Last week I had the opportunity to share some thoughts on the Wikimedia Foundation's upcoming work in India with a reporter from TimeOut, who had interviewed Bishakha Datta on the WMF Board.
While the activities of the WMF in India have yet to be fully defined, I thought the responses to the reporter would be interesting to share with you all. They are appended below. Happy to discuss any aspect of the responses that might not be clear.
In addition, I am in the process of planning my visit to INdia from 20-24 Sept. I will be in Mumbai on 20-21, Delhi on 22 and Bangalore on 23-24. My objective for the visit is to spend time with community members and the chapter representatives to discuss ways WMF can work with and along side the chapter and community to advance our shared mission in India. I will also be meeting with friends and advisors of Wikimedia and I may be conducting interviews for possible staff roles with Wikimedia in India. More on this soon.
I hope to have the opportunity to spend time with as many of you as are available during this visit.
Responses to questions from Time Out India, Aditya Kundalkar
Prepared by Barry Newstead, Chief Global Development Officer, Wikimedia Foundation
August 19, 2010
Why was India chosen for Wikimedia Foundation’s office?
It is the first office outside of the US, isn’t it?
Do you feel that there are too few Indian editors as compared to Indian users of Wikipedia?
It is very clear that there are too few Indian editors today, even though we do not have the data on the exact number. Wikipedia is one of the leading websites in India and while there is great knowledge available to our Indian readers, our projects are nowhere near their full potential. For example, there are 230 million speakers of Bengali worldwide, yet there are only 21,500 articles in the Bengali Wikipedia. Hindi is spoken by 550 million, yet there are only 59,300. The same is true for most of the languages of India with the exception of English. For comparison, the English Wikipedia has over 3 million articles. I would also imagine that there are many important topics of interest to Indians that are not yet well covered in the English Wikip
Why is that so?
We believe that the reason why we don't have enough editors is multi-faceted, but resolvable through the concerted action of our community with the support of the Wikimedia India chapter and the Wikimedia Foundation team. The number one opportunity is to make people aware that they can edit Wikipedia and help them learn how. We also have some technical challenges with Indic languages, like many websites, that we want to solve with the community to make it easier to work with.
We are optimistic that the Indian community will continue to grow and thrive, though we think the recipe for success will probably differ somewhat from the US or Western Europe, where Wikimedia is very mature. Our core approach of volunteer-driven editing is working in India and our focus will be on expanding that through outreach efforts to build awareness and partnerships with educational institutions, ICT programs and others.
Internet connectivity is very important, of course and in India (and much of the world), we are going to have to figure out how to make editing pois will be a development priority for our technology development community and staff. Mobile editing will open us up to many new editors and a wide range of innovations.
We hope that Indians will make donations to support Wikimedia's work. We already have donors from India and we hope tha
-- Barry Newstead Chief Global Development Officer Wikimedia Foundation Tel: +1-415-839-6885 x. 634 Skype: barry.wikimedia Twitter: @bazanews
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