Wikipedia meetup Mumbai 2010

Posted: November 10, 2010 in Activism, Citizen Journalism, computing, FOSS, Internet, Software, Systems/Network Administration, Technology

The Wikimedia Mumbai meet up 2010 happened at the Sophia College,Breach Candy,Mumbai.on Sunday (31/10/2010) and this is a first person narrative as a citizen journalist of the event.

I was exited to hear about the Wikipedia Mumbai Meet up at the Sophia College when I initially read a post about the event in the ILUG Bombay list a few days back.

I was even more exited when I heard that Jimmy Donal “Jimbo” Wales himself would be attending the event and would give a talk after brief interaction with the community.

I wanted to always contribute to the Wikipedia in one way or the other, but life always used to over take me. This time though, I decided that I would attend this event well in advance, and planned accordingly, and decided to use this event as a starting point to contribute to the Wikipedia community, a contribution that was long overdue from my side, as I have always consumed from Wikipedia and never given back.

I attended my church in the morning and reached home at Lower Parel around 2.00 PM and decided to take a nap. I was woken up at around 5.30 PM by my wife for evening tea. A look at the watch and I was a bit disappointed, I felt I would be very late for the meet up which was scheduled to start at 6.00 PM with a community interaction section followed by Jimmy’s talk.

I dressed up rather quickly and got a taxi from Lower Parel and reached the Venue at around 6.15 PM expecting to be late for the community meet up session.

On reaching the venue, I was greeted by Ashwin Baindur who requested me to enter my name and contact details so that the organizers could keep in touch me in the future.

On entering the Sophia Babha hall, I saw a fairly large crowd of around 250-300 people which is fairly large for a Wikipedia meet up. Many had simply come to hear Jimmy Wales who was supposed to give a talk titled “Meet the Movement”.

I slowly moved to the front rows, expecting to catch at least one if not some familiar faces. I met Alpesh Gajbe and a few faces from my HBCE,TIFR days, and exchanged a few pleasantries and decide to settle down some where in the third row, so that I could take some photos of Jimmy and the Crowd.

Jimmy started the talk a bit later than schedule, i.e, around 7.00 PM or so, and introduced the Wikipedia and the it’s model to the audience.

Jmmy divided his talk into 2 sections, the first part focused on on what Wikipedia was all about, and the second part would be based on how he envisioned Wikipedia for India.

He stated that the Wikipedia was based on ‘The Dream of Free Knowledge for all’ .

He asked the audience to imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge, and he stated that is exactly what the Wikipedia community is doing.

According to Jimmy Wales , some interesting facts about the Wikipedia is as follows,

1) The Wikipedia is the Largest, Free Online Encyclopedia entirely created by the Wikipedia community volunteers.

2) The Wikipedia currently boasts of 16 million articles.

3) The Wikipedia is now now available in 270 different languages.

4) The Wikipedia has 402 Million Unique Visitors.

5) 87% of Wikipedia contributors are male with the average age of 26.

Jimmy also stated that all information on the Wikipedia should be taken with a pinch of salt, when it come to the authenticity of the articles. According to him, the whole Wikipedia can be considered as a community of intelligent, amateur encyclopaedists who contribute as a passion out of their free time.

Jimmy then moved into the second part of this talk, which was about the role of the Wikimedia Foundation Office which was to be setup in India (the city where the office will be based is yet undecided) in catalyzing the growth of the Wikipedia community in India.

He began the second part of this talk by stating that there were 402,000,000 people who read Wikipedia every month in 250 different languages word wide.

He stated that Wikipedia is close to achieving his vision in the Global North, and that Global South which also includes India would the next great challenge.

According to him, in the global north, the Wikipedia Penetration was more than 30 % with Canada, Germany, UK and France belonging to the top bracket.

The second bracket with around 16-30% includes Australia, United States, Russia and some South East Asian Countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The third bracket includes the countries with up to a maximum penetration of 15% includes Brazil, India, China, the Middle East and the whole of Africa.

He then presented the Wikipedia statistics as he sees it in India, which is as follows,

1) India has 81 Million Internet Users.

2) India has a 4.7% share of Global Internet Users.

3) India has 191 Million Page Views.

4) India’s has a 1.5 % Page views in a day.

5) Indians perform around 91,000 edits in a month on Wikipedia.

6) India’s Share of Wikipedia page edits in July 2010 was 1.3% of the total edits on the Wikipedia.

The language wise breakup of Wikipedia articles contributed in Indian Languages is as follows,

Hindi – 57,823 Articles
Telegu – 45,963 Articles
Marathi – 31,400 Articles.
Tamil – 25,623 Articles.
Gujarati – 17,142 Articles.
Malayalam – 14,830 Articles.

Jimmy also noted that in the percentage of edits coming from India, the percentage of edits on the English Wikipedia was reducing and the number of contributions to the local Indian Languages was increasing, which according to him was a healthy sign, which indicated that more localized content is being created by Indian users on the Wikipedia these days.

Some of the goals of the Wikimedia Foundation in India which aims to build stong and healthy India-based projects is as follows ,

1) Top 10 Indian languages have mature Wikipedia (more than 10,000 substantial articles ) and Wiktionary available enabling potential reach to 80% of Indian population.

2) 100 Million unique visitors monthly to Wikimedia projects.

3) 75% of schools in India have access to a Wikipedia and Wiktionary either via the Internet or offline.

4) Top ten projects sustain positive monthly growth in active editors

Jimmy also put forward the Seven(Plus one) Wikimedia Foundation ideas which are as follows.

