CIS-A2K/Indic Languages/Telugu/Discussions/2011

This page documents the discussions I have had with few Telugu wiki community members. For these discussions, I reached out to everyone I knew and tried to connect with some I didn't through Email-user facility/talk pages. I have created this page based on those interactions. Since then, some community members whom I couldn't contacted earlier have asked to share their views. I request you to share them directly with me personally at I request you NOT to post directly on this page. (In the cases below, I have removed personal details to protect privacy, any personal remarks to try and keep the learning focused and the discussions constructive.) And most important is, all the initial discussions that happened in 2011 were to get the community started sharing the ideas. This will continue in 2012 and in coming years also. Please post your comment/opinion/views regarding the below discussions on the talk page of this page.

2011 Assamese Bengali Gujarati Hindi Kannada Malayalam Marathi Nepali Odia Sanskrit Tamil Telugu Summary of discussions

Comments from Editor1Edit

1. How you reached Telugu Wikipedia?

Just through following the happenings on Internet. I became interested in Telugu in 2005-06 time frame as part of my general interest on Linux.

2. Why you decided you must contribute to Telugu wikipedia?

I started editing only in 2007. My experiments with Telugu support on Linux gave rise the urge to share what I learnt. I thought instead of blog, wikipedia would be ideal, as everyone could contribute it. Little did I know about the policies at that time, as my first entry on Redhat linux and telugu support was entirely a personal view.

3. How active are you? What kind of topics you usually edit? Why do you edit?

Reasonably active in the sense, that I devote couple of hours per week on the average. I tried different topics including experimental wikiproject on education and employment. I am part of phase 2 of that, though not as active.

4. Have you attended or conducted outreach sessions?If yes, what was the outcome? What were the positives and negatives from these outreach programs?

In the last couple of years, I am concentrating more on admin role and outreach. I did about 5 outreach programs in few engineering/MCA towns near my native village. I interacted with e-telugu organization, global internet forum for Telugu, Swecha (Free software organization) to push for promotion of Wikipedia and other free software projects.

5. Have you attended or organised community meet-ups? What was the outcome? What were the positives and negatives from these meet-ups?

Wiki ten celebrations at Bangalore, Hyderabad are the only Telugu meetups, that I organized or spoke. There is interest from participants and we really need some focused individuals, who can run them.

6. What has been your experience in adding content or encouraging content on specific topics?

Active wikipedians are few. Each has usually some niche area and it has been difficult to grow this group.

7. How are the technical challenges/issues been for your language? Now, is it easy for a new user to start contributing in wiki easily. How about interface translation and other things?

Interface was handled well long ago. Phonetic support has been there for a long time. We have a good collection of articles on wikipedia, help through telugu blogs, but we need a really few evangelistic wikipedians who are ready to go out and help others get started.

8. How is the interaction between Telugu wiki community members? Is there is enough interaction? Or, is it just users working in their own way by just creating articles and not having much interaction with other users? Do you benefit from the discussion with other community members?

Decline in community interaction started some time in 2008, with some of the active people leaving to focus more on other interests. I became more a gardner of admin pages, when I found that no body is attending to them.

9. Could you share any and all ideas - small or big, successful & not-so-sucessful - that you think can help drive Telugu and other Indic language projects?
  • We started e-magazine Tewiki vartha and released five issues. I found support from five or six people to bring these issues.
  • There is a need for a focussed group of people at couple of places in Andhra pradesh to promote Telugu wiki projects.
  • There needs to be more collaboration between free software groups and wiki projects.
  • Recently I was able to comfortably operate on a smart phone(middle price range) in Telugu and I think proliferation of these phones will help a lot, when there is a systematic outreach on the ground.

Comments from Editor2Edit

1. In 2007 September, when I was doing my PG, I was browsing English wikipedia once. As you know, the side bar shows different language versions of the same article. Since telugu is my mother tongue, naturally I searched for Telugu, clicked on that link and ended up in Te-wiki. That's how my fascination for telugu wiki started. Since then I have been contributing to Telugu wikipedia.

2. Like most of the netizens, I look to google for the information that I don't know. Most of my searches were showing wikipedia articles. I realized the importance of Wikipedia. The idea of building encyclopedia with the help of people all over the world fascinated me. When I came to telugu wiki,though it is not growing at the rate en-wiki is growing, lot of enthusiasts were working on it. I found a lot of information is not available in telugu wiki. Hence I decided to contribute to telugu wiki first. But occasionally I contribute to English wiki also.

3. Initially I was very active since that was my college days. There was a time when I made 500 edits in a day.But now that is reduced. I do around 50 edits per month. I would like to edit any topic. But my favorite topics are Hinduism, Mythology, History, Technology, Scientists, Telugu Literature. I started many articles, but I edit the article if it is very small or if some information is missing/incorrect.

4. I was part of conducting an outreach session to Telugu writers and journalists in 2010 once. We got a tremondous response and all the people were very enthusiastic to know about telugu wiki. After this session we find articles from telugu wiki appear in news papers also!

5. I participated in a wiki meetup conducted in Hyderabad. Outcome was very positive. All the enthusiasts came together and shared their experiences.

We used to dedicate a week/month for improving specific area. With the limited number of people we could improve those areas. For typing telugu, I did not face any problem because there are many transliteration tools available for telugu( lekhini, indic input extension etc...) and we made them popular through many ways including blogs, workshops, news articles etc... The interaction between wiki members has been okay. But some older people used to get angry when the younger people tried to explain wikipedia rules. some people just don't like their changes to be modified by somebody else. I feel taking wikipedia to more and more people will improve it further. We should motivate people why wikipedia is important in our lives and how it is useful.

