Comments from bluerasberryEdit
Hello! I am a member of Wikimedia New York City. I try to follow Wikimedia issues in India and South Asia also. Here are some points which stand out to me:
- There is no stated plan for Bengali/Bangla language partnership. I wish that something could be done because the most stable Wikimedia community in South Asia is Wikimedia Bangladesh. That is a small group, but they share a language with a major region in India, and if there was a partnership between Wikimedia India, CIS, and Wikimedia Bangladesh, then it would be mutually beneficial. When there is a collaboration, all participants get to claim credit for the outcomes, and so far as I know, Bangla language is the most organized Indic language community mostly because of Wikimedia Bangladesh. Why not have some plan, even a small one, to collaborate with this older, stable, and large community?
- There is no stated plan for English language development. At the very least, public reports will be written in English and probably English will be the only language of publication for these. Would it be possible to make any plan to have any community outreach to get comments about or discussion on English language planning and reporting? A huge amount of work is put into developing these reports, and if there are no plans for English language otherwise, then at least can there be some plan to seek comments or discussion about this English language Meta Wiki reporting?
- It says in the summary that "CIS has been a steward of the Wikimedia movement in India since December 2008". I like that CIS is a stable organization that can support the development of the Wikimedia movement regionally. That said - I would like for CIS to show stronger ties to other organizations related to India. Wikimedia Bangladesh is one regional authority, and so is Wikimedia India, and the Pune team (now in Wikimedia India and beyond) has organized some of the biggest events, and then there is a WikiConference India team trying to organize a national conference. I know it is an organizational nightmare to try to get everyone to go in the same direction but if CIS wants to call itself steward then I would like for CIS to publicly talk about good plans for collaboration with the other regional powers. The competitiveness and friction in India is crazy and counterproductive. Even if there are major disagreements about funding and organization, there can at least be minor agreements for collaboration on some times. I would like for this plan to make some promises to collaborate with some kinds of groups. Please say, "CIS is doing this with WM Bangladesh, and this with WM India, and this in Pune, and this with the WikiConference." I appreciate that CIS is under huge pressure but please find a way. Do something, anything.
- Part of the reason for infighting in India is too much power with too few organizations. I would like for CIS to make a commitment to help some regional groups start usergroups, and to help those usergroups apply for funding to do their own events. Overall, India is cheating itself out of Wikimedia movement funding because any time someone in India requests money, other people in India object and say they should not have it. Quit this! Compared to international costs, events in India are inexpensive, and there is enough funding for lots of regional events in India. If CIS is the steward, then the steward helps share money. Please find a way to take risks and send at least small amounts of money to more Wikipedians, especially Wikipedians who will start user groups and try to support their own events. If the Kolkata Wikipedians will meet in India Coffee House for a day then give them a small grant to buy their own coffee, practice having a meetup, and practice photographing and reporting receipts. Where I live in New York, hourly pay is 2500 rupees, and the Wikimedia Foundation funds this. Average pay at the Wikimedia Foundation is something like 4000 INR/hr or 32,000 per day, and if groups in India could each collectively manage budgets and support each other, then there is funding for multiple groups throughout India to watch each other. Groups in India have to quit arguing and find some way to peacefully accept and share money for events without as much arguing. There is more than enough funding for all kinds of programs all over India. Please establish more groups with their own budgets. Any three people can start a usergroup. Please try this year to start a few more.
- If anyone wants to talk with the New York chapter then please stay in touch. There are lots of Indian people in New York. I care a lot about India. India has 1/6 of the world's people and India deserves 1/6 of all the money that the WMF collects, because the money is supposed to be divided among all people India will always have my support especially when organizations in India will support each other.
Thank you very much for taking out the time to engage with our plan. We would like to attempt to addressing your concerns/inputs one by one.
Your first input is about collaborating with Wikimedia India and Wikimedia Bangladesh. Thanks for the suggestion. We have collaborated with Wikimedia India on different occasions, few such examples are during the Wikipedia Education Program at Christ University or during Global Congress 2016 New Delhi and during many community gatherings and edit-a-thons. We have not been able to do much with Wikimedia Bangladesh because of two major reasons; a) our Focus Language Area (FLA) work structure takes up much of our staff time and has not allowed us for collaborative work with our colleagues from Bangladesh, and b) geographical barrier that does not allow for any on-ground work. However, there are a lot of possibilities in collaborating in both the aforementioned organizations and A2K team would like to brainstorm and come up with possible avenues for collaboration. We have however had the privilege of working together on online events like this to bring more stakeholders together for a common cause.
The reasons we did not include English Wikipedia as a major work plan is because: 1. English Wikipedians are highly dispersed geographically. The same applies for the Indian English Wikipedia community. It would be really challenging for us to engage online only. 2. English Wikipedia community seems to have overcome the problems such as lack of active editors, number of articles etc. that Indian language Wikipedias are currently facing. A2K would definitely be willing to collaborate with English Wikipedia community and would like to arrange and facilitate for a survey and virtual meet-up. 3. As there has been no clear articulation from the English community for the Indian initiatives especially after the failure of the Pune Wikipedia Education Program. We would love to consult with the English Wikipedia community in India and collaborate for any future projects. If the Indian English Wikipedia community were to articulate either jointly or in groups what they would like CIS-A2K to do for them, then we should be able to include them in the next year's workplan.
We would like to mention that we have tried extensively to collaboratively work with WMIN, especially in the last year. We would love to closely work with other organizations and friends of Wikipedia. The only reason we could not work with a flourishing chapter like the Wikimedia Bangladesh is our limited bandwidth owing to budget and human resources crunch.
Collaborations with WMIN: 1. Quarterly meeting with WMIN: We have had regular quarterly calls with WMIN and know each other’s plans and activities. These discussions have helped us collaborate on a few events. 2. Mediawiki training (MWT), a capacity building training for technical contributors in the Indian Wikimedia community was collaboratively organized by WMIN and CIS. Also, the community meetup during Katy and Winifred’s visit to India and the other meetups like Wikipedia15 and monthly community meetups in Bangalore have been collaboratively organized by WMIN and CIS. 3. WMIN and CIS supported Bengali Wikipedia’s 11th anniversary in the previous fiscal year.
Given below is an excerpt of a public email from the WMIN regarding the collaboration between WMIN and CIS-A2K towards organising Wiki India Conference 2016:
1. CIS to act as our fiscal sponsor to receive PEG grant funds and handle its dispersal and accounting. Expected budget is 35,00,000 INR (35 lakh Indian Rupees). We will have a Finance Team, which will authorize each and every transaction and will place a formal request to CIS bank signatories. Most payments can be made directly to vendors. Any need for cash can be handled through an exclusive bank account operated by community approved members in Chandigarh. We plan to publish the transactions every week in Meta.
2. We need CIS staff support for program execution, grant writing, and reporting. Tito (Grants), Subhashish (Communication) and Rahmanuddin (PEG writing & Reporting) are already serving in their capacity as volunteers. It will be helpful if they can be allowed to spare more of their time in an official capacity. During the conference, we will have two separate tracks for hackathons and workshops. CIS can participate in these tracks.
3. We will also appreciate connecting us to sponsors and keynote speakers who can add value to this conference.
A2K would strive to explore more opportunities to collaborate with WMIN.
CIS-A2K owing to FCRA regulations as practiced in India is not allowed to provide grants. However to keep up the necessary and important work being done by the volunteers A2K offers travel support and other forms of support in organising an event. A2K’s request page is a clear indication of the many activities that are being initiated by the community members that needs all possible support. The support offered by A2K is however conditional that the activities and events must be in alignment to WMF strategies and goals. b) A2K is also working closely with the community members to help them gain skills to apply for IEGs/PEGs by applying to these funding options.
No amount of activity or financial support will come in handy if the communities are not sustainable. In order and to make these communities sustainable A2K organises various skill building sessions that train volunteers to become program leaders in outreach activities, tech liaison and better editors on Wikimedia projects.
We are very thankful to Blueraspberry for extending an opportunity to collaborate with the New York Chapter. Emerging and growing Wikimedia communities across India and Global South have a lot to learn from sustainable chapters like the New York Chapter.
- I am totally agreed with User:Bluerasberry.On behalf of Larger Bengali Wikimedia Community ( West Bengal and Bangladesh), I would like to mention that the community don't want the Bengali language specific plan as like other. Because they used to push the same medicine for each community. Their all language specific plans are not coming their community.Every community have a unique issue. So please don't give us the same medicine.Jayantanth (talk) 02:42, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
We follow the ‘needs assessment methodology’ to write all our Focus Language Area plans. While there might be many similar points across the plans, it is due to similar imagination, expectations and implementation strategies that the communities would like to follow. However, all of our work plans cater to specific needs and requirements that are articulated by the community and by needs assessment done by A2K team members.
To elucidate on the above point we would like to present the following points There has been a clear and favourable response provided by the Marathi, Kannada and Telugu communities regarding continuing WEP would along with critical suggestions to improve the quality of the program and skills of newbie editors. Odia community however have vetoed the WEP plan and has urged A2K to build community that would be competent to conduct WEP on their own. Kannada and Odia communities have expressed their desire to improve technical leadership skills during this work plan. Other communities have expressed their interest to acquire skills on outreach (Telugu and Konkani) and quality ensuring initiatives (Marathi and Kannada) As our FLA’s are at various stages of growth it would be catastrophic to have a ‘one size fits all’ approach. We are trying to make Tulu Wikipedia live from the incubator stage and hence the plan for Tulu is to build community, focused interactions and communications with Language Committee. As Konkani Wikipedia needs sustenance post the becoming live stage, we are planning massive content donation and augmentation drives that will help Konkani Wikipedians to create articles and adhere to quality standards. Focus is also to provide Konkani Wikipedians the necessary insights into policies, Wikipedia framework of arbitration and maintenance. Other language communities such as Marathi have a higher focus of integrating material that is coming on Wikisource onto Marathi Wikipedia. Kannada Wikimedia plan places extra emphasis on improving and maintaining quality and leveraging multiple opportunities that arise out of our WEP and institutional partnerships.
We would like to thank Jayanta Da for pointing out that our plans look similar on the first glance. This question has made us think about the way we are presenting our plans and we would like to sharpen the distinctions and place synergies amongst our FLA work plans.
- @Bluerasberry: Agreed completely. It is the Focussed Language Area Concept of CIS, which seems faulty to me as India is a multilingual country and supporting only 5 of them and completely ignoring others only aggravate the problem. Bengali Wiki community in India had their last meetup in October, 2015 and although we decided to have monthly meetups then, lack of supportive funding organization is the main obstacle to do this on regular basis. Funding requests of our two more events in Book-fairs were also rejected by CIS, the reason shown as being a one-time activity, even though the events had community consensus. Furthermore, we in our community have our specific needs and challenges to overcome and have our own plans to execute, which sometimes cannot be done by volunteers and need complete organizational support. Instead of telling from outside what we need to do, CIS should first listen to the volunteer community about the specific requirements and act truly as a supportive organization. -- Bodhisattwa (talk) 06:09, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback.
We do not support one time activities as it does not fit the WMF strategy and guidelines for community engagement. If the Bangla community would like to organise regular meet-up CIS-A2K would be glad to help in whatever capacity we can. Also, we are sorry that we could not support for the book fair request. This was done under compliance to the best practices followed by WMF regarding community activities and one time events. (WMF_Metrics_and_activities_meetings/Quarterly_reviews/Grantmaking,_2013-05-15#Questions_the_Grants_team_is_thinking_about) Our future consultations with the Indian language communities will strictly follow ‘needs assessment’ model and we would love to learn and work closely with Indian Wikimedia communities by understanding the issues, challenges, opportunities and partnerships that emerge out of these communities. Lahariyaniyathi (talk) 05:53, 23 April 2016 (UTC)
Comments from Satdeep GillEdit
Hello everyone, I am Satdeep Gill from Punjabi Wikimedians User Group. I have been in contact with CIS since TTT 2013. I learned a lot of new things during 4-day Train the Trainer Program and it really helped me become a better leader. Other Punjabi Wikimedians also attended various events organized by CIS and they were happy to be given this opportunity. More Punjabi Wikimedians are looking forward to TTT and MWTTT this year.
I know it is totally upto CIS to decide their workplan and how they feel comfortable to execute this plan. But I think CIS can improve upon the following things:
- Focusing on existing projects before making new projects live: A fellow Wikimedian also expressed the concern that CIS is diverting community to work on Odia Wikisource while the Odia Wikipedia is still an infant. As of now, Odia Wikipedia has only a little more than 10,000 articles. As I look at stats from February 2016 I see that there are only 3 very active editors on Odia Wikipedia and 0 very active editors on Odia Wikisource. February 2016 stats of Kannada Wikipedia shows 30-40% decline in active editors, very active editors, new editors over the last year. Due to this, I would seriously doubt the 11 lac INR amount requested for Kannada Wikipedia now.
- Helping active Wikimedia projects in other Indic-languages: Just as Blue Rasberry mentioned, I think CIS should also help other active Wikimedia projects in Indic-languages as well. CIS can ask communities if they need any kind of financial or technical support. Punjabi Wikipedia has been one of the most active Wikimedia projects in Indic languages and it was also mentioned by Jimmy Wales during Wikimania 2015. Yet, we have not received any formal support from CIS in helping our community grow and to start new projects. Due this, we created Punjabi Wikimedians User Group. We are still struggling in doing a lot of things as we are experienced. Even for the 5-language workplan, CIS should take comments from the community and make a workplan according to that, instead of making a workplan and imposing it on the community.
- WikiConference India 2016: WikiConference India 2016 is around the corner and as Punjabi Wikimedia community is quite young, we would love support and inputs in all the aspects. It is great the CIS is officially going to handle the funds for the community. Some staff members of CIS have been supporting WikiConference as volunteers. I think CIS staff can help in a better if CIS makes WikiConference India 2016 a part of their official workplan.
Dear Satdeep, Many thanks for taking the time to engage with our plan and providing such valuable feedback.
- A2K team strictly follows 'needs assessment method' to write all its work plans. A2K team members consult the community regarding their wish list, to-do list, follow-up list and any other ideas that they would like to be featured under work plan. This process happens as a consultative process and involves community members at various stages and various platforms such as on-wiki discussions and notifications. Further feedback and suggestions over email and telephone are collected and the work plan is drafted. This draft version of the work plan is again sent to the community members for further feedback and comments. A final version assimilating all these comments and suggestions is what we put up as our work plan. CIS-A2K does not wish to unilaterally decide what the communities should be doing. CIS-A2K has always believed in the merits of consultative process and has drafted all its FLA work plans with close interactions with the communities.
- Odia Wikisource project became live due to the hard-work and diligence shown by Odia Wikimedians many of them whom are dedicated towards working only on Odia Wikisource. There is a very active Odia Wikisource volunteer group which has successfully celebrated its first anniversary in 2015.
The dip in the number of Kannada active Wikipedia editors is in direct relation to the WEP program that A2K runs at Christ University, Bangalore. Close to 300 students work on Kannada Wikipedia during the months of July-September and November to January as part of the WEP activities. Many of these students do not continue editing after the WEP engagement is over.
- While it is true that the budget for Kannada Language in Rs11Lakh, this includes staff costing and expenses projected towards skill building initiatives such as Train-the Trainer, Media Wiki Training and Train-a-Wikipedian. All the other FLA plans also similarly contribute to skill building initiatives that will include and benefit to Wikimedians all over India.
- A2K maintains a request page to collaborate and facilitate any requirements that the Indian language Wikimedia communities have. Please write to us if A2K can be of any help either via email or on the request page of A2K. We have during the past two years received a wide variety of requests related to financial assistance, technical skills and bug fixing, liaison and partnership requests from many Indian language communities. We welcome you to write to us regarding any requirements and requests that Punjabi User Group might have. A2K would like to support the Punjabi User Group in all possible means of design, development and documentation if necessary.
- CIS-A2K will not be able to make Wiki India Conference 2016 part of its work plan owing to our LoI which stipulates the grant amount we have requested. However, A2K would be willing to take up any additional responsibilities for Wiki India Conference 2016 as suggested by the organising committee.