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

This page documents the discussions I have had with few Malayalam 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 shiju@wikimedia.org. 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

Editor1Edit

1. How you reached Malayalam Wikipedia?

In short:

A natural outcome for a man who love his home grounds but was forced to live far away from where he always wanted to belong to.


But perhaps, I may have to elaborate on this!

So, the really long answer:

As a regular internet user then, I was aware of the humble beginnings of Wikipedia as a domain during early 2000s. In fact, like the many such experiments that were going on during that time, I took Wikipedia really very lightly. The whole setup looked like fun and casual! But the important feature that seemed attractive was the ability to edit, that too any(!) page on a domain-server based remote location that is visible to any person! Right after the dotcom crash, that was very liberal for a serious company or venture! I even played with the front page for a few days, repeatedly adding my name or renaming Wikipedia rhyming to my own name! And it worked too! But only for a few minutes or hours until someone else will revert it back!
However, after the initial interest, I gave up the whole idea of lurking or visiting the domain regularly. It did not look like a place to check for information. It was too tiny for any real knowledge except for obvious facts that you know anyway or can be made available from some Yahoo or Alta vista search.
Certainly, I did not think about a user ID. I was not even sure if there was a logging facility there then. Even if there was, my want of remaining as anonymous as possible was so strong that I would not prefer to keep an ID anyway.
Over the following few years, it was only natural that I would look out for the onset of Malayalam as an important subdomain of Wikipedia.org. In fact, we, a few internet-enabled Malayalam netizens used to have a somewhat similar kind of collaborations for knowledge gathering at the casual guestbook of http://Kerala.com since 1997.
However, the following years (until early 2004), were politically and geographically eventful for the place where I was living. Public domain online activities were either highly controlled or monitored. Everything was probably looked upon suspiciously by someone higher up.
As the http://ml.wikipedia.org arrived, the potential users faced a real serious problem. A suitable Unicode font that yields and renders Malayalam text. There simply was not any until the arrival of AnjaliOldLipi.ttf, (The "old" here stands for the kind of conventional script conjectures that was in practice until a half-failed font renovation attempt by the authorites of Kerala.) Anjali was a pure amateur effort by an expatriate young man and his wife (Kevin & Siji), almost as a fun project that, he thought, will help printing a catalog of the Malayalam books in his little lending library. He would not identify that casual but strenuous job then, will one day turn out to be a major milestone in the history of Malayalam Computing!
With Anjali Unicode font and a Unicode text input program called "Varamozhi" (maintained by Cibu CJ), the path for http://ml.wikipedia.org was laid open. It was only a matter of time, Malayalam-loving bloggers and chatters would slowly be lured into the creation of the empire that would later be known as Malayalam Wikipedia.
I happened to be in that stream. First as an anonymous user and then (sorrily very late, one of the prime repentances I shall ever hold) with an ID proper :-)

2. Why did you decide you must contribute to Malayalam wikipedia?

I originally belonged to a village. However, unlike most of my co-citizens, I was much luckier to be able to study further and enter a career that would take me almost all over India and the outside world. No matter where I live or what I become, there was always a feeling that I ultimately belong to my own people. The computers and then Internet and finally Wikipedia opened up a novel way to return my debts to my villagers. In the course, I foresaw great potentials for co-learning. But even more important, the great generation gap (more than ever in the past) has been causing rapid decay of a certain branch of knowledge: the ancient and folklore wisdom. The rural men of old generation knew about things from a completely different perspective. And a lot of that actually offered more effective and practical solutions for their own set of problems.
Exchanging old and new ideas and symbiotically connecting them was the need of time. Much more than ever before.
Wikipedia stood as a grand solution, just in time!
And being a man who speaks, thinks and sleeps in Malayalam, which other language would be more befitting for me, if I decide to work and collaborate in Wikipedia?


3. How active are you? and What type of topics you usually edit?

This is a rather difficult question for me. To tell the truth, my direct online edit histories have been very poor. My efforts were more onto luring more and more users to the great idea called Wikipedia. I would rather get a handful of suitable (say subject matter experts or web-skilled volunteers) persons to work on a page than doing the editing job myself. To that end, I would first work towards enabling Malayalam input in all possible ways in all possible computers. Blogging and other social networking opportunities seemed more attractive to the people. Hence, I would lurk among those terrains and show them what is possible within Wikipedia.
Besides, I would grab any chance to talk or preach about Wikipedia in the real physical world.
By now, Malayalam Wikipedia has already passed the initial ignition phase. There seems to be enough activity within the editing community that it cannot die down anymore as a mission. So, these days, I too have committed a lot of my time into editing or refining wiki pages.
Besides, general architectural participation, I often concentrate on templates, categorization and policy matter discussions.