1) Contributor outreach and training: Create resources and campaigns to increase the knowledge about how Wikimedia works and help attract and retain editors

2) University clubs: Support students and faculty to create contributor clubs on university campuses across the country

3) Schools: Work with the education system to integrate Wikipedia as a reference resource for schools; offline Wikipedias where needed

4) Knowledge sharing: Support regular meetups across the country and periodic Wikimedia India conferences.

5) Technology support: Work with the community and developers on solutions to technical barriers faced by projects

6) Mobile products: Work with the community and the Indian mobile sector to create compelling mobile products for Wikimedia projects.

7) National article writing contests: Support volunteers to run regular contests to write quality articles for any language project.

+1 Fund and/or provide logistical support for community initiatives that are aligned with the mission and India goals

According to Jimmy the WMF’s (WikiMedia Foundation’s) Principles for working with the community in India will be as follows.

1) WMF’s goal is to help grow the Wikimedia community and projects in India; all our actions should align with this goal.

2) WMF is here to support the community: Wherever possible, the community should lead and the WMF team should support.

3) WMF seeks to facilitate growth across the country and a range of languages, not any single area.

5) WMF’s direct investment in staff and an office in India is temporary in nature; as the community and chapter build capacity, WMF will adjust our capacity.

6) WMF will be open and transparent with the community; we’ll communicate openly about our investments, progress and results.

7) Regardless of the location of the WMF office, the activities of the team will serve national goals and our team will not differentially support one locale over others.

8 ) All actions of the WMF will be evaluated for their impact on our goal. Successful initiatives will be expanded. Failed initiatives will be terminated.

He concluded his speech by quoting Daniel Pin from the article “The Book Stops here” which appeared in the Wired Magazine dated 13/03/2005 which is as follows,

β€œWikipedia represents a belief in the supremacy of reason and the goodness of others.”

Once his speech was over, there was a question answer session, during which Jimmy Wales, Bishaka Dutta, Arun Ram and Hari Prasad Nadig answered questions raised by the audience.

Once the question answer session was over, Jimmy was very keen to interact with us, the actual contributors to the Wikipedia, but the main stream corporate media which latter provided a very shoddy coverage of the whole event, almost locked Jimmy Wales in a room and interviewed him.

Bishaka Datta and the other organizers had a hard time getting Jimmy out in time, so that he could have a dinner with the Wikipedia community and over which he could obtain feed backs from our side on the actual ground realities faced by the Wikipedia India Community.

We decided to go to Hotel Khyber at Kala Ghoda, where a few members of the Wikipedia India community shared our concerns with Jimmy, and he in turn was very keen to listen to us and offer us suggestions on how we could contribute better.

Ashwin, Kundan, Karthik Mistry, Bishaka, Hari Prasad Nadig, Arun Ram, Pradeep and myself had a nice evening with Jimmy after which he retired to his room at Hotel Taj for the evening.

My photos of the event can be viewed at:

  1. Bishakha Datta says:

    Your post made me smile, specially the personal narrative about giving to and taking from Wikipedia. Glad you were there! And hope to see you at other meet-ups too.

  2. vivekvc says:

    Dear Bishakha,

    First of all, Thanks for taking time to read my blog πŸ™‚

    I am pleased that I could bring a smile to your face with my article. The article was long over due from my side, and is a passionate rendering and a first person narrative of a wannabe citizen journalist of what I observed that day. This is the style of journalism that I want to pursue for all events that I plan to attend and also very campaign/intervention that I might get involved from time to time.

    I plan to do contributions to the English Wikipedia for a start, and then slowly start contributing to the Malayalam Wikipedia. I am currently in the process of learning how to input text in Malayalam using the keyboard.

  3. gnowgi says:

    Thanks for a very good summary.

  4. Nice coverage, Vivek. I am a Wikipedian from Bangalore… Nice to see meetups in Mumbai as in Bangalore… All the best !

    • vivekvc says:

      Dear Cherian Tinu Abraham,

      Thanks for your compliments.

      Yes, the next step is to create a Wikipedia User Group in Mumbai much like the ILUG Bom, where existing contributors can meet each other, share ideas, learn some thing new from each other etc. These meetings can also act as starting points for potential contributors to interact with more active contributors leading to an Open and Free Knowledge sharing much like the Wikipedia itself.

      btw, a lot of people at the Wikipedia Mumbai meetup was asking me if I was related in any way to you πŸ™‚

      The ‘Cherian’ in our names seems to have confused folks enough πŸ˜‰

  5. Haha.. You know tht Cherian is a common name from Kerala. πŸ™‚

    Btw there is a WMF mailing alias for Wikipedians in Mumbai.
    Do unsubscribe to that , if interested.

  6. vivekvc says:

    True, it is a common Christian name of Kerala.

    I am already subscribed to that list. Thanks for the reference.

    Btw, you wanted me to subscribe to the list right ? πŸ˜‰

  7. Mahitgar says:

    Thanks for nice coverage.


    Mahitgar from Marathi Wikipedia

  8. vivekvc says:

    Hi Mahitgar,

    Thanks once again.

    Keep up the good work you have been doing on the Marathi Wikipedia.

    Btw, are you the same person who was there during the dinner with Jimmy after his talk ?

  9. Excellent summary πŸ™‚
    and glad to meet you at the venue too.

  10. Jitendra says:

    I also want 2 wikipedian,and i m electronics engineer,plz replay

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s