On Sun, May 1, 2011 at 3:11 PM, Vickram Crishna <vvcrishna@radiophony.com> wrote:

On Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 5:32 PM, Hisham Mundol <hmundol@wikimedia.org> wrote:
Hi All (cross-posting to make sure I reach as much of India as possible),

As you're aware, we had invited applications for Campus Ambassadors for the upcoming Pune Pilot of the India Campus Program.

The response has been fantastic: we've received ~500 applications/enquiries from across India, ~70 of which were from Pune.  This has been really heartening - indicating the desire of many to support the Wikimedia movement. It's also been overwhelming because we need to process all the applications, respond to applicants, etc.! 

I think, most critically, it also presents an amazing opportunity for us to introduce new people to Wikimedia projects (especially Wikipedia) - and invite them to join the community.    I've interviewed quite a few and there is a recurring theme I hear from many of them.  It goes something like, "I've been using Wikipedia for years and years, and I love it.  I want to contribute back to it - but I wasn't sure how.  Then I saw the banner and decided this was a great way to help."  The overwhelming common trait I have noticed in the applicants is that they are bright, well-intentioned and eager to contribute.

I personally would like to see the nomenclature change: from 'campus ambassadors' etc to 'Knowledge Facilitators', befitting by far two goals. One is the democratisation of knowledge, core to this initiative, and the other is the recognition of anyone of any age as a contributor (implicit in Hisham's characterisation of 'no-one left behind'). 

I just wanted to provide a little background that others might not be aware of, Hisham is not responsible for that nomenclature, its part of the Wikimedia Public policy initiative[1]. The Campus Ambassadors program has been going on in the US, as part of the initiative since early last year [2]. 

We can consider alternative designation within the Indian context once the project is underway, however, I believe Wikipedia Campus Ambassador is an aptly descriptive term that provides near universal recognition and association with Wikipedia, other terms might be too abstract in this context.


i) they could form student clubs in their respective educational establishments
ii) they could form Wikipedia clubs in their workplaces/social groups (as a number of applicants are working professionals, and no longer on campus)
iii) they could become individual editors

Each community, be it one based on educational establishments or any other, could organise informal camps, which we could call wikiups, implying a quickly put together 'camp', where a tiny group, 3 or 4 persons, could collaborate on original contributions or editing. If such meetings could be held on a weekly basis, then perhaps they could alternate between writing and editing, to give each skill a good workout. I am emphasising the importance of working in groups as a way forward from a concern expressed some months back in our meeting in Mumbai, that many youngsters need a helping hand to overcome the fear of failure - that translates into a reluctance to take part - that is unfortunately instilled in much of our school system.     

Frequent regular meetings would also help build an impetus to attend some of the additional work-focused suggestions, attending an 'Academy' session or running 'incubation' programs. It would also lessen the disadvantage of not being able to make it to some infrequently held local Wiki-meetups. It also lends itself to the ease of adding a visiting 'trainer' who can create lively sessions of tips and tricks. 
I believe this is exactly what the student clubs facilitate.[3]