4. Why do you edit in Wikipedia?

I see this as the best way to engrave the marks somewhere, of my having lived in this world ever, even after I am long gone within a few decades from now. At first, I thought we were just writing history. Only later, now I realize, we are actually creating history!

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

Yes. Besides a few programmed community outreach sessions, I had personally conducted my own one-man orientation speeches and sessions several times, mostly in the country where I used to work where there is a lot of expatriate Indians. The primary aim was to make them aware of the presence of Wikipedia as an important learning tool. I am pretty sure that it is only a matter of time, once a habitual reader, an editor one becomes just by pure human instinct to correct and fix what is broken.
As for my own Wikipedia (i.e. Malayalam) the biggest challenge is Text Input methods. Most computers do not arrive from the shops with readily installed language subsets. Most users are pre-trained or learning computing methods in English. By habit, they are already somewhat comfortable with English. If only there were readily available Indic tools, all of them would prefer to use Malayalam (or their local Indic mother tongue).
On the positive side, every session yields a few new users. Not necessarily they all become regular editors. But a good section eventually get used to Reading Wikipedia. They also become 'Word of Mouth' ambassadors for Wikipedia ventures. Having attended a Wikipedia outreach session makes many of them feel having patronized. A bit of possessiveness adds a lot to self-recruiting fleet in a revolution.
Surprisingly, as from my own experience, it is the less empowered people (urban/rural, rich / poor, highly educated / no-literates, any types of contrasts) who end up as more productive and useful for the community on a long term. It seems, to them, Wikipedia brings a new pathway to open up, tread and adventure. They keep their dismay unlike their counterparts who generally keeps an attitude of 'Have seen that and all!"!


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

Please see the above answer.
Peer to peer eye-ball meetings can be exponentially productive.
Among net-enabled Malayalees all over the globe, there is a strong feeling of togetherness. This is probably because:
  • Many are living away from their own hometowns and being online offers tremendously satiating feeling. (Kerala has a diaspora population that is more than 10% of its home population.)
  • The political and social neurology of Kerala has an inherent design for such integral socializing. Online community is in fact, only an evolution of their former habits of collective newspaper reading and village library evenings.
Among net-enabled Malayalees, (either within Kerala or outside), the desire for mutual association is so strong that the advent of social networking sites (Blogs, Orkut, Facebook, Chat Groups etc.) have only catalyzed an already existing spirit. Development of Wikipedia has taken significant energy from these associations. Many users are already familiar to their co-wikians even as they just start entering Wikis with their first registered log in handles.
So, in a way, at Malayalam Wikipedia, we users meet each other almost everyday, almost every minute!
Besides, we often make party time. They happen in different names: Blog Meets, Face Book Meets, whatever. But all such meets eventually hold a portfolio for Wikipedia by chance or by design and end up as non-planned Wikipedia meet-ups!
Often that is also an occasion for rivaling photography with the ultimate aim of getting events and objects into Wikimedia commons!


7. What has been your experience in adding content or encouraging content on specific topics in Malayalam Wikipedia?

A few individuals or groups work as subsets within Wikipedia user community focusing into particular arenas of knowledge domains. Even without the intervention or involvement of the Wikipedia administrators or sysops, these subsets may be working towards adding the share of knowledge that aids their interests or motives (political, religious or social). In that aspect, they perform dedicated and determined. Naturally, one might immediately tend to ask the question of NPOV. The general user community is very much aware of such interest- motivated user subsets and therefore regularly watch their direction and content added as such. This has ensured a gradual but consistent growth in those knowledge-sectors.
Two constantly hot pages within ml.Wikipedia are (a) the single line article elimination project and (b) discussion on notability. The community picks and chooses single -line articles or stubs and place them in a special discussion page. Strong arguments both pro and con are taken in and discussed. The results are very encouraging. Most articles (with any real scope for becoming a full-featured article) are worked up to a more presentable body. The ones which are really not worthy are removed at the end of the discussion.
A few users who are subject matter experts in certain fields work up their own way and adapts and maintains their own sets of articles. They give and take help when needed from the mainstream community.
One of the issues we face is a lack of standards and adequate local equivalents (translations) of deeply technical words. There are separate dedicated pages maintained as lists for each such faculty. The words in the list are discussed and adapted for long term use which eventually becomes standard terminology.
The Wikisource and Wiktionary too have their own modes of collaborated content development. A school from a village in Kerala is already famous for digitizing whole volumes of copyleft books and uploading them to Wikisource. Similarly, the Wiktionary received two or three boost doses through which, large number of entry words (with their details of course) were imported into the Wiktionary pages in a matter of days.
We have also conducted some time-bound projects in order to promote media uploads into Wikimedia commons.


