Dear Wikimedians ,
Thank you all for the overwhelming response to the 2010 Sept 18th Pune Wikimedia meetup. 17 people had attended this meet. Special thanks to HOD & staff of Women’s Studies Centre, University of Pune and visiting media and open source movement fraternity for their active participation and guidance.
Mr Vijay Sirdeshpande (Mahitgar from Marathi wikipedia) and Ms Bishakha Datta (trustee, Wikimedia Foundation) jointly chaired the meet . Ms. Datta introduced herself . She talked about Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Foundation’s plans in India, the Wikimedia India Chapter, and difficulties faced in completion of its registration process. She also talked about Bangalore wiki meet-ups. She stressed the need to conduct wikipedia academies and informed about the upcoming visits of Jimmy Wales to Mumbai at the end of October. Other Wikimedia Foundation staff visit India in December, includes Sue Gardner (executive director), Erik Moeller (deputy director) and Danese Cooper (chief technical officer).
Then wikipedians introduced themselves. Mr. Amit Yadav raised the topics of need for and lack of adequate references on Marathi wikipedia, quality of content, and outreach. He was for most of the discussions to take place online rather than offline. He stressed the need for initiative and self-learning process for making contributions on part of wiki-admiring people.On quality of content front, the success of Malayalam wikipedia was discussed. Mr. Vijay explained the difference in the initial focus, and said that now the focus is on making Marathi wikipedia reader-oriented. Everyone agreed that for bringing better quality we need more active users. Mr.Vijay also informed that Marathi wikipedians can request for various features and get various features adopted in the user interface, including page rating etc. for improvement in quality.
Mr.Amit Yadav suggested that Marathi Wikipedians wherever necessary can refer to English language wikipedia but need to do more original writing than merely translating from English wikipedia and Good number of attendees supported this idea. One atendee asked whether it is right to give references of Marathi language sources apart from the English language references.
Mr. Amit was of the opinion that those people who use old technologies for writing can share their documentation online and rest of the people can support them in uni-coding the texts for wikiprojects, whereas opinion of Mr Ajay Garg was that we can support these people technologically and we need to do so. Mr.Sudhanwa Joglekar was of the opinion that it is important to involve senior citizens. Mr.Vijay informed that we do have already good support and contribution from working professional and senior citizens categories; but academic and student categories,women and economically weaker and rural sections are under-represented in contributing and interaction with wiki projects.
On media support, Mr. Samrat Phadnis (esakal.com) and Mr. Nilesh Bane (indiatimes.com) assured support from their respective media houses. At the same time, Mr. Nilesh said that wikipedia in itself is the biggest medium. On this, Mr.Vijay stressed the need of diverting en wiki traffic using geo-location and asking for mother tongue while logging in and diverting users to their respective mother tongue wikipedias.Secondly Mr. Vijay also requested for a call center facility if possible from the foundation side (to help contributors all over India instantly).Meeting also discussed importance of inter-wikilinks in spreading awareness among English language Wikipedia’s Indian visitors aware of Marathi language Wikipedia.
Mr.Sudhanwa and Vijay highlighted that Pune would be a good location for the Foundation’s proposed India office, since it is a major educational hub.
Mr.Nilesh Bane took up the subject of Marathi language used on Marathi wikipedia - he felt it should avoid usage of new difficult Marathi words, and highlighted the importance of usability and simplicity in the user interface. Mr.Sachin Venga seconded Mr.Nilesh on his points.While agreeing with his points Mr.Samrat Phadnis (from esakal.com) suggested giving preference to the language used by people from rural and small cities, since readers across Maharashtra constitute the major share of Marathi wikipedia’s target audience. Mr.Sudhanwa Joglekar briefed on the process of language terminology standardisation through FUEL (Frequently Used Entities in Localisation) sessions. In this context, the views of Mr.Mahesh Kulkarni of CDAC and Rachna Pradhan of Bhasha Sanchalanalay were brought to notice and the need for previous(Swa.Savarkar time) debates related to Bhasha Shuddhikaran Movement and Balbharti's Dictionary becoming available online were also discussed.
Mr.Nilesh Bane expressed his dismay over delay in (Govt.) Marathi Wishvakosh becoming available online.
Mr.Ajay Garg promised to support wikipedians on technical and software special font conversion issues while Prof.Subhash Pawar was enthusiastic in supporting usage of Marathi on computers. It was agreed that there is a need to separate co-ordination by interested wikipedians team with promoting volunteers and technical support on font usage.
Mr.Kaustubh Samudra informed the meeting that media wiki software is translated to Marathi and where people deem it fit to change the usage and correction of Marathi, the correction process is very simple and interested people can help themselves. Besides wikipedia, this software as content management system can be used by the Marathi web developer fraternity since localisation of the Media Wiki software is almost complete.
Prof. Shriniwas Hemade shared his experience and the need for public awareness for utility of encyclopedias. He was enthusiastic in sharing his own write-ups with wiki projects and requested for technical support on font conversion front. He said the best benefit of the meeting is to bring together people in need of technical support like Prof Shriniwas and software experts like Mr. Ajay Garg.
On the subject of increasing contributors and contributions, Mr. Amit was of the opinion that involving post-graduate (PG) level students will ensure better quality and reliability of content. Mr. Vijay was of the opinion that wiki volunteers need to reach 10th standard onward students, journalism, law, Marathi language, Engineering, Computer hardware and software, and botany-related students on priority by way of wikimedia academies and PowerPoint presentations. Mr.Amit promised to take active part in updating PPTs while Mr.Ajay Garg promised to share his expertise in making presentations easily available. Mr.Sudhanwa Joglekar brought to notice the difficulty in approach the student community, asking what would motivate students? Mr. Amit said that a percentage of students would get awareness and factual benefits to themselves by using the same. Mr.Samrat Phadnis assured support with eSakal. Prof Shriniwas also assured support in writing article for Marathi media .
Ms. Bishakha Datta requested support to the Women’s Studies department, University of Pune - they are very interested in contributing to Marathi wikipedia, but need handholding and technical help. Mr. Amit assured his support on this account.
Mr.Omkar Khair, Mr.Gawande, and Mr.Paresh Mhetre expressed their support to Marathi wikipedia.
On the subject of outreach to the people volunteering for presentations at colleges, Prof.Shriniwas Hemade was of the opinion that future meetings should preferably have a pre-decided agenda. Mr. Amit Yadav was of the opinion that future meetings, if any, should have three distinct teams: one for usage on Marathi plus basic training on wiki usage.Mr.Vijay suggested Marathi Usage on comp promotion and new user wiki-edit help, Content and outreach group, Techsavy and higher experience level user guidance group, And language wise group of people for non Marathi if more than 5
Thanks to Ms.Bishakha Datta for supporting in updating this writeup. Looking forward to feed back and openions about points raised during this meeting.
Thanks and Regards
-Mahitgar from Marathi Wikipedia