Indian Wikipedians meet in Bangalore
Almost every internet user, has a run in with Wikipedia, at least once on a regular surfing day; almost all of us can plead guilty for turning to “wikipedia for life’s answers”; and almost all of us, will have to admit that without a tool like Wikipedia, it would be difficult to really trust reference sources on the. Wikipedians are the sentinels of this gateway to information, and have begun to meet all over the world and now in Bangalore to go into the every little detail of Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is the online multilingual encyclopedia project which is written collaboratively by volunteers known as Wikipedians from around the world. Launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, it is known as the largest and most popular general reference platform available on the Internet.
As Wikipedia grows with this unconventional model of encyclopedia building, "Who writes Wikipedia?" has become one of the most frequently asked questions about the project. Jimmy Wales once argued that only "a community of a dedicated group of a few hundred volunteers" makes the bulk of contributions to Wikipedia. Wales performed a study finding that over 50% of all the edits are done by just 0.7% of the users. . One thing that’s impossible to deny is Wikipedia’s sheer scope and global appeal. There are over 1 crore registered users on the English site alone as of July 2009. The slogan of Wikipedia is "The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.”, means even any anonymous person can edit it freely without even registering with the website.
Wikipedians who are known as User:Username are “serious” and regular contributors to Wikipedia who register with the site and do the editing of the articles. WikiMeetups are face-to-face meetings of Wikipedians that takes place in places around the world. The first meetup in India was in Bangalore in 2006, with the participation of legendary Jimmy Wales himself. Wikipedians in Bangalore decided to have a meetup on July 5th 2009.
The Wikipedians, who knew of each other through Wikipedia over the years, were meeting in real time the first time and the enthusiasm and excitement was apparent and. There were people who have been Wikipedians for close to 5 years like User:Arunram and User:Gurubrahma and some “newbies” who had registered as a Wikipedian only a few days prior to the meet.
These wikipedians came from diverse age groups and backgrounds– some as young as 12 graders, few others were IT professionals (User:Naveenpf, User:Tinucherian ) and there was a 71 year old Wikipedian, a retired bureaucrat from government service like User:Nvvchar . Each Wikipedian brought his own personal passion and expertise into the foray of the meet. Some have a passion for creating DYKs – Did you knows articles Nvvchar and Ravichandar84 ; Indianmagicians writes on magic ,Tinucherian who is a ‘Bot Approal Group’(BAG) member on English Wikipedia a maintains two bots running on Wikipedia ; Naveenpf creates and writes articles on Indian roads and Highways, Saneef, an NID student and is an avid photographer, and PlaneMad, another NID student, who creates maps on Wikipedia. There were others who were administrators on Wikipedia like Gurubrahma and Shijualex (ml wiki). Passionate Wikipedians like The Silent Contributor came all the way from Chennai for the meet.
The meeting was kicked off with a round of personal introductions to break the ice, after which conversations flowed and the meet progressed into a three hour Wikipedia jamboree. Interesting discussions took place related to Wikipedia experiences. Everyone stressed on the need for greater promotion of Wikipedia in Indian languages.
Arunram, a senior IT professional in an MNC, proposed the need of Wikipedia advocacy and to conduct trainings and workshops across Karnataka cities to bring more Wikipedians into the fold. When some people complained of the lack of proper coverage of Indian personalities on Wikipedia, one observed that many at times it was the death of a personality that triggered the article creation.
Rsrikanth05 and SBC-YPR explained their recent efforts in raising “Transport in India” to Good Article status. Some raised the possibility of getting the huge resource of images with Public Relations Department to be released to public domain. User:Nvvchar even citied his experiences in regional bureaucrats at the state level on lack of awareness of Wikipedia .
Some people emphasized the need of starting Wikimedia Indian Chapter and to bring Wikimania to India. Wikimedia chapters are independent organizations founded to support and promote the Wikimedia projects within a country or a city.
It was also proposed to have more frequent meetups of Bangalore Wikipedians, possibly once in every month. The Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore has agreed to help in hosting such events in future.