8. How active are the sister projects (Wikisource, Wiktionary, and other projects) in Malayalam?

In Malayalam, the Wiki* projects have a somewhat balanced growth. (Wiktionary may need more attention in this regard). The Wikisource has been very active recently. We have used the built-in facilities of Wikimedia digital book splitting utility (into page frame images) which has considerably improved the rate of incoming content.


9. 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.

Like most Indic Wikis, the Input methods and technically complex rendering issues have impeded the entry and sustenance of new users into both reading and editing Wikipedia pages.
In the case of Malayalam, the problem was further aggravated by long sustained arguments about acceptability of standards (Unicode 5.1) with some of the Malayalam characters (Chillus) and the corresponding encoding in Unicode. Though the issue was not just for Wikipedia, but applicable for the entire space of Malayalam computing, the effect of this factor on Wikipedia's natural growth was significant.
Even now, the OS providers (Mostly Microsoft, which still enjoy a lion's share of the common computer market) have not been very keen on ensuring the perfect character input and rendering features within the (Indic ) localized versions of their products. From the perspective of a new/casual user, every new system needs at least a few technically cumbersome tuning and re-configuration if they need to work with Malayalam on the go. A new user may have to get some degree of external help to set up a freshly installed computer to make it ready for comfortable reading / editing in Wiki.
My own personal surveys and interviews with the common people from different walks of life reveals that the penetration of Wikipedia in general and Malayalam Wikipedia in particular is still at a pitifully low level. These include people like
  • a) who use computers for their official work in Government / private offices
  • b) who use computers for their small-scale / medium-scale business (Such as DTP/WP/Graphics/Job typing etc.)
  • c) who use computers at their home for family networking / social networking / internet
  • d) who supplies / services IT hardware
  • e) Political leaders, administrators and senior executives
  • f) mainstream college students (of IT and other faculties)
  • g) School students who are being oriented to computers through curriculum
In the case of (f) and (g), the penetration factor is growing up much faster in recent years. This is partly due to the initiatives of Wikipedia outreach efforts and the governmental interventions. The government has been looking at the need of introducing easily accessible and collaborative knowledge-ware to the academic syllabus at an early age. Their efforts through programs such as IT@school have started showing promising results albeit at a slower rate than desirable. Contrary to what one might expect, the school students show much better self-motivation and vision than even their counter parts.
To accelerate the growth of Wikipedia penetration, the most important sectors can be identified as (e),(d),(c) and (b) in that particular order. (e) can effectively bring up large social changes in policy and strategy while (d) can provide the technical features that normal users require for easy computing.
(c) is the largest sector that can spare enough time and involvement into Wikipedia as they get to know the potential of WP both as a source and destination. Their learning curve can be made much steeper and efficient if (d) is already empowered by adequate technical knowledge.
Sectors (b) and eventually (a) are driven by market demand that is generated by (c),(e),(f) and (g). We can only force them to adapt to the available technology and resources by driving the market demand generated through the above sectors.


10. What are the challenges you see in growing a wiki community for Malayalam?

  1. Kerala is a land of great political and social consciousness. But, sometimes it caters to it's own disadvantages! Wikipedia too may have to take its share of such reactions at unpredictable turn of events and developments. At some point, the Wikipedia may become prey to sectorial / political/ religious / social vested interests. The power and massive reach of Wikipedia as a source of information emanation may prompt such groups to use it as a propaganda machine. I think, in the days to come, the biggest responsibility of committed true Wikipedians of India, shall be to maintain the extreme vigilance required to overcome such attempts. In Malayalam, we are already conscious of this and we have been fairly successful in averting any such plans.
  2. The Wikipedia may need a lot of legal support and consultancy as it may be subjected to deliberate or inadvertent breaches of established and governed laws. The large number of users from different fields of life may input and interpret the wiki pages in ways we have not yet imagined even. Whether it is intellectual copy right issues or national security or civil privacy, a normal dedicated Wikipedian may not be apt enough to counter such situations. This might call for professional (and paid) legal assistance. We may also have to clearly pre-define the list of stakeholders and their responsibility matrix in such aspects.
  3. Like many parts of world, the local languages of India, (and in particular Malayalam) is facing a threat of existence as a medium of day-to-day communication. This is more so in case of upper class and college educated citizens. The audio-visual electronic media, who could have helped avert this gradual drift, has been actually thrusting this flow. As a local language Wikipedia, Malayalam too faces this challenge. The effect is immediately visible as a shortage of suitable technical terms (in pure Malayalam) and phrases that are equally acceptable to all people. The whole population needs an apex body to collaborate, corroborate and establish such glossary and standards.


