

Certainly the project tiger helped me to be more active in wikipedia by the internet facility. I'm so thankful to the project tiger. Hoping more support from the community - Durga bhat bollurodi

Internet facility makes me to contribute more Information in Wikipedia. I couldn't contribue solidly without Amazin Support of Internet. I would like to say my Opinion about Project Tiger is a worthy project. Pesonnally I learned alot from Project Tiger Project. Mainly I learned how to create Quality Articles and How to improve an Article in Quality Manner. Finally, This project helps me to enhance my knowledge on Creating Articles. - Ajaybanbi

Challenges:

  1. Once again, establishing contact, and following up with each of the 44 Wikimedians was a challenging task due to non-availability of contact details.
  2. Few Wikimedians requested support for high cost plans due to specific needs/challenges with access, but these requests could not be met.
  3. There were logistical issues, such as while recharging data plans, there were some errors due to a large number of similar numbers. A2K is considering alternative methods of conducting this exercise to avoid these obstacles.

Article Writing Contest[edit]

The Project Tiger article writing contest aimed to improve and develop locally relevant high quality content on Wikipedia. This contest was conducted for three months from 1 March 2018 till 30 May 2018. In this contest 12 Indian language Wikipedia communities expressed interest in participating, came together and developed a writing contest focused on content gaps. The participant language communities competed for three months. Besides individual prizes for top contributors, the winning community is supported by an exclusive capacity building training event to improve their skills for contributing to Wikipedia. Among these 12 communities Punjabi and Tamil had the highest contributors. The Punjabi community has the highest contribution with 1321 articles in total followed by 1261 articles from the Tamil community. The Urdu community participated only in the month of April, May and became top third community. The statistics are given below.

Look upon the other community activities. I thought this competition is only for the Tamil Wikipedia, but after a month I knew Punjabians are leading to us. After that I wrote more articles than before. But we can’t beat them. So organizers must show the daily report on the main page. (Tamil Wikipedia try that after two months) - ஞா. ஸ்ரீதர்

Language Participants Articles New Page views
Expanded Page

views

Contest articles Stats page
Bengali 17 379 29,740 47,583 Petscan link Fountain link
English 7 20 2,348 85,296 Petscan link Fountain link
Gujarati 9 97 8,809 4,595 Petscan link Fountain link
Hindi 17 143 11,819 Fountain link
Kannada 8 78 1,296 Petscan link Fountain link
Malayalam 22 251 18,753 6,783 Petscan link Fountain link
Odia 7 87 Petscan link Fountain link
Punjabi 32 1,320 10,926 3,973 Petscan link Fountain link
Tamil 56 1,241 63,617 90,896 Petscan link Fountain link
Telugu 8 125 Fountain link
Marathi 8 30 Fountain link
Urdu 29 694 21,606 10,195 Petscan link Fountain link
Total 220 4,466 165,774 232,816

Project Tiger gave me the best experiences. Since there is a competition between the communities, so I saw the spirit of Punjabi and Tamil Wikimedians. For the individual prizes, some volunteers edit actively, but some thought we could win the prize so quit editing. But, for the articles we choose for the edit-a-thon, we should take Indian articles. Because there are lots of Indian articles are not there and we focused more on the movies. If someone would search for an English movie, he could check that from the English wiki easily. In future, if we did another edit-a-thon like this, we should focus on some Indian topics, which are really necessary for the Indic Wikipedias. - Ssgapu22

This was the last phase of the article writing contest of the project Tiger. CIS-A2K members also continued working for the project in both their personal and official capacities. Their work included but was not limited to encouraging and clearing doubts of community members, and becoming jury members and judging articles (especially in Telugu and Kannada). The CIS-A2K team has not only played the role of a catalyst in organising edit-a-thons but has also developed a follow-up mechanism in Telugu. Every article that was created during the contest was given feedback regarding style, content, and scope of improvement. The team wrote suggestions on most rejected pages and helped users to improve and resubmit them. (For example, see this talk page) The edit-a-thons were conducted in the following places:

  1. Bhopal: This editathon organized in association with 'Regional Museum of Natural History, Bhopal' on 14 April 2018. This event was organized by Hindi community members to develop the list of articles which were uploaded/edited under this project.
  1. Tirupathi:
  2. Bangalore: This edit-a-thon was organized on 27 May 2018 at The Centre for Internet and Society , Bangalore. from different languages (Odia, Kannada, Punjabi and Telugu) took part in the event to make it a grand success.
  3. Chennai: This edit-a-thon took place in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  4. Delhi : This edit-a-thon was organised in Delhi on 10–11 April 2018 by Punjabi Wikimedians. This was a two-day event among the series of event. In the contest, all the participating communities came together and developed a writing contest focused on content gaps on Wikipedia
  5. Patiala Phase 1 : This editathon was organised at Punjabi University, Patiala. In this event community members created articles focusing on gender gap on Wikipedia.
  6. Patiala Phase 2:This edit-a-thon was organised by Punjabi Wikimedians in Punjabi University Patiala. In this event, community members created 20 articles on different topics like Philosophy, Psychology, Political Personalities, Theatre, Museums, Oral Drinks and Entertainers were created.

