Tag Archives: wikipedia

Growing Wikipedia in India – How a community is being built

The Wikipedia is fast getting more visibility in India, and not only contributions from India to the Wikipedia increasing, but also Indian Language Wikipedias are seeing rapid growth. All of this is possible because of a grassroots community that is developing across various cities in India, and with the help of an official chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation (the not-for-profit foundation that runs the Wikipedia).

Tory Read spent a few months traveling all over India to understand what is happening with the Wikipedia community in India and has written a short e-book based on his experiences that is worth reading.

Pune is one of important the cities in this community, not just because it has a very active Wikipedia community (WikiPuneri), but also because it has been picked as the first city where the Wikipedia Campus Ambassador program has been implemented.

Here are some Pune-related excerpts from the book:

“Wikipedia saved my life”

That’s what Srikeit Tadepalli, an MBA student in Pune, India, told me one day in June. He’d been a below-average student with few college options, but a prestigious school saw his Wikipedia achievements and admitted him to its communications program in spite of his test scores. Now, he’s thriving.

and also:

“At first, I contributed just to get the t-shirt, but then I started to like it,” said Shravani Joshi, a 13-year-old girl in Pune who is adding new material to the Harry Potter article. “It’s cool. Whatever I write is getting seen by the entire world.”

Later, the book spends a couple of pages talking about the Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors Program. Excerpt:

There is no mistaking that the [Campus Ambassador] training introduced a new vibe to Wikipedia activities in Pune. It feels youthful, energetic and hip, intentionally designed to sell the Wikipedia enterprise effectively to urban college students who are actively participating in 21st century global culture. This new version of the Wikipedia brand will take some getting used to for the established vanguard in the area, which has a more traditional way of doing business.

It even covers the flamewars that broke out due to differences between Wikipedia volunteers in Pune/Mumbai who wanted to organize a Wikipedia Conference in Mumbai and the “official” chapter of Wikimedia Foundation:

The second week I was in India, conflict between the chapter and the broader community erupted again on the email list. A few months earlier, volunteers from Mumbai and Pune had hatched a plan to host a national conference in Mumbai in November 2011, and they’d requested that the chapter support their efforts.

It took some weeks for the chapter to reply, and when it did, it wasn’t with a “yes” or a “no.” Instead, it proposed a framework to establish a set of procedures and guidelines for planning national conferences, including a national competition to determine which city should host it.

In the interim, the ad hoc volunteers in Mumbai and Pune had done extensive research on venues and costs, and they had invited Jimmy Wales to attend the event. They had energy, vision and momentum, and they were taken aback by the chapter’s response. Tempers flared, and behind-the-scenes conversations commenced-dozens of community members spent hours on phone calls, Internet chats and email.

There are many more interesting stories in the book. Anybody interested in Wikipedia, or internet communities should take a look.

Check out the whole document

WikiPuneri Meetup – Lots of visitors from out of town – 4 June

There’s a Wikipedia meeting in Pune tomorrow (4th June, at 6pm, at SICSR, Model Colony), and anyone interested in becoming either a campus ambassador or generally contributing to Wikipedia (specially things like adding/editing pages about India or Pune, contributing to Marathi or Hindi Wikipedia, etc) should attend. A lot of visitors from other places in India, and abroad are visiting, so this is a unique opportunity to meet and ask questions to people who are prominent in the Wikipedia movement.

This meeting is free for anybody to attend, but registration is necessary. Send your confirmation to: ashwin.baindur@gmail.com with subject: Attending Pune meetup.

More details:

Ashwin Baindur writes:

Hello friends,

There is a lot happening in Pune next week. We have a lot of visitors in town who would especially like to interact with the Pune Community. Our help and cooperation has been sought for the Campus Ambassador training event next weekend. Our MEETUP DATE IS NOW CHANGED FROM 11 JUN TO 04 JUN 2011 (Saturday) at 1800 hours at SICSR, Atur Centre, Model Colony. Room No 704. 7th floor. Hisham Mundol, National Program Coordinator, who is leading the Campus Ambassador programme, will be in Pune for a week for masterminding the event. Bishakha Datta, Trustee, will be gracing the event on Saturday. Tinu Cherian, the quintessential Indian outreach activist, will also be coming for and participating in the meet – a rare treat for us. I spoke to Arjuna Rao Chawala and he has promised to confirm attendance by an Indian Chapter representative soon.