11. How is the interaction between Malayalam wiki community members? Is there is enough interaction? Do you benefit from the discussion with other community members?

At Malayalam Wikipedia, we seem to be comfortably ahead of our counterparts in other Indic programs in this aspect. A large chunk of the active users (editors) are in constant touch with others either through online or physical means. At the same time, each is very concious of the privacy barriers and never bothers someone who wishes not to impart his/her personal detail. Mostly, we have very amicable mutual relations and consensus. Even during conflicting discussions, we are experts in agreeing to disagree.
However, (as I stressed during the WCI2011 at Mumbai), our interactions with other Indic Wikimedia communities are at very very levels. Only a few, if at all, get connected to neighborhood Wikipedias. Even those who do are mostly in terms of development of technical tools or in policy matter discussions and mailing lists.
I think, taken the whole portfolio of Indian Wikipedia programs, this is one of the most important tasks ahead.


12. Could you share any and all ideas - small or big, successful & not-so-successful - that you think can help drive Malayalam and other Indic language projects?

Apart from all that elaborated above, I would say "Penetrate the market and get more people involved. Identify fertile segments and focus strategies in taking Wikipedia to them.'
India and Wikipedia together could be the greatest model of Symbiotic Social Growth among all such that has ever happened in the history of life forms!

Editor2Edit

1. How you reached Malayalam Wikipedia?

I came to Malayalam Wikipedia through an article published on Mathrubhimi daily Sunday supplement on September 2, 2007.


2.Why you decided you must contribute to Malayalam Wikipedia?

After i read the Sunday supplement article i found that there are no information about my native place in Malayalam Wikipedia. I created a stub article about my place left it there. After few hours when i found that article is wikified and added some more information. Then i started collecting more information and edited the article. Eventually i started learning wiki syntax the article became big. I got some good comments about this on my talk page. This gives me more enthusiasm and looked in to the articles about Malayalam literature which i am interested in.


3. How active are you? and What type of topics you usually edit?

I think i am one of the highly active wikipedian in Malayalam :) I usually edit all types of articles. There is no restriction on topics.


4. Why do you edit in wikipedia?

It gives more knowledge and it gives me some kind of pleasure and happiness.


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

Yes i had. i have conducted/attended more than 15 outreach activities in Malayalam. Lot of people who are residing in Kerala is interested in Wikipedia. But they have less resources to edit on sites like wikipedia. Most of the people are accessing Internet from Cyber cafe or using low speed connections. Many of them have limited broadband connection and hence hesitant to edit wikipedia. Also there is no proper way to render Malayalam on browsers. Most of the browsers/OS need a hack to render Malayalam properly which most of the people are not aware of.


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

Same as above


7. How active are the sister projects (Wikisource, Wiktionary, and other projects) in Malayalam?

Wiki Source,Wiktionary,Wikiquote are active in Malayalam. But Malayalam Wikibooks is less active.


8. 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.

For people who are aware about web/computer programming can easily learn wiki editing. But for ordinary users it is very difficult to learn it.


9. What are the challenges you see in growing a wiki community for Malayalam?

Technical limitation is one main challenge. Every one should able to read Malayalam properly in any OS without any extra setting. Also wiki editing should be simplified. Another challenge is people in Kerala are less interested to learn Malayalam or something related to Malayalam. Even if they know Malayalam people are interested to speak in English (or Hindi!)


10. How is the interaction between Malayalam wiki community members? Is there is enough interaction? Do you benefit from the discussion with other community members?

There is very good interaction between Malayalam Wiki community members. We have an active mailing list and mailing list of each district in Kerala. We also have Facebook community, twitter account, help blogs etc to spread the awareness about Malayalam Wiki projects.

VaishakEdit

1. How you reached Malayalam Wikipedia?

I've reached here through one of my friends who is a wikipedian whom I got through Google Buzz.