Project Tiger prizes[edit]

Each month three individual prizes was awarded to each participating community based on their contribution for the month. The prizes were worth 3,000 INR, 2000 INR, and 1,000 INR respectively. Wikimedians all over the world were welcome to participate in this initiative and improve the list of topics identified. However, only users residing in India were eligible to receive the individual prizes. A total of 220 Wikimedians from 12 communities participated in this contest. Among 220 Wikimedians 57 Wikimedians won the prizes. When consulted, 95% of them said cash prizes will be more helpful, while 5% said they would like to get books. So CIS-A2K sent cash prizes to all of them. We sent cash prizes in two rounds. In the first round we sent prizes to 44 users and in the second round we sent prizes to 10 users. The contest also included participants living in other countries, but we were unable to send prizes to them. For these winners we tried to send prizes through the Chapters.

In earlier contests, the active participants were honoured with Medals and Stars. It is more valuable than cash prizes. This will encourage the participants to do better. Two or three Edia-a-thon per year will make the writers alive.- TNSE Mahalingam VNR

Project Tiger community prize[edit]

At the end of the three-month-long contest, the community with the maximum number of articles expanded or created won a community prize. This was an exclusive three-day capacity training event for the winning community. This training included 43 users from the Punjabi and Tamil Wiki communities. This program was organized by CIS-A2K and WMF. Considering the disproportionate strength of the English Wikipedia community in India when compared to other Indian language Wikipedia communities, the English Wikipedia community was not counted for the Community Capacity Development prize. However, English Wikipedians competed for individual prizes.

A Project Tiger Training 2018 program was organised in Amritsar, Punjab. With the help of Punjabi Wikimedians CIS-A2K selected the city and venue. This training held from 6 December 2018 to 9 December 2018 at Radisson Blu, Amritsar.

22 active Punjabi Wikimedians and 21 active Tamil Wikimedians participated in this event. From CIS-A2K Tito (CIS-A2K) (Program Manager), Gopala (CIS-A2K) (Community Advocate), Ajoy (Administrator), Sunil Abraham (Executive Director, CIS) participated in the event . From the Wikimedia Foundation Asaf Bartov participated as a trainer for this program. The training program mainly focussed on how to improve article writing skills, how to develop outreach models and tools to improve Wiki editing. The first day Asaf explained Wikimedia policies and guidelines. He explained what Wikipedia is, and what it should and should not be. Asaf mainly covered Neutral point of view (NOPV).

Project Tiger Training was a wonderful experience. Asaf's teaching method is great. He described every single line in a easy way so that anyone can understand.--Jagseer01

Initially as an activity, the Tamil and Punjabi communities discussed what is a good article and how they can evaluate them. Then Asaf explained why Wikipedia articles should be in a neutral point of view, avoiding puffers, emotive language, editorializing and giving grades. To understand the session better each community member volunteered to translate parts of the discussions to fellow Wikimedians. This helped to develop their leadership in their respective communities.Asaf also explained why we should not use weasel words, euphemisms, idioms, plural pronouns and avoid contentious labels such as terrorist, fundamentalist, extremist, myth and etc. Wikipedians also discussed why Wikipedia should not take sides on political, economic or geographical conflicts.

Other than NOPV to improve writing skills the training tried to cover Wikimedia Commons, as it is also important to add photos in the article to increase its quality. In the beginning, a quick history of copyright was provided to understand in what imagination the concept came to existence. Then Asaf explained why we should discuss more about copyright; he explained copyright and free licenses, traditional copyright, fair use, De minims and freedom of panorama. He explained different forms of creative commons license and OTRS process. This is important information and is required when a Wikimedian visits a photographer or any other original author requesting them to publish them under a creative commons license.

The second day of training was more focused of outreach models, Wikidata and useful tools. The first session explained different types of partnerships, and why we request our partners to give their content on free license. Along with that different kinds of project partners/ institutions that we can collaborate with (other than Wikipedia) and their benefits was also discussed. This discussion can help Wikimedians to contact their local or near by institutions. When they start with small institutions they will get more experience. From this they can collaborate with government institutions, museums, writers, and news archives.

Asaf then demonstrated Tabernacle and Wikidata Querry Service. In this program Wikidata and Wikidata tools was covered because more participants were interested in learning Wikidata tools.

Participants also had a discussion on how to use media to reach more people and involve news media's for wider public outreach of Wiki projects.. The need for press releases and how to do them was discussed, Including questions like what should be the pitch of a press release, what we should take care of when we participate in an interview etc. The third day was open for general queries to Asaf about any topics. There were few questions about Wikimedia foundation. There was huge interest among participants in learning more about tools and gadgets. So Asaf showed tools like Wiki ShootMe and PetScan. Other than these Asaf also demonstrated how to add mass category to files on Wikimedia Commons. After this an introduction was given on Wikidata framework and few examples on how to work with that was shown. All sessions helped Wikimedians to improve their writing as well as technical skills.

