Supporting Indian Language Wikipedias Program/Report

Posted by Gopala Krishna A at Apr 05, 2019 09:00 PM |
CIS-A2K team submitted Project Tiger final report.

Background

In 2017–2018, the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) and Google collaborated to start a pilot project in India, working closely with the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) and the Wikimedia India chapter (WMIN). This project, titled Project Tiger was aimed at encouraging Wikipedia communities to create locally relevant and high-quality content in Indian languages. The name Project Tiger was chosen to reflect the Indian metaphor of a tiger representing a strong, or brave person (Baagh in Hindi, Puli in Tamil, etc).

Through this project, support was provided to active and experienced Wikipedia editors in the form of Chromebook donations, and stipends for Internet access. Additionally, a three-month-long editathon was conducted, as well as a language-based contest on Indic Wikipedia that aimed at addressing existing Wikipedia content gaps.

Needs Assessment

As a part of Project Tiger, CIS-A2K facilitated a needs assessment process in the month of December 2017, prompting a large number of responses between December 2017 and March 2018. Among these, the highest percentage of responses came from Wikimedians who were associated with Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. A notable percentage of responses came from students. Among 190 responses, it was found that 16% of users edit Wikimedia projects on mobile phones. Additionally, out of 189 users, 51.85% said they use laptops for editing. 73 users reported that they share their devices with others to make contributions.

Our learnings from this process are:

  • 150 users who contribute to Wikipedia belong to the age groups of 20-35 and 35-50. Younger community members can consistently bring in more contributions and have a sustainable presence within the community. Supporting these young Wikimedians is very important.

Users with personal devices can make more contributions to Wikipedia than those without them. Sharing devices between users is a barrier to maximising contributions.

  • Most users are genuinely interested in contributing to Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.
  • There is a requirement for skill development activities (Writing skills, tools, gadgets) within the Indian Wikimedia community. Skills development will directly result in increased contribution to Wikimedia projects. Additionally, Wikimedians also showed interest in obtaining easier access to books, journals, etc.

Chromebook Distribution

CIS-A2K received a large number of requests for Chromebooks and access to the Internet from community members CIS-A2K observed 271 requests for laptop and internet access (including draft requests, requests from IP address, and withdrawn requests by applicants).

In the first round of responding to these requests, 26 requests were answered with support. 11 of these 26 Chromebook recipients are female Wikipedians. In the second round of responses, CIS-A2K supported 24 requests. In just two rounds all Chromebooks were distributed among the users. Total Chromebooks are delivered are 50. The first stage of distribution involved delivery of Chromebooks to Odia Wikimedian Ssgapu22. Subsequently, we prepared a help document intended to make the Chromebooks convenient to use for Indian Wikipedians. Then the Chromebooks were transported to the recipients, either by courier (35–40 Chromebooks), or in person by community advocates at events. CIS-A2K has successfully shipped Chromebooks even to rural areas in India including the border areas of West Bengal. CIS-A2K has made a final third list which serves as a waiting list, with 25 pending requests that are open for support. Support via Chromebooks has created a noticeable increase in all forms of contributions by Wikimedians to the Wikimedia projects.

Read the complete report published on Wikipedia page

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