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

Malayalam is my mother tongue and I thought I can contribute here better than any other language and of-course 'I' have to do the best to bring up it.


3. How active are you? and What type of topics you usually edit?

I do edit when I feel ALONE and BORED :) I do edit the info what I get; no matter what topic it is. Anything which I feel that it has to be in the Wikipedia.


4. Why do you edit in wikipedia?

To share the knowledge I got. It will help me to gain the knowledge too.


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

Yes


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

Yes, I've attended 4th Annual meet up at Kannur. To meet the fellow wikipedians, make the relationship stronger and get knowledge (about wiki activities) from them.


7. What has been your experience in adding content or encouraging content on specific topics in Malayalam wikipedia?

I used to type in Malayalam, so thought I can use this expertise in ML Wiki. I've searched for the content of topics which I've selected in books, news papers and other websites and gathered them and write in Wiki Style :)


8. How active are the sister projects (Wikisource, wiktionary, and other projects) in Malayalam?

No, I'm not active in Other Sister projects of ML Wikipedia.


9. 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.

Translation is OK(Some words may be crazy for normal people; who familiarized with ENGLISH technical words; but all will get used to it)

Most of the people who are active in INTERNET knows how to type in Malayalam. So typing may not be a problem, it will take some time to know the WIKI


10. What are the challenges you see in growing a wiki community for Malayalam?

Getting the valuable/reliable SOURCES for citation is a big challenge.


11. How is the interaction between Malayalam wiki community members? Is there is enough interaction? Do you benefit from the discussion with other community members?


Sure. It was very nice to be with the fellow wikipedians. "People with different way of thinking(and of-course age too) joins together for one AIM!" This is how I DEFINE the wikipedians

FuaadEdit

1. How you reached Malayalam Wikipedia?

Alway been interested in referring encyclopedias. Ever since childhood.When computers began one of the first CDs I obtained was a pirated version of Encyclopedia Britanica. This was way back in 1999 I think. So being attracted to wikipedia was only natural I believe.Getting to Malayalam wikipedia was only a natural next step


2. Why you decided you must contribute to Malayalam wiki?

Simple. Bcoz I realized" I could ! Therefore I must." It required only a bit of patience and not much technical skills.


3. How active are you? and What type of topics you usually edit?

Seems like I am the only serious contributor in Wikiquotes :)

In wikipedia my favourite topics of contribution are Medica/ history/ controversies/ science. Have also contributed with my own translation of Aesops fables in Wikisource . Also have done work in wiktionary. I think for my age I have done my bit!


4. Why do you edit in wikipedia?

Edumund Hilary was once asked " Why did youclimb Everest?" He is reported to have said "Bcoz it is there. !" I edit wikipedia mainly and solely bcoz I can . I seem to be a language lover also . Therefore I add my two cents to the language and spread of knowledge.


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

Yes. Have played a major role in conducting academy sessions in 7 instances over the last 1 year.I should honestly say that the Academy Sessions do not seem to be doing much in creating awareness or fetching new active wikipedians.The participants in academy sessions evince interest , but it does not reflect in their use .They do not stay.But academy sessions provided me oppurtunities to interact with fellow wikians both online and in person and also gave me a consolation that I have done my bit .:)


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

Have attended only the Kerala wikimeetup . Once only. It was an occasion to meet online acquaintenance in person. I think such meetups are necessary to keep the fraternity fraternal.


7. What has been your experience in adding content or encouraging content on specific topics in Malayalam wikipedia?

Have not involved myself . I write on topics that I feel should be added. Also have done a couple of articles "needed in every wikipedia" How active are the sister projects (Wikisource, wiktionary, and other projects)

Administrator and leading contributor in wikiquote. Also contribute to source and wiktionary

8. 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.

Dont know much about technical issues .I try to stay out of it:) I am sure things could be a bit more simpler for new users. Though I am unable to suggest measures. Font compatibility and browser compatibility are factors driving away users.


9. What are the challenges you see in growing a wiki community for Malayalam?

The love of English is bound to continue .Love for mother tongue is bound to decline. With all students getting into Englilsh medium schools and govt schools losing students, the hope of getting students and youth to ml has to be assesed with caution.

To build a community , you need numbers.A small number of wikipedians scattered all over Kerala and south INDIA is not going to help build a strong community. A fraterinity/ sororety , yes but community no


10. How is the interaction between Malayalam wiki community members? Is there is enough interaction? Do you benefit from the discussion with other community members?

