After a 5 minutes break after the PLUG meet it was time for the Wikipedia Marathi Meetup to happen. I do hope to add a couple of group photographs a little later though (after they have been put up/hosted in Wikimedia commons/Flickr etc.). But before we get into that, a disclaimer.
Disclaimer :- I am not an expert either on wikipedia or Wikimedia or Marathi or in any combination of the above. In fact my grasp of the language was just barely enough (in writing) to get passing grades in school. Spoken Marathi is although another thing altogether.
So, finally the meetup happened. There were eight of us. Me, Ashwin Baindur, Sudhanwa Jogalekar, Anupam Saraph, Mandar Kulkarni, Karunakar, Harshad Gune and couple of newbies to the concept of wiki editing. While I knew everybody else Mr. Anupam Saraph was a new name to know. After a short introduction of everybody, Mandar had made a short presentation on the state of Marathi Wikipedia from a user’s and an editor’s point of view. While I have had a cursory look at the Marathi Wikipedia some points were common perhaps to Wikipedia in general while some need/needed a bit more examples to have a more stark comparison between the two Wikipedia’s. The obvious issues of Unicode, fonts were all shared although what was a relevation was Anupam Saraph’s of an implementation of the free knowledge/free sharing culture called wikipedia on Governance with Giki . It was an interesting development to come to know of and was totally surprised to know that such an idea/utility has been functioning for last 2 years or so. Anupam was also kind enough to share with us some of the more interesting and not-so-interesting observations and experiences he had while setting and running the giki. There is a lot of difference in wikipedia and the giki but have the same goals/ideals. The wiki page about Wikia gives ideas or broad contours of the differences between the two. It would be interesting to see where and how things progress after Anupam steps down after his term (ending this month) is over.
I was particularly intrigued by Anupam’s idea of having Wikis in the education and business sectors, both for transparency as well as documentation processes. Harshad Gune (of SICSR) informed us that lot of his students had been changing stuff under Wikimedia or/and were adding extensions or extension-like functionality to the internal Wikis they had created. It would be a good idea to have a short presentation with preferably some screenshots of the internal wiki and a short take on what worked/didn’t worked or were surprised or not surprised as to how people use wikipedia within the college environment and what’s more popular. It would be an interesting experience to share.
Then at some point there was some casual/loose talk about what drives us to edit or what do we edit. For myself, most of the times it’s a bunch of my favorite FOSS softwares. It was interesting to know other people’s interests and motivations for the same. While Ashwin has a passion and fascination for birds and butterflies (suffice to say winged creatures), Mandar has a fascination and has been photographing different forts in Maharashtra.
In fact, that triggered the almost paucity of information about so many things related to Maharashtra, Maharashtrian culture and ethos and the whole inter-wiki linking phenomena which somehow is not so well-known or used. A point which was agreed by all was that not even a percent of all the art,culture,history,commerce that happens in the city has been covered in either language wikipedia. There were many possibilities and probabilities which were identified which could lead to more creativity being unleashed. Quite a few of the sub-projects and sister projects could have a flourishing life if properly executed.
Note about self :- I usually restrict myself to infoboxes and sometimes if the article is a stub and I know a bit more or do know of sources which can be referenced, at least attempt to do so. I have done few edits of putting an article into sections and enlarging a section or two. Although not really doing a full rewrite even if the article is badly worded and concentrate on a section or two. Fear of getting it wrong,motivation, lack of imagination, lack of time, English