We have a number of people visiting us from abroad. Frank Schulenburg, Head of Public Outreach and Annie Lin, who leads the Ambassador Program are visiting Pune for the Campus Ambassador training event on 04-05 Jun 2011. We also have P.J. Tabit coming down to India between June 1st and August 21st to support the launch of the Wikipedia India Education Program. PJ is a Campus Ambassador in the US and is on the Ambassador Steering Committee for Wikipedia. We, the Pune community, welcome Frank, Annie & PJ to Pune and hope they have a wonderful stay. We also welcome any members of the Wikimedian community in India from outside Pune who are going to be with us for this event. Do let us know if we can help you in any way.

Broadly speaking, the campus ambassadors will be trained on 4th and 5th Jun by the outreach team comprising lndian and foreign Wikipedians. In the evening on Saturday, the campus ambassadors and the outreach team will be present for our meetup. After the meetup, the Outreach Team has invited the Pune Wikipedia community for a SOCIAL EVENING WITH DINNER. Venue for social evening will be indicated at the meetup.

Coming to another issue, the Campus Ambassadors themselves.

The first batch of Campus Ambassadors has been selected. To those selected, we say – heartiest congratulations, you will shortly be learning to edit and to evangelise Wikipedia. It is a most challenging task and we assure you of the community’s support. We invite you to be part of our community and we promise to help you, guide you and partner you in this extraordinary journey you will undertake. We also know that some other aspirants have not been selected this time round. In most cases, this is due to their lack of Wikipedia skills. To all of them we say – there will be another round of selection coming up in a few months, so have a great heart and wait. The fact that all of you stood tall and came forth means you already belong to the select batch of people who are doers and achievers. We, the Pune community, invite you to join us for this meetup and become part of us. We will help you get the skills to make you ready for the next round of selections.

Many of you all who are interested in becoming Wikipedians are requested to join all of the above :

Also please join the following groups on Facebook:

IMPORTANT: All those attending the meetup from Pune (excepting those selected for the Campus Ambassador program or those organising the event or visiting from outside Pune) need to confirm attendance so that we can plan accordingly. Send your confirmation to : ashwin.baindur@gmail.com with subject: Attending Pune meetup. Those not attending need not respond. So till then, Au revoir & Namaste, Khuda Hafez and Sat Sri Akal,

Jai Hind
Ashwin Baindur

Pune Students – Become a Wikipedia Campus Ambassador

Wikipedia wants lots of Indian students to be involved in contributing to the Wikipedia, and with this in mind they are starting an ambitious program in India. And this will start with a large-scale, high-impact pilot in Pune.

The basic idea is to recruit “Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors” in Pune, who will find, recruit and train students to be Wikipedia editors, and organize campus events around Wikipedia activities.

This is planned across all colleges and universities in the Pune municipal area. It is not focused on any one academic subject area – but cover as wide a range of subjects as possible. Those in India but outside Pune can register their interest in applying, and are welcome to attend training sessions that the Wikimedia Foundation will conduct in Pune (details of which will be provided to successful applicants.)

This is your chance to change the world, and at the same time significantly improve your resume.

Details are as follows.

About Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors

This will be unpaid, volunteer work. You will need to work approximately 3 to 5 hours per week, through the semester. You can be an undergraduate/graduate/post-graduate student, faculty/staff member, or anyone geographically close to the college/university – the main qualification is that you must enjoy teaching people and spreading your passion for free knowledge.

Last year, there were Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors in Harvard University, Georgetown University, Indiana University, UC Berkeley, and many other schools in the United States. Now, for the first time, they are expanding outside the USA, and Pune has been chosen as a test for this program.

Typical Activities for a Wikipedia Campus Ambassador

Before the term starts: Help identify and recruit instructors on your campus who would be interested in incorporating Wikipedia-editing into their classes.