I have not ventured to discuss with other language communities.. Between members of malayalam community, the low numbers of active members give an appearance of great interactivity. Social media like facebook has been immensely useful in maintaing cordiality and interaction . Meetups too have helped in this regard


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

Frankly , have not given much thought to the matter. But" catch them young " may still be attempted. Eventhough love of malayalam is declining, the future still seems with the young So colleges and schools need to be targeted , properly scientifically systematically and regularly. Results would show perhaps after many years.

RameshEdit

1. How you reached Malayalam Wikipedia?

I started blogging in year 2006, My first edits was in 2006, but due to to the interest in blog, I didnt do much in wikipedia for 2 year. I become active in Wikipedia in year 2008.


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

It is because it is my mother tongue and I love my language. Also the information people are looking for should be available in their own language.


3. How active are you? and What type of topics you usually edit?

I most active in Malayalam Wikipedia. I edit mostly people in cinema, food, geography related article


4. Why do you edit in wikipedia?


Editing wikipedia gives me happiness. It is my passion.


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

Yes, Malayalam wikipedia academies.. wiki meetups.

This is one way to make wkipedia more popular and get more editors.


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

Meetups is always a forum to meet with prominent editors and at the same time to increase the editors.


7. What has been your experience in adding content or encouraging content on specific topics in Malayalam wikipedia?

There are good and bad experiences. There are criticism always, but I believe any small information which is added to wikipedia is useful.


8. How active are the sister projects (Wikisource, wiktionary, and other projects) in Malayalam?

Wikisource and wiktionary are now becoming more active. I m not really active in that.


9. 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.

I think wikipedia editing, in simple words, is difficult for anyone who joins.. , But once u used to the difficulty, u can still continue.


10. What are the challenges you see in growing a wiki community for Malayalam?

One of the challenge is to get more editors, more active users. current growth is good, but not worth.

We need more active users and at the same time more matured users.


11. How is the interaction between Malayalam wiki community members? Is there is enough interaction? Do you benefit from the discussion with other community members?

Yes, i thnk public forums like facebook, gmail chat etc contributes a lot. but community still need improvment in communications.

SreejithEdit

1. How you reached Malayalam Wikipedia?

Not sure, may be through Google search and then grew interest. Much of the inspiration and guidance came from the then quite active Malayalam blog community.


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

Out of curiosity first and then felt like the time spent in Wikipedia is much more useful and productive compared to the time spent on blogs and social networking sites. The Malayalam Wikipedia community and its various activities also helped me cultivate more interest.


3. How active are you? and What type of topics you usually edit?

I am active mostly in Wikimedia Commons lately. In English and Malayalam Wikipedia, I concentrate mostly on File Namespace where we do not have a lot of contributors although there is a lot to be done like in Article namespace. I believe a picture can convey things better than a written article


4. Why do you edit in wikipedia?

I want to share knowledge and is so inspired by the phrase "Free Knowledge". When someone talks good about Wikipedia, I feel proud of being a part of the editor community.


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

I have attended two outreach sessions in Kannur and two in Bangalore. The one in Kannur was quite successful and gathered large crowd. The crowd turnout in Bangalore was less. Kannur became quite active in Wikipedia later.


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

I have attended two community meetups in Kannur and a few in Bangalore. Community meetups are good in a lot of respects and should be encouraged. It helps to bring a sense of community and a feeling of being united.


7. What has been your experience in adding content or encouraging content on specific topics in Malayalam wikipedia?

Malayalam Wikipedia is a very active Wikipedia where there is a lot of participation on each and every page edited. No page goes unnoticed and the number of stubs and one liner articles are lesser. A lot of people in outreach sessions had shared their experience in Malayalam Wikipedia where they found joy in collaborative editing. I share the same views.


8. How active are the sister projects (Wikisource, wiktionary, and other projects) in Malayalam?

Not active in any sister projects.


9. 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.

With Narayam, I feel most of the technical challenges are gone with Malayalam Wikipedia. But still, having an article wizard like in English Wikipedia and an upload wizard like in Commons could help newbies.


10. What are the challenges you see in growing a wiki community for Malayalam?

Participation. We need massive campaigns to spread awareness about Wikipedia to get more user participation.


11. How is the interaction between Malayalam wiki community members? Is there is enough interaction? Do you benefit from the discussion with other community members?

The interation with other community members has been quite good in Malayalam Wikipedia, be it the mailing list, the talk pages in Wikipedia or even the recently formed facebook group.

