Grants:PEG/Sodabottle - Tamil Wikimedians/TamilWiki Media Contest/Report

Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2011-12 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • You may still comment on this report on its discussion page, or visit the discussion page to read the discussion about this report.
  • You are welcome to Email grants at wikimedia dot org at any time if you have questions or concerns about this report.

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?

Yes, The grant report is made available.

  • Period – Nov 2011 – March 2012
  • Amount requested – $800
  • Project goal – Gain quality media contributions and attract quality photographers, videographers, graphic and voice contributors to Tamil Wiki projects



S.No Phase Activity Start Date Planned End Date Actual End Date Notes
1 Discussion/Preparedness RfC in Village pump Sep 29, 2011 Oct 4, 2011 Oct 4, 2011   Done
Rules page Oct 4, 2011 Oct 10, 2011 Oct 10, 2011   Done
Selection of Coordinators Oct 4, 2011 Oct 10, 2011 Oct 10, 2011   Done
2 Grant Application Oct 11, 2011 Oct 11, 2011 Oct 11, 2011   Done
Discussion on Application Oct 11, 2011 Nov 11, 2011 Oct 18, 2011   Done
Application status Oct 11, 2011 Nov 11, 2011 Oct 19, 2011   Done
Receipt of funds Oct 19, 2011 Nov 5, 2011 Nov 8, 2011   Done
3 Wikimedia Commons Campaign Wizard / Interface localization Oct 20, 2011 Nov 5, 2011 Oct 26, 2011   Done
Template + Category Oct 20, 2011 Oct 31, 2011 Oct 24, 2011   Done
4 On wiki tasks Selection of Logo Oct 10, 2011 Oct 31, 2011 Nov 1, 2011   Done
Selection of Banner Oct 10, 2011 Oct 31, 2011 Nov 6, 2011   Done
Create multiple banners Nov 1, 2011 Nov 5, 2011 Nov 5, 2011   Done
Create help guides Oct 25, 2011 Nov 5, 2011 Nov 1 2011   Done
Create outreach material Nov 1, 2011 Nov 5, 2011 Nov 8, 2011   Done
Create contest portal in Tamil & English Oct 25, 2011 Nov 5, 2011 Nov 4, 2011   Done
5 Testing Test by coordinators Nov 5, 2011 Nov 8, 2011 Nov 8, 2011   Done
Test by Wikipedians Nov 8, 2011 Nov 15, 2011 Nov 14, 2011   Done
6 Outreach Start Nov 15, 2011 29/02/2012 Nov 15, 2011   Done
Tamilmanam, Muthukamalam, Palkalaikazhagam, Noolaham, Tamil Magazines - India, Canada, Malaysia Nov 15, 2011 29/02/2012 Nov 15, 2011   Done
Srilankan Magazines (Punniyameen),Tamil Diaspora organizations   Done
Educational Institutions   Not done
Facebook page, Twitter (#twmc campaign), Online Forums, Flickr groups Nov 15, 2011   Done
Sitenotice on Tamil Wiki projects Nov 15, 2011   Done
Announcement on English Wikipedia India Noticeboard,Talk page notice for WikiProject TamilNadu members - via bots   Done
Geolocation based Central notice on English wiki   Not done
7 Contest opening to public Nov 15, 2011 Feb 29, 2012 Feb 29, 2012   Done
8 Image cleanup drive on Tamil wiki Awareness campaign on wiki Dec 1, 2011 Dec 31, 2011   Not done
Moving to commons Dec 1, 2011 Dec 31, 2011   Not done
Addition of fair use templates Dec 1, 2011 Dec 31, 2011 Dec 31, 2011   Done
Deleting copyvios on tawiki Dec 1, 2011 Dec 31, 2011 Dec 31, 2011   Done
9 Judging Judging Mar 1, 2012 Mar 25, 2012 Mar 25, 2012   Done
Prepare and print certificates Mar 1, 2012 Mar 25, 2012 Mar 20, 2012   Done
10 Results Results Mar 1, 2012 Mar 25, 2012 Mar 28, 2012   Done
Announcement Mar 25, 2012 Mar 30, 2012 Mar 30, 2012   Done
Sending Prize + Certificates Mar 25, 2012 Apr 05, 2012 Apr 04, 2012   Done
11 Other Activities Report in Tamil (for Tamil wiki) Mar 25, 2012 Apr 05, 2012 Apr 10, 2012   Done
Report (Grant) Mar 25, 2012 Apr 5, 2012 Apr 5, 2012   Done
Barnstars + Thanks Mar 25, 2012 Apr 5, 2012 Apr 02, 2012   Done
Wikimedia blogpost report Mar 25, 2012 Apr 5, 2012 Apr 5 2012   Done


