I am a Wikimedian and have been for a very long time. Check my record and you will find that I have always been involved in both language support and projects like Wiktionary, OmegaWiki, Wikidata, Reasonator.

Today new functionality has gone life on Wikidata that was expected for over half a year. Because of this the Marwari language is now supported in Wikidata. I blogged about this [1]. Other languages will follow soon. This policy was discussed with people from India in the past and they saw it as an appropriate strategy to start building information resources in a language prior to a Wikipedia or another WMF project.

India is big and it is foolish to forget context and not seek support and second opinions when people in India are likely to benefit directly. On the other hand, you can bring a horse to water, you cannot make it drink. When I blogged about an enhancement to the search functionality on the Telugu Wikipedia [2], it should be obvious that added value will only be found when people add labels in Telugu to Wikidata. It is gratifying that labels have been added. This is not an experiment as traffic details from the Tamil and Persian Wikipedia indicate it as a successful strategy.

I am not involved in Indian politics. Obviously. I am however improving information about the current members of the Lok Sabha. I  added that Mr Modi is the incumbent prime minister of Gujarati state in Wikidata. I have blogged about one member of the Lok Sabha and I am likely to do so again. My objective is to get labels in all the languages of India for all of them and I will not be the one doing that. My hope is that information is readily available on Indian politics and its politicians.

What we will gain out of it is a better understanding on how such projects work. A much bigger challenge are the elections of South Africa. What we may gain out of it is that Wikidata becomes a platform where this type of information is available. Much of the information in Wikidata finds its origin in Wikipedia. It is because of the hard work in the English Wikipedia that we are able to add information. The point however is that information can become available in every other language. That is not an experiment, it is a fact.

On 30 April 2014 10:00, Ravishankar <ravidreams@gmail.com> wrote:

As I engaged in the discussion regarding CIS grant proposal for the last two weeks, I had this recurring theme echoed from various corners.

"India is big. India is diverse. India is unlike other countries. So, experiments (call it innovation) need to be done".

For the love of Wiki God, may I request all the global people  to stop experiementing with India?

People from outside have no clue of India. And the people they hire in India have no clue of the Wikimedia movement.

Ultimately, it has become like few blind people describing an elephant.

Heck, all the community members know it is an elephant and know it takes time to grow an elephant. The growth of an elephant can only be on par with the ecosystem within which it is present.

No amount of systematic intervention is going to change a donkey into an elephant.

I am tired of seeing experiments being done in naive and tiny Indic communities and the "lessons learnt" being implemented in Brazil, Egypt and Arab world. Be it Google or be it WMF or its avatars.

May I request that you do your experiments elsewhere for a change and implement things that work for sure in India organically?

The reason why English Wikipedia community flourishes in India, Tamil / Bengali / Malayalam communities do well relatively are complete socio economic and political. No amount of intervention is going to change this in other parts of the country. This is like providing rice bags to the poor of the third world without fixing their primary socio political issues.

Wikipedia doesn't exist in isolation in a web ecosystem. It is the culmination of scholarly activity of highest order that you can imagine. When languages that are official languages of states and countries, have two decades long web presence, have a thriving local print / visual media and academic network have a problem growing their Wikipedias, I can't understand what the h*ll is being done in Wikipedias that are not even out of incubators, Wikipedias that don't even have a writing system in order.

Few years back Google dumped paid translated articles done with the aid machine translation tools in many Indic language communities and sermoned us that these will bring us a community. Now, WMF's programs are sermoning us that their attempt at seeding communities will bring articles for us. I am 100% sure that both approaches are futile.

I really miss the once thriving Indian Wiki community that organized the world's biggest Wiki conference.

I really miss the spirit of the Wiki community getting replaced by confusions brought because of top-down paid interventions.

The only hope I have is that at least few mature communities will take stock of the situation, stay autonomous and self-sustaining as they were and continue to enjoy the pleasure of Wiki activity instead of getting drowned in numbers, goals, targets and dream targets.


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