Comments from Editor3Edit

1. I always have great interest in knowing something new. When I began using web, I used the search option to read some thing new. That is how I reached English wikipedia. Once I found wikipedia i understood that there are many things available in English. First I begin reading english articles. After that I begin search for Telugu. When i get telugu, I understood that telugu wikipedia did not have enough articles. By that time I understood that i know any one can edit or write in wikipedia. Then I began contributing to Telugu wikipedia.

2. I edit 3 to 4 hours a day. I translate some english article about cities. As of now I have translated more than 10 American cities and 4 countries. I have interest to write about Hindu dharma. I have interest in other topics also. I feel happy to do this work.

3. I live outside Andhra. Most of the telugu wikepedians working from Andhra. Because of that I can not participate in outreach sessions. But i think outreach sessions give better and positive results.

4. I didnot attended any community meet-ups. But I watch their program in web. I think it give best result.

5. My co wikipedians encourage me very well. I feel happy with all of them.

6. Telugu wikipedia is easy to edit. I think now it is easy for a new commer to contribute editing in telugu wikipedia.

Comments from Editor4Edit

1. Why you decided you must contribute to Telugu Wikipedia?

I had been benefiting from English Wikipedia. I realized the benefits of free content. So, I thought it is the best way to put together knowledge in Telugu, too. Also, when I get to see things from other countries, I saw they do things in their language. In our company, we process financial reports of public companies all over the world. More than 50% of those reports are non-English. We spend a lot of resources (time and money) to translate them.

I should say, we (Indic language wikipedans) are rare animals, from Indian perspective. That's the revelation I got one day (after lot of days, though). Another realization for me is the news paper experience. When I read news in English dailies I don't get the feel. Subconsciously, I am drawn towards a Telugu daily nearby. At some point, these two (only we are different and unable to feel news in English) merged to make me think about Telugu. From then, I stopped feeling bad about not being able to conversant in English and started thinking about doing something

Free software and wikipedia proved to me that individuals can make things happen. I started contributing to whatever ways I can help or promote Telugu. I put together a simple Telugu typing tool, created a Telugu blog aggregator, started editing in Telugu wikipedia, participating in various localization projects with friends, formed an organization called e-Telugu to promote Telugu on computers and web

In terms of my contributions to Telugu Wikipedia, content-wise it is very less. My contributions are more or technical front. Also I did lot of localization of MediaWiki. To a good extent in terms of of publicity and helping others in editing

2. Have you attended or conducted outreach sessions?If yes, what was the outcome? What were the positives and negatives from these meet-ups?

We did couple of wiki academies, one online academy, one wiki marathon and the response was not great of course, they helped to an extent. we also got a cover story about TeWiki in in couple of Telugu dialies' sunday books. We get couple articles about 'Telugu on the web' in those dailies. mentioning TeWiki. These got great response. but, not many came back

Generally, not many people (who are interested in Telugu) are tech-savvy and many still didn't get the concept of incremental growth (they want the article look like a good one in the beginning it self). Many does not show interest in exploring and self-learning

That causes many quit trying on small barriers like not knowing how to categorize. Help pages need great improvements--content, consistency, simplicity. For new users (especially for people who are not tech-savy) that will be very useful

And, telugu blogs are one reason for people not turning up for wiki. The default typing tool in TeWiki is not that great. we should get Narayam I wanted to make.

Some struggle with fonts (<= XP). With Windows 7's share, I think this will be less and less problem

These days, the discussions are very less we used to have really good discussions, may be because of the user retention problem. Some of the discussion helped me in terms of knowing policies, etc. Important thing is they provided motivation. I think in earlier days, 2006 and so on, there were more cooperation. I remember those days editors are helping each and every new user. I also benefited from

3. Can you share any and all ideas - small or big, sucessful & not-so-sucessful - that you think can help drive Indic language projects?

In my opinion, the reach of wikipedia is very less or limited. Some of my friends know nothing more than that it comes at the top in search results. Thinking about only 1% or 2% of people who knew become editors...we really had good number of editors. They cannot bat for long. may be that's happening for once-active editors by increasing the reach by large numbers, we can make more editors. That's my theory.

Say our advt can reach 1000 people, 10 turned up to workshops. Now if we can reach 10 lakh people, 1000 people can take a look at wikipedia and 100 can probably can attend a workshop and probably 5 become active editors. The idea is not to get every one a editor at least in the beginning. The idea is to make them aware. When they are in need of info, they know where to come. The rest of the process is as it happens now

We need to send only one sentence to the whole of India or at least net-connected India You have Wikipedia in your language. That one sentence is enough. I think they can figure out... and we need to think efficient ways to sending it out

We have tried in 2006 through 2008 since then lot of people got access to web we just need to get back that enthu. I feel if we get local support then most of these issues can be sorted out. Local support + a wiki in local language will make feel that thisnis their project

Others are regular ideas like widgets, etc. We are doing something like this: that reads...Telugu wikipedia needs 769 articles of 50K. Here is the widget in action on a blog: This is 2 hrs of work for me, 5 min for experienced developers

I've a long term idea. That's about free content. Generally, in India, there is no respect for copyright. This is more in philosophical terms. That awareness creates long term contributors. Making govt aware about free software and content will help wiki in long run