Before and during the term start:

  • Work with interested instructors on your campus in adapting existing teaching methods to include Wikipedia-editing.
  • Provide face-to-face training and support for the participating instructors’ students on Wikipedia-related skills. This means doing in-class presentations, possibly holding office hours, and in general providing in-person mentorship for students. Prior Wikipedia expertise is not required for the role, as the Wikimedia Foundation will provide training for all Campus Ambassadors – but would be useful
  • Organize engaging on-campus events to encourage editing (and continued editing) of Wikipedia
  • Think of creative ways for promoting Wikipedia in your region
  • Help recruit new Wikipedia contributors on campus, possibly through the creation of a Wikipedia student club
  • Set up a Wikipedia help desk on your campus
  • Be a point of contact for new contributors and channel the feedback to the Wikimedia Foundation and its chapters
  • Recruit and train new Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors

What do Wikipedia Ambassadors get?

  • Increase your knowledge about Wikipedia, free knowledge, and collaborative writing
  • Learn and develop communication, teaching, and leadership skills
  • Create a name for yourself and network with a great team of people within one of the most significant online communities ever
  • Work closely with college/university teachers/professors
  • Receive Wikipedia swag (merchandise: maybe T-shirts, maybe mugs) to give out at events.
  • Receive funding for running events for food, soft drinks, etc.
  • Potentially receive sponsorship to other Wikimedia events, such as Wikimania

Requirements – Who can apply?

You must have:

  • Passion for Wikimedia’s values and mission
  • Patience with people who have varying levels of computer literacy
  • Knowledge about how to edit Wikipedia or the willingness to acquire this knowledge
  • Understanding of how teachers/professors design teaching programs, or the willingness to gain this understanding
  • Ability to transform complex technical information into actionable steps for beginners
  • Ability to give positive, encouraging and clearly targeted feedback to the people you interact with
  • Ability to motivate and excite others
  • Genuine interest in teaching people and organizing events
  • Convenient transportation access to the university campus
  • Willingness to be a public figure (for example, to make known the connection between your real name, your Wikipedia username, and your face. Your role is providing face-to-face guidance to professors and students, so comfort with being “public” is very important)

How to Apply

Interested? Please complete the application and email it to

  • ambassadors-ind [at] wikimedia [dot] org – Campus Ambassador Program India

For any questions, email Annie Lin, the Campus Team Coordinator, at alin [at] wikimedia [dot] org.

More details

See the Wikipedia Campus Ambassador webpage for full details.

Please spread the word

If you know enthusiastic, passionate students who want to do something more interesting with their life than just working in an outsourcing company, please forward this to them. Or maybe you know professionals who’re so interested in education that they spend significant time every week in a University – they would make good ambassadors too.

We owe it to the students of Pune, and to ourselves to make this program a resounding success.

Wikipedia 10th Anniversary Celebrations in Pune – 3 Events

15th January 2011 is the 10th Anniversary of the launch of Wikipedia. To celebrate, the wikipedians in the city have organized three events: two events this weekend, and then the “main” event on 15th January. The events are as follows:

Marathi Wikipedia meetup

8th January, 1830 – 2000 hrs, SICSR,
Atur Centre, Model Colony. Room No 704. 7th floor
Basic idea is to discuss contributions to the Marathi Wikipedia. Mandar Kulkarni is coordinating.

Pune photothon – Pune loves Wikimedia Commons

09 Jan 2011, 9 AM at Shaniwar Wada gate.
All interested photographers meet there.
The basic idea is to take photographs which will be uploaded to Wikipedia (technically, they will be uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons.) Sudhanwa Jogalekar is coordinating.

Wikipedia 10th Anniversary Celebrations Main Event

This event will on 15 Jan, 6:30pm, in room 707, 7th Floor, SICSR, Model Colony.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Presentation on Wikipedia (ten minutes)
  • Short talk on Marathi Wikipedia (ten minutes).
  • Short talk on 7th Ornithology Course’s contribution to Wikipedia with Uploading of the three improved articles on Indian Birds (ten minutes).
  • Talk on contribution to Wikimedia Commons with symbolic upload of two photographs, one each of two TFs – Wikimedia Commons loves Pune, and
    Hill-forts of Maharashtra (ten minutes).
  • Talk on contribution made by TEDxPUNE’s event for college students on 15 Jan 2011 (ten minutes).
  • Hallmark address by Mr Barry Newstead from Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Vote of thanks.
  • Refreshments.

All the above events are free for all to attend. No registration is required.