WikiConference 2016 set to give boost to Wikipedias of India

WikiConference 2016 set to give boost to Wikipedias of India

Chandigarh, Aug 4 (IANS) India, a key growth area for Wikipedia, is gearing up for a national conference “for Wikimedians in India to meet and share their views, discuss challenges and exchange useful tips, best practices and other information”.

While the conference is open to “Wikipedians” from across the globe, organisers announced here that it would have a “very distinct Indian flavour and will deal primarily with issues relating to India on Wikipedia and its sister projects”.

Wikipedia, founded in 2001, is the world’s sixth-most popular website in terms of overall visitor traffic. Its worldwide monthly readership totals almost 500 million.

Since 2011, the Wikipedia has been working to expand its growth in India, and it held its first Indian conference in Mumbai in November that year, which was attended by 700 persons and addressed by website founder Jimmy Wales.

This year, the meet takes place from August 5-8 in Chandigarh, the city and a Union territory of a million population that serves as the capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana.

“The main objective is to reduce the gap between different communities and get help from other community members on technical issues and other things like best practices in decision making and how we resolve the disputes in the community,” the organisers said.

Those attending including Wikimedia Foundation executive director Katherine Maher, board member Nataliia Tymkiv, senior programme officer for emerging Wikimedia communities Asaf Bartov, language engineering team international manager Runa Bhattacharjee, Punjabi poet Dr Surjit Patar, and Wikipedia education programme senior manager Tighe Flanagan.

From India, participants will include The Centre for Internet and Society executive director Sunil Abraham, and Wikimedia India president Yohann Varun Thomas.

This event includes “hackathons” and “edit-a-thons” — collective workings towards improving the content available online. It will also see sessions on the Wikimedia movement in India, examples of its use in education, innovative tech solutions from India, content translation, a “gentle introduction” to Wikidata, gender gaps, and case studies from various Indian languages.

Participants are coming from the Wikipedias in languages including Punjabi, Kannada, Odia, Tamil, English, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam, Urdu, Sindhi, Hindi and Chinese.

Because of its widespread popularity — and contrary to fears that a website “anyone” can edit will not have quality — the Wikipedia notches often among the highest results when information is searched for on the world wide web.

It is a project supported by the Wikimedia Foundation and based on a model of “openly editable content”. As the site explains: “The name Wikipedia is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning quick) and encyclopedia.”

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