This is a great question Srikanth and links to some of the thinking that Shiju just shared about the challenges for Indic language projects. [1]. My feeling is that editing Wikipedia isn't for everyone, but there are a lot of people who it is or could be for.  Our challenge is to really connect with those who will find joy in the experience and not worry about those who think sharing knowledge freely is a strange form of insanity. ;)

I have limited experience, but in my travels in India, I think the greatest challenge is in basic awareness of how Wikipedia works.  I'd say that over 90% of non-Wikipedians in India that I've met have no idea that they can edit Wikipedia or that Wikipedia is not written by paid staff (many also have no idea we have Indic language projects, not to mention 20!). These are generally not stupid people and our challenge is to inform them. If we inform millions, we'll find thousands (that's all we really can expect from global experience) to try editing in all of our projects.  So the question I've been pondering is how do we explain the basics of who we are to millions rather than to 25-50 people who might show up for a workshop.

From there our challenge is to welcome those who feel like trying it out, orient them to the norms of the environment, help them when they make mistakes and encourage them to stick with it, even if they aren't perfect.  As the editor trends data shows, our greatest opportunity and challenge lies in helping those who show up and want to edit...succeed! [2] There is some neat work going on to look at ways we can improve our interaction with newcomers, particularly by making their interaction feel more human-to-human rather than human-to-template.[3]

My 2 paise.


[2] Only 10% of new editors stick around for a year these days and about 85% don't even last 3 months
[3] An example of work that Steven and Mariana are working on building from WMF's Summer of Research:

On Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 10:01 AM, Srikanth Ramakrishnan <> wrote:
Oh, and by the way. Try Googling for Tamil Wedding in images. The
first result should be a result of the Tamil Media Contest. Perhaps,
this could be more ... Err ... Encouragement?

On 12/16/11, Srikanth Ramakrishnan <> wrote:
> Swaroop, yes I know. I personally do enjoy editing the article on my
> native town and adding photos about it. Wish others would follow me.
> Arun, that's pretty much a Commons Venture. I've tried that a lot.
> Most of my pictures are first page results on Google. Try Googling
> Nice Road or Chittode Junction. But it hasn't helped me that well.
> --
> Regards,
> Srikanth Ramakrishnan.
> Wikipedia Coimbatore Meetup on December 10th.

Srikanth Ramakrishnan.
Wikipedia Coimbatore Meetup on December 10th.

Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit

Barry Newstead
Chief Global Development Officer
Wikimedia Foundation

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge.  Help us make it a reality!