Hindustani Language: We Are Wikipedia

Posted by Syed Muzammiluddin at Mar 27, 2015 09:00 PM |
In 2014, the Centre for Internet and Society's Access to Knowledge team (CIS-A2K) embarked on a new social media-based initiative - WeAreWikipedia. The aim of the project was "One Wikimedian every week to tell untold community stories on Twitter".

Read the original published on Wikipedia page here.


Although CIS-A2K has the mandate of promoting Wikimedia Projects only in India, by virtue of the inherent power of Twitter and Internet, the project was able to attract Wikipedians from virtually all parts of the world - India, Cambodia, Israel, USA, and a number of other countries for curating WeAreWikipedia account on Twitter. The enriching outcome was these Wikipedians' expression of community views and as well as their own editing and Wiki World experiences in the form of short and succinct tweets. These messages give a more clear pictures of happenings than tons of blogposts, videos and lengthy articles which we find today scattered over the internet.

In February 2015, I attended the first Hindi Wiki Sammelan Meet in Delhi. This event was also supported by CIS-A2K. It was attended by 15 people, including three administrators of the Hindi Wikipedia: Ashish Bhatnagar, Aniruddha Kumar and Sanjeev Kumar. Also present were two reviewers: Piyush Maurya and my humble self. During the meet, one of the participants, Manish Panday, demonstrated the massive reach and impact of "Twittercasting" the event proceedings. This drew a keen interest from the Hindi Wikipedians with the Hindi Wikipedia admin Ashish Bhatnagar taking the lead in curating the "WeAreWikipedia" shortly after the meet. As his one week of curation came to end, he asked as to who would curate next. I volunteered to be part of this exercise. My CIS ex-colleague Subhashish Panigrahi informed about allocating the week March 2-9 for me, which I agreed.

As a Wikimedian, I made it a point to first showcase the developments within Hindi Wikipedia such as the notable articles written during the week, the discussions on the Hindi transliteration of non-Hindi names/ titles, village pump discussions, etc.I also shared suggestions with some of the Hindi Wikipedians on editing aspects.

A remarkable development during the week was publication of my report on Hindi Wiki Sammelan Meet in Delhi and its Hindi translation by Ashish Bhatnagar on Wikimedia Foundation Blog. I was delighted to post the information of both these developments on Twitter. In fact, Ashish Bhatnagar favorited my Twitterpost about the Hindi translation. . In addition to Hindi Wikipedia, I was also vocal on the developments at the language front such as Kavita Path Pratiyogita (Poetry Competition) by HindiUSA, Unicode converters, Hindi blogs, developments in Urdu and other Indian languages. I also highlighted some of the projects such as Speedydeletion Wikia, Manypedia, blogpost/ online forum discussions on Wikipedia as well as the rise of mobile edits on Indian Wiki projects.

Since March 8 or Women's Day happened during the week, I made many tweets during the week about the commemorative Wikipedia Editathons both in India and abroad, including those in places like Latin America. I also tweeted about important events such GLAM-WIKI 2015 conference, Erasmus Prize 2015 for Wikipedia, Howard University's efforts to fill in Wikipedia’s gaps in Black History, etc.

I was glad to highlight many important issues during my week as a curator. This included the special media attention abroad given to people who edit Wikipedia or Wikimedia projects such as the featured interview of Bryan Henderson in the The Independent. I suggested that there is a need for such an encouraging gesture to the contributors of Wikimedia projects. I remember some of the Wikipedians favoriting this message as they concurred with me. I also stressed on the need to reinforce fresh lease of life in projects such as Devanagari Wikis Monitoring Team as an active team will benefit not just Hindi but all Wiki Projects in Devanagari-based languages.

The most pleasing aspect of my curator experience were the proactive discussions, retweets, favoriting, of many of my messages. I witnessed an instant response when I mentioned how beautifully the bot-assisted Twitter account "PakistanEdits" posts about anonymous edits from Pakistan on English Wikipedia and the need for a similar tool for India. One Wikipedian promised to work on finding a similar solution to this idea. Similarly, my Twitterpost on the time-barred "Hindi Wiki Sammelan" message notification on every page of Bhojpuri Wikipedia was removed instantly. A still surprising reaction was seen only a few days back when a gentleman enquired about how he can contribute to fill the need for Sanskrit text in the online Vietnamese Wikipedia guestbook page - this response comes after a fortnight of my tweet, and two persons had curated the Twitter account during this period.

Thus, I believe that my messages were well received and my interactions with other Twitter-users were friendly, informative and extremely fruitful. A summary of my curator experience is as follows:

Description of TweetsNumber
No of Unique Tweets 148
My Tweets Retweeted 53
My Tweets Favorited 63
My Discussed Tweets 12
Others Tweets I Retweeted 27
Followers+ 34
Following+ 17
Image Uploads 5

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