Talk:TWLCon (2019 India)

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Scope[edit]

The scope of this conference and the application form seem rather closed and limited. Firstly it gives the appearance that non-Wikimedians, especially librarians, are unwelcome. Secondly I find the idea that #1Lib1Ref as one of the aims is too limiting. In fact the whole "event" needs discussion before creating a Google Data Entry form that seems to require that one has to have a Wikimedia user name. The librarian community needs a more open approach especially as Indian librarians in the narrow sense (there are subject matter experts, but they tend to be academics and some maintain bibliographies - and these might be able to take part in #1Lib1Ref) are typically not subject matter experts - lacking the ability to serve in both the capacity of reference desks or taking part in 1Lib1Ref - this needs far more discussion with the library-science community not to mention a wider discussion among Wikipedians. Shyamal (talk) 15:01, 25 November 2018 (UTC)

@Shyamal: Hi Shyamal, thanks for the message. Let me be more clear on the purpose; sorry if it isn't clear on the page. Primarily, it is about localising and increase the reach TWL's programs in India. For example, having more Wikimedians use database access services, about having more partnerships from India (like the recent EPW partnership), since there is less scope for online pay walled databases-what could be other alternatives, to discuss the source sharing/reference services can be supported by Wikisource community etc. The other goals include hearing from external personnel (librarians, academics, digital archivists etc.) A part of the program has a space for these discussions. For logistical reasons, we are not able to invite people from across the country, but only limited to personnel from the city or around. It is one of the reasons why venue has not been finalised yet. We are looking for a place where we can get a good participation in these aspects. To say, the current options are TISS-Mumbai, MKCL & IUCAA in Pune, and also institutions in Hyderabad. We are hoping to include online remote participation for professionals who are able to attend the event (may use this portal (http://www.lislinks.com/) to promote). Also current call is just for Wikimedians only, who can add some thought into the discussions, with their prior experience of working with reference desks or with libraries in India. KCVelaga (talk) 16:16, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
@KCVelaga: If it is only for Wikimedians, and that too experienced ones, I would think we should have more online discussions, at least some framework of it. Perhaps you already have something like that happening on some Wiki pages in this matter? That would provide at least some idea that there is something useful to discuss that would not be possible to do so online. Shyamal (talk) 16:25, 25 November 2018 (UTC)
@Shyamal: It is definitely not about involving only Wikimedians, but also other professionals. However, participation of Wikimedians will be from across the country, but professionals will only be limited to the localities. The remote participation for them is planned, it can be opened for Wikimedians as well. KCVelaga (talk) 16:40, 25 November 2018 (UTC)

Resturcturing the program[edit]

Following the comments from community, the entire thing has been restricted a bit (open for discussion) as explained below. The program will be designed based on response to these changes. Let me make a few points clear at this point. The primary aim of this event is outreach of TWL (and its programs) to Indian Wikimedia communities and know (+document) about their experiences working with libraries and other relevant services. The aim+ are outreach of TWL (or just Wikip[m]edia in general) and a discussion with professional communities working on sources and reference services, which can include librarians, archivists, academicians etc. All these will be documented for a later use by others and be followed-up if needed. I agree that this may seem limited in several aspects, but it is intended to consider this is as a pilot before engaging a larger outreach plan. So resources invested are also limited. The learning will be shared with others and followed-up as required. The two day event will have two parts as listed below:

  • Part 1: TWL outreach to Wikimedians
    • About, various programs (how can they be worked out in India), relevant tools such as Citation Hunt
  • Part 2: Open discussion with external personnel; librarians, archivists, academicians etc.
    • Introduction to Wiki and TWL, their experience, areas where Wiki and these can collaborate for mutual benefit

The parts can be treated as days (but not very specifically). Only differentiation that has to be observed is that Wikimedians from across the country will be taking part, but external personnel will be invited locally. The event will take place in Pune, so people from both Pune and Mumbai will also be invited to take part. If required, depending on the budget feasibility, experts from other places will be invited. KCVelaga (talk) 10:08, 28 November 2018 (UTC)