NethaEdit

1. How you reached Malayalam Wikipedia?

My friend used to be an active contributor of Malayalam Wikipedia. I once followed the link of an astronomy related article shared by him and reached Malayalam Wikipedia for the first time. Thereafter, I started depending on ml.wikipedia for looking up information regarding subjects related to Kerala.

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

I once was looking for details about 'thenga chammandi' (a pasty dish made of grated coconut) to link to my blog post. I ran a search on Malayalam Wikipedia and found that a page about such an important dish of Kerala does not exist. I started off by creating a page for 'chammandi'. Initially, I was reluctant to contribute to ml wikipedia as my knowledge of malayalam was poor, but with the encouragement of fellow editors later on, I started editing ml.wikipedia.


3. How active are you? and What type of topics you usually edit?

I am moderately active on ml.wikipedia. I do not contribute persistently and do most of the editing during holidays.I usually edit articles related to medicine/biology and literature. I also used to maintain a portal for biology. Presently, as I am working on Pharmacology/pathology articles on English wikipedia, I am in short of time to edit malayalam wikipedia.


4. Why do you edit in wikipedia?

  • To share my knowledge to a larger audience.
  • To improve my language skills in malayalam.
  • To socialize with like minded individuals.
  • To participate actively in discussions on talk pages
  • To encourage female participation in online activities (bysetting an example myself)


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

I have conducted two outreach sessions at Kozhikode in 2010 (at Devagiri College) and in 2011(National Institute of Technology). At NIT, I handled the session "Essentials of Wikipedia Editing". The participation was poor, and most of the participants were unenthusiastic about being an editor at wikipedia. As far as I know, none of the participants of these outreach sessions became active contributors later on, which indicates that our outreach sessions are inadequate to a large extent. Outreach sessions provide an understanding to the public about the basic details regarding reading and editing wikipedia, but it does not inspire them to become active contributors.

On the brighter side, these outreach programs get a lot of media coverage and lets people know about the functioning of Wikipedia and its sister projects.


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

I have attended WikiConf 2011, Mumbai. I could interact with Wikimedians from all over India and know their experiences. I had been following really cumbersome procedures to do even the easiest of the tasks such as adding references and quoting text. I could learn easier methods of doing these after listening to the talks of veteran Wikimedians. Meetups will help to build the community and initiate healthy discussions on Wikiprojects.


7. What has been your experience in adding content or encouraging content on specific topics in Malayalam wikipedia?

Before editing articles, I would look up English Wikipedia to see if the point I am going to add is relevant to the topic. Next, I would search for references. After saving the page with necessary content, I place it on my watch list for future reference.

A few points I have noticed :

  • Active discussions occur on the talk pages of controversial pages (most often, regarding the controversy itself and not the Wikipedia perspective of it) while little discussions are held about articles related to science and literature.
  • The added content in science and literature are often the direct translation of the english Wikipedia page on the same. Most often, the images used are also the same. These are to be re-written with ample changes from a Malayali's perspective.
  • Malayalam versions of most tools are unavailable. Having powerful tools will help the wikimedians drastically reduce their workload and use their time for more productive activities.
  • Articles related to technology are well written while those related to medicine and arts are stubs or are poorly written.


8. How active are the sister projects (Wikisource, wiktionary, and other projects) in Malayalam?

Wikipedia is the most active of all Wikiprojects in Malayalam. Wikisource and Wikiquotes also function well despite of the lack of enough number of contributors. We couldn't establish a WikiNews or Wikispecies in malayalam because of unavailability of dedicated editors. Presently,I am not active on any of the sister projects of Wikipedia.

9. 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.

The main problem I encountered as a beginner on ml.wikipedia was the lack of an efficient tool to type in malayalam. Later on, the transliteration tool was introduced and I use that tool till date. For beginners, it requires a little experience to get accustomed to the typing tool, which could be one reason why many people do not venture into Indic language Wikimedia projects. The search tool is largely inadequate. The suggested search terms do not even have a remote relation with the word searched. Searching in English sometimes gives no valid search results though a Wikipedia page for the same exists in ml.wikipedia.

Presently, it is easier for a new contributor to start contributing to Wikipedia than in the past as m versions of many tools (and the method to use them) are available on ml.wikipedia.


