Hi All (cross-posting to make sure I reach as much of India as possible),
As you're aware, we had invited applications for Campus Ambassadors for the upcoming
Pune Pilot of the India Campus Program.
The response has been fantastic: we've received ~500 applications/enquiries from
across India, ~70 of which were from Pune. This has been really heartening - indicating
the desire of many to support the Wikimedia movement. It's also been overwhelming
because we need to process all the applications, respond to applicants, etc.!
I think, most critically, it also presents an amazing opportunity for us to introduce new
people to Wikimedia projects (especially Wikipedia) - and invite them to join the
community. I've interviewed quite a few and there is a recurring theme I hear from
many of them. It goes something like, "I've been using Wikipedia for years and
years, and I love it. I want to contribute back to it - but I wasn't sure how. Then
I saw the banner and decided this was a great way to help." The overwhelming common
trait I have noticed in the applicants is that they are bright, well-intentioned and eager
Here are some thoughts I had, and I'd love to hear your suggestions/comments on
We should respond to every single applicant, and even to those who didn't actually
apply but sent emails enquiries (such as "When is the program coming to my
city?", etc.) No one should be left behind.
We will prioritise (in terms of sequence of events) the Pune Campus Ambassadors. We need
to have a reasonable number available for a training session that we need to conduct
before the start of the program. Of the 70 who applied from Pune, we should hopefully get
20-30 Campus Ambassadors.
The important suggestion I had for everyone else (in Pune and beyond) is that we do not
"reject" anyone. While some might not become Campus Ambassadors because we
don't plan to run the program in their towns/cities right now, or some in Pune might
not currently have the desired experience (in teaching and people management), there is no
reason that they can't participate in some other roles. Therefore, I don't think
we should send any "reject letters" to anyone. No one should be left behind.
Instead, we should send them options on how they can participate/learn more about
participating. For example:-
i) they could form student clubs in their respective educational establishments
ii) they could form Wikipedia clubs in their workplaces/social groups (as a number of
applicants are working professionals, and no longer on campus)
iii) they could become individual editors
For us to try and help realise their potential, here are some thoughts I had:-
i) Invite all the applicants/enquirers to attend the next community meet-ups. This was
a suggestion shared by the Pune community. This would give them a chance to interact with
the community and understand more about the movement/projects.
ii) Additionally, those who have not been selected as Campus Ambassadors can be reassured
by telling them that they can join an "incubation" program. This was a
suggestion shared by the Pune community. This would involve them attending meet-ups,
learning how to edit, starting to edit - and being supported and hand-held along the way
by existing community members. This would help them if they eventually wish to reapply as
Campus Ambassadors. Even if they choose not to, they could easily become individual
iii) Invite all applicants/enquirers in a town/city to attend a full-fledged Wiki
Academy. This was a suggestion shared by the Mumbai community. This is currently
envisaged as a full day session where they are given insights into the movement &
projects, taught how to edit, and actually edit articles.
iv) In towns/cities where a full-fledged Wiki Academy is not viable (e.g. if there
aren't enough numbers of either participants or volunteers/volunteer time to run a
Wiki Academy), then an alternative suggestion is to have a smaller group (3-5) of the
applicants /enquirers linked up with a community member who can conduct smaller, shorter
groups to explain how to edit and hand-hold them as they edit.
I'd really like to hear your views/comments/suggestions on the ideas listed here.
Also, do let me know which of you would like to volunteer either to help conduct Wiki
Academies (point (iii) above) or to manage smaller groups of potential newbies (point (iv)
above). Also, it'd be great if we could invite them to your next meet-ups at your
respective towns/cities (point (i) above).
Another aspect I'd like to get suggestions from you on is how to manage the process of
inviting them to these events. We could, for example, share the contacts of these
applicants with the respective communities could reach out and invite them.
Alternatively, if you wish this to be done for you, that also can be arranged (though it
will put some strain on already stretched resources.)
I look forward to hearing from you. (Please note that we have received applicants from
every corner of the country - so please don't assume that the applicants are only from
Pune or only from large cities or only interested in English Wikipedia. (They are
literally from everywhere, and no one should be left behind!)
Wikimedia Foundation India Programs
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