Insights on policies like copyright and Neutral view help me to understand better. Now I use to cross verify myself with these policies before I contribute. Introduction about wikitools and wikidata are really useful. Wiki outreach and their experiences are impressive. I got good chance to raise and get it answered all my questions. - Neechalkaran

At the end of the day in Amritsar city tour was conducted by Punjabi Wikimedians. Participants visited Partition museum and Golden temple.

Project Tiger Community Consultation[edit]

The Project Tiger Community Consultation took place at Hotel Abu Sarovar Portico, Chennai on 2 and 3 March 2019. In this program 21 participants from the community participated, including some local participants.
This was an invite-only program with two participants from each community. The first participant invited from each community was the first prize winner in the community. In order to bridge the gender gap we invited third prize winning female Wikimedians from few community instead of the second prize winner. However, some of the women were unable to participate because of last minute personal difficulties. When the Project Tiger Community Consultation was planned CIS-A2K requested participants to arrive at the venue one day before the program. This was to help the participants to prepare and also to exchange ideas and their work with other participants.
On day zero Viswaprabha started the session by talking to the participants about how Wikipedia is important in local languages and how it is more important than English Wikipedia. This was a motivation for the Wikipedians and a boost for their present activity.

The contest was more focused on community development and engagement rather than individual one and that was reason of good output and participation in project. I think 3 month is too long a time for any community to participate in any contest. If it is to become an annual or biannual thing, then the time period should be reduced from 3 months to 45 days or 2 month at best. That would not exhaust the community after participation in 1 project. Secondly, the time of organizing (which month to organize the contest) should be decided with community consultation rather than decision of organizers, so that there are no major contests or projects overlapping that either harm participation in volunteer projects or Project tiger itself. --Wikilover90
(Jury, Punjabi Wikimedian)

The two day training was conducted for more strategic discussion and improvements to be done in the next phase of support. The first day of the program started around 10:00 AM. Participants arrived on time. Tito welcomed all participants and gave a brief introduction on the Project Tiger Community Consultation and why CIS-A2K is conducting this event. This was followed by a session where participants introduced themselves by mentioning their name, Wiki user name and few interesting facts about them. This was important for the participants to understand each other and know about their Wiki activity as well as their interest apart from Wikipedia. This introduction session took little longer time than expected. After introduction Gopala briefed the participants on the Code of Conduct for the event. After the introduction session there was a short break for tea.

After the tea a panel discussion took place, with Tanveer Hasan, Viswaprabha and Gopalakrishna, and led by Tito Dutta. Tito specially thanked Ravishankar for planning the Project Tiger, and asked several questions about how articles were created as part of this project hardware support was helpful for the Project Tiger Editathon 2018 was discussed. When participants were curious why CIS-A2K cannot provide hardware support to Indiac Wikimedians Tanveer explained why we worked on this pilot project instead giving hardware support to the community with existing Wikimedia Foundation fund. From this panel discussion we came to know why a few Malayalam and Tamil community members did not take part in the edit-a-thon. The group also discussed how the articles list was improved during edit-a-thons. The Bengali community members came-up with the challenges with prize distribution to Bangladeshi participants.

After lunch each community participant made presentations on their work. From this CIS-A2K came to know about the difficulties that communities faced during the edit-a-thon. In this we mainly noticed that the community was not happy with the articles list.
The next session was conducted by AshLin. He spoke about how to start an article, what is neutral point of view, venerability, original research etc. He also spoke about notability on Wikipedia. He spoke about what are the vital skills required to create an article on Wikipedia. He gave an explanation about ‘stub’ and different classes of articles. After this session Tito thanked the group and closed the day one. The second day started around 10:00 AM. Tito welcomed everyone and started the group discussion. In the group discussion each team concentrated about how the next Project Tiger support should be given. The main area of focus area for each team was: There can be different article lists, such as a)List provided by Google; b)national level list every Indian Wikipedia should have, and c) local list for perticular language Wikipedia should have.

After the group presentation Viswaprabha took a short session on how to automate the Wikipedia updates and curate the articles list using Google Spreadsheets. This session was conducted because in Project Tiger phase one Google sheets helped in creating and maintaining the articles list.

The Community Consultation is highly informative and constructive. we've been consulted into few groups. But more or less, our group submissions are similar. In future, the next phase of tiger project results will be high. -- Info-farmer

The afternoon session was conducted by AshLin. In this session he covered vital skills required to create an article. He taught how to create a stub, and how to improve that stub article. He also spoke about creating articles for newbies and students. Then he covered how to improve an article in different stages, as well as how to improve a good article, and take it to the level of a ‘featured article’. He introduced Wiki Project India and showed showed statistics from the project. A few participants had to leave during this session due to the timing of their travel. In the end Tito thanked everyone for participating in the consultation program.