A question came up on this list about some employer-employee relationships within the chapter board. This is to clarify that the stated relationships between the said persons have ended/in the process of ending with notice being served prior to this issue being brought up (certainly not because of this email and prior to it).
This is not to brag but to state background. I would like to further state in particular have been extremely generous in supporting Wikipedia activities in Mumbai for several years now, organising local events, offering my office for meetups and official purposes, bearing expenses in some cases, offering pro-bono services through my company and even offering jobs to several Wikipedians.
Pranav and I were two people instrumental in ensuring the success of our first national conference 2 years ago. This is something that is yet to be replicated. Pranav was recently instrumental in our first victory with the government recently, a major win for the chapter in India to have them apply a Wikipedia complaint license to open knowledge resources for the first time ever. Karthik has been one of the lead organisers of the chapters biggest photo contest, our biggest success of the last financial year. All of us have been an integral part of several chapter activities during the last year. In the recent weeks, both Pranav and Karthik have been involved in preparing our FDC application, spending several hours a week, into the wee hours of the night on a regular basis apart from juggling their professional commitments during the day. All of us have been actively involved in the Wikimedia Conference bid.
All of us were Wikipedians first before anything else, meeting each other through Wikipedia, having our own independent thinking which remains unaffected and one common goal as unpaid volunteers working out of love for the movement as a cause. We assure everyone that there is no COI that may affect any of our functioning in the EC and performing our duties at the chapter.
One thing we have learnt from this is that there is a need for a formal public document that details what COI is and when disclosures need to be made. We will push for such a document to be created within the EC. At the same time, we humbly appeal that the community "assume good faith" towards our efforts and help/support the chapter and movement in India. We are working towards building greater synergies, understanding and team-building within the EC leadership, SIG Chairs and key members of the chapter and volunteers in India in an effort to strengthen our very foundations with a long term view and we cannot do this without your help and support.
On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 3:06 PM, Hari Prasad Nadig <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
You reminded me of the good old days of Wikipedia - the movement that wasn't centered around money, but driven by interest and volunteering.
I hope that what you've written about Wikiculture shall be read by many here and if that is understood by more people in coming days, the Indian 'community' can get a wee bit healthier.
Of late, whenever I switch over to read the conversations on this list, it is not just intrigue but profound disgust that emerges.
--On 25 September 2013 10:03, Shyamal L. <email@example.com> wrote:
[...]Apologies for the rant that follows and can be conveniently skipped by the busy folks here.
I am quite intrigued by the kinds of discussion on this list and indeed intrigued by most of the characters that seem to be involved in the Wikimedia movement in India and how it stands out in contrast to the spirit of Wikipedia and its sister projects. Whereas the project is more a culture of giving, most of what we see here seems to be more about merely getting things for oneself and getting ahead of each other which I suppose is inspiration drawn from street traffic. Having observed the movement from the outside, it is my hope that the best values of Wikipedia culture are imbibed rather than the worst of Indian culture.
* Wikiculture - Deal with issues not the persons raising them - what matters more than who. Those who actually interact with the *community* (an earlier thread gave the suggestion that people would get an opportunity to interact with the *community* only by attending Wikimania) on Wikipedia will know this aspect. This is a symptom of the fact that hardly anyone out here is really editing substantially.
* Wikiculture - Think independently and question everything - Wikipedia achieved a lot and is interesting because it questions(or questioned) paradigms that are (or were) taken for granted. It uses direct interaction, direct democracy, rather than representatives. So voting people into committees / positions that work in private is not the way things are done here, it is by discussing ideas. Independence requires that you question any sense of group identity.
* Wikiculture - Forsake cliques, identity traps and recognize in-out-group dynamics. In particular I think much of the poverty of editing from India comes from poor research driven by the idea that an "Indian" needs to represent India-related Wikipedia entries in a (POV) way that apparently instills pride among fellow-Indians!
* Wikiculture - Wiki is not paper, editors do not need an office, the best community support is provided on-wiki. So again, why would having funds for an office, 3 employees visiting that office each day (and adding to Bangalore's traffic) help the Wikimedia movement? If something needs to be organized, let leadership be elected on Wiki and let there be an grant such as IEG on Wiki to support it. I have been quite intrigued by the idea of Special Interest Groups being defined by many here by the language in which they edit - one would expect SIGs to be subject dependent - so you could have astronomers, law experts, literature experts, and so on with members who work in multiple language mediums. There could be language specific technical SIGs that work on IME, Unicode etc but what we see here instead appears more like language chauvinism. Those professing to be subject matter experts (and really ought to members of specific SIGs) out here seem to contribute almost nothing to Wikipedia in their claimed area of expertise - for instance there are quite a number of law experts in the group and despite that, one finds that the law related articles, even on the English Wikipedia quite atrocious. With the amount of money being thrown here one would expect that at least something like the article on the Indian Copyright Act to be a GA if not an FA (on the English WP).
The amount being thrown in is certainly huge. And this money was raised! I'm stumped by the silence of many long time Wikipedians in voicing their opinion against whatever has been going on in India in the name of 'Wikimedia movement'. Thanks to you for speaking out.
Hari Prasad Nadig
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