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Campus Ambassadors


I'm not sure that the five edit minimum is enough. In all frankness, I don't think someone's ready to guide and mentor others through the wiki with anything less than around five HUNDRED edits. Philippe (WMF) 13:43, 14 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

If I might second Philippe here, mentoring people in a culture as complex as Wikipedia is challenging. :) 500 edits may be a challenging goal, but it's actually the number Wikipedians require for other Wikipedians to sign up as mentors; see en:Wikipedia:Adopt-a-user/Adopter's Area. It can be very helpful in dealing with unexpected problems to really know your way around. --Moonriddengirl 22:27, 14 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Not to pile on here, but I have to agree with Philippe and Moonriddengirl. I understand wanting to have a somewhat low barrier to entry to ensure we have enough mentors, but if the mentors don't have sufficient knowledge of the ins-and-outs of Wikipedia, they won't be very helpful. Learning all the ins-and-outs of policy and whatnot takes more than five edits to acquire, and while my volunteer account had around 20 edits before I joined WMF, it wasn't until I started working here and dealing with policies day in and day out that I really got a handle on how things work. The edit threshold needs to be tempered a bit to encourage people to sign up, but ensure they have enough experience to be of good help to their classes. Christine (WMF) 22:47, 14 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Serious issues with this program


I have been paying attention to the issues arising from this program in recent weeks but keeping my opinions largely to myself because of my role in the English Wikipedia, where I am a member of the Arbitration Committee. I've seen a high enough level of concern, and heard enough rumblings, to believe that there is a realistic chance that the level of copyright violation and plagiarism associated with this program may lead to a request for arbitration, asking either that all members of the project be banned, or that the program itself be halted from the community/Arbcom level. By writing here, I may place myself in a position where I have to recuse should such a case request be made; however, I feel that the issues are serious enough that I need to speak out.

I am appalled that ambassadors for this program were, for the most part, completely inexperienced Wikipedia editors. They had no knowledge of fundamental policies, of the community, or of the development of Wikipedia articles. As such, they were incapable of leading new users in the correct processes for contributing to the project. Knowing how to do wiki-markup is not a replacement for understanding the level at which copyright violations are rooted out on Enwp; as one of the more mature projects, our standards are amongst the most stringent of any in the Wikimedia family (non-free images notwithstanding). If the first edit to an article contains copyright violations, it will often be deleted forthwith, regardless of the encyclopedicity of the subject. The quality of many of the new articles that don't fail immediately on copyvio issues is such that they don't meet minimum standards and are being userfied or deleted as well.

It is unfair to expect obviously very bright people such as the selected ambassadors to be leaders in a field where they have no experience and no cultural awareness. It is also unfair to the students and the professors to expect them to meet the standards of our projects without leaders familiar with our project. And it is unfair to our project to expect the other volunteer members of our community to pick up the slack, fix the articles, educate both the ambassadors and the students, and invest thousands of hours for a program that is completely outside of their control and is not intended to encourage students to become longterm contributors to the project. As currently constituted, this program is setting everyone up to fail. Please reconsider how this program is presented. It would be terribly unfortunate if the result of what is, without question, a good faith attempt to build the project results in further increased tension between the WMF and the community. Best, Risker 22:03, 15 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Thank you very much for your comments. I really appreciate that you are giving the program so much thought. Being a long term Wikipedian myself, I have deep respect for people who care a lot about Wikipedia and its integrity. And just to get this out of the way first, every copyright violation on Wikipedia is one copyright violation too many. Patrolling Wikipedia is a hard and sometimes painful task that administrators and other volunteers are coping with every day. We should never forget how much time and energy people like you and the new page patrollers are investing into Wikipia on a volunteer basis every single day. That's why I am taking your concerns quite seriously and I am thankful that you started a dialogue here.
Personally, I am a big fan of statistics and data when it comes to analyzing a situation. So, let's talk about some numbers first. I've taken a sample of the students involved in the India Education Program (mostly based on a courseinfo tool that I created to monitor the students' article namespace activities). I looked into all user accounts from students who are listed under the "worked on articles" and counted the number of copyright violation and block/unblock messages on the the students' talk pages. I was quite inclusive when it came to counting:
  • regarding the copyright violation notices on the talk pages, i.e. I also included notices about an incorrect or missed tagging of uploaded files, and
  • regarding blocked users, I also counted users who had an unblock request due to an ip rangeblock on their user talk page.
Class Number of students Copyright violation or
missing file tagging notices
Block/unblock notices
1. Artificial Intelligence 53 1 0
2. Computational Methods in Engineering 12 2 0
3. Computer Organization and Advanced Microprocessors 72 1 0
4. Data Structures and Algorithms 149 17 5
5. Discrete Signal Processing 7 0 0
6. Machine Drawing and Computer Graphics 95 7 1
7. Object Oriented Modeling and Design 17 3 0
8. Software Testing and Quality Assurance 47 4 0
9. Solid State Devices and Linear Circuits Laboratory 69 1 3
Total 521 36 8
Class Number of students Copyright violation or
missing file tagging notices
Block/unblock notices
1. Corporate Social Responsibility 20 4 0
2. Macroeconomics 39 1 0
3. Year 2 Group A 18 8 4
4. Year 2 Group B 23 2 0
5. Year 3 Group A 16 6 0
6. Year 3 Group B 26 4 0
Total 142 21 4
Because the underlying database on the toolserver has not been updated since September, there are students missing (you'll find a more comprehensive list of the India students at Wikipedia:India Education Program/Students). However, the data gives us some idea of which classes are the most problematic and if students from the different colleges have a different level of understanding. Here is what I'm seeing:
  • Both colleges are affected. CoEP has a lower percentage of student accounts that cause problems, but we have to take into account that some classes at SSE are much more active in the article namespace;
  • The classes "Data Structures and Algorithms" (CoEP), "Year 2 Group A" (SSE), "Machine Drawing and Computer Graphics" (CoEP) and "Year 3 Group A" (SSE) had the highest number of incidents;
  • The total number of students with copyright violation warnings on their talk pages in my sample is 57. That's 9% out of a total number of 663 students listed in my database table.
Now, let's talk about the measures that the India team and the volunteers in Pune have been taking and are still in progress:
  • the volunteers conducted over 20 in-class sessions just to talk about copyright violation issues (if you're interested in taking a look at the presentation that the volunteers were using, please let me know);
  • the Online and Campus Ambassadors are monitoring the articles written by students; they flag issues and explain why copyright violations are unacceptable;
  • the Campus Ambassadors talk one-on-one with students who have made copyvios; they are going from desk to desk to answer specific questions;
  • the India team and the volunteers conducted multiple faculty meetings at the participating colleges to outline and plan the initiative, report progress, highlight issues and undertake corrective measures (especially on the aspect of copy-pasting);
  • the volunteers in India allocated individual Campus and Online Ambassadors to specific students so that the co-ordination is improved;
  • the India team decided last week to ask students to edit only in their sandbox until further notice.
The amount of work done by the volunteers in Pune is just amazing. Their level of enthusiasm and dedication to Wikipedia is exemplary. I am deeply impressed by how devotedly the volunteers and the India team are giving of themselves to solve the problem.
With that said, I think we need more information before we come to any conclusion about the next steps:
  • we need statistics about the number of incidents in a given week, so we can see whether the measures taken by the volunteers in Pune are effective or not;
  • we need to analyze why the four classes listed above had a higher level of incidents.
Additionally, I believe that we need a better communication system, so the discussion about the India Education Program pilot does not take place on 10 different pages across different wikis.
I am glad that we decided to start with a pilot project in Pune and that we did not expand the (very successful) US program to India on a large scale. It's in the nature of a pilot to try new things, to take bigger risks and to risk making mistakes. At the same time a pilot offers the opportunity to improve the final design of a program. What I would suggest we do as a next step, is to discuss which lessons have been learned and which steps need to taken to make the India program more successful in the future.
We also have to watch closely to see if the measures that the India team and volunteers have set into place are effective in keeping the workload on the existing community of the English Wikipedia as low as possible.
I invite you to be part of that process. I think it can be highly beneficial for the program to involve someone who – like you – is both a respected member of the community and has tons of experience to offer. Does that sound like a good idea to you?
Thanks again for getting in touch. --Frank Schulenburg (Wikimedia Foundation) 17:32, 16 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Hi Frank. I'm sorry, but your data are missing some key criteria. The first is number of articles created. The second is number of edits for each group. The third is number of students within that group who have actually edited. It also does not include number of articles deleted. Perhaps you could fill in those gaps? Risker 17:37, 16 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
And I forgot: how many images were uploaded to Commons, by how many students, and how many were deleted. Risker 17:54, 16 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
We're also missing a control here: the numbers in isolation won't tell us much. I'm curious how they compare to a similar group (or as close an approximation as we can get). Philippe (WMF) 18:02, 16 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Hi Philippe, correct me if I'm wrong, Aren't you the head of reader relation, and actually in the office with Frank? Shouldn't we be directing these queries to you, instead of you asking here? I found it a bit odd since you're using your staff account to ask this. Theo10011 18:37, 16 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
I think you know my role, Theo, so I find your question disingenuous. No, you wouldn't be asking me these queries: I'm not involved with the India Program beyond my standard role of supporting users of Wikipedia and its sister sites. And the reason I'm using my staff account? As I've explained before, we use them for things that we are engaged in as a part of our work. It differentiates "home" edits from "work" edits. And for the record, no I'm not in the office - it's Sunday - and I would think having a conversation transparently is a GOOD thing. Philippe (WMF) 21:20, 16 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Philippe, the control group that gets closest, would be the students from the U.S. However, I feel it would be a sign of cultural insensitivity to do a comparison like this. India has its own culture and uniqueness and I feel like we should rather try harder to understand what exactly triggered this issue than comparing Pune to other parts of the world. --Frank Schulenburg (Wikimedia Foundation) 17:11, 17 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
I absolutely agree with you. We need more data. The better our understanding of the situation, the better we can determine what needs to be done next.
I think our highest priority now should be to find out whether the many measures taken by the India team and the volunteers in Pune have been effective or not. This will tell us whether we have to do more to lower the pressure on the page patrollers and admins. So, what I propose to do is to create a list of all the incidents with students from CoEP and SSE and sort this list by date. Then, we add the dates of intervention by the volunteers in Pune to that list. That way, we should be able to see which of their measures have been most effective and whether there are classes that are still causing problems.
I hope that there are some people reading this post who would like to help with data analysis. I will travel heavily over the next two weeks (Doha, Quatar / Amman, Jordan / Cairo, Egypt) and will not be as much online as usual. Hisham Mundol (who's leading our programs in India) and my team in San Francisco will take on this conversation from now on.
Thanks again for you feedback. I really appreciate it. --Frank Schulenburg (Wikimedia Foundation) 17:01, 17 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Frank, I'm not sure what happened with your numbers, but for the course for which I am online ambassador (Computational Methods in Engineering) they are wildly off. There are 18 students in the class, 8 have confirmed copyvios, and 2 have been blocked. At least in this class, you would have seen a few false negatives from when the students re-pasted the violating text over the warning. See here for a more complete tabulation. Danger 18:46, 17 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Hi Gimme danger, thanks a lot for your help. As said above, I've taken a sample based on the students that I have in my database (not all students are in the database). The purpose was to get a first picture, not a comprehensive list of the copyvios. So, I guess the list that you compiled for your specific course is much better. Thanks for that. Now, I'd propose to put dates on the specific issues, so we can see to which extend the interventions by the volunteers in India are effective or not. --Frank Schulenburg (Wikimedia Foundation) 19:48, 17 October 2011 (UTC) (at SFO airport, about to board my plane)Reply
Gimme danger, here's what I was thinking of (the list is based on messages left on talk pages for the students in your course. It can certainly be improved):
September 29:
October 3:
October 4:
October 7:
October 8:
  • Rsnvprasad – Possible problem with uploaded file
October 9:
  • Rsnvprasad – Possible problem with uploaded file
October 10:
October 15:
  • Shantanu1989 – Avoiding copyright or plagiarism issues message
Ok, I will be offline for a couple of hours now. --Frank Schulenburg (Wikimedia Foundation) 20:06, 17 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Just a note to say that yes, the original list is not accurate or representative. Here's another example, this time from Wikipedia:India Education Program/Courses/Fall 2011/Economics of the Social Sector Year 2 Group A. It alone has 45 students and as you can see from this page, there have already been nearly 30 instances of copyvio from that group. You also can't judge the scale of the problem via warnings on user pages (students often blank them). Plus, records are being kept all over the place on English Wikipedia at the moment, as various individual editors try to cope with the influx. Keeping tabs on what happens after interventions is good idea, but you need much more complete and systematic data collection and you need to wait until the entire IEP Fall program has completely finished and the dust has settled. The deadline seems to have been extended in several courses, and new students names are being added every day. There probably remain hundreds of articles still to be checked. Voceditenore 09:41, 18 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Two Lessons


I don't know how appropriate it is for me comment here as I am just an ordinary editor on English Wikipedia, but I've been helping out with new page patrolling and copyright clean up stemming from the IEP, even though I'm mostly a content editor on opera and classical music subjects. Having said that, I've helped out informally over the past 3 years with a small annual project involving students from Longy School of Music. I also taught in British universities for many years. I know what happens with students under pressure and how plagiarism can be a real problem, despite the numerous tutorials I held on the issue. One of my students even handed in an essay entirely plagiarised from the textbook I had written.:) Anyhow, I'd like to make some suggestions for lessons that could be learned from all this.

Lesson 1 – All outreach and no "inreach" is a recipe for disaster

Apart from attempts to recruit some more online ambassadors, especially after the problems with the IEP became so great they couldn't be ignored, what else did the Foundation do in this respect? No one from the Foundation or from the IEP program even bothered to contact or start a dialogue with the 10 or so relevant subject area WikiProjects + WikiProject Copyright Cleanup. I know this because I checked those WikiProjects' talk pages. Their members were going to have to bear the brunt of cleaning up the problems stemming from an influx of new articles from hundreds of inexperienced students (many of whom speak English as their secod language) in a very short time-span.

First of all, it comes across (even if not intended) as the Foundation being completely out of touch with and frankly unappreciative of the editors on the "factory floor". But more importantly, these WikiProjects could have been a valuable resource in planning the IEP project had anyone thought to consult them. There probably should have been some kind of contact made on the Administrators' Noticeboard too, once the IEP began (perhaps there was and I missed it?) They're the ones who will be deleting articles. If they knew the background, they might have userfied more of the poor or inappropriate articles (although obviously not the copyvio ones) rather simply deleting them. As of now, userfication of these sub-standard articles has been very hit or miss.

Lesson 2 – Rethink the goals and methods of the Campus Ambassadors program and the role of instructors
Don't underestimate how much experience is needed on Wikipedia. It takes months (not days or even weeks) of regular editing and content creation to become experienced enough to really mentor other editors properly. Two days of training for students who are new themselves to Wikipedia simply isn't enough. I picked 15 CAs for this program at random and looked at their prior Wikipedia experience before they were made Ambassadors:
7 had no experience whatsoever of editing articles
3 had only done very minor edits to articles (ranging from 1 article to 10)
5 had either created articles or added a substantial paragraph/section to one, but 4 out of these 5 had produced copyright violations. (I discovered and repaired 3 of them in the course of doing this mini-survey alone.)
Once they were chosen as CAs, did anyone look over their previous edits and give them feedback before expecting them to to start approving article topics and mentoring other students? Maybe this happens offline (which it shouldn't), but I doubt it since the copyvio was fairly long-standing (from the summer) and none of the CAs went back to repair their mistakes.
The ratio of students to CAs is way too high in some courses. Especially given the undue reliance that has been placed on them. For example, India Education Program/Courses/Fall 2011/Data Structures and Algorithms has only 3 CAs to mentor 70+ students.
The over-reliance on CAs to make this work is unfair to them. They have basically been in the firing line at Wikipedia, and expected to deal with all sorts of complaints and problems coming from the rest of Wikipedia and on top of it to clean-up the copyvio. That shouldn't be their job. Remember too, that apart from their own inexperience, many (if not most) of them are dealing with their fellow students. It's very hard to tell them that their topic is misguided, their work is sub-standard, or worst of all that they have been plagiarising. They obviously haven't had adequate training in spotting copyvio, but even if they had, you can see how reluctant they would be to look for it and then have to warn a fellow student. One example.
Absent instructors. This may be a bit controversial, but I think instructors should be actively encouraged to use Wikipedia as a class assignment only if they are willing to roll up their sleeves, gain adequate editing experience first, and then work side-by-side with their students for the duration of the assignment in the articles themselves, on their project's talk page, and on the relevant talk pages of editors, admins, and WikiProjects, answering questions and responding to the issues raised. They shouldn't be relying on the CAs to do their work for them, and frankly they shouldn't be setting an assignment when they haven't an understanding of what using this medium (Wikipedia) as an assignment really involves. The truly successful projects of this type have had hands-on instructors, or at least ones who are willing to communicate openly on Wikipedia (not via email or IRC), and take responsibility for issues arising from the work they've set. The disastrous ones, e.g. this one from a US university a few years back, have not. I haven't seen the material that's been sent out to instructors when recruiting them to use Wikipedia for their assignments. But if this sort of stuff isn't made clear, then it ought to be. To do otherwise in the hope of not "putting them off" is misguided.

OK. Back to the factory floor. ;-) Voceditenore 11:21, 18 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Thank you Voce, I can now scrap the message I just spent 30 minutes drafting offline ;) Back to the factory floor... Kudpung 12:12, 18 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Language barriers


Why was this project done on the English Wikipedia? We have run into two huge problems as a result of this decision. First, the few non-copied contributions that have been made are barely readable and clearly written by people profoundly uncomfortable with English. Second, the English Wikipedia is starting to be "finished"; there are relatively few gaps where students can create articles from scratch. We've experienced wide-scale disruption of high quality articles and also many duplicates being created. The Marathi Wikipedia, on the other hand, is relatively small and there's a lot of room for expansion. I don't know whether the students are more literate in that language, but it's clear that they largely are not in English. Danger 16:40, 18 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

There are still many gaps to fill, but unfortunately not in the areas of the colleges chosen for this project—engineering and economics. I think the language problem may also be a factor in the (markedly) high incidence of copypasting from websites and textbooks in the IEP. The students just don't feel confident enough of their English to put the articles in their own words. Perhaps in the future these Wikipedia assignments could be made optional by the instructors, with an alternative form of assessment available to students who are not comfortable writing in English. Being able to read and understand English language sources is also important. One student inadvertently created a hoax article because they hadn't realized the source they were pasting in was a spoof page. Voceditenore 09:17, 19 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
On the other hand, that would likely leave us with stacks of copyvios on some small Wikipedia(s) that has nowhere near the English Wikipedia's (still insufficient) resources for deleting said copyvios. That's a recipe for legal disaster. MER-C 06:07, 19 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Personally, I don't believe editing Wikipedia should ever be set as a homework assignment , or as a work for course credits, and most certainly not to a deadline. It just leads to more experimentation and Wikipedia is not a place for pure field trials for new editors. There should be a 'Test' Wiki for this purpose, and when editors feel sufficiently competent, they could move to the real Wikipedia. Efforts made on a test Wiki could just as easily be judged by teachers and professors. --Kudpung 09:45, 19 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
I wouldn't go that far, but not giving the students a choice of whether or not to do a Wikipedia-based assignment, goes entirely against the ethos of Wikipedia. They are not contributing their time and effort voluntarily like the rest of us. They are being forced to do it and to a strict deadline. I assume the goal is to recruit a lot of new editors who will go on to contribute to Wikipedia after they finish their class? If so, it will take a properly done longitudinal study to see if it succeeds. My impression is that the net increase will be neglible. I hope I'm wrong, given the hundreds of hours of regular editors' time on Wikipedia which this project is consuming. Voceditenore 14:30, 19 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

IRC Office Hour about India Education Program


The team from the India Education Program is compiling a bunch of information right now so there will be more information on-wiki about the program and the steps they've been taking in an attempt to combat the quality issues we've been having. Unfortunately, they are currently on a flight back to India right now, so it may take a day until they're able to get online again. Please know I and the rest of the Global Ed team are reading all the comments carefully, and I speak for all of us when I say we really appreciate the efforts everyone has been putting in. 

I wanted to alert watchers of this page that I've also scheduled another IRC Office Hour at #wikimedia-office with the India Education Program team for Friday at 2 a.m. UTC. A link to the time conversion is available on the Meta page linked above. I hope many of you will be able to join us during the chat to answer some of the outstanding questions about the India Education Program. Ldavis (WMF) 17:59, 19 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Why is there such limited engagement with the community through standard channels and instead only periodic IRC office hours that most users cannot attend due to time differences, work, school, etc.? This is a very ineffective and disappointing way to get community feedback on what has been an enormous problem and drain on volunteer resources. Calliopejen1 15:34, 20 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
I also find this very disappointing. Apart from the fact that it's at 3am in the UK (where I live), I never use IRC because I prefer transparent "on the record" communication for issues on Wikipedia. Have I've missed something? Are the transcripts of these chats ever published? Voceditenore 17:07, 20 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Oh, yes, they're published almost instantly. :) If you look at IRC office hours, the dates are actually the transcripts. If I'm not mistaken, this is meant to be "in addition to" regular on-wiki channels, although the team is out of communication for a day or so due to the insane time it takes to get to and from India. A bit curious, I popped in on Travelocity to see how long this takes. I'm seeing times like "24 hours", "30 hours" and even one "43 hours". (shudder) And here I am stressing over my own 6 hour flight to SFO this weekend. :/ --Mdennis (WMF) 17:48, 20 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Ironically, while it takes me 36 hours from home in Thailand to 'home' in the UK, it only takes me three and a half hours flying time to Delhi. Kudpung 20:01, 20 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Net negatives for the Wikipedia movement


There are two blatantly important points:

  1. Putting highly inexperienced ambassadors and their students through a programme that is tied to a deadline and the stress it has produced, will not encourage such students to continue to participate to Wikipedia.
  2. Expecting admins and inexperienced page patrollers under stress to do this kind of clean up clean up will not endear them to do this kind of work in future.

Future Wikipedia outreach and education initiatives must be properly planned and timed around the available human and software resources, and perhaps should wait until the new 'new user' and page patrolling systems are up and running, and CorenBot is back in service. --Kudpung 08:35, 20 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

IMHO (as just an ordinary Wikignome with over 8000 edits since 2007) in any future projects such as this all "ambassadors" must at the very least be Administrators on the Wikipedia with an established track record of good adminship - definitely not 20-edit newbies. Nobody with less than 1000 edits should be allowed anywhere near such positions of authority/mentorship. (BTW The tollerance the colleges involved have for plagiarism (copyvio in WP jargon) is quite frankly shocking. I am currently a student at a South African university - one of the first documents I receive at the start of every semester is a policy statement about plagiarism which includes a warning that immediate expulsion is how they deal with it.) Dodger67 12:41, 2 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

Page patrol statistics

NPP Sept-Oct 2011

The graph looks encouraging, but the drop in only eight days off the near 30-day backlog represents the enormous stops that have been pulled out by experienced members of the community due to the IEP problem. It nevertheless still leaves a 20-day backlog that represents thousands of pages - and this will creep back up. --Kudpung 10:32, 20 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Context on India Education Program (IEP) from India Programs (21 October 2011)


I'm writing this in response to the many posts on this page = and on some other user talk pages that I'm aware of and have participated in. I'm going to try and cover as many points as possible - and welcome a discussion on the following as well as anything else I may have (inadvertently) left out. Also, do excuse the length of this post - but there's much to be covered.

Apologies for the delay in replying but I just got back to India - after being on the road for a number of days.

Strategic Context

First of all, just so that everyone knows, India Programs is an initiative that emerged out of the strategic planning endeavor to encourage greater access and participation in Wikimedia projects from places such as India. My name is Hisham Mundol and I lead it - and there are currently a total of 3 in the team (including myself.) The budgeted team strength is 5 and I'm working on the additional positions. Nitika Tandon (User:Nitika.t) works full-time on IEP.

As additional context to the rest of this post, do remember that this is a pilot and the nature of any initiative is that there will be things that learnings emerge from them. The page on Learnings is an attempt to identify, document, share and internalize every single learning that we have gathered – regardless of how big or small it might be. I can't possibly overstate however that given this is a pilot, it is inevitable that there will be unforeseen situations that arise. While I'm sure we could have handled some better, it is the nature of innovations that we can't always do so early enough.

Genesis of Pilot

Around April 2011, I proposed taking learnings from the Public Policy Initiative (PPI) and adapting it to India - as part of a focus to increase participation in India (specifically, encouraging and enabling new editors - as well as content related to India.) I spent considerable efforts learning about PPI and also conducted a series of in-depth conversations with a whole host of people from within and outside the community as well as from within and outside the Indian education system. Here's how things panned out after that.

Planning & Resourcing of Pilot

One important learning was that while the Public Policy Initiative has shown encouraging results and there were clearly things that worked well for it, it was essential that when we adapt it to a program designed for India, we did it as a pilot that is given the required level of focus. I proposed running the pilot only in 1 city, and Pune was selected for this. I conducted a number of visits in Pune to understand the ground realities. (I am normally based out of New Delhi.) Please see April report.

An essential component of the program is the use of Campus Ambassadors (CAs) - and we selected ~20 out of ~700 applications. I give this statistic to give you a sense that we have chosen the best available CAs from a large applicant pool. I also do want to give additional context that community size in India is (relatively) small, and the size of the Pune community is (relatively even smaller) and the number of existing Wikipedians from Pune who could devote the kind of time that is required on-the-ground in classrooms was proportionately tiny. There was no choice but to reach out outside the community for CAs. I make this point in response to some posts that we should have had more experienced Wikipedians as Campus Ambassadors. Very frankly, I don't think we would ever had gotten more than 2-3 CAs if we had approached it that way.

Also, it was essential (as we didn't have a team at that time, as it was only me on the ground) that we had a person dedicated on the ground in Pune to help set up the pilot. PJ Tabit User:PJthepiano was a Campus Ambassador for PPI in the United States - and he came down to India for 3 months between June-August 2011 - and work on the Pune pilot.

In the first week of June 2011, we conducted a 2 full-day training sessions for the CAs. For this, a team of 2 from the Foundation came down to India, in addition to a local team of community members. Prior to this session, we had shared "homework" with the CAs including reading material as well as asking them to do basic stuff like learning the basics of editing as well as creating user logins and user pages, etc. Subsequent to the training sessions, we encouraged them to participate in editing sessions as group (Editing Sundays as they were called.)

Also in the first week of June 2011, we started conducting outreach sessions with faculty and directors in Pune to determine who might be interested - and also to ascertain who we thought could work effectively on this program. We selected 4 colleges/institutes out of a total of 12 that we spoke to. An important lesson learnt is that we should have been even more discerning about where we conducted the program. We have subsequently removed one college from the list and we are now at 3. We should also have been much more assertive in selecting which faculty to work with, and I fully endorse the posts on this page that have referred to (some) members not actively leading classes and wanting CAs to drive the initiative for them. Please see June Field Report which summarised the activities of this week in June.

We were very encouraged by the initial interest that we received and we quickly had 1000 students in the classes of interested faculty. We knew - from the PPI's experience that we would need more CAs - but we took much more time than we had planned to select and onboard the new CAs (which we eventuallly did by selected another 17 in August.) Another aspect we tried to correct - but managed to do so only with the new CAs and that too only in August 2011 - was to have more students from the actual colleges/institutes we were running the pilot in as CAs from outside - many of who are doing fantastic work - have physcial limitations on how much time they can devote face-to-face and in-class. A really big lesson is that we should have been more ruthless in limiting classes that we ran the pilot in until we had the full complement of CAs selected and trained and deployed.

Campus Ambassadors

It is true that the overwhelming majority of CAs are newbie editors and it takes time and effort to understand not just wiki-markups but also some of the basic policies of Wikipedia. I can tell you though - hand on heart - that they have been working really really really hard at it and - as evidenced by some user talk pages of the more experienced folks on this page - have been reading up and learning about them. However, it does and will take more time and effort.

The efforts they have put in have been, simply put, gargantuan. They have conducted close to 100 in-class sessions. I know one CA who - realising that a (large) number of students were relatively quiet in in-class sessions - actually went desk to desk (in a class of >70!) and asked them to list out any issues that they have had. As you can imagine, such a model takes time and effort. I know another CA who took his students to the computer centre and conducted a 3 hour session to teach them the basics - with all of the students hands-on. If you look at the user talkpages, there is huge evidence of CAs providing direction and support to students.

I also know that some CAs have themselves engaged in copyvios - and this is a mistake that they have made as newbies. This has been communicated to them as strongly as possible and I know that they have appreciated the gravity of their mistakes.

The single biggest learning on CAs is that they were completely overwhelmed by the number of students and we should have never let such a situation arise.


This refers to communication within the existing community - and is an area where we clearly have failed.

While we encouraged students to reach out on relevant WikiProject pages, this has not been done in any acceptably effective manner. This was never (as has been rightly pointed out) driven by a lack of appreciation of the efforts or time constraints of existing community members. It's something that we should have done and should have done it more urgently and more expansively. (While as evidenced and illustrated by this talk page, existing community members have been engaged to improve Wikipedia and support students, there is much more that could have been done.)

I have sent updates to the India community mailing list as well as briefed the community in 5 community meet-ups that I have personally attended - but all this is clearly not enough.

I think another aspect is that there has been a huge amount of communication to-and-fro with CAs. This has however been done in a closed mailing list as well as in face-to-face sessions. Without access to this, I fully appreciate why some in the wider community might feel that CAs aren't being told the right things or the kind of efforts they are putting in.

As succinctly stated, if we had got this right, and got it right early on, it would have led to access to more experienced editors to help plan and manage the program as well as led to more userification of some articles that showed reasonable potential. This is a huge learning - and both WikiProjects, the Administrators' Noticeboard as well as much much stronger communication to the wider global community beyond what we did for just the Indian community would have been critically useful.


This was a problem that we realised in early September 2011. This was pointed out by existing community members and we immediately deployed a number of steps. For starters, we informed all CAs about the severity of the problem. Between Nitika and I, we conducted ~15 in-class sessions and sessions with the faculty about the problem. Critically, we showed students examples of copyvios from their classes, why they got classified as copyvios and how to edit articles without copyvios.

Frank developed the following tool which has been used by CAs to track student work and do early intervention.

Directors and faculty have reinforced this message in their classes.

Indeed, we disabled the leaderboard on the project page - even though we knew it to be a very popular feature. We did this when we realized that it measured all contributions (and did not exclude those that might have been reverted) - therefore leading to students gaining unfair recognition if they had put in copyvio content.

We conveyed to every student and faculty member that all work should happen only on user sandboxes - until it had been reviewed by CAs or faculty and okayed for moving to article mainspace. While of course this wasn't to suggest that copyvios were acceptable in sandboxes (and this was unambiguously stated to students), it gave an opportunity to (somewhat) control the situation. I know that many students have followed these instructions but I also know that some have not.

Support Ecosystem

This is another big learning that we have taken from this pilot. It is essential that we should have had all elements of support for students in place early on - including, but not limited to, a reasonable CA:student ratio, greater on-campus CAs, Wikiproject alignment, banners on student and article/sandbox pages, Online Ambassadors (OAs) and a busy IRC channel for students to get help.

For instance, I know we deployed ~15 OAs (almost all of who are existing Wikipedians) in late September 2011, this should have been done much earlier. I also know that we can still imporve the co-ordination between CAs and OAs as well as provide stronger guidance to OAs on the way they can provide the support that they can. We have also reached out to OAs who supported the PPI initiative in the US and asked them to provide emergency support to the Pune pilot. We have heard back from ~20 OAs and we are (very shortly) writing to them to provide specific support to students by reviewing their contributions. We can and should have done this much earlier.

Closing Comments

I can't even begin to tell you how much we (and I'm taking the liberty of speaking for the students, CAs & OAs, faculty and directors, my team and the education team) want to acknowledge and appreciate the supreme efforts so many of you have put in. Volunteer time is treasured and I want to thank you for all you have done. I know so many of you have put in long, hard hours doing copyvio cleanups - even though you weren't formally involved in the program. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you so much!

In all of this, I do hope that we also don't lose track of the amazing work that some students have done. Robinson Crusoe Economy for instance, is a Good Article! The student who worked on it was brand new to Wikipedia in July 2011 - and now has an edit count of nearly 700! There are some wonderful contributions by a whole host of talented, hard-working, principled students - who have learnt the high-mindedness of what we are trying to do - and are actively working towards helping make Wikipedia even better.

I hope I have adequately conveyed the following

  • This is pilot - and it is to be expected that there will be learnings.
  • A huge amount of effort has been put in - but of there is so much more we could have done and/or done better.
  • We're extraordinarily grateful for all the efforts and time so many of you have put in.

I look forward to the IRC Office Hours in a short while. Hisham 00:48, 21 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

A footnote to Hisham's post: the IRC Office Hour log. Thanks to those of you who were able to make it. Ldavis (WMF) 03:30, 21 October 2011 (UTC)Reply



I also look forward to the results of the IRC, but I'm not confident that whatever conclusions it will draw will be accurate - because too many of the people whose advice has or has not been heard, or who worked to clean up the mess, were not able to take part in the IRC. Before I continue, I would like everyone to fully understand that I am wholly in favour of the general principle of Wikipedia/WMF implementing education initiatives in order to ensure the growth and quality of all Wikipedias. As a 'Wikipedian' with plenty of time on his hands for the project, I am committed to it. As an educator and projects organiser, and as one who has been working for many years in Asia, none of the issues concerning the IEP came as a surprise to me.


  1. Why was the community not involved in the conception, planning, and implementation of such a project?
  2. Why has an overview of the identities of the main players and their responsibilities never been published, and with a list of contact people.
  3. There are several thousand experienced Wikipedians out there, on the 'factory floor' - why were they not brought into the early conceptual stages oof this project ?
  4. When the programme became 'overwhelming', why was it not brought to a halt, or reduced in scope, or at least put on hold?
  5. If sufficient infrastructure, such as CAs is/was so limited, why was it not put on hold until sufficent CAs were located and adequately schooled?
The programme 's implementation
  • CAs made copyvios - a 'newbie mistake' How was this allowed to happen?
  • Why did so much communication take place on the ground by e-mail and not by open discussion on talk pages?
  • Why was there so little structured communication, and why was the communication spread across so many different project, article, and user talk pages?
  • How much has this pilot project cost the WMF and/or its chapters? Salaries, travel, accommodation, infrastructure and incidental expenses - in particular for the meetings to resolve the situation.
  • How much has been invested in 2010/2011 in the development of new systems such as a new landing page for new users and and new page patrolling systems that would (have) preempted such confusion?



In the real world, this experience can hardly be summed up as having been a success. It's been costly, and one new GA and one new editor with 700 edits do not negate or counterbalace the scope of the difficulties that this project has encountered. The huge effort by just a tiny few taken to carry out extra control of tens of thousands of standard new pages over that time, just to catch the India copyvios and duplicate articles is still largely underestimated. The first lesson is to listen to the community before, during, and after such initiatives - there is a wealth of experience out there that the WMF and its contractors as a team (or group of facilitators) cannot possibly match.

A huge effort has been put in, but some significant damage has been done to the morale of its volunteers and the students. In all of this, I do hope that we also don't lose track of the amazing work that has been done by a relatively small team of regular Wikipedians to realise the problems, bring them to the notice of the organisers who did not fully appreciate the dimensions of the issues until it was probably oo late, and who are still doing the cleaning up.


  • Lack of cross-cultural awareness. (Western/Asian dichotomy)
  • Lack of structured communication.
  • Collateral damage to the retention and morale of regular 'maintenance' editors and admins.
  • Disappointed students who through no fault of their own have been embarrassed, confused, and demoralised.
  • Lack of strategic planning and scheduling.
  • Too much reliance by the WMF on statistics, and too little attention to the empirical experience of the 'workers'.
  • Yet more loss of confidence in the WMF as a governing/organisational body
  • A possible waste of funds (some people are justifiably leery of they way our donations, and other private time and money we spend on the project, is ultimately used).
  • Any extension of this IEP prgramme to other colleges/cities in India must be rethought from the ground up, not done in a hurry, and not, absolutely not, be set to deadlines.
  • "While I'm sure we could have handled some better, it is the nature of innovations that we can't always do so early enough". We can - and it should have been part of the initial programme conception.
The bottom line

Neither Rome nor Wikipedia were built in a day. Building this encyclopedia is an ongoing process and there are no deadlines. In university situations, projects such as the IEP can take a year (or even two) to fully deveop and implement. Wikipedia is one of the largest (if not the largest) employers of a volunteer force in the world - this needs expert management. This programme was developed, initiated, and facilitated from the top down by people acting in the very best of good faith, and who are academically qualified, but many of whom have little or no real hands-on experience of Wikipedia page creation, editing, and policing; perhaps by looking further up the food chain we can find who were ultimately responsible for the programme, the training of the CAs, and intensive follow-through. Perhaps there is no one in charge - maybe it's a flat hierarchy, but we still need to hear from the CEO who has not commented at all (at least not on the public pages). --Kudpung 05:38, 21 October 2011 (UTC)Reply


  • I think the projects we are working at the Article Creation Flow and New Page Patroll Zoom should now receive priority attention.
  • A solution for CorenSearchBot must be found quickly - this tool had become an essential aid for locating copyvio. Without it, it can take up half an hour to locate copyvios (if there are any) using search engines and manual use of the Duplication Detector. The actual cleaning up of these articles can often take as much as an hour, only to find that they must be deleted anyway.
  • It would be good if the tool at http://toolserver.org/~fschulenburg/student-o-meter.php (Student-O-meter) could be developed as quickly as possible for the IEP students' and CAs' articles.

Kudpung 06:22, 21 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Thank you for your comments and suggestions, Kudpung. I'd like to make two points in response.
The first is to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of Wikipedians to identify, inform and correct the issues. As I said earlier, volunteer time is limited and precious. Every minute spent on this is something that all of us are exceedingly grateful for. I I thank all of you for this, and I know that I speak for a large number when I say so. As a corollary, I am acutely cognizant of the negative impact that the additional workload has has had on maintenance editors and admins.
The second is that this is a pilot and there are many things that we have learnt and we could have done differently. These include most of the points you have raised (and some of which I had mentioned in my earlier note) such as better communication, resourcing levels, improved training, new tools, day-to-day management, etc. Like I mentioned earlier, there are many things that we could have done differently and/or better.
One area where I would disagree is about not having timelines. In the context of an education program as it is currently designed, a logical cut-off needs to be in place and would typically be aligned to the end of a semester. To that extent, I'm not sure about not having any timelines. I think one learning on timelines is that we could have been (even) more assertive about students editing earlier on in the semester rather than have them wait till the last few days. Hisham 09:36, 21 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Hi Hisham, thanks for your update. I'll put some other comments in separate sections. Here I just want to make a point about deadlines. There are two kinds. One is the deadline facing the students. If Wikipedia is being used as an assessed assignment, then such deadlines can't really be avoided, and the effects of that can be dealt with if the program is well-managed.
But there are also deadlines which are coming from the "top down" and these can be avoided and given some serious thought. This "pilot project", needed its own pilot. There seems to have been a rush to meet the WMF "deadline" of getting it up and running by the start of this Fall term. That would have been OK if had it involved at most two courses, one in each of the two universities participating, and with at most 100 students overall, and those preferably in their third year. Instead, this pilot involved nearly 1000 students, all editing in two basic subject areas, economics and engineering, which drastically increased the workflows of the experienced WP editors who work in those areas (apart from the problems faced by the New Page Patrollers) There was also the concommitant problem of being forced to use highly inexperienced CAs to cope with such a huge number of students because the "deadline" for rolling out the pilot as already set.
What many of us are concerned about is that there has been no clear answer to what the next "deadline" is, if any. Is the IEP on hold for the rest of this academic year or is more scheduled for the Spring Term? Is it going to be even larger? Voceditenore 10:56, 23 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Moving forward: coordinating cleanup


Because I worry that it may be lost in Hisham's notes above, I want to highlight where he notes that there are plans for easing some of the responsibility on NPP and others:

"We have also reached out to OAs who supported the PPI initiative in the US and asked them to provide emergency support to the Pune pilot. We have heard back from ~20 OAs and we are (very shortly) writing to them to provide specific support to students by reviewing their contributions. We can and should have done this much earlier."

I believe that the US OA are generally very experienced and may be able to help with this.

I wonder if it would be possible to coordinate this clean up with the CCI (Contributor Copyright Investigation) that has been requested and that User:MER-C is going to launch. A CCI requires that some editor sign off on every article, and I'm afraid that there may be redundant labor if the work is not coordinated. CCI reviewers will not know that an article has been reviewed and will simply review it again.

There are a couple of ways that we may be able to coordinate this that I can come up with. If we can populate the CCI list in time, the OAs may be able to work from it and mark when they have cleared an article (whether by finding and removing problems or finding it acceptable). Alternatively, perhaps we could create a "template" that the OAs could put on an article's talk page when it is reviewed so that a bot could update the CCI list? Does this sound like a workable solution, MER-C? --Maggie/Moonriddengirl 11:18, 21 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

The solution that I see that is the most straightforward is for OAs to pick a user, survey contributions and repeat. When the big list comes in about a month's time, I will remove any users already surveyed from the list supplied by the WMF. I've created Wikipedia:Contributor copyright investigations/Indian Education Program with instructions to do exactly that. I'd appreciate feedback before making the CCI go live. MER-C 13:00, 21 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Transparency about who's in charge of what


This is addressed not simply to the IEP, but to everyone at WMF involved the Global Education program. Over at en:Wikipedia talk:India Education Program more than one editor has expressed frustration with the extreme difficulty in finding out who's in charge of what at this program. Some of it came out hapahazardly and only after the problems had become quite serious:

And er... that's it. From what I've been able to gather on my own:

  • User:Nitika.t is a WMF consultant for the IEP, role unclear apart from that

I had to click all over the place (user profiles, "What links here", page histories, and multiple notice boards on English Wikipedia, WMF's Meta-Wiki, and WMF's Outreach wiki) to find out even those basics.

This project was entirely planned and executed at WMF level but implemented entirely on English Wikipedia without any attempt to communicate clearly there, from the outset and in one place, what the structure is, who the key players are and how to contact them on wiki. Take a look at en:Wikipedia:India Education Program. Where is the information about who has what role and how to contact them? Nowhere. It does have a link to the Global Education Program. Take a look there. Where is that information? Nowhere. It sends you right back to en:Wikipedia:India Education Program.

Now look at the Courses page for the IEP on Wikipedia. Each of the 24 courses listed has an instructor's name, but only 6 of them have a linked user name for contact on wiki.

Then we come to the Campus Ambassdors, the only ones linked clearly on the Wikipedia IEP. Thus, they have been unfairly placed in the firing line (more about that later). I still can't figure out who is in charge of the CA program and who, if anyone, is monitoring the CAs' participation and mentoring them. India Education Program/Courses/Fall 2011/Machine Drawing and Computer Graphics is one of the courses with significant and still ongoing copyright violation problems. It has over 100 students who are still adding their names to its list even at this late stage. Today, I just cleared out another sandbox that was full of copyvio. I left notes for each of the four students involved, e.g. [1], and I gave a heads-up to each of the two listed CAs for that course in case the students came to them with questions, e.g. [2]. I now discover that it was probably a complete waste of my time. One of the CAs hasn't edited anywhere on Wikipedia for 4 weeks [3] and the other not for 6 weeks [4]. The instructor (whose user name can only be found by looking at the page history for that course), is not interacting on Wikipedia at all, apart from periodically adding bits to the course page [5].

Is this situation going to change in the future? I hope so, because frankly this is a pretty poor show at the moment. Voceditenore 15:00, 23 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Just to clarify, I look after India Programs. IEP comes under this. Nitika works full time on the Education Program and is operationally in charge of IEP. I am Nitika's reporting manager. Nitika and I work with monitoring and mentoring CAs. Frank, Annie & LiAnna provide additional support. The CAs are an essential part of the program and - as volunteers - it's never been intended that they are in the "firing line;" it's more that students need know who they can reach on day-to-day basis and that's why their details have been given clearly and prominently. Nitika and I are the persons you need to speak to. Like I said in my earlier post, I'm the person with overall responsibility."
We'll look urgently in to the specific matter on Machine Drawing & Computer Graphics. It's true that not all Campus Ambassadors have picked up and sustained their work equally - and some have done significantly better than others. That's the nature of voluntary work. Having said that, we will take this matter up urgently with the concerned Campus Ambassadors.Similarly, some teachers have adopted the assignment more comprehensively than others; again, that's to be expected - but is a learning that we're taking.
I really appreciate your efforts on the identifying and remedying the copyvios that you mentioned. For what it's worth, and I know that copyvios in sandboxes are also not acceptable, it's important that students (to a large extent) have started operating only in their sandboxes and not on the article mainspace." Hisham 01:08, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
The real work at Wikipedia is done by the few dedicated volunteers like Voceditenore and a few admins and they are always in the "firing line". If we loose their enthusiasm because of issues like, this we'll be in a real pickle. My major concern is that not enough people in a position of responsibility are following these discussions - if they are, they only appear to be reading the last message in each thread. The famous IRC produced nothing at all of consequence.We are constantly being assured that something is being done, but there is no evidence of this, and we're getting worried, very worried, about what will happen when the next phase of the IEP begins. We really need a statement from the CEO on all this. Kudpung 02:14, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
  • Hisham, I know the IEP's intention was not to put the CAs in the firing line, but the lack of transparency and communication has resulted in exactly that, which is why I'm banging on about this. The Wikipedia page India Education Program aims entirely inward to the students, but it should also be aiming outward to the Wikipedia editors who are going to be interacting with them and with the program. I'd suggest that even at this late stage, but certainly for the next round of the IEP, this page should have a section addressed to the Wikipedia community, briefly explaining how the program came about, what it involves, who the key players are, and how to contact them. At the bare minimum, it needs the names of the persons directly involved in running the IEP program on Wikipedia, i.e. you and Nitika, and exactly what your roles are. It also needs someone to ensure that all the course pages are up to date and if the instructor does have a Wikipedia account, it should be linked in the infobox. A prime example of why this is so important is what happened yesterday with Machine Drawing and Computer Graphics course. I contacted the two students who were listed in the infobox as the Campus Ambassadors for that class and noted here that I later found out they hadn't edited Wikipedia in weeks. Today, I received a message from an entirely different student, not listed on the infobox, who says that he is actually the CA for that class and that he is looking after 173 students all on his own. I felt very sorry for him. Please read his message and my reply. Voceditenore 08:05, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Voceditenore, I intend to clarify, When I mentioned 173 students, I didn't actually mean 'all on my own'.I do have one or two other CAs who are helping me with it. Its just that , though not listed as the official CA assigned to the class, I being a part of that very class, the students eventually find it easier to come to me rather than someone else outside. Thanks :) Arjunmangol 08:48, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Ah, I see :) But I still feel sorry for you and the other 2 CAs having to look after all those students and do your own coursework too! A ratio of 173/3 is still pretty dreadful. We are told by the program directors that it has now been made very clear to the students that they cannot paste copyright material anywhere on Wikipedia. There's nothing you can do if they disregard it, and you shouldn't feel that you are responsible for their behaviour there. Voceditenore 09:24, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
  • Hisham, another suggestion for improving and facilitating outward communication via the IEP page... If you have dedicated Online Ambassadors for the IEP, list them there as well. This will help the students and CAs by having that info in one quickly accessible and permanent place. It will also help editors from outside the IEP to know the names of experienced Wikipedians who we can contact. And, it helps inspire confidence to know that the project has lined up OAs to help out. Voceditenore 13:00, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Hey Voceditenore, thanks for your continuing awesome help. I think Arjun's clarified the point on ratios. You're absolutely right and yes, we will have the IEP project page reflect the OAs as well. Your idea makes perfect sense. Shall have it done asap. There's also been some shortcomings on updating the course sub-pages which we shall correct. I know I sound obsequious and like a bit of a broken record, but nevertheless: Thanks, once again for your support and understanding and dedication! Hmundol 15:36, 24 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Hey Voceditenore, thanks for the concern. Really appreciated it. Understand also that we are a close-knit group of dedicated CA's. We are there for each other while Hmundol is our captain. On paper it is 173/3 but in reality, we tend to help each other out whenever someone is in trouble. Yes, we ourselves have our burden of work but we are always there for each other.--Debastein1 19:58, 25 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Update on IEP


Here's an update on what we've been doing to clear up plagiarized material that some students have added on various articles and making sure that wiki articles are copyvio free. We already had 26 Online Ambassadors (OAs) for the IEP. We wrote to Online Ambassadors who were involved in the US Education Program and 22 of them have offered their help to the IEP. That means that we now have total of 48 Online Ambassadors.

We have allocated students to these OAs and asked them to review the contributions of all these students. The OAs could remove any plagiarized material, delete unsourced content, nominate for deletion/delete duplicate articles, delete any problematic material they come across. To begin with, OAs are working on articles mainspaces. Once this is complete, they will start reviewing student sandboxes. We have asked the OAs to leave a comment against each article that they have checked. The comment could be something like article looks okay, i have removed copyright material and the article now looks good, i have added citation and there are no further issues with the article, the article has been cleaned and looks okay now etc etc.

You can see the student allocation and comments that OAs are writing against each article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:India_Education_Program/Students.

In addition to this I also wanted to share the mail that I have written to all the OAs. Here it goes:

Hey everyone,

I am Nitika & I am operationally in charge of the India Education Program (IEP) and I would like to start by thanking each one of you for volunteering to help out in the IEP.

As you know, while some students in the India Education Program have made excellent contributions, many of the edits coming from the Indian students have been of poor quality: copyright violations, unsourced paragraphs, paragraphs with blatant POV, incomprehensible English, new articles under a different name from an existing article, etc. We urgently need your help now in removing these problematic edits from Wikipedia articles.

For that purpose, I've put each one of you "in charge" of the a set of students. You can go through this link to get more details about your student's usernames and articles they are working on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:India_Education_Program/Students

What I would like to ask you to do is to look through the article(s) that each of the above student has edited (ignore sandboxes for now, unless you have time to look through students' sandboxes too). You'll notice that some students have not made any edits in the article namespace at all, but many have. For all articles that these students have edited, please do the following:

  • Remove any plagiarized material (this is often easy to spot, as they've cited the source they plagiarized from, but sometimes you may have to Google chunks of text that look suspicious).
  • Move any unsourced sentences to the talk page of the article or just delete them.
  • Delete articles that are duplications of existing articles (or nominate it for deletion if you don't have deletion powers yourself).
  • Delete or move to the talk page any additions to Wikipedia that are so poor English that they need serious editing help before they should be on-wiki.
  • Delete any other problematic materials you come across.

Just for us to keep a record of the progress of this clean up project could I also ask you to leave a comment on:

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:India_Education_Program/Students, against the name of the student/article you've checked. The comment could be something like this article looks okay, i have removed copyright material and the article now looks good, i have added citation and there are no further issues with the article, the article has been cleaned and looks okay now etc etc.
  • Article discussion page

If you have the time to leave students a message after removing their edits, that would be fantastic; if not, that is okay too - the most important thing we need right now is swift action on removing problems from articles. At this point, it's less mentoring and more cleaning up Wikipedia (unlike what the normal role of Online Ambassadors is - during normal times we do expect Online Ambassadors to mentor students rather than just remove all their problematic edits).

Please also continue monitoring these students' edits for the next month - some (not all) of them will continue editing articles even though we've instructed them to edit in sandboxes only from now on. If a student we've assigned you to adds problematic content to an article sometime within the next month, please remove it.

On behalf of the India Education Program and the entire Global Education Program, I sincerely thank you. We really appreciate your urgent help! Nitika.t 10:49, 27 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Student list

  • Can someone from the IEP please update Wikipedia:India Education Program/Students as soon as possible. It isn't really a proper list, it's simply all the individual lists pasted onto a one page, complete with their existing faults. There are many, many students listed with no links to their user names. I found 3 of them by chance, updated it, and notified the OA but there are many more left plus ones whose names link to non-existent accounts because the students didn't type their user names properly. Until you do that, it is impossible for the OAs who have been assigned to "emergency clean-up" (and the rest of us) to do our job properly. Many of the linked articles which the students are allegedly working on are wrong as well. So that's no help. Many of the lists are in tables with no column to annotate the actions taken by those checking the articles and many of the Online Ambassadors names are not linked, so we can't contact them easily. Some students are still signing on as well. But of course they do it at their course page so the updates don't appear on Wikipedia:India Education Program/Students. At this point, the single most helpful thing the IEP program can do is to give us a proper list to work from. I've also been told by one of the CAs that the instructor for Machine Drawing and Computer Graphics may not evaluate their work until November 18. Thus, it is highly likely that the students will be adding material right up to the last minute and it may apply to other classes in the Engineering College as well. – Voceditenore 13:49, 30 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for keeping a watch on the program. Several students have not updated their usernames on the course page and have written their real names instead. The Campus Ambassadors are speaking to the students to make sure that the students update the course page as well as the students page. Please give them a day or two. Nitika.t 17:19, 31 October 2011 (UTC)Reply



I'm pointing out here that that IPs have now started vandalising the IEP student list page, if the disruption continues, the IPs, will be blocked and there may be peripheral inconvenience to other users of the blocked networks. The IPs geolocate to India and are most likely by students or CAs who are not logging in.


Wikipedia editors who are following the issues and doing their best to clean up are still waiting from someone from the IEP to provide a generic list of all students, and a generic list of all articles that can be imported into their watchlists.

Some of the regular editors at Wikipedia who have been volunteering to clean up the disruption by the IEP are now taking leave. --Kudpung 09:12, 31 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

Not sure what vandalism you're talking about on the IEP Student page. Could you please give me more details.
With respect to the students list, the one on Student page is the most updated version we have. Several students have written their real names and have not updated it with their usernames. I have asked the Campus Ambassadors to reach out to these students as soon as possible to give us a complete list. Please give it a day or two, the Campus Ambassadors are getting it updated for us.Nitika.t 17:13, 31 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Hello Nitika. It is possible that some campus ambassadors do not appear to be entirely familiar with Wikipedia policies and editing; many of them are also not fully available or are inactive, while others are already overburdened.
After repeated requests among the IEP community, I finally found someone late last night in India who is now kindly preparing the lists in a format that can be used to combat the vandalism and copyvios. Administrators will not hesitate to block the IP vandals if it persists, and users who repeatedly paste copyright material to their user pages will also be blocked. These blocks may of course engender an inconvenience for users participating from the same networks, but I'm afraid that is the way Wikipedia functions in order to maintain quality and avoid possible legal issues. Nevertheless, such blocks will not be entertained lightly and will only be applied in the most serious cases.
The point at which the regular community members at en.Wikipedia are prepared to continue to be of assistance is reached, they have done their best, but they are now barely able to cope with what is being expected of their volunteer time by the staff, and some are now taking a break from it. Ultimately, this does not encourage the retention of experienced users.
A page that fully documents the the issues and concerns surrounding the IEP is on the Wikipedia IEP project (talk) and you may also wish to comment and/or ask your questions there - you might find it interesting to read the page through from the top if you are not already familiar with it. Do rest assured of my continued support for the IEP and all that you are doing, and please don't hesitate to ask me on my talk page or by email if I can be of help in any way. Regards, --Kudpung 04:29, 1 November 2011 (UTC)Reply
Re the vandalism: Two IPs resolving to India were attempting to remove the clean up comments from other editors at en:Wikipedia:India Education Program/Courses/Fall 2011/Machine Drawing and Computer Graphics . Observe this and this. It may be happening on other lists as well. This one happens to be on my watch list, but I have seen it in the past, in another class list I think, and it was the instructor who removed it. We also have at least one other student who has resorted to sockpupptery after being blocked for continuing and multiple copyright violations. Please see Chaitanya.gayke and Chaitanya1.gayke. There may be more as the deadline approaches for the assisgnments.
Re the lists: It's not just the student name mess, which was highlighted weeks ago but nothing done. It's also the lack of columns in some of the tables for comments and the continued failure to link the names of the Online Ambassadors. The CAs are in the middle of their exams. Why should they have to do that work in the first place? They're not the ones who assigned the emergency OAs. Surely someone here could at least go in and fix the tables to add a comment/status column and link the OAs?
I assume you are all reading en:Wikipedia talk:India Education Program carefully. The problems are escalating rather than diminishing as the course deadline approaches. There is starting to be a significant backlash on the English Wikipedia. Please see The copyright violations continue at large scale... and Why are we encouraging this? (neither of which came from me, I hasten to add). Voceditenore 07:15, 1 November 2011 (UTC)Reply
User:Hisham & I are traveling to Pune tomorrow to have urgent discussions with the Director of the College of Engineering Pune regarding the copyvio and other quality issues emerging out of CoEP. We've not been able to have face-to-face discussions with them because of the holiday season in India. Our objective will be to take all possible measures to limit and control the situation. I'll update you on the action taken right after the meeting. (It's scheduled for Wednesday evening India time.)
In the meantime, we are working on getting student details (user names and articles / sandbox links) updated on the course pages. We'll subsequently update the student list. I know that there's a request to make tables on the student pages to make it easier for OAs to update comments. I had actually already done it for the top priority classes (i.e., all College of Engineering Classes.) I'll do so for the Symbiosis School of Economics ones shortly. the meantime, we are working on getting student details (user names and articles / sandbox links) updated on the course pages. We'll subsequently update the student list. I know that there's a request to make tables on the student pages to make it easier for OAs to update comments. I had actually already done it for the top priority classes (i.e., all College of Engineering Classes.) I'll do so for the Symbiosis School of Economics ones shortly.Nitika.t 09:58, 1 November 2011 (UTC)Reply
Thank you for adding the comments columns in the class lists, yesterday. A request for this was made on October 29th at en:Wikipedia talk:India Education Program, and repeated here on October 30th. This program is being implemented on the English Wikipedia. I feel that it's important that both you and Hisham make sure you follow and read all the comments there on a daily basis and start interacting much more on that page. Also, there is still the problem that the names of many of the Online Ambassadors are not linked to a user name and are thus impossible to contact on wiki: Surya Prakash, Srikanth Lakshmanan, Bob Rayner, Jim Heaphy, Aadarsh Gupta, Adam Hyland, Adam Lewis, Saeed Moaddeli, Pete Forsyth, David Lee, Anish Babu, Shobhana, and Cynthia Ashley-Nelson. Voceditenore 08:36, 2 November 2011 (UTC)Reply
Voceditenore, I've gone through and added the usernames for the people I knew: Bob Rayner, Jim Heaphy, Adam Hyland, Adam Lewis, Saeed Moaddeli, Pete Forsyth, David Lee, and Cynthia Ashley-Nelson. All of these are Ambassadors from the U.S. program. Hope this helps. Ldavis (WMF) 20:27, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

Emergency Online Ambassadors


I know you had to find a lot of emergency OAs in very short time, but I'm rather concerned about the basis on which you are choosing some of them. I clicked on one who was linked, although significantly they had no user page - only a talk page with multiple warnings and no responses. I then checked their contributions and had to delete virtually all of the sole article they had created and rewrite it as a stub. It was a blatant copypaste from two copyright websites, and no sources were given. Furthermore, this user has not edited on Wikipedia since September 18th.

Yet they have been assigned to check and clean up the contributions of 20 students on Software Testing and Quality Assurance, a course which may have serious copyright infringement issues. Please read Checking for Copyvios on the IEP Wikipedia Talk page. (Whoops! That one was for Object Oriented Modeling and Design. Nevertheless, the point stands) There's no way that that any cleanup from this user can be trusted, if indeed they start participating. What exactly are the criteria for choosing OAs off-wiki through email approval? Is checking their past contributions carefully part of the process? If not, and I'm assuming it was not done in this case, I strongly suggest that you make this part of the selection process, and if necessary re-think some of the OA assignments you may have made. Voceditenore 09:24, 2 November 2011 (UTC) (Corrected by Voceditenore 09:44, 2 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

Quite honestly, one of the main problems has been the lack of structured, detailed training for the CAs from the very beginning. When the Global Education project first began,the first ambassadors were specially selected and elected from among the most highly experienced users on Wikipedia, but now it appears to be a free-for-all. Quite obviously, the people who have been instructing the new CAs are not fully conversant with the way Wikipedia works, its policies, and editing techniques - many of the CAs don't even know how to use talk pages. Even many of the people who run the WMF office in America who are perhaps competent programmers, accountants, work-flow organisers, etc., are not experienced 'Wikipedians'. --Kudpung 10:01, 2 November 2011 (UTC)Reply
I was referring to an Online Ambassdor in this case, but yes, the same should apply to the CA program as well. Incidentally, the OA in question's other two significant contributions were also copyvios which I have now removed. Voceditenore 11:39, 2 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

Online Ambassadors to be checked


In my view the following OAs who have been assigned large numbers of students to check for copyvio need reconsideration because they have very few edits (in one case, only one edit and that was to their user page!) and/or have added copyvio themselves. Please check their contributions and talk pages, and consider assigning another OA or experienced editor to monitor their assigned students.

The following are relatively experienced editors but have not edited on Wikipedia for over a month. Are you sure they have accepted monitoring the students to whom they have been assigned?

Voceditenore 17:44, 3 November 2011 (UTC) Updated by Voceditenore 11:40, 4 November 2011 (UTC); 14:13, 6 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

If you're uncomfortable with any of the contribution histories of people who have been assigned to check student articles, please do remove their names from what they've been assigned and ask someone else to do it. More than 20 of the emergency Ambassadors are from the U.S. program and are experienced Wikipedians, but a handful are from the newly-trained India OA pool, and some of them are less aware of Wikipedia policies. Obviously, people who have added copyvios shouldn't be checking others' copyvios! Ldavis (WMF) 20:31, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply
Just wanted to clarify above: We didn't intend to have anyone who was not an experienced Wikipedian on that team--any that were on that team was an oversight, and we *should* remove responsibility for them. Many of the India OA team members are experienced Wikipedians, but a handful are new, and we completely agree that they shouldn't be the ones doing the cleanup. So please do remove names of people you're uncomfortable with, and leave it as "open" or ask someone else to look over those students' work. Thanks so much for your diligence on this! Ldavis (WMF) 23:22, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply
LiAnna, in my view only Editor Number 10 should be kept as an Online Ambassador and even that is really stretching it. But no editor with under 400 edits to article space should be doing this job, and certainly not the three who have placed copyvio on Wikipedia. It may be a "handful" of inappropriate editors who were appointed, but those nine editors were assigned to check close to 150 students. Incidentally, there are still three others listed as OAs on en:Wikipedia:India Education Program/Students as unlinked names (Shobhana, Anish Babu, Aadarsh Gupta). Thus, I have no way of checking whether or not they are appropriate. There are no user accounts registered for the names "Anish Babu" or "Aadarsh Gupta". There is a User:Shobhana, but they registed an account in 2006 and have not made single edit to Wikipedia, so it may refer to another editor.
Anyhow, Asking me to remove names personally if I am "uncomfortable" with them is not at all appropriate. I did not appoint them. They've all been notified that they've been made OAs. They've all been emailed telling them their assignments. What will they think when they find their names summarily removed from the OA columns on the Student List by someone not connected to either the IEP or the OA program? This is a decision for the IEP to make. However, if they are removed, whoever assigned them in the first place should at least let them know, as a simple courtesy. Voceditenore 15:04, 6 November 2011 (UTC)Reply
Fair point. I will reach out to the IEP folks and ask them to reassign those students to other ambassadors and the ambassadors know. Ldavis (WMF) 19:03, 6 November 2011 (UTC)Reply



(edit conflict) One of the major concerns about this project after the obvious disruption to Wikipedia, is the lack of communication from the organisers. They do not appear to have been following the pages where the action is taking place. This page here is a WikiMedia page and is on a website that is for global developments and hence not watched by many Wikipedia volunteers. In issues such as this, it is essential to stay close to the community, answer talk page messages, provide constant updates with concrete information, and above all, listen to what they are saying. Some of us know that Nitika and Hisham are doing their very best, but just repeatedly saying they are doing their best begins to ring hollow, especially as the situation is now geeting worse as the project reaches its conclusion.

It's actually taken nearly a month to get those tables made and up to date, and after ten days of wrangling, we've finally been able to convert them to plain lists that I have prepared and posted to the IEP talk page. I cannot guarantee that I will personally update them, and I suggest that anyone who is updating the tables should also add the articles and users to the raw lists.

FWIW, another user has been blocked today in spite of multiple warnings and having been unblocked once, and we've had a couple of cases of sockpuppetry to evade blocks, and possible use of proxy servers.

--Kudpung 09:46, 2 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

It appears that another discussion has been started at en:Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)#India Education Program is out of control. I posted there to suggest that it might be better to keep the discussion in one place, i.e. en:Wikipedia talk:India Education Program but also provided a link to this page at Meta. But it's something you might want to put on your watchlists. Voceditenore 11:49, 2 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

Meeting with the Director of College of Engineering, Pune


Today, User:Hisham & I had a meeting with the Director at College of Engineering, Pune to discuss the program and I wanted to give you all an update about the meeting. Considering the severity of copy-vio issues and also considering multiple other issues that we have been discussing on this talk page and several others, we came to consensus that we should conclude the program at CoEP immediately.

The Director has directed his faculty to put the program at halt with immediate effect implying that students will be told to stop editing on Wikipedia - niether on the mainspace nor in the sandbox. Here is a list of action we're taking to make sure that we implement this decision to its best:

  • User:Hisham & I went into 4 classes (out of 9) to address the students and to ask them to stop editing on Wikipedia. We'll be going into the remaining 5 classes tomorrow morning (India time).
  • We have spoken with 4 professors (out of 9) one-on-one and requested them to direct their students according to the new decision. We'll speak with the remaining professors tomorrow morning. (India time)
  • We are organizing a faculty meet tomorrow where we'll again address all the professors together.
  • I have personally written a mail to all the students at CoEP and directed them not to edit on wikipedia as a part of their assignment. And if they'd like to edit wikipedia outside of their assignment and syllabus they should wait for a month until we (Online Ambassadors) have cleared all the copyvios that students have added.
  • Each Campus Ambassador will mail their respective students/classes and inform them about the same.
  • We have asked the Campus Ambassadors to leave messages on students talk pages and ask them not to edit on wikipedia for the time being.

I'll write another update tomorrow evening giving you all the details of the faculty meet and in-class sessions in the remaining classes, as well as some next steps. Nitika.t 02:46, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

One month to clear the copyvio?


It's good news that at least no more copyvio will be coming in from CoEP, but one month to check for and clear existing copyvio? We're talking about at least 800 students in all at the IEP (allowing for some students being in more than one class) and an average of two articles edited each + their sandboxes. Thus there will be at least 2,000 separate places to be checked. Sometimes checking and cleaning can take up to an hour for an article. As I pointed out above, many of these students have been assigned to extremely inexperienced and inappropriate Online Ambassadors, who frankly are going to be no help at all. Plus, even after many, many hours of work by several outside editors on en:Wikipedia:India Education Program/Students, we still do not have completely up-to-date and adequate lists for every course, although those editors have made great improvements to what the IEP originally gave us. Note also that although the copyvio from the CoEP has attracted most of the attention lately, the Symbiosis School of Economics articles have (or had) a lot of copyvio too. See for example [6]. Some of them have since been edited by the students after they were cleaned in August and September. They all need to be checked. Some of the SSoE class lists are in dreadful shape and six of them do not appear to have any OAs assigned to check their articles. Voceditenore 18:38, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

Just to clarify on the 1 month aspect, our logic was as follows. We wanted to conclude the program at the engineering program immediately. What we've told faculty and students (and User:Nitika.t and I have been to all but one class that's operating the program) is to stop all editing on the program immediately. A question that came up in almost every class (arguably by the students who have understood Wikipedia and "get" it and have contributed decent content) is what happens to the good quality content that might be in their sandboxes or edits they want to make outside of the education program. What we've told them is that there are Campus and Online Ambassadors as well as a host of community members who are reviewing their contributions. We've told them the global community is looking at their contributions by user name and not just by article from their academic assignment. This will take time. To that end, what we've suggested is a (albeit arbitrary) timeframe of 1 month. The way we see it is that if there is no incentive (in terms of marks) and their semesters are over, the only students that will edit are the ones who are genuinely passionate about Wikipedia. I can tell you that from the kind of reactions we got from some students, there are a number who feel terrible that their good contributions are being muddied by some of their peers, and they want to continue editing. Once things settle down, the ones who will continue editing would arguably be newbies with great potential to become active (and more) editors.
Have noted your points on SSE students and OAs, and will action this. Our immediate priority is CoEP - but we know there is work to be done at SSE as well. Hisham 06:29, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Reply
Hey everyone,
I wanted to complete my update from our Pune trip. By the end of the 2nd day in Pune, Hisham and I had:
  • Spoken with all the 9 professors individually and requested them to direct their students not to edit on wikipedia anymore
  • Addressed 8 classes (out of 9) and asked the students to stop any editing on wikipedia. One of the Campus Ambassadors will address the last class sometime next week.
In addition to this update, I wanted to discuss few more points:
  • I understand that some of the Online Ambassadors are a little inactive. They wrote to me saying that they have been pre-occupied with their personal issues and will soon start working on their articles. In the meanwhile, Im also in talk with the Campus Ambassadors to see if they will be willing to help us in the clean up project. I will put them in-charge of students where the current Online Ambassadors are taking a little time to start with their work.
  • A lot of students were heartbroken when they got to know that we are discouraging them to edit from wikipedia any further. They opposed us in the classrooms to show their passion towards wiki editing. Many of them have edited a lot of pages outside of their syllabus (like their hometown, movie actors, indian cricketers etc) because they enjoy editing. They will not be graded on their contributions for these articles since its not a part of the elective in the school. As HIsham mentioned in the previous post, it will be great to see contributions that will be coming from these students who will most definitely start as newbies but could become active editors. Nitika.t 09:07, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Reply
  • It's not just that some of your Online Ambassadors "are a little inactive". Experienced but currently busy is one thing, but I've listed four names in Online Ambassadors to be checked above which should not be assigned to this task due to their extreme inexperience and in one case someone whose sole edits to article space have been copyright violations and who has never communicated on a Talk page, not even his own. Take a look at en:Wikipedia:Online Ambassadors/Apply#Evaluation of applications. Take a look at some of the failed application discussions at en:Wikipedia:Online Ambassadors/Apply/Archives Those four editors would never pass (and neither would a couple of the others in the "relatively experienced" list). I'm not quite sure how they were made OAs in the first place but they should certainly not be assigned to checking and cleaning the IEP articles. You need to re-assign their students to someone else. I'm actually very concerned about this. Voceditenore 11:26, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Reply
When I was approached and asked to become an ambassador in the very early days of the ambassador project, I felt honoured. The decision to appoint was made off-Wki, and I was proud to have been accepted. Reviewing the current list of more recent appointments, it is clear that ambassadorship has since been handed down indiscriminately - little more than adding one's own name to the list. To the extent that I'm wondering if it's worth my while continuing the wear the now worthless Ambassagor badge on my user page. If the IEP is to continue, and survive as a project, some very serious thoughts to training the Indian ambassadors properly should be given. Kudpung 00:59, 6 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

Community work load


I was staggered to notice the increase in my normal work load caused by this IEP project, and I'm sure that many others' edits will reflect a similar effect. --Kudpung 04:30, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

My workload stayed about the same, but it certainly wasn't in my usual corner of Wikipedia :). Voceditenore 10:18, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

Now that the word has got round that IEP is (partially) closed, NPP has relaxed, and the backlog is increasing again.

NPP backlog 4 Nov 2011

. --Kudpung 04:08, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

Pune CAs' mainspace and total edits


These figures do not seem to be compatible with the claims of industry made here. With all due respect, I would assume that Frank has been misinformed. --Kudpung 21:39, 4 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

User 1st edit Total edits Mainspace
en:User:Gsinghglakes 18 September 323 21
en:User:Ramshankaryadav May 696 41
w:en:User:Seva.panda 3 June 14 1
w:en:User:Arnavchaudhary June 117 23
en:User:Wasimmogal2007 12 Sept 2010 316 6
w:en:User:Pallaviagarwal90 28 August 109 10
w:en:User:Mihir.khatwani June 240 20
w:en:User:Tambeparag July 171 86
w:en:User:U.raghavendra June 39 6
w:en:User:AbhiSuryawanshi May 343 59
w:en:User:Rangilo_Gujarati February 1,210 206
w:en:User:ALX999 May 79 8
w:en:User:Mihir_Kelkar 31 August 9 3
w:en:User:Pratiklahoti8004 July 532 51
w:en:User:Gunit31 August 137 28
w:en:User:Devanshi_tripathi August 571 278
w:en:User:Anurag_acj 25 July 128 22
w:en:User:Vaibhavchandak 28 July 172 43
w:en:User:User:Debastein1 24 July 838 133 (user 244)
w:en:User:Vedantgupta7890 29 July 117 62
w:en:User:Minakshinajardhane 27 July 128 28
w:en:User:Nikita.agarwal 21 August 137 51
w:en:User:Shefalinaik 28 July 73 19
w:en:User:Roshnisaigal 30 July 188 96
w:en:User:Ishu.aghav 3 September 28 6
w:en:User:Arjunmangol 30 July 302 45
w:en:User:Tb0412 8 July 93 39
w:en:User:Kumarvikramsingh 6 September 29 3
w:en:User:RDebashruti 21 August 29 2

Updates re. Emergency Online Ambassadors


Hi everyone, thought I'd share with you some of the changes I just made to the allocation of Online Ambassadors to the Pune-pilot cleanup effort. The background of this - as mentioned above on this talk page - is that we've assigned various Online Ambassadors (some India-based ones and some U.S.-based ones) to clean up the articles of the students involved in the Pune education pilot. The list of student articles, and information about which Online Ambassador has been assigned to which articles, is available on this student list. Below are some modifications I've recently made to that list, based largely on feedback and concerns from various Wikipedia community members (including some of the concerns voiced on this talk page):

Following my email correspondences yesterday and today with the various India-based and US-based Ambassadors who are helping with cleanup, I've gone through the student list (linked above) and removed the following Ambassadors from the cleanup effort:

  • Ambassadors who told me they're no longer available to help with cleanup, and
  • Ambassadors who have little prior Wikipedia-editing experience (this one is in direct response to the "Online Ambassadors to be checked" section on this talk page. We saw the community's concerns, agree with those concerns, and have removed those Online Ambassadors with less editing experience from the cleanup effort. The only person from the "Online Ambassadors to be checked" list whom I kept in the cleanup effort is User:Saeed, who - despite having a limited number of edits on the English Wikipedia - is actually a long-term editor on the Farsi Wikipedia, where it shows that his first edit was in 2004 and that he has been editing since (I acknowledge that copyright and quality standards on the Farsi Wikipedia might be different from those on the English Wikipedia, but I still think that someone with this much experience on Wikipedia in general would be very capable of identifying poor content on the English Wikipedia, especially since User:Saeed is quite adept at the English language). I also did not remove User:Netha_Hussain from the student list even though this user is in fact newer to Wikipedia; this is because this user already did some cleanup work and from a quick glance what s/he did looks good, although we will not assign any more student articles for this user to clean due to his/her limited editing experience.

If a student article no longer has an Ambassador assigned to do cleanup, there is now an "IN NEED" next to that article. I've also assigned more articles to those Ambassadors who told me they can take on more cleanup work. For some of these I directly assigned them to specific student articles (i.e. adding their username next to specific student articles); for others I just asked them to clean as many of the "IN NEED" student articles as they can.

Not every Ambassador I've emailed has responded yet, so I'll likely be doing more removing/adding/updating on that student list over the next days as I hear from more of them. HUGE thanks to all Ambassadors who are part of the cleanup effort - I believe that the cleanup work they've already done is highly valuable. Alin (WMF) 00:03, 10 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

I'll just point out again that in my table above, in many instances the majority of ambassadors edits were to their own users pages and/or from sending Wikilove and possible indiscriminate barnstars. You may wish to take this into consideration if you had not already done so. The edits also include recent edits at the time the table was made, and do not reflect the much lower number at the time the ambassadors were appointed. Kudpung 00:39, 10 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

Task selection


This useful table doesn't (yet) say anything about task selection, and I think that is an area that needs some thought. You could usefully analyse the tasks undertaken last time, and see what sort of tasks:

  • survived as articles
  • got redirected to an existing article
  • got deleted

for additions to existing articles, see whether they have been kept or reverted.

Some ideas of my own (not that I have much experience in this area):

  • If the existing article is well developed, for instance if it is already a GA or FA, it will be difficult to make additions that will be kept - see for instance the edit history of en:Welding for 10 October
  • Writing a parallel article is also not likely to be satisfactory
  • A more useful approach would be to look for stub articles in the area of interest, which could be expanded. Many WikiProjects have lists of stub articles and articles that need development, and could well be willing to assist. The presence of a stub probably means that somebody has thought this is a notable subject, and that it is not already covered.
  • It seemed that some of the students were not entirely comfortable with writing English. This is not to criticise them - I know that I would be unable to contribute in any other language - but it is not easy to think of a task they could usefully do. I suspect this may have contributed to the copyvio problem: while I can read Spanish, if I were forced, against a deadline, to write it I would be so worried about getting it correct that I might well be tempted to search for examples from which I could copy sentences, just to be sure of correct grammar.
I suggest that for these students you consider getting them to translate an existing Wikipedia article into one of the Indic language WPs. If a good article from en:wp is chosen, that would strengthen the receiving WP, enable the students to exercise their English in translating without requiring them to undertake the more difficult task of writing English, give them editing experience, give them a sense of achievement, and perhaps lead to them continuing to edit that WP.

In choosing tasks, the professor needs advice from someone familiar enough with Wikipedia to be able to advise on issues like these.

Regards, JohnCD 00:06, 24 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

Thank you so much for your inputs. You have made really valid points here. Going forward we have to make sure that students refrain from editing GA or FA. Directing them to stub articles would be a good idea. Also agreed with the fact that we have to take into account student's proficiency of the english language. I'll add your inputs into the table soon. Please keep more suggestions coming in. Thanks Nitika.t 09:52, 27 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

IEP Pilot - Preliminary Analysis


I'm writing to share an update on the way forward as far as making sure that we adequately capture all the learnings possible from the India Education Program. We also want to make sure that these learnings are robust and are incorporated into the core program design going forward. We also would like these learnings to also be of an adequately granular level so that we can identify trends of what doesn't work and what might work better - such as year of students, nature of faculty involvement, subject area, etc.

We are planning multiple channels to capture, analyse and incorporate these learnings.

  • WMF has commissioned a researcher, Tory Read, to conduct an evaluative study of the IEP and provide recommendations for improvement. Over the course of next few days, she will be interviewing several teachers, students, CAs, Directors, admins and other wikipedia editors from the global community to take their input and views about IEP. She has already spoken to staff in SF, spent the day with us in Delhi and will be in Pune over the next 4 days conducting face-to-face interviews. She will also be reaching out to community members outside of Pune. She will then write an evaluative story about what worked, what did not and learnings from the the pilot.
  • A series of video interviews were done by a Campus Ambassador in Pune - Abhishek Suryawanshi who conducted interviews with students, professors and Campus Ambassadors in Pune. We promised all interviewees that any personal identifying information would be removed from this analysis to encourage them to speak freely.
  • In addition, India Programs consultants (Hisham & I) and Wikimedia Foundation staff (Frank Schulenburg and LiAnna Davis) are interviewing experienced Wikipedia editors from India and across the world. Please do mail me (at nitika@wikimedia.org) if any one of us can contact you to ask your views (if we already have not.)
  • We want to collate data points to be able to analyze and draw out trends. Here is an example of data that we're trying to dig out (and this is just a sub-set of a preliminary list)
  • What's the amount of data that students have added to Wikipedia? What's the amount of data that got reverted? What's the net amount of information that the students have added on Wikipedia?
  • How many students edited articles outside of their in-class assignments?
  • How many student's got warnings on their talk pages? How many students corrected their errors after these warnings?
  • How many students got blocked? / How many students got blocked more than once?
  • At the WikiConference India we also had a IEP round table where we invited a couple of students, professors and campus ambassadors to share their personal views and experience working with IEP pilot. I'm going to upload the video if it's possible and share this with you. It was a very useful session where we discussed many of the points that will inform our future work - such as determining whether it should be voluntary or not, what student's were thinking while they engaged in copy-pasting into their articles, improvements to Campus Ambassador training, ideas on what kind of professors can work best on a project of this nature, etc.
  • The Learnings Page is my *very* preliminary draft at collating learnings from the pilot and exploring how how we can incorporate these in our way forward.

We will shortly summaries of all these findings as and when they are ready - and welcome an open discussion on them. Do please share your thoughts and suggestions on the above. Please also do let me know if I've missed out anything. Nitika.t 11:31, 28 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

How many times have the en.Wikipedians told you that these sorts of questions and updates should be cross-posted to en.wikipedia? It is so frustrating to have you nominally reaching out but instead only posting in obscure corners of wikimedia.org and on mailing lists that have precious few subscribers. I cannot believe the continued cluelessness about (disregard for?) community input from those most affected. Calliopejen1 22:23, 1 December 2011 (UTC)Reply

This is another example of the poor communications that largely contributed to the Pune project not being planned properly from the onset, and then getting totally out of hand - see the Communication thread above. It also demonstrates yet again the typical Internet forum phenomenon that people don't read the preceding postings and threads. It would be well advised for the organisers to be introspective at this stage and answer some of the community's questions rather than just add more as red herrings - we already know what went wrong, see the COMMENT thread above that should be addressed now rather than simply ask new ones in an attempt to lay the blame elsewhere. The downfall of this project was due to the the planning and the way it was managed, and the lack of knowledge of Wikipedia and how it works by those in charge. That is clear. Kudpung 02:45, 2 December 2011 (UTC)Reply

Sincere apologies. I missed posting it on the en.wikipedia page. I'll make sure that I post updates on both the pages going forward. Nitika.t 16:31, 4 December 2011 (UTC)Reply

Pune Pilot Analysis Plan


(Cross-posting to several pages) I've just created the page w:Wikipedia:India_Education_Program/Analysis to document our planned analysis of the Pune pilot. We've been collecting ideas in many different places, but we wanted to have one central page where we'll be analyzing the learnings from the Pune pilot over the next few months. We will using the results of this analysis to plan our next pilot in India, which will be kicking off in mid-2012. We will not be running the India Education Program in the first term of 2012. We are committed to using the next few months to get all the learnings we can out of the analysis, so we can launch a new pilot in six months or so that addresses all of the concerns raised from the Pune pilot.

We do have one major outstanding question in terms of how to analyze the pilot, which is how do we measure the impact of the pilot on the community? I really encourage anyone who has good ideas of how to do data collection around this to contribute to the discussion on talk page. Ldavis (WMF) 22:46, 1 December 2011 (UTC)Reply

The answers do not lie in added bureaucracy: proposed solutions and metrics are all available already in the many and various comments by community members on the increasing maze of talk pages connected with the IEP and USEP projects. The impact on the community is blatantly obvious - why keep creating yet more pages to add to the confusion, and carry out further costly analysis when the answers are already staring us in the face complete with charts and graphs already provided, and have been discussed in depth on the mailing lists and other obscure lines of discussion? The main answer lies in rectifying the continuing lack of communication, transparency, and admission of errors (see 'introspective' in my post above). The main concern raised from the Pune pilot from the community angle is not being addressed, and LDavis and/or AnnieLin have made it clear elsewhere that they do not consider it part of their remit to take the community resources - the very impact that is being mentioned here - into consideration when planning their education projects; ignoring the known problems and trying to find solutions to new new ones that apparently still need to be identified is a redundant exercise. Ultimately, this will simply foster more ire and drive yet more volunteers and OAs away from wanting to be helpful, rather than solicit their aid which in any case can only be to repeat what they have already said time and time again. Solutions and suggestions have been tossed around by some extremely competent and knowledgeable members of the volunteer force only to land repeatedly in some kind of no man's land between the WMF and the community. It is imperative to understand that all education programmes will generate more articles - which is of course the goal of the initiatives, and which is recognised and supported in principle by everyone - that will still need to be policed by experienced regular editors, and that these programmes cannot be implemented before the online volunteer community is forewarned, and forearmed with the required tools and personnel. Perhaps Tory's independent analysis will come up with some answers (and I'm confident it will), and it may be best to wait for her report. . Kudpung 03:31, 2 December 2011 (UTC)Reply

Pune Pilot Review: Tory Read's Work Plan


Here is a list of work I am doing on the Pune Pilot Review: 20 hours in US reviewing talk pages and email list communication regarding IEP; Interviews (in person, unless otherwise noted): - Barry Newstead, WMF SF - Frank Schulenburg, WMF SF - Annie Lin, WMF SF - LiAnna Davis, WMF SF - Hisham Mundol, WMF India - Nitika Tandon, WMF India - Shiju Alex, WMF India - Ram Shankar Yadav, CA Pune - Ishita Ghosh, professor, SSE, Pune - informal conversation with 2 SSE students and 2 CAs over lunch in Pune - Rashmi Barua, SSE student - Devanchi Tripathi, SSE student and CA - 3 members of Pune WP community (one doesn't want his name here, so I'm not naming any of them), group interview over dinner - Abhilasha Sharma, SSE student - Anushikha Benazur, SSE student - Dr. Jyoti Chandiramani, SSE Director - 3 more SSE students, informal conversation over lunch - Debanjan Bandyopadhyay, CA SSE - Radha Misra, professor, SNDT Women's College, Pune - Shweta Shinde, student, COEP - Gautam Akiwate, student, COEP - informal conversation with 3 CAs and 1 student, COEP - Dr. Anil V. Sahasrabudhe, Director, COEP - Dr. Pradeep Waychal, professor, COEP - Kudpung, WP Admin (skype video) - Srikanth Lakshmanan, WP editor, OA for IEP (skype audio) - Hisham Mundol, WMF India (telephone) - Wasim, CA COEP - Pratik Lohati, CA COEP - Arjun M. K., CA COEP - Vaibhav Chandak, CA COEP - Prof. Abhijit Sir, professor, COEP - Bala Jeyaraman (telephone) - Moonriddengirl (telephone) - Risker (skype) - Ruud (email) - Andy Dingley (email) - Voceditenore (email) - Fluffernutter (email) - Danger (skype) - MER-C (talk page) - Matthiaspaul (email) - Cindamuse (skype) - Ayush Khanna, Data Analyst, Global Development Program, WMF SF (telephone).

Data gathering closes Monday, 5 December, except I will take the statistical numbers from WMF whenever I get them, and participants via email/talk page will have through end of the week to answer because I'm just getting questions to them later today. My contract includes 20 interviews, and I am already doing many more, because I've determined that the job requires it. This list was developed in consultation with WMF staff, India WP community members, and global WP community members.Toryread 18:53, 5 December 2011 (UTC)Reply

FYI, I'm going completely dark from now through 12 December, 23:00 UTC. No phone, no internet, no computer. I'm looking forward to checking talk pages and beginning my synthesis when I return.Toryread 18:54, 5 December 2011 (UTC)Reply

Two more comments on your table


The table mentions plagiarism - don't confuse that with the much more serious problem of copyright violation. Plagiarism - presenting other people's work as your own - is a matter of academic standards and is really a concern for the professors. What is much more serious from Wikipedia's point of view is breach of copyright - publishing in Wikipedia material to which someone else owns the copyright. Wikipedia's license allows any reader to copy, modify and use for any purpose including commercial. That is not an academic but a legal issue: a copyright holder whose material is posted here could sue. Also, what you have written implies that a compromise solution is to make the students post first in a sandbox, and have material checked for copyvio before it is moved to the mainspace; but we cannot have copyright material anywhere in Wikipedia, not even in sandboxes, not even temporarily.

On giving encouraging messages, by all means encourage the students, but the messages need to be related to what they are actually doing. There were reports at en:WT:IEP of messages saying "You're doing great! Keep adding more content!!", or words to that effect, in between strings of copyvio warnings. That student will have been thoroughly confused. Regards, JohnCD 23:35, 15 December 2011 (UTC)Reply

Quantitative Analysis now available


Spreading the word: Ayush Khanna, a data analyst for the Foundation, has completed his quantitative analysis of the Pune Pilot. His numbers and conclusions are available at en:Wikipedia:India_Education_Program/Analysis/Quantitative_Analysis. -- LiAnna Davis (WMF) (talk) 18:56, 19 January 2012 (UTC)Reply

Tory's report now available


Hi all, just wanted to alert you that Tory Read has published her analysis of the Pune Pilot. We want to thank Tory for her generous time -- she went above and beyond what we had asked her to do and interviewed many more people than we'd originally planned so she could get a fuller picture of what happened during the Pune Pilot. Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer Tory's questions as well. We'll be using her report to plan the next phase of the pilot program. -- LiAnna Davis (WMF) (talk) 23:43, 20 January 2012 (UTC)Reply

Update on the India Education Pilot


Just wanted to inform you that we have put up a post about the India Education Pilot here. Please fell free to initiate, advance or follow the conversation on the same page. Thanks Nitika.t (talk) 10:16, 19 June 2012 (UTC)Reply