I wanted to share with you an update on the work that Shiju is doing on Indic languages as part of India Program. A guiding principle for the thinking and efforts of our team is that community building should be the most essential aspect of all the work that we do. In the context of small Indic communities, Shiju has been working to try and identify the various elements that need to come together to foster community building. This update is about the Community Building pilot that was run for the Assamese community. For context, community building means different things to different people and in fact there was a very interesting post that Shiju put out that articulated his thinking on this and, hence, our priorities.
The results of these efforts have been outstanding
number of editors on Assamese Wikipedia has increased to 31 in April 2012 (from 18 in December 2011 and just 10 in November 2011.)
number of Wikiprojects increased to 6 (from a situation where there were no reasonably active ones in December 2011- and including 5 Wikiprojects independently conceptualised and managed by the community)
average monthly edits on Assamese Wikipedia increased to about 5000 in April 2012 from around 3000 in November 2011
There are 5 key factors that are responsible for this remarkable growth
Strong communication. This started with Shiju building personal connections with Assamese editors and then encouraging them to communicate with each other on-wiki, online and in meet--ups and outreach sessions.
Initial push. Shiju visited Assam in January where he spent time in 2 towns with 7 of the most active community members, who also conducted 2 outreach sessions. This visit has proved to be really useful because it helped to energise the community and also helped to establish a personal relationship between Shiju and these editors (and also, amongst the editors themselves.)
Encouraging collaboration. Wikiprojects and outreach are really useful to galvanise a community and helped build personal equations. It's wonderful to see the increase in Wikiprojects and
Building capacity & confidence. In all the work that has been done for the Assamese community, the endeavour has been to build capacity. For instance, support was given to get basic outreach material including FAQs prepared and outreach sessions were guided by Shiju. It's inspiring to see the Assamese community now take things to a whole new level and plan out an ambitious 10th anniversary.
Healthy environment. This is the last - but probably the most essential point - and it is something I want to call out because it is what will help or severely hinder the abilities of individual communities realise their dreams and potential. The reason why the Assamese community is making such wonderful steps forward is because there is
a set of editors with the right level of initiative and motivation
a strong sense of co-operation and good spirit amongst the editors
an extremely welcoming approach to new editors
None of this would have been possible without the efforts of every single Assamese community members. In the early days when Shiju started off, he was interacting with Bishnu, Dipankar, Gitartha, Jyoti & Prabhakar - who helped organise the first meet-ups and outreach sessions. Thanks to their efforts, a list of thank-yous would now be 31 strong! Thank you and congratulations to all of you!
To the Assamese community, I wish you the very best for your 10th anniversary. There are exciting plans including your photo contest and your article contest and the meet-up and the outreach session. I know that you are doing most of the event largely independently (with Noopur providing media assistance for the 10th anniversary and an India Chapter grant supporting you.) This is the true signs of a community that is coming of age. There are tremendous opportunities in outreach to get new editors, initiatives like your article & photo contests to improve content and in proposed projects like offline to make transformational changes in the community.
With regard to the way forward for India Program, the pilot design page on meta has now been updated. The next steps are going to be to see how we can adapt or build on these experiences with other communities, and as we move to other communities, do them in a more scaleable manner.
To all community members - across languages across India - if you did want any help in any aspect of community building, please feel free to reach out to Shiju at shiju(a)wikimedia.org. Please also do add comments or ideas or suggestions you might have to the Community Building Pilot's talk page.
Forwarding to this list, since one of the fellowships relates to
And congratulations, Tanvir! Am very interested in seeing how this develops.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Siko Bouterse <sbouterse(a)wikimedia.org>
Date: Thu, May 17, 2012 at 9:02 PM
Subject: [Wikimedia Announcements] Announcing 2 Community Fellows
It is my great pleasure to introduce two new Community Fellows in the
Wikimedia Fellows Program: Tanvir Rahman and Steven Zhang.
Tanvir Rahman is a Wikimedian who serves the movement locally and
globally, both on- and off-wiki. Tanvir has been an active editor of
Bengali Wikipedia since 2009, he holds administrator rights on
multiple projects and he was elected a steward in 2011. He also
volunteers on the Small Wiki Monitoring Team, the Countervandalism
Network, as an OTRS agent, and is a translator for translatewiki.
Tanvir helped found Wikimedia Bangladesh and organizes local outreach
activities to raise awareness for Wikimedia and bring new editors to
In his fellowship project, Tanvir will be experimenting with on-wiki
strategies to encourage and grow the editing community on small
language versions of Wikipedia, with specific focus on the Bengali
Wikipedia. Smaller projects have different needs and challenges than
the large language communities and may require different approaches to
engage with editors. By focusing on a community like Bengali
Wikipedia, which has about 50 active editors per month and sees 10 new
editors per month, Tanvir hopes to learn more about the basic editing
infrastructure needed to encourage new editors in new or small-scale
Steven Zhang is a Wikipedian with a passion for resolving on-wiki
disputes and helping others do the same. He has been contributing to
the English Wikipedia since 2008 and has been particularly active in
dispute resolution forums, including the Wikipedia Mediation Cabal.
Steven is studying a Certificate IV in Mediation at Open Colleges, and
over the past year he has made it his mission as a volunteer to
recruit more editors to join dispute resolution efforts. In 2011, he
helped create the dispute resolution notice board, an entry point for
mediating disputes on the English Wikipedia. Steven has noted that
there aren’t enough active participants to resolve all of the disputes
that arise on Wikipedia each day, and he believes that dispute
resolution processes could be streamlined to make them more accessible
and efficient to all editors who need them.
For his fellowship project, Steven will be analyzing community
feedback and dispute resolution activity in order to build a deeper
understanding of what is effective and what needs improvement in the
current systems. He will also be developing a guide for new editors
who want to get involved in resolving on-wiki disputes.
Steven and Tanvir will be documenting their work on-wiki and on the
Foundation blog. You can learn more about their projects and how to
get involved by visiting:
Welcome, Tanvir and Steven!
Head of Community Fellowships
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
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I am extremely sorry that this report is long overdue but as I was busy
with my exams and other stuff, I literally did not get time to compile
this. This is related to the Wikipedia Stall I helped set up in Netaji
Subhash Engineering College, Kolkata. NSEC had their annual
techno-management fest, Avenir, 2012 from 16th - 18th March, around the
time I got back to Kolkata from Pune during my prep leave. As there was
already a WikiAcademy, in NSEC, I tried to procure a lab for an editothon,
however, Sucheta who awesomely spearheaded everything for me from her
college part informed me that labs were not available, however, a stall was.
I sent out to set up the stall for the three day fest. I contacted the
local community as well as the India Programs team as this was my first
ever Outreach that I organized. I sent a mail on both the India mailing
list as well as the West Bengal mailing list. Unfortunately, there was a
lack of volunteers as almost everyone was busy. On day 1, Sucheta
accompanied me at the stall for the whole day, however, on Day 2 even she
was busy with her own fest work.
Also Day 1 saw much better numbers that Day 2 and as I was not available on
Day 3, Day 3 was dropped completely. The pros and the cons are as follows:
1. There was serious lack of volunteers and hence at times I felt very
overburdened having to deal with over 10 people at one go.
2. Lack of banners/posters - Though this might not be a big issue but as
there was no large poster available. It was very difficult to inform people
about the stall. I tried my best with A4 documents I printed myself, but
the problem still remained because of the size.
3. Lack of numbers - Perhaps this might be my take, but am used to fests in
the Pune/Mumbai circuit and hence the numbers to me, seemed very less,
although I was informed this was the largest turnout, even more than last
year. Still on Day 1, about 30 people at most visited the stall. On Day 2,
the number was far less.
1. I was highly impressed with the amount in interest in Kolkata. The
students were not only highly interested, they had an array of curious
2. Certain students even waited for me to finish with others so that they
could get a deeper understanding of Wikipedia and even do some hands on.
3. Two students were so interested, they were coming back again and again
and I even helped them upload pics to their user profile.
4. One student, User:Sanu531 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Sanu531>1 first
tried a live edit uploaded his own pic and updated his user page himself.
In my opinion, if there is this level of interest, I think, a student club
of types could do wonders here. I did not create any page on WMIN as this
was only a stall, however, I did upload pics
2. Also as there was no flier/handout available for such I tried to make a
very rookie version in both Bengali and English back to back in one page,
Special thanks to Nitika Tandon for the Presentations which enabled me to
create the poster as well as the whole of India Teams for the support as
well as both the India and Bengali Community for the encouragement.
- Lets make this world a better and more informative place*