*The NIT-Trichy Pragyan Workshop report:*
Just got back from an awesome two days at NIT Trichy. This is only my second
evangelism/outreach event. I have been uncomfortable shedding my
semi-anonymity and showing up in public for a long time, but these two days
have taught me what i have been missing. The following report is written in
an anecdotal first person perspective and naturally feature me prominently
On day 1 we (Tinu and me) opened the Wikipedia stall at around 11.30 AM.
Srikanth joined us sometime later. We had been allotted a 12X10 Ft stall.
Students started trickling in soon after. The first day we made our pitch to
around 100 students or so. We also met four or five guest speakers /
panelists like Ajay Agarwal, CMD of Maxx group, Narendra Shenoy, director at
Unimold, Vice Admiral SKK Krishnan and Stefan Engeseth of Detective
Marketing. The response was overwhelmingly positive with students saying
that they will edit in the future. Most of the students we met claim they a)
know they can edit wikipedia and b) have made some minor edits. Some
admitted they didnt know they could edit and some believed they contribute
only to articles on academic subjects etc. We gave them the standard - give
back your knowledge to the world + participate in an exciting world wide
project pitch. Except one wikiskeptic who cribbed about the 16 million
dollar budget, rest were appreciative of Wikipedia and its work. We also
distributed a flier (attached as an odt file - commons doesnt support office
office documents) to the people visiting the stalls. The flier was designed
by me and Srikanth and. I believe it will work well for other indic wikis (
a small customisation effort is required to replace Tamil with the relevant
The day wound down and we were thinking about packing up around 6, when we
met the guy who made our day. We saw this bespectacled kid staring at us
curiously and pointing out our banner excitedly to the adult who accompanied
him. We beckoned him to come over and asked him patronisingly has he heard
of wikipedia. The kid says yes. Have you edited wikipedia, we ask. He says
yes for that too. We look at each other meaningfully and say.. "what did you
do? correct spelling mistakes?". "No", he replies seriously, "i correct
wrong facts". He is an eighth standard student from Coimbatore and has been
editing wikipedia for a couple of years now. It took some time to get over
our shock and get his user ID. He says he does not use it much and edits
logged out most of the time. He was also not aware of that a talk page
exists for each user id and people can communicate with him. We showed him
how talk pages can be used and asked him to edit logged-in in the future.
And thats the story of our run-in with [[en:User:Bvajresh]] and the
youngest (serious) Indian wikipedian, i have come across. Here's picture of
us with him (
was one more surprise on day 1. While we were having dinner at the hotel, a
father and son pair wandered up to our table and introduced themselves. They
had seen our T-shirts and said they liked wikipedia very much. (Brand
appeal!) We invited them to next day's workshop, but they were leaving
Trichy the very night and couldnt accept the offer.
Day 1 had definitely ended on a high.
Day 2 began at 10 with the workshop/presentation in the NIT computer lab. It
had a seating capacity of around 100 and was filled up completely. Apart
from NIT students who had registered and were selected to attend the session
(yes they had more people registering than there were seats!), there were
also students from other colleges around Trichy who showed up for the
session. Three middle aged wiki enthusiasts also attended to hear about
Tamil wikipedia. One of them was a HOD of the Computer science department at
an arts and science college near Trichy. He was impressed with our workshop
and said from now on he will encourage his students to edit wikipedia.
Tinu started the presentation with a general introduction to Wikipedia, the
foundation, its history, the various projects languages etc. In the Q&A
session that followed, someone asked how someone without paypal/credit cards
can donate money to the foundation. We explained the cheque mailing method
and assured him that there will be more options in the future.
I did the second session. We went through how a typical wikipedia page looks
like, what is a talk page, how to view revision history and practised
editing in the sandbox. I took up the Sachin Tendulkar page in en wiki and
showed them how the content is sourced and how a page gets updated when
facts change. There were the usual doubts about reliability, who will
monitor disruptive activities and who will ensure the accuracy of the
content. Next i switched over to Tamil wikipedia and explained how easy it
is to contribute using the typing tool. (A big thanks to Junaid, Shiju and
our other ml wiki friends). Here we took up the example of the 2011 assembly
election article and learnt how to write neutrally without our prejudices
getting in the way. There was again a brief question session, which featured
some insightful questions about our external links policy, handling regional
language variations (srilankan Tamil vs Tamil Nadu Tamil), using Wiktionary,
the difference between Wikibooks, wikisource and wikipedia. Srikanth took
over next and the third session was about wikipedia hacking - bots,
mediawiki, programming tools, databases, scripts, software - stuff that
usually frightens me. This was again followed by a brief question-answer
While Srikanth was answering the questions, i discovered that someone from
the room had edited the ta wiki article i used as an illustration to
correct a grammar mistake. And also someone from the crowd had done what he
termed later as a test edit (something cluebot in enwiki would label as
"vandalism?"). The second edit had been reverted 12 minutes later by ta
wiki Admin Kanags (editing from Australia). We were able to use this as a
sort of real time demo how edits are monitored and accuracy/integrity
maintained in wiki projects. (We got lucky with that :-)). There was an loud
gasp of surprise from the audience when we showed how the vandalism was
reverted within minutes. The session ended with Wiki 10 celebrations - cake
cutting and photographs. Unfortunately the T-shirts from the foundation have
not reached the organisers and they weren't able to give them out - we had
to make do with chocolates, pins and laptop stickers. The entire workshop
lasted from 10 to 12.30 and was well received. (I have an invite from Amrita
University, Coimbatore to do a similar workshop there :-)) Microsoft
Wikibasha's Saravanan attended the session and we all had a long and deep
discussion with him about how important it is for the corporates/outside
orgs to speak to the community and get involved at the project level to
avoid misunderstandings and getting better results. After the presentation
was over, it was back to the stalls. This time we shifted to a open air
stall near the food court to be nearer to the crowd thronging the food
court. The stall remained open till 3.30 PM and had another 50 more
Another good thing that came out the stall was we were able to convince the
members of the NIT photography club to CC/SA licence their work and upload
it to flickr/commons. There was an exhibition of their works in the same
area where our stall was situated and featured several high quality images,
that can be used to illustrate articles on Indian subjects. They have
promised to set up flickr stream for their works with appropriate licensing.
So there ends the long story of my visit to Trichy. A special thanks to Tinu
and Srikanth for egging me on come out and face the crowd and enlightening
me about the necessity for outreach work. And another special thanks for
student organiser Nivash and his team for their outstanding hospitality and
giving us a chance to connect with such an enthusiastic audience.
Here are some photos from the event -
Thanks for the welcome. Probably, most of you know me more from on-wiki than
the meetups (where I have been terribly infrequent!). Have been busy on
Saturdays with work and have not been able to come for the meetups.
Anyways, just to introduce myself, a bit more formally - Am a
doctor specialized in public health, doing my PhD right now. I am based in
Bangalore and Tumkur. Most of my wikipedia contributions were through
dial-up connections when I was working BR Hills - wikipedia and birds being
my only two driving forces! Have been on the english wikipedia sometime
since 2004 although, I got myself a username only in 2005. I mainly work on
content contributions on the english wikipedia and images (rarely maps) on
commons. I also hold informal wiki-classes in schools and would be glad to
help anybody on that on weekends.
Am glad to help out as a moderetor. Naturally, I have a lot of biases which
I declare on my user page as well as my website. I will of course strive to
not allow them to colour my role here, just as I have not allowed them to
colour my enwiki contributions.
And, no offense taken, Sundar on the overlordship, considering that I am not
planning to take over the
link that describes the phrase)
Prashanth N S
Faculty, Institute of Public Health, Bangalore
PhD Student, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp
Asst. Director (Research), Karuna Trust & VGKK
web @ http://daktre.com
@prashanthns on twitter
photos @ http://flickr.com/photos/biligiri
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2011 23:33:04 -0800 (PST)
> From: BalaSundaraRaman <sundarbecse(a)yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] New admins on the list
> To: Wikimedia India Community list
> Message-ID: <308093.15198.qm(a)web59904.mail.ac4.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> Some people mistook the pun I used in my previous email.
> Just to clarify, Prashanth and Srikanth are excellent choices for this and
> used the term "overlords" in the same sense as admins referring to
> self-deprecatingly as "the cabal" and such. Hope it clarifies. :)
> - Sundar
> "That language is an instrument of human reason, and not merely a medium
> the expression of thought, is a truth generally admitted."
> - George Boole, quoted in Iverson's Turing Award Lecture
> >From: BalaSundaraRaman <sundarbecse(a)yahoo.com>
> >To: Wikimedia India Community list <wikimediaindia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> >Sent: Tue, February 22, 2011 9:55:22 AM
> >Subject: Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] New admins on the list
> ><sarcasm>I welcome our new overlords, Prashanth and Logic. :)</sarcasm>
> >- Sundar
> > "That language is an instrument of human reason, and not merely a medium
> >the expression of thought, is a truth generally admitted."
> >- George Boole, quoted in Iverson's Turing Award Lecture
> >>From: Hari Prasad Nadig <hpnadig(a)gmail.com>
> >>To: Wikimedia India List <wikimediaindia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> >>Sent: Sun, February 20, 2011 3:29:44 PM
> >>Subject: [Wikimediaindia-l] New admins on the list
> >>Hi everyone,
> >>Two new admins have been added to this list.
> >>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Logicwiki (Srikanth L)
> >>Here's a thanks to these two long time Wikipedians and highly respected
> >>contributors for expressing willingness to take up admin work on the
> >>Also, starting today, the description of the list would read "Wikimedia
> >>Community list" as that seems more appropriate.
> >>Hari Prasad Nadig
On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 11:45 PM, Srikanth Lakshmanan <srik.lak(a)gmail.com>wrote:
> This is not a primer, but one thing I changed today was increasing message
> size from 40 KB to 240 KB. Ideally mailing lists dont encourage attachments
> / huge mails, but sometimes like today Bala had to attach since he couldnt
> upload to commons.If any of you feel the limit of 240 KB is high / low,
> please comment. Also remember under current setting anything above 240 KB
> will not come instantly, patience appreciated :) I think its better to mail
> a list ettiqute every month annoucing list guidelines since there will be
> lot of newbies to mailing list (like it will prevent invitations to join
> blah blah etc). I will put a wiki page on this soon. This will also help
> people aware of general mailing list ettiqute (lets not call it policy :) )
Well, 240K could be huge - maybe we'll need to check with sysadmins of
Wikimedia servers whether this is okay for size filter.
Larger the size of the email the more it would tie up the servers (as the
server tries to deliver these large messages to everyone on the list).
Also, allowing larger sized emails would mean just a set of emails close to
the limit can count up to MBs in size mailed each day to every single
mailbox (Think of those who would be accessing these emails on mobile with
limited data packages).
The size of the email is large when there's HTML formatting in it.
And with attachments - uploading files somewhere accessible on web might be
a good idea as those use looking into the archive later may not find the
attachments anyway (as the attachments don't get stored on the server).
+1 on mailing the etiquette.
Hari Prasad Nadig
When I installed libreOffice (http://www.libreoffice.org/) It has included by
default wikipublisher.. I can now export all openoffice ODT
documents as wikimedia markup. Do others have any experience on this?
When I mentioned about this in the last wikimeetup in Mumbai, most
people expressed surprise. So, encourage you to try this, and tell me
if it worked for you.
Dear Hari and Anirudh,
As moderators of WikimediaIndia-l, could you describe the policy you
normally adopt towards moderation?
Do you only block obvious spam or other messages, and if so on what basis?
I am naturally curious since a message from Praveen that you only just
released seems to have been sent in 3 days ago.
Furthermore, I think we'd benefit from understanding how people may
apply to become administrators on this list.
In light of Anirudh's recent appointment to administrator of this list,
is there an open process by which other members might apply?
(Foundation-l seems to have three administrators, though I would imagine
that there is nothing stopping WikimediaIndia-l from having more than
Please note that I don't ask with persecutory intent, but merely to
clear gaps in my own understanding, which might be a problem that other
people on this list face as well. Since WikimediaIndia-l is such an
important place for all kinds of conversations that cut across the
movement in India, it's in all our interests to know exactly how it is
we are organising *1st Editathon at Marathi Wikipedia* on *26-27 February
2010*, coinciding with the occasion of Marathi language day celebrated on
27th Feb each year. This would be total-online event, with intentions as :
1. Improve content for existing aticles, where mr wiki seems lagging as per
statistics (known till May 2010). Editors are off course free to carry all
sorts of editing activities like creation of new articles/ interwiki links,
uploading media files etc.
2. Publicise mr wiki, so as to capitalise on public interest arousing on
Marathi language day for things-related to Marathi
The page containing all the relevant information - dates, goals, guidelines,
list of participants etc. can be accessed here (content in Marathi) :
Please feel free to spread the word. :)
On Friday at 3 pm, a group of us from Bangalore (Arun, Gautam and I)
organised a GLAM presentation and meeting at the NGMA (National Gallery
of Modern Art, Bangalore http://ngmaindia.gov.in/ngma_bangaluru.asp)
with Liam. (Announced here:
This is a quick update:
NGMA is a grand Indian art institution, and the Bangalore museum is it's
latest expansion. The director of the museum, Sobha Nambisan, was keen
to make this a small meeting for NGMA staff and invited curators/
gallery owners from Bangalore. Of the people present, other than us,
there were about 10 NGMA staff, including all the main curators and
coordinators, as well as Aashti Mudnani from Gallery SKE
(www.galleryske.com) - a leading contemporary art gallery, Suresh
Jayaram from 1 Shanthi Road (www.1shanthiroad.com), - an arts centre for
residencies and experimentation, Suman Gopinath from Colab - curatorial
space for arts and architecture, and Namita Malhotra from Pad.ma
(www.pad.ma) - an open video archive.
Liam spoke for about half an hour about his experiences at the British
Museum, interspersed with questions from the curators present. Following
his talk, we had a discussion that lasted another half hour. There was
plenty of interest evinced in continuing similar work in Bangalore at
the institutions present; questions ranged from fairly interesting
("What can I get out of this?") to the expectedly basic around tenets of
Wikipedia - as is perhaps to be expected from a specialist audience in a
different field. Gallery SKE, for instance, is already working in-house
on looking at ways of enhancing Wikipedia around the artists it
represents; 1 Shanthi Road, which is a far looser arts-space, expressed
interest in finding ways to document events, happenings and art that
might otherwise be lost, and NGMA as a whole - as expressed by Sobha -
seemed very interested in following up the conversation, by starting to
think about what they would want to get out of a relationship with
Personally, it was very interesting for me to see the intersection
between high-culture and Wikimedia, a connection that's not often
expressed or articulated in Bangalore or India. Gautam and Arun, who
were both at the meeting, have suggested that they could follow up in
terms of coordinating community involvement with NGMA and other art
galleries present at the meeting, especially in terms of interest
expressed at the public CIS meet-up where Liam also spoke.
If there is anyone on these lists who'd like to get in touch with any of
the institutions mentioned here, please drop either Arun, Gautam or I a
line and we'll be delighted to connect you :)
The Pune chapter gave details of all its multi-facetted incentives for
W10 including Wikimedia Commons,Marathi Wikipedia. article improvement
program etc to Radhika Raj, the reporter of Hindusthan Times but she
chose to highlight Wikipedia for Schools aspect only and it appears
that the Pune guys are doing nothing else. Wikipedia for Schools is
being done by Nikhil Sheth alone not the whole Pune community so to
say, so its unfair to both - Nikhil who has to share credit and the
community which was selectively ignored. Imho there is a trend of
giving too much emphasis on "Wikipedia Warriors" and less on the work
being done which is not healthy.
I didn't want to actually mention this lest people consider it as a
case of sour grapes, but I felt we needed to view this piece of
publicity from all aspects, not just by being glad at being portrayed
in the press.
Thanks Mr.Salmaan for very prompt support Now I am able to access mr.wikipedia,
I still need tp check mr wiktionary I suppose that also would be working.
Thanks and Regards
1. Re: SOS tech support request from mr-wiki, Unable to access
mr wikipedia and mr wiktionary (Theo10011)
2. Re: SOS tech support request from mr-wiki, Unable to access
mr wikipedia and mr wiktionary (Theo10011)
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2011 02:10:27 +0530
From: Theo10011 <de10011(a)gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] SOS tech support request from mr-wiki,
Unable to access mr wikipedia and mr wiktionary
To: Wikimedia India list <wikimediaindia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
Ok, It seems to be working now.
You'll have to purge the cache once if you are still having issues.
By pressing, ctrl+shift+r on chrome/firefox.