10. What are the challenges you see in growing a wiki community for Malayalam?

  • English is largely replacing malayalam as a language for communication which might dwindle the number of active Wikimedians in malayalam.
  • Most often, people with vested interests edit sensitive articles on Wikipedia. As a result, NPOV cannot always be maintained.
  • Though the government of Kerala supports Wikiprojects, funding is not available from private/public sources for meeting expenses for workshops and other outreach programs.
  • Lack of awareness among the public about the existence of Wikiprojects in malayalam.
  • Editors leaving Wikipedia (especially female editors).


11. How is the interaction between Malayalam wiki community members? Is there is enough interaction? Do you benefit from the discussion with other community members?

Malayalam wiki community is one of the most dynamic wiki communities in Indic language Wikipedias. Because of the interaction between the community members on mailing lists, social networking sites and through offline activities, it has been easy to formulate new policies, elect members and keep Wikipedia running smoothly. I always look up for help from experienced members of the community whenever I encounter a technical/language problem. I benefit immensely from these discussions.

JagadeeshEdit

1. How you reached Malayalam Wikipedia?

I search for a particular Malayalam word in Google search engine . I found lot of result. Then I saw a link is from ml.wikipedia.org. That time I understood local language Wikipedia also there.


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

That search result found in wikipedia. But that is not excellent and complete article .So decide to contribute in wikipedia.


3. How active are you? and What type of topics you usually edit?

My most of the topic is Ancient Indian culture, Ancient Indian places and biography .


4. Why do you edit in wikipedia?

I wish give good document and article for next generation.



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

No


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

Yes . In that meet up , I understood one thing most the people already know about wikipedia . That people is comes for know more about wikipedia.So drawback is the message of wikipedia not reach to ordinary new people , So try to do reach the message of wikipedia in rural and ordinary people.



7. What has been your experience in adding content or encouraging content on specific topics in Malayalam wikipedia?

I already said my contribution topic.I understood most of the people not interest in that area . so improvement of that article rate is very low.



8. How active are the sister projects (Wikisource, wiktionary, and other projects) in Malayalam?

Some contribution in wikisource also.


9. 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.

No.It is not easy for new people. They should need a correct guideline for editing article.



10. What are the challenges you see in growing a wiki community for Malayalam?

One thing is new people cannot understand how to edit in wikipedia and also they misunderstand that all wiki article is done by wikimedia foundation .They don’t know basic rule and regulation of wikipedia , Even educated people also.



11. How is the interaction between Malayalam wiki community members? Is there is enough interaction? Do you benefit from the discussion with other community members?

Yes. there is good relationship between each other.


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

  • My vision is First we focus student and teacher. They can do more than all other people.
  • Second , Try to reach the message of wiki in Rural area.
  • Most of the place don’t have internet connection so promote offline wiki(KIWIX) project.

KiranEdit

1. How you reached Malayalam Wikipedia?

Earlier heard about English Wikipedia and most of the time Google search ends on English Wiki articles, later I became a regular reader of English wiki articles especially article related to Kerala and Indian history. Those time I didn’t notice the external language links, once my eyes stuck on the external links and I found a Malayalam word; by clicking that link I reached Malayalam wiki. I couldn’t recollect which was that article. Unfortunately I am not at all aware how to type a single Malayalam letter, even though I managed by clicking the Random pages and familiar with Malayalam wiki.


2. Why you decided you must contribute to Malayalam Wikipedia?

Once I learned how to type Malayalam letters, I searched article about my home town but I couldn’t find it. This was the first incident to think about editing the wiki.


3. How active are you? and What type of topics you usually edit?

Very active, be frank edit all most all kind of topics. But more interest in Politics, History, Cricket and Biological articles, now concentrated in Kerala History and politicians.


4. Why do you edit in Wikipedia?

I learned knowledge from books/Wikipedia/net which was created by others, so it is my duty to help other people to gain more knowledge. Wikipedia is an easiest way of sharing knowledge and people can gain it absolutely free moreover they can reuse it.


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

Yes, very positive response. Most of the people doesn’t have an awareness of Malayalam wiki and people who knows about wiki are not aware about they can edit the article. More number of people are showing interest in editing the Wikipedia after each academy but a small percentage only continuing the editing.


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

Yes, It helps to keep a good relation between the editors, good ideas came….


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

  • Attract school/college teachers to wiki and encourage them to edit wiki, through them it will easily reach to students.
  • Conduct regular wiki meetups from bottom level that is village->Taluk->District levels.
  • Conduct wiki love programs half yearly or yearly and give maximum popularity.
  • Publish article about wikipedians in magazine especially about lady users. Magazines like Vanitha, Gruhalakshmi etc.. it will attract more housewives and other ladies.