  • The discussion about the contest was initiated toward the end of sep 2011 in the form of a RFC in the Tamil Wiki village pump. With the unanimous backing of the community, the broad outline of the project was worked out within two weeks. A grant application was submitted to the WMF on Oct 11,2011 and was approved on October 20,2011.
  • Five members from the existing Tamil Wiki community served as the coordinators and judges for the contest. They were chosen to represent the geographic spread of the Tamil population (Two from India, One each from Srilanka, Europe and Canada). The Upload Wizard in Wikimedia campaigns was customized for the contest[1]. This was done using the new campaign feature of uploadwizard extension developed for WLM Europe.
  • A target of 3000 files and 100 new contributors was fixed as the goal for the contest (based on the reception for the previous article writing contest conducted in 2010)
  • The contest launch was advanced by 15 days because preparations were completed earlier than expected.
  • Outreach/Advertising: Outreach / advertising was done in two parts
    • On wiki : through banners in all Tamil wiki projects - the graphic banners proved to be a huge success. Announcements were made in en wiki India notice board, Wikimedia India mailing list, talk page notices to WP Tamil Nadu project members in en wiki.
    • Off wiki : Tamil blogosphere was targeted through a front page ad in (the leading tamil blog aggregator) through adspace donated by the Tamilmanam adminstrators. Contest posters were created in English and Tamil for Wikipedians and friends of wikipedians to post in their blogs and websites. Indian and Tamil photography groups in flickr and blogs were specifically targeted. Announcements were made in popular email groups. websites, facebook pages. A brief twitter campaign was also launched (#twmc) among the Tamil twitteratti.
Announcements were made in popular Tamil websites like,,, Print media was also targeted. Pudhiya Thalaimurai, one of the leading Tamil print magazines published in Tamil Nadu carried a half page announcement about the contest. The Hindu, the leading English newspaper in South India (and second most read English newspaper in whole of India) published a detailed article on the contest. [2]. In Srilanka leading Tamil dailies like Thinakaran and Navamani carried announcements about the contest. Vetri FM, a radiostation in Colombo, Srilanka also did announcements about the contest. In Australia, The tamil newspaper TamilMurasu did the same.
Tamil diaspora in Europe and Australia was targeted through announcments popular Tamil radio channels. Then Thamizhosai radio (Bergen, Norway) and Australian Tamil Broadcasting corporation (ATBC) made regular announcements for many weeks about the contest. The ATBC also did a 15 minute interview with coordinator sodabottle ta:File:Ta-twmc_interview-ATBC.ogg on the contest.
A facebook page was opened for the contest. It proved extremely popular and went viral within two weeks. For the first fifty days of the contest, selected entries (two or three a days) were posted to the facebook page to generate interest.
Though 50 USD was allocated for outreach activities, no money was actually spent. This was because we were able to get free placements of banners and announcements in most of the websites and organisations we targeted.
  • Pageviews:
The contest portal was created in both Tamil and English. Detailed help and FAQ pages were created with tutorial videos about uploading to commons. The Tamil portal was viewed about 75,000 times between Nov 15 - Feb 29. for the first 50 days it averaged 800-1000 pageviews a day and for the rest around 400-500 page views a day. The english version of the portal received roughly 5-10 percent of the pageviews the Tamil portal received.
The contest category page in Wikimedia commons received nearly 6000 pageviews during the same time period. The contest Facebook page also proved extremely popular gaining 830 likes (as on April 1). Each image posted in the page received roughly 400 views.
  • Judging
The entries were judged based on two criteria - quality and usability. Both categories were given equal weightage in the judge. The judging process was initiated only after the contest closed. Because of the (much) higher than expected number of entries and contributors, we decided to stick to a one-person-one-prize rule, to make sure a maximum number of prizes were awarded. The number of prizes was increased because of the same reason (and also due to the extreme closeness of the contest). We ended up awarding 14 prizes worth 875 $ in total (as against the 9 worth 850 $, announced originally).
Prize Planned Actual
First 1 * 200$ = 200$ 2 * 100 = 200$
Second 1 * 100$ = 100$ 3 * 50$ = 150$
Third 1 * 50$ = 50 $ 3 * 25$ = 75$
Consolation 2 * 25$ = 50$ 0$
Continuous contribution 3 * 100$ = 300$ 4 * 75$ = 300$
Special category 1 * 150$ = 150$ 2 * 75$ = 150$
Total 9 prizes worth 850$ 14 prizes worth 875$
The continuous contribution prizes were decided first. The general category prizes were determined next. The general category entries went through three rounds of elimination to arrive at a fourth list. The files in the final list (9% of the total entries) was marked individually by four of the judges (Kalai recused herself for the final round due to personal reasons). The top 8 entries from this list were awarded prizes. From this list the files fitting the special category (Crafts and Technologies of Tamils) were separated out and the top two among them were awarded prizes in that category.
There were 12 prize winners from India and 2 from Sri Lanka. For the Indian winners the prizes were issued in INR and for the Sri Lankan Winners USD demand drafts were sent. (prize money/certificates were held in India)
  • Maintenance:
From the beginning we took care to identify and eliminate copyright violations among the contest entries. An estimated 200-300 entries were found to be copyvios and tagged for deletion. As on Apr 1 2012 a little over 2000 entries remain uncategorised.
  • Shortcomings: Three of the planned activities related to the contest did not take place because of different reasons.
    • One was conducting outreach in educational institutions in India and Sri Lanka about the contest by sending them posters and pamphlets about the contest. This wasn’t done because of the the huge logistical effort it required (printing and mailing thousands of posters). We decided online outreach and media outreach would be more effective.
    • The second effort that didn’t materialise was a proposed image cleanup drive and copyright / fair-use usage sensitisation campaign in Ta wiki. There were uncoordinated efforts to cleanup the files but no centralised campaign materialised. This shall take place sometime in future.
    • We also planned to do an Central Notice campaign on English Wikipedia geo-targeting India / Sri Lanka after fundraising to reach more people about the contest, but declined from doing so, since the response for the contest was already overwhelming by then and we decided against it since we might not be able to take more load.


