Thank you for responses. Having known you for quite some time, I
am very well aware of your good intentions in writing that mail. I was just
taking the opportunity to humbly try to remove some of misconceptions and
notions that was unfortunately spread about the chapter.
Please understand that we as a chapter, are no different from the community
members. We are a bunch of volunteers who is just trying to setup a
non-profit organisation to help and catalyst the Wikimedia Movement in
India. We are all community members at large, who have also
done considerable efforts in building wiki-communities and spreading
awareness about Wikimedia and Wikipedia even in our personal capacities,
much before the even the chapter existed.
Unlike full time and paid Wikimedia Foundation staff, we, as chapter
members, have our jobs to keep and family to keep in merry and we all do
this in our "free times" at the cost and sacrifices of our personal times
and professional growths. But we do this by not thinking "How will I
benefit from the chapter ?" but instead "How can I do to help the chapter
and the movement?" , Isn't it the same reasons we all started contributing
to Wikipedia ? Isn't that the same joy and satisfaction of contributing for
the sum total of human knowledge , we were attracted to this one of the
wonderful projects in the world?
I joined the chapter only in June last year ... After the AGM elections in
end of September 2011, i was elected to the chapter board. I stood myself
for the elections neither because I wanted to fancy myself as board member
nor because I had enough time.. I was going through an insanely difficult
phase both in professional and personal lifes. I would have worked just as
a normal chapter member. But I was saddened by the lack of interest and
participation even for people standing for the vacant board positions and I
went to persuade others to stand for the elections. In order to prove the
point, i too stood for the elections and now helping the chapter in an
The chapter will never exclude anyone from helping it or the movement...The
chapter never has any intentions try to divide the community. The chapter
is here to to serve the community. Even when the scholarships for
Wikiconference were selected, it was sincerely done based on the merits of
the applications and not of any relationships with the chapter. Just be
aware that many of us , at the same time, traveled and helped the event
from our pockets. You must be also aware that one of largest wiki
communities that received those scholarships were from
The previous night before the Wiki-conference, some of us were at the
police stations seeking protections against party protesters who
has threatened to stop the conference. We didn't have to do all these, we
could just enjoyed our weekend leisurely at our homes. Least, we could
have happily edited the wikis without having to bother about bringing
together hundreds of Wiki enthusiasts and wikimedians from all around the
country. But we believed in a cause.. we were committed to a mission, to
help it as much as we can.
With our limited set of active volunteers, we are working with other
language Wiki-communities too.
As I stated earlier, we have a "chicken and egg problem" : "*The community
will join the chapter only if the chapter is strong ... The chapter can
grow strong only if the community actively joins the chapter*".
How will the chapter grow, unless each one of the active Wikipedians come
in ? The chapter needs your support, encouragement and participation. We
are a part of you, the community...
We need you !
2012/1/7 Jyothis E <jyothis.e(a)gmail.com>
Again, please dont think that I am picking a fight. Just trying to be
constructive with the situation. Please take a step back and think about
it. Comments and questions are welcome.
2012/1/7 CherianTinu Abraham <tinucherian(a)gmail.com>
Please don't differentiate and undermine any Wikimedia
event as hosted by chapter or community.
Nope, not doing that. Should not feel that anyone is undermining anyones
effort anywhere. even a space adjustment is counted as an edit in a wiki.
We ( as I speak for the chapter in this mail) is
committed to encourage
and help any Wikimedia event in the country, in the best of the efforts.
Good, it should be that way. It should be much more that events. It has to
evolve into bringing projects to life and beyond.
As chapter, we agree to use even use the term
co-host , only if the
local organizers ask themselves.
Not taking this in a negative sense. I assume you mean to say that chapter
does not use the title/brand unless it is required.
Since some time, we have consciously decided not
to brand any Wikimedia
event in the country as a chapter hosted one , except the Wiki-conference,
Mumbai. We had do that for Mumbai conference, for the purposes of getting
sponsors, opening bank accounts etc.
Sorry for a stupid question here: Can I see a list of other events chapter
helped organizing without using its brand documented somewhere please?
The chapter get frequent requests from various corners, from conducting
Good to see that chapter is being recognized and approached by various
entities. What are the documented steps in the current chapter's procedure
to involve communities when such a request come in? Apart from requests
that come in, what are the efforts put in to reach out to various
organizations and educational institutions to offer them with the community
The first thing we do is to put them in touch
with local Wikipedians if
there are any.
Good to know! What can we do to ensure that the same coverage goes to the
communities that does not have as many active participations around? What
can chapter do to build those communities? What can we do to grow the
sleeping wikis to life? Can chapter reach out to educational institutions
and goverment organizations in Bihar and see if it can vitalize Bhwiki?
We are making the events as much as inclusive as
possible. The recent
Wikiacademy @ Jaya Engineering College, Chennai , though the request came
to the chapter, we heartily welcomed the participation of the Wikimedia
Foundation India Programs officials. Another recent event "Wikimedia Takes
Ahmedabad" , primarly done by chapter members ( they are also community
members), we never publicized it as organised by the chapter. Even though
many newspapers wrote that the event is organised by the Foundation, we
didn't mind, as the goal and cause is more important for us. An earlier
event at NIT, Calicut  was driven by Malayalam Community members like
Vishwaprabha, Netha, Manjok & Abhishek. Still some of
the Malayalam community members blamed and questioned us for doing "chapter
events in Kerala" !
Good to know. If not already in place, please work on a standard protocol
to inform community, seek participation or support in such events etc. if
there are enough local community members available to run the show, chapter
can save some money and time of people by just sending a representative (or
may be none in a case by case scene) as well. What do you think?
When somebody requests for a Wikiacademy, should
we tell them to "get
lost" if it is in Kerala ? Another request is received here at Adoor  ,
please tell us what to do ? We would be more than happy if this also is
driven by the community in Kerala!
See, This is where the core of the problem lies. Why cant the chapter
learn that though it is termed as an independent entity, it is not a
separate body, but an umbrella and support organization for the local
communities? chapter and communities going in two different directions is
fruitless. Chapter cannot force the communities go their way just because
chapter has recognition by the foundation. Lets not forget that there were
communities and events before chapter arrived in the scene. Especially with
the way the Indian chapter was formed, chapter leadership has a long walk
ahead to work with communities and prove itself to be worthy of the title,
funding and recognition it seeks. Chapter will fail in its mission if it is
not supported by the communities it tries to serve, nourish and promote.
Now, for the "get lost" part in your statement, I think you already know
the answer to that question. I would choose to frame that statement better
(or at least politically correct fashion) if I were in your position. It is
not a crime to organize and conduct events anywhere, but kindly try to
understand the community sentiments before your fire off statements like
But that is just me.
AFAIK, the event at CUSAT ( jan 5, 2012 ) was more finalized a few days
before the event on 26 Dec  , The chapter secretary Naveen sent the mail
to ML mailing list on 29 Dec. I agree that the local organizers & community
members (like Ditty and Anil) should have informed the community much
earlier, if that was possible.
Why would that not be possible?
The chapter itself is driven by veteran community members.
I dont think anyone questioned this part.
It is true that the chapter is now just a smaller
subset of the
community...The chapter will serve its purpose and becomes more
meaningful only if the whole community becomes part of it and takes its
reins to drive forward. Like any other community member, we are also unpaid
volunteers who sacrifice our precious time for the passion and love of the
movement. It is an open membership and non profit society and we strongly
encourage and humbly request every active member to join the chapter.
Community members will come and join the chapter in packs when they learn
that the chapter is worth their time and money. I dont think by not being a
member of chapter prevents anyone from helping chapter move forward or
participate in a chapter event with community participation though. If
chapter starts putting a boundary that non members cannot participate in
project related events, I think that would be a step towards alienating the
community from chapter.
Thanks for reading thru. Bottom line is, Lets work together as a community
for the growth and progression of projects rather that seeing chapter and
community as disjoint sets.
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