[Wikimediaindia-l] A report on the Trichy wikimeetup/workshop
sundarbecse at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 22 04:29:45 UTC 2011
Awesome, Bala! Seems like a wonderful workshop.
Thanks to all those who helped.
"That language is an instrument of human reason, and not merely a medium for
the expression of thought, is a truth generally admitted."
- George Boole, quoted in Iverson's Turing Award Lecture
>From: Bala Jeyaraman <sodabottle at gmail.com>
>To: Wikimedia India Community list <wikimediaindia-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
>Cc: Nivash S <balanivash at gmail.com>
>Sent: Mon, February 21, 2011 9:34:19 PM
>Subject: [Wikimediaindia-l] A report on the Trichy wikimeetup/workshop
>The NIT-Trichy Pragyan Workshop report:
>Just got back from an awesome two days at NIT Trichy. This is only my second
>evangelism/outreach event. I have been uncomfortable shedding my semi-anonymity
>and showing up in public for a long time, but these two days have taught me what
>i have been missing. The following report is written in an anecdotal first
>person perspective and naturally feature me prominently :-).
>On day 1 we (Tinu and me) opened the Wikipedia stall at around 11.30 AM.
>Srikanth joined us sometime later. We had been allotted a 12X10 Ft stall.
>Students started trickling in soon after. The first day we made our pitch to
>around 100 students or so. We also met four or five guest speakers / panelists
>like Ajay Agarwal, CMD of Maxx group, Narendra Shenoy, director at Unimold, Vice
>Admiral SKK Krishnan and Stefan Engeseth of Detective Marketing. The response
>was overwhelmingly positive with students saying that they will edit in the
>future. Most of the students we met claim they a) know they can edit wikipedia
>and b) have made some minor edits. Some admitted they didnt know they could edit
>and some believed they contribute only to articles on academic subjects etc. We
>gave them the standard - give back your knowledge to the world + participate in
>an exciting world wide project pitch. Except one wikiskeptic who cribbed about
>the 16 million dollar budget, rest were appreciative of Wikipedia and its work.
>We also distributed a flier (attached as an odt file - commons doesnt support
>office office documents) to the people visiting the stalls. The flier was
>designed by me and Srikanth and. I believe it will work well for other indic
>wikis ( a small customisation effort is required to replace Tamil with the
>The day wound down and we were thinking about packing up around 6, when we met
>the guy who made our day. We saw this bespectacled kid staring at us curiously
>and pointing out our banner excitedly to the adult who accompanied him. We
>beckoned him to come over and asked him patronisingly has he heard of wikipedia.
>The kid says yes. Have you edited wikipedia, we ask. He says yes for that too.
>We look at each other meaningfully and say.. "what did you do? correct spelling
>mistakes?". "No", he replies seriously, "i correct wrong facts". He is an
>eighth standard student from Coimbatore and has been editing wikipedia for a
>couple of years now. It took some time to get over our shock and get his user
>ID. He says he does not use it much and edits logged out most of the time. He
>was also not aware of that a talk page exists for each user id and people can
>communicate with him. We showed him how talk pages can be used and asked him to
>edit logged-in in the future.
>And thats the story of our run-in with [[en:User:Bvajresh]] and the youngest
>(serious) Indian wikipedian, i have come across. Here's picture of us with him
>(http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trichy_Wikimeetup1_2060.jpg) There was
>one more surprise on day 1. While we were having dinner at the hotel, a father
>and son pair wandered up to our table and introduced themselves. They had seen
>our T-shirts and said they liked wikipedia very much. (Brand appeal!) We invited
>them to next day's workshop, but they were leaving Trichy the very night and
>couldnt accept the offer.
>Day 1 had definitely ended on a high.
>Day 2 began at 10 with the workshop/presentation in the NIT computer lab. It had
>a seating capacity of around 100 and was filled up completely. Apart from NIT
>students who had registered and were selected to attend the session (yes they
>had more people registering than there were seats!), there were also students
>from other colleges around Trichy who showed up for the session. Three middle
>aged wiki enthusiasts also attended to hear about Tamil wikipedia. One of them
>was a HOD of the Computer science department at an arts and science college near
>Trichy. He was impressed with our workshop and said from now on he will
>encourage his students to edit wikipedia.
>Tinu started the presentation with a general introduction to Wikipedia, the
>foundation, its history, the various projects languages etc. In the Q&A session
>that followed, someone asked how someone without paypal/credit cards can donate
>money to the foundation. We explained the cheque mailing method and assured him
>that there will be more options in the future.
>I did the second session. We went through how a typical wikipedia page looks
>like, what is a talk page, how to view revision history and practised editing in
>the sandbox. I took up the Sachin Tendulkar page in en wiki and showed them how
>the content is sourced and how a page gets updated when facts change. There were
>the usual doubts about reliability, who will monitor disruptive activities and
>who will ensure the accuracy of the content. Next i switched over to Tamil
>wikipedia and explained how easy it is to contribute using the typing tool. (A
>big thanks to Junaid, Shiju and our other ml wiki friends). Here we took up the
>example of the 2011 assembly election article and learnt how to write neutrally
>without our prejudices getting in the way. There was again a brief question
>session, which featured some insightful questions about our external links
>policy, handling regional language variations (srilankan Tamil vs Tamil Nadu
>Tamil), using Wiktionary, the difference between Wikibooks, wikisource and
>wikipedia. Srikanth took over next and the third session was about wikipedia
>hacking - bots, mediawiki, programming tools, databases, scripts, software -
>stuff that usually frightens me. This was again followed by a brief
>While Srikanth was answering the questions, i discovered that someone from the
>room had edited the ta wiki article i used as an illustration to correct a
>grammar mistake. And also someone from the crowd had done what he termed later
>as a test edit (something cluebot in enwiki would label as "vandalism?"). The
>second edit had been reverted 12 minutes later by ta wiki Admin Kanags (editing
>from Australia). We were able to use this as a sort of real time demo how edits
>are monitored and accuracy/integrity maintained in wiki projects. (We got lucky
>with that :-)). There was an loud gasp of surprise from the audience when we
>showed how the vandalism was reverted within minutes. The session ended with
>Wiki 10 celebrations - cake cutting and photographs. Unfortunately the T-shirts
>from the foundation have not reached the organisers and they weren't able to
>give them out - we had to make do with chocolates, pins and laptop stickers. The
>entire workshop lasted from 10 to 12.30 and was well received. (I have an invite
>from Amrita University, Coimbatore to do a similar workshop there :-)) Microsoft
>Wikibasha's Saravanan attended the session and we all had a long and deep
>discussion with him about how important it is for the corporates/outside orgs to
>speak to the community and get involved at the project level to avoid
>misunderstandings and getting better results. After the presentation was over,
>it was back to the stalls. This time we shifted to a open air stall near the
>food court to be nearer to the crowd thronging the food court. The stall
>remained open till 3.30 PM and had another 50 more visitors.
>Another good thing that came out the stall was we were able to convince the
>members of the NIT photography club to CC/SA licence their work and upload it to
>flickr/commons. There was an exhibition of their works in the same area where
>our stall was situated and featured several high quality images, that can be
>used to illustrate articles on Indian subjects. They have promised to set up
>flickr stream for their works with appropriate licensing.
>So there ends the long story of my visit to Trichy. A special thanks to Tinu and
>Srikanth for egging me on come out and face the crowd and enlightening me about
>the necessity for outreach work. And another special thanks for student
>organiser Nivash and his team for their outstanding hospitality and giving us a
>chance to connect with such an enthusiastic audience.
>Here are some photos from the event -
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