We would like to specially thank the following individuals for their exceptional help during the contest:


  • R. Selvaraj of Tamizhmanam LLC for providing us free adspace,
  • Malan Narayanan, editor of Pudhiya Thalaimurai for providing announcement space,
  • Renuka Phadnis, reporter, The Hindu for the detailed and excellent article
  • Pollachi Nasan of for providing announcement space
  • Kana Prabha of ATBC for the interview and announcements,
  • Wikipedian and author PM Punniyameen for his help with Sri Lankan print and broadcast media
  • Wikipedian Tinu Cherian for making the Hindu article happen.
  • Wikipedians Tharique and Dr senthi for their excellent banners, posters and pamphlets
  • Wikipedians Theni M. Subramani, Ravishankar, Surya Prakash S. A, Aswin Kumar, Krishnaprasad and Kurumban for their outreach ideas and efforts


  • Anton Croos for his help in spreading the word among the Tamil photography enthusiasts (besides contributing his excellent entries)
  • commons:User:booradleyp and SuryaPrakash SA for contributing 6000 audio files and 600 images respectively despite the rules making them ineligible for prizes



  • T. Shrinivasan for his new open source bulk file upload tool
  • Commons administrator commons:User:Wikitanvir for his prompt help in customizing and setting up the upload wizard

Project goal and measures of successEdit

Project goalEdit

  • To gain quality non-textual media contributions that can be used in Tamil wikiprojects and in pages of other wiki projects related to Tamil.
  • To attract the interest of photographers, artists, videographers, graphic and voice contributors toward Wikimedia in general and Ta wiki projects in particular
  • To establish a precedent for collaboration between WMF and the Tamil Wiki community and serve as a model for future collaborations.

Measures of successEdit

  • All three goals set for the contest were met and exceeded. The contest resulted in a gain of 15,000 files (against the set target of 3000 files) and 251 new contributors (target: 100 new contributors). The wiki brand is now popular among the Tamil photographic and visual arts community (almost all of the prize winners - except the continuous contribution prizes - are professional photographers). We have also gained valuable experience in the WMF grant process, its expectations and workings.

Lessons learnedEdit

What lessons were learned that may help others succeed in similar projects?

  • Commons workload: The huge number of entries increased the workload in normal commons maintenance activities. Apart from usual commons editors, Tamil wikimedians Thagaval.uzhavan, Surya and shanmugam have helped a lot with maintenance activities. In future contests like this, a dedicated maintenance only team (that is not involved in general coordination work) is necessary for maintenance activities - categorisation, description adding, file moving, copyvio deduction and using the photos in wikiprojects.
  • Maintenance work: We kept the entry barrier deliberately low - asked contestants to provide only descriptions. We did not mandate naming conventions, elaborate descriptions / parallel English descriptions and categorising. As a result a lot of entries with vague descriptions have come in. Natkeeran/Logicwiki raised the issue of categorising early on, but sodabottle convinced them otherwise saying commons people know and can do better (assuming lesser no of entries won’t burden usual commons editors). This was a wrong move - as mentioned in point no 1, a dedicated commons maintenance team should have been formed. Currently the workload has been reduced by normal commons maintenance editors like User:Roland zh and other tamil wikipedians stepping up (User:தகவலுழவன் ,User:Shanmugamp7, User:Surya Prakash.S.A.)
  • Social media in outreach: Facebook helped drive traffic. We opened a facebook page for the contest and for the first 45 days regularly posted some of the better eye catching entries that were uploaded daily. It was extremely popular, with each entry getting hundreds of views and tens of comments/likes. But facebook tends to tie down people there - a lot of people posted their entries there in the facebook page itself. We managed to get some of them to upload them to Commons. But FB is a two edged sword - it is easy to reach people but difficult to get them to leave FB and move to Wikiprojects. A lot of entries were lost this way.
  • Wikiproject outreach: Graphic banners in site notices are extremely potent in attracting people. only issue is if wikimedia notices are running (like fundraiser) then the content gets pushed down.
  • Borders / watermarks: We didn't anticipate this and didn't make it clear in the rules. As a result around 100-150 images have been uploaded with borders/watermarks. While border removal is easy, removing watermarks is difficult and there is a huge backlog in commons for this activity.
  • Lost Entries: Loss of potential entries for the contest happened because contestants started uploading straight to commons using the normal upload wizard instead of the customized wizard link. This has resulted in hundreds of entries not being included for the contest. A few contestants, contacted the contest organisers through email/talk page and specifically requested all their entries be included for the contest and that was done. But a lot of others did not do so and we assume hundreds of entries were thus "lost".
  • Currency: The prizes were announced in US dollars, but the actual prize money was held in INR. We chose dollars as a common currency as the Tamil population is spread across many countries and USD was the only option to have a commonality in prize money attraction. This has caused problems because of USD X INR exchange rate fluctuations and sending the prize money to winners. In future, the coord from North America should hold the prize money or the transfer from WMF should be initiated only when the prizes are about to distributed (as bulk of the budget is prize money)
  • Audio and Video formats: A majority of the help requests from contestants was about audio and video file formats. Though detailed instruction pages exist in commons and a comprehensive help page was given, conversion to the required .ogv and .ogg formats was a considerable entry barrier. To address this online conversion to .ogg/.ogv in commons can be provided.

What impact did the project have on WMF mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?

  • Around 15000 files were uploaded as part of the contest. This number includes 6500 audio files, 100 video files and more than 8000 images. (15,217 was the actual number recorded at contest’s close. After copyvio deletions the number is currently 15,124 and is expected to reduce slightly more). 251 new contributors and 56 existing wikipedians (a total of 307) took part in the contest. Four of the new contributors have become regular wikipedians and are creating articles for their images to be used. Contributors from India, Srilanka, Malaysia, Canada, USA, Germany, Norway participated in the contest. (list of countries is incomplete as the origin of many contributors is unknown)
  • Besides content, the contest had significant impact on other areas. One user feeling the need for faster upload mechanism in commons, wrote a tool for uploading files in bulk. [4] and is writing more tools for Tamil Wikipedia. The contest also brought two longtime Tamil wikipedians out of long wikibreaks.

Reporting and documentation of expendituresEdit

Documentation of expenditures has been received by WMF.

A request for reallocation of remaining funds has been submitted by the grantee and approved by WMFon the discussion page of this grant report.

Did you send WMF documentation of all expenses paid for with grant funds?

  • Yes

Details of expenditures:

All amount in INR unless mentioned

Money Received:

Date Details Amount
8-Nov-2011 Grant from WMF (800 USD) 38504.3
Interest till Mar 31 (4 % p.a) 513.39
9-Dec-2011 Donation from Natkeeran (150 USD) 7849.41
Interest till Mar 31 (4 % p.a) 78.5
Total 46945.6


Expense Amount
Prize money awarded 43750
Certificate printing cost 500
Postage covers 150
Postage within India 350
Postage to Sri Lanka 806
USD Draft cost for Sri Lanka 724
Total 46280
  • Money remaining in hand : 665 (13.3 USD @ 1 USD = 50 INR)
  • A Note on the Exchange Rate: Grant money was received at an exchange rate of 48.1 INR per USD. Donation from Natkeeran at 52.3 INR per USD. Prizes were paid out at 50 INR per USD. A part of the loss incurred due to this exchange rate fluctuation was offset by the 4% p.a interest earned by the money for the four months it was in India

Will you be requesting re-allocation of remaining grant funding?

Yes, We wish to repurpose the remaining amount for the renewal of domain name which is currently used to provide short url for Tamil wikipages. This domain would also be hosting soon to be released offline CD content.

Will you be returning unused funds to the Wikimedia Foundation?

If the above proposal is not accepted, we would return 665 INR to the foundation.

Additional requests and related proposalsEdit

Will you be requesting an extension or were you granted an extension?

Please link to related grant proposals here: