Hoi Gerard,

The disucssion in the mail thread is about cost / benefit comparison of two similar outreach events

1. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Access_To_Knowledge/Draft_Work_plan_July_2014_-_June_2015/Wiki-Data_India_Marathon


2. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:PEG/Tinucherian_and_Shijualex/Wiki_Community_development_in_India_and_newsletter/Report

For which Vishnu suggested the following:

// Going forward we will not be able to contribute actively in these community building efforts due to our current personal and professional priorities.// which requires some introspection.

This amounts to saying that since we don't have continuous supply of capable volunteers to do such outreach work, we can justify the involvement of paid professionals.

This is a dangerous trend which will end up in justifying paid professionals involved in all aspects of Wikipedia work except directly writing articles.

This is already happening as can be seen at


This is no way to build a sustainable and self run organic community.

A community doesn't evolve strong leadership and ownership just by writing articles.

Occassional vaccum in particular aspects of community activity is perfectly acceptable.

Actually, many times we intentionally create this vaccum to motivate new comers and take responsibility. Otherwise, they will think there is always someone else to take care. And if that someone is paid, there won't be any initiative and nurturing from the community at all.

Do you know the most frequently asked question when we do outreach?

* What do you get for doing this?

* What do I get for doing this?

When we say we both get nothing and insist this is a volunteer service, immediate trust is established.

When the person doing outreach is getting paid, then this is nothing but a sermon and throws away the balance in equation.

//Your assumption that it is about building a better Wikipedia indicates to me how limited your notion is about what it takes to "share in the sum of all knowledge". //

You make it sound as though you are teaching rocket science to cave men about the need for having paid professionals in the context of your WMNL experience.

Let me assure you that the Indian community is well aware and capabale of the whole context in which the movement works.

We have a very capable chapter that has run hugely successful programs as can be seen here at


Tamil and Malayalam Wiki communities have worked with their respective State Governments, MNCs like Google, built institutional partnerships, got content donations all on their own with no formal Wikimedia organization involved and ZERO COST. I am sure that the Wikimedia Bangladesh community is also quite resourceful.

The need for involving paid professionals arises only when you have a formal organization with time bound targets and specialist work for which the community members need not always be the best fit or available 24x7. So, I am not discounting the need for paid professionals.

But the current trend of employing professionals in volunteer domain is disturbing.

We need to have a discussion on what should be strictly in the volunteer domain considering the long term effects.