@Shyamal: Ping. KCVelaga (talk) 10:12, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
I hope this is not too late - please invite the librarians at GIPE if you can - their digital library is an extremely valuable contribution and their champions need to be encouraged to show the way for others. https://dspace.gipe.ac.in/xmlui/community-list Shyamal (talk) 13:01, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
@Shyamal: Thanks for the suggestion. We will most probably be having GIPE as the venue (99% confirmed, in final formalities), I'll confirm that by the end of this week. Irrespective of that we will invite them. KCVelaga (talk) 04:45, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
GIPE is the venue. KCVelaga (talk) 08:18, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

Suggestions[edit]

  • User Name : User:Abhinav619
  • Notes: Hi, I wish to jot down a few suggestions to the organizers.
  1. Citation needed is not something we generally find on Indian language projects. It is restricted to English but definitely, we should make attempts to grow it. It is high time Indian language and concerns over knowledge appropriateness issues are taken up, emphasis on growing them has led to somewhat ignorance. Maybe this is the first step. However, the problem is not essentially Citation Hunt but the entire presentation on it. Even if the community is learned about such tools when they go to their respective towns and approach the librarians, it shouldn't be in their understanding some unfinished work of lazy Wikipedians is what they ask us to finish. Of course! It is not the story but things need to be put in order. Maybe, Petscan could be a tool to work on since it allows to create articles on a specific category and also more helpful for Indian languages. But the point here is All these could be taught to a Wikipedian online

I would rather suggest that reading the behavior of librarians should be the topic of the discussion, on how effectively one should communicate to reach the end goal and as a target for this event, prepare a toolkit for the same. The idea of toolkit would only be effective if there is a systematic approach to deciding the problems statement beforehand, say- targeting regional archives, targeting theme based libraries, etc. The goal should be aligned to annual plans of Chapter, Thematic Organisation and User Groups such that the needful could be incorporated in their events and when edit-a-thons happen we may incorporate and make the use of toolkits. Offline events can always happen in libraries or otherwise one can make use of e-resources. The reason I say this because the workshop should be in concurrence with the larger Indian community and aligned in their ethics.

  • Understanding Academica The only way Wikipedia can be more helpful to academics is academicians themselves joining the brigade. If someone approaches his/her supervisor and asks this is my research proposal and I built it from Wikipedia then I should stop writing what may happen next. How do we address this? Two members of the organizing committee have a scholarship in research. They should lead the campaign in preparing a roadmap. A roadmap where we inform the necessary prerequisite on how to cite scholarly papers. Scholars give more emphasis on literature used for argument construction and methodology in reaching the results. That said, building partnerships with pay-wall journals are only a relative achievement. Imagine if editors use information from abstracts or are directed to the results and subsequently cite them. No ! This is not how things should go. This may happen for a newspaper where we may write, "......reported that.....happened" but scholarly papers are not be cited in this order. It would be more of an activism, say - the result of a paper may be that a relevant body cream can burn a human skin. It is important to cite how the paper reached this consensus and on what other reviewers talk in their papers. One additional drop of a chemical can change the narrative from enriching the skin to burning the skin. Results are only a relative truth and hence important to document the peer-reviews on them as well.

One of the key basis to reach the said could be convincing librarians to share scholarly thesis of their alumni. One can understand that literature surveys cover a wholesome debate on arguments behind the main paper and also a repository of reviews by researchers having a high scholarship in their field. Secondly, it is well understood that thesis even if published out as a paper or set of papers, the literature is reduced in size. This reduced literature is helpful in our mission. Citation hunter and petscan could be a tool to be used in libraries having e-thesis repository or Shodhganga. This is one of the many things to be incorporated in the roadmap. Gokhale has a good thesis repository also regarded as a work of high scholarship.

All this would also help in convincing other possible partnerships and would lead to better results amongst the recipients of TWL.

  • Inviting Experts It is always good to invite experts outside our domain and listen to their concerns. A suggestion would be however to make it theme based. If its archives - then set of archivist, even librarians then a theme based libraries (say environment). A qualitative discussion may lead to understanding the essential spirit and attracting the inputs that are to be worked upon. The replica for other subjects in further would not be a cause of much trouble but a start needs to be made.
  • Synopsis: Inclusivity with editors on Indian language (mentioned in 1st point) along with librarians and researchers (mentioned in 2nd point) and experts (mentioned in 3rd point) is essential.

Thanks. Pardon me for the long statement :P --Abhinav619 (talk) 13:50, 28 November 2018 (UTC)

@Abhinav619: Hi Abhinav, thanks for the message. It is really insightful, and will be helpful in setting the outcomes and also framing the program. Here are my responses; point-wise.
  • Yes, I agree with you that Citation Hunt (or the practice of tagging for citation) is not very popular on Indian Wikipedias. The need to adopt this practice exists. This can be further discussed at the event. The time allocated for tools such as Citation Hunt will be very less, so that more time can be spent on useful discussions. However, we will be having decent time to discuss about the use of bibliographic sources on Indic Wikis.
  • I like the idea of toolkit. For now, we have only planned to share the discussions' notes and summaries with the communities. May be, investing more thought into that and developing a toolkit can be more useful. I would like to hear from you in this regard, especially how you envision this toolkits to be, say Learning patterns or as case studies on outreach-wiki (some links please). Also some tool kit ideas that you can think of which can developed as a part of this event.
  • We will be discussing around academica and also invite experts. GIPE itself is the venue, so we will hopefully be reading about their work and understanding the procedures. In addition to that, also see how we can spread this.
  • For Part-2 of the program, experts will be invited. For now, I can think of people from GIPE, University of Pune, MKCL and TISS-Mumbai. A call to recommend some experts will be sent out soon.
Thanks again, and let me know if you need any other clarification. KCVelaga (talk) 10:37, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

About Participant Selection[edit]

There are a few things that I would like to bring to your keen attention.

We belong to Karavali Wikimedians User Group (KWUG) which is working towards promoting free knowledge, creating and disseminating content in Tulu, Kannada and Konkani languages. Ours is the ONLY affiliated User Group (to WMF) from Karnataka. We have the distinction of setting of India’s first and ONLY physical library with more than 300 books of encyclopedic nature. Thee books are kept for the use of Wikipedians to refer and add content and references to Wikipedia articles. The library has been built from donations by like-minded people, institutions, associations and bought from the money put in by members of KWUG. No such effort has been made anywhere else in India.

We have worked a lot for community development purpose spending our own money. More details about KWUG is available at https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Karavali_Wikimedians

We feel greatly disappointed and let down as no member from our user group has been selected for this TWL Con2019 conference. The trust we have for this kind of conferences is at stake. It is not the fact that we are unable to attend the conference but your ignorance and disregards for our work is what disturbs us.

We are left with questions of,

  • Who then are your target participants for the conference?
  • Who are the beneficiaries?
  • What are its objectives?
  • Why are there so many participants from CIS?
  • Why have you not considered community members instead of them?

Some References,

  1. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/wikipedia-writers-setting-up-own-library/article19290713.ece
  2. https://www.deccanherald.com/content/631285/tulu-wikipedia-celebrates-anniversary.html
  3. https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/seminar-at-ramakrishna-college/article24638278.ece

Regards ----Kishorekumarrai (talk) 03:24, 14 December 2018 (UTC)

@Kishorekumarrai: Thanks for the message. Firstly let me clarify the point ]that this event has limited budget, so it is obvious that we need to limit the participation as well, to fit our budget. Having said that, we tried our best to accommodate as many more people as possible, by securing a free venue and subsidized accommodation. The applications have been scored according to your responses in the form. They are then sorted and people were selected depending on their rankings from their respective communities. Again, since it is a small event it is not possible to have all the communities in India participating. So we did miss out representation from some communities. Moreover, participants were selected based individual communities but not User Groups. In most of the cases, user groups are just limited one language community. Since you have mentioned about the user group you are associated with, it can be seen from the participants' list that we have one user from Konkani community (which is under the scope of KWUG). So hopefully he'll be able to share the learning with the rest of UG or community. For your other questions, please find my responses point-wise below
  1. Target participants: Wikimedians + Professionals (Librarians/Academicians/Archivists etc.)
  2. Beneficiaries: Wikimedia communities in India.
    1. At this point, I would like to reiterate the fact that we did miss out some communities. But the participants are expected to share these learning with the rest of the community(ies) as necessary and follow-up about the same.
  3. The objectives can be seen from the event page. It is clear over there. If you wish to provide any suggestions to the objectives or the program in general, you are very much welcome to do so.
  4. The selections were based on individual communities, but the decisions are definitely not related to their affiliation with CIS. It was never mentioned in responses to the participation form about their affiliation with CIS. Also since this issue has come, I would like to clarify that for two of the communities, we had other selections, but they did not confirm due to unavailability during conference dates, so the next high scoring from their comunity was given the scholarship, but not depending on their affiliation. (If you want to know about the persons who did not confirm/deny their participation after the selection decision was made, I happy to discuss those details with you over email because I am not sure if they will be happy to be put their names here in this context).
  5. Clarified from the above response.
I hope I've answered your questions. Please let me know if you have any queries. KCVelaga (talk) 07:14, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for swift reply @KCVelaga:
  1. You have not answered the query on why no recognition i given to us for being setting up India's first and only physical library for Wikimedians?
  2. Konkani Wikipedian listed in your participants list is from Goa and does not belong to KWUG. He has never visited us and does not take part in any of our events as Goa is quite far away from Mangaluru where our activities are centered around.
  3. There is no representation for Tulu community in your list of participants. Why?
  4. On what basis Gopalakrishna was selected to represent Kannada community? He is CIS employee and does not represent Kannada community.
  5. We conducted a seminar and book exhibition at our college on account of National Library Day. This was done under my leadership as I am the Principal of the college. No recognition is given to this achievement.--Kishorekumarrai (talk) 13:31, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
@Kishorekumarrai: Sorry for the delay in replying. I was traveling and somehow missed the message.
  1. I believe the "recognition" is not the right word in this conversation. It is because the event or TWL itself doesn't act as a body that recognizes something. If you have questions about the selection of a particular person, the same may be discussed over email with correspondence to the responses given in the Google form.
  2. I already clarified that selection is not made based on user groups or affiliate-wise but based on individual communities.
  3. As mentioned in the above response we have some relatively major communities since we don't have a fat budget, it is not possible to include all the communities. For example, there other few language communities or user groups which don't have representation from.
  4. I recommend you to go through my response above, no person was given extra weight based on their affiliation. Selections were made irrespective of one's affiliation, be it UG, Chapter or CIS.
  5. Again, "Recognition" is not the word to be used. Please refer point 1.
KCVelaga (talk) 11:14, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

Unprofessional planning[edit]

This whole program seems organised in highly unprofessional way to me. The very first announcement in the mailing list did not had any details. People have questioned this. There was mistake about the last date. Different dates were given in the event page and in the mailing list. First email of the thread is available here (read replies also).

The event page still does not have the program details implying that the details are still worked on whereas the grant request page has a link to a Google doc which has the program details. Here is the link to that doc. It is not clear to me why the details could not be put up on the event page at the time of calling for applications itself when you had already worked out the details as per the Google doc linked to your grant request.

Biased selection of participants
It is written in the grant request page as How will you select the participants? We will identify potential editors based on the following criteria, and discuss them with respective communities/user groups before finally making a decision. The criteria for selection is: 1.) Previous contributions to TWL 2.) Strong content contributions on Wikipedia, and a sound understanding of the importance of references and their gaps in their language. 3.) Previous work in the area of library partnerships

But this has not been followed at all. No discussion was held in Kannada community to identify the Kannada person. We have a vibrant user group called Karavali Wikimedians User Group. As already mentioned above by Kishore Kumar Rai, this User Group has setup probably the first and only physical library meant for Wikipedians/Wikimedians. No consultation was done with this user group. The User:Info-farmer selected as Kannada Wikipedian has just one edit in Kannada Wikipedia. How he was selected as Kannada Wikipedian? No consultation was done with Kannada community to select User:Gopala_Krishna_A as Kannada representative. More over he is CIS employee and not representing Kannada community.

Doubt about travel sponsorship
In the grant request page, under budget section, the amount of ₹100,000 has been shown as Travel For sixteen participants (including flight/bus/rail fare and local cab travel). There is a request in the CIS-A2K request page, requesting for an amount of ₹68,000 for to provide travel support for 7-8 participants. If the number of total participants is 16, the travel cost is being already requested from WMF, why again requesting for another 7-8 participants? Who are they?

Expecting answers--Pavanaja (talk) 16:53, 19 December 2018 (UTC)

@Pavanaja: Thanks for the message. Here are my replies:
  • Yes there was a discrepancy between the closing dates of applications on the Meta-Wiki page and the email message. I've already admitted and apologized for the same on the mailing list (link)
  • The link from the grants page links to the first draft of the program. We got several suggestions for restructuring the program (please previous sections). So to accommodate these suggestions into the schedule, we are considering several options. Also, we have participants who want to present their work, so the program is subject to change. Since we are also inviting some external experts, we also need time to allow them to share their insights. Considering all these, the program may take some time before the final version is published on Meta-Wiki. That doesn't mean that we are not working.
  • The selection is based on an individual's response to the application for participation. I've already mentioned that if you would like to discuss the application of a particular user and their answers, the same can be discussed over email.
  • Regarding participation from KWUG, I already clarified in the earlier section that we have limited participation owing to limited budget. So it is apparent that we missed representation from some communities. There are other groups/communities which I can think of, say Assamese, Sanskrit, etc. who are not able to take part in the event. This is purely due to the small budget, but not bias in any way. Also this is a kind of pilot project before engaging in a larger plan (already mentioned).
  • I made a mistake while adding User:Info-farmer's name to the list. While editing, I just copied the above row from the list and pasted it, during which I forgot the change the language. Thanks for the pointing it out. It has been fixed.
  • If you go through the grant page budget table, it can be seen that "₹210,000" is the total budget, of which "₹142,000" was requested from WMF (cap for a rapid grant), so that leaved "₹68,000" which again has been mentioned that page itself. The same latter amount og "₹68,000" was requested on CIS-A2K's request page to keep it clear.
KCVelaga (talk) 18:35, 19 December 2018 (UTC)


In the grant request you had mentioned that "We will identify potential editors based on the following criteria, and discuss them with respective communities/user groups before finally making a decision". I have not seen you discussing with Kannada community before finalising the Kannada representative. You said you have limited participation and can't think of Assamese, Sanskrit, etc. Then how come you have two participants each from Bengali, Tamil and Punjabi? You could have restricted to one per language and accommodated more language representatives.--Pavanaja (talk) 03:11, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
@Pavanaja: Thanks for pointing this out. This was something we deliberately bypassed to fit with the schedule and also budgetary constraints. The original proposal was made in early September, but WMF funding decision only came in through mid-November. It is also a priority that this event to happen before the upcoming #1lib1ref campaign starting 15 Jan 2019. Since the second week of Jan is filled with Hindi WP Conference, the first of week of Jan 2019 has been chosen for this conference. So since we only had a month and a half, we had to make several last-minute adjustments to plan, one of which is the mentioned step. However, to compensate this, we tried adding more relevant questions to the application form (to better assess the participants) and also actively engaging them in the pre-event work. I understand the confusion created, but to fit the schedule and budget, I did make some changes. I am sorry for that, and hopefully, it'll be much better next time. We will share the learning from this project. Thanks for the comments, KCVelaga (talk) 07:21, 20 December 2018 (UTC)

Holiday[edit]

It would be better if they directly allocate all the money for a holiday vacation and why 5th & 6th Jan do it on 31st Dec only. If they want to have a vacation do it clearly why this non sense in the name of the conference. Shameful that someone opened an entire library and is being ignored and scholarships are given repeatedly to selective people. This is sad! Nrgullapalli (talk) 10:48, 21 December 2018 (UTC)

Hello Nrgullapalli. I'm sorry you're sad but are there specific questions you have about this conference, not addressed by Krishna on the threads above, rather than attacks on the conference and its organisers? --AVasanth (WMF) (talk) 12:52, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
Nrgullapalli I am very sorry to hear about your disappointment . I however want to point out that sadness is not a good reason to devalue the work of others. Please refrain from more such uncivil accusations. Thank you. KCVelaga (talk) 13:52, 21 December 2018 (UTC)