Please see no. 9 on Meta here  where we discussed the potential
benefits of Wikidata for Indic projects. In addition to this, I would
like to give a broader context and background for this program, which
will also help answer some of your concerns.
As the community well knows that in the ongoing WMF grant we have
international travel component. As per the original approved budget it
was Rs. 1,803,248/-, which we revised to Rs. 900,000/-. (Please note
that we announced the revision in the budget on this list and sought
feedback from the community and also wrote to WMIN EC seeking their
feedback). See this for reference . We (Subhashish and I) have used
this money to travel to Wikimania 2013-Hongkong. It was a huge learning
experience about the movement and I felt it will be so nice for our
communities in India to get this exposure. In fact I have invited many
of the global Wikimedians to visit India and interact with the
communities here. I also felt guilty that I am getting this opportunity
and not many volunteers in India, who could put this experience to much
better use. At this moment as a Program Director I had taken a
unilateral decision to not use the WMF grant for international travel
but rather see if we can get global expertise to India with this money
and to create interaction opportunities with communities here. You may
note that we have not budgeted any international travel in the current
Some of Wikimedians on the list may know that my visit to WMDE DivCon
was on a scholarship. During this visit I had met Gerard and I was
extremely impressed by the possibilities of Wikidata and the long term
value add it could have to all the Indic projects. See my post on this
list . Gerard also got more interested in the Indic projects and has
since then been engaging with volunteers from India. Our conversations
continued virtually since then. I have also learnt from Gerard (and it
is important to note) that Wikidata could throw open knowledge and
images from commons in many of our Indian languages that are small and
currently do not have any Wikimedia project or community. Just imagine
making available pictures from commons in Gondi and Santali. Looking at
these immense possibilities, I had requested him to visit and to
demonstrate the possibilities of Wikidata. To which he has agreed but
expressed his inability to bear the travel costs. Please note he is a
volunteer and is unemployed. I felt it is a good value for money to get
him down and we created this page for community consultation .
However, these plans could not materialise for various reasons.
During this planning stage I did write to friends in the WMIN EC about
these plans, asking for their inputs to gain maximum benefit for the
various India Wikimedia communities, and asked if they would be
interested to co-organize some of the events/locations. Some of the EC
members showed interest. Also some of the active community members
across languages did know about this plan through many informal
conversations and discussions. All of these people knew that Gerard is
the resource person. So it is not a secret as you intend to make it
sound. Moreover, Wikidata has some complexity and someone like Gerard
could share it better. You will also see from the design of the program
that it is more intended to strengthen the community. There are plans of
involving Open-Data community in India, linguists, etc.
Now coming to your question of expense estimate of Rs. 450,000/- towards
Resource Person. As we have stated in the budget note here  it mostly
includes a) his travel to India from Netherlands and visa charges; and
b) travel and stay expenses within India during his visits to more than
12 locations within a month's time. In fact it is a lot of work that he
committed to do in a month's time, only because of his passion for
Wikidata and what it could do for the Indic projects. There was no
intention of him making money with this. Apologies that we should have
stated the expenditure break-up in more detail than what we currently
did and avoided this confusion.
We did not allocate this expenditure under Travel and Stay expenses for
the following reasons. Gerard was twice rejected visa to India and the
consulate suggested that he apply for a Business visa so a Resource
Person agreement with "fees" (which otherwise entirely goes for travel
and stay expenses), we felt would help. Also we did not want to create
any "International Travel" expenditure item in our budget.
Hope this helps clarify the background and your concerns. While, we
could continue the debate on the value for money of the Wikidata India
Marathon, it is unfair to insinuate Gerard in your criticism of the
CIS-A2K program plans. Let's focus on the plans in discussion.
Will also reply to the question about Wikidata on Meta soon.
Gerard, apologies that you got dragged into this. Trust you will assume
good faith and understand our sincere intentions about this program,
whether we will be able to do it or not.
 This is the posting on list just after I returned from DivCon
On Thursday 24 April 2014 12:16 AM, Ravishankar wrote:
( Context for others:
//If something new has to start and Wikidata is new, then it needs
more than just a video or a conference call.//
100s of Wikimedia projects, including many in India, didn't need any
kind of intervention.
//I gave a presentation to professionals who work in data. It took me
an hour to set up the environment with them and for them so that they
could start.. We had a meeting for three hours and we scratched the
surface enough to make a difference. The fact that we were together
ensured good faith and enough understanding.//
Are they Wikimedians? It is enough if Wikimedians can make sense of it.
If Wikimedians are not able to make sense of it, then we need to
improve Wiki Data for the global community too.
//I have seen some of the agenda and if only a fifth of what is
started pays of it is well worth the investment.//
talks about reducing focus on events.
WMIN's FDC proposal was heavily criticized for a focus on events and
its impact was questioned.
And yet, we have an event for Wiki Data with a proposed budget as follows:
This is 29.7% of the annual budget of WMIN !
To give a context this is almost 40% of the 2011 Wikimedia India
The single biggest expense in this Wiki Data Marathon program is the
cost for resource person which is 4,50,000 INR.
So much cost for a resource person for a month hints that this could
be someone visiting India from abroad.
Any idea who this is ? :)
Even University faculties don't understand Wikipedia editor and our
So, what do we do? Run marathons like this for all Wikipedia projects?
//Just consider what a challenge it is to bring Wikidata to India in a
way where it actually makes a difference.//
Please provide evidence that this is an India specific problem. When
communities don't even get the decade long Wikipedia project, it is
only expected that they won't get Wiki Data too.
How good is Wiki Data adoption in similar parts of the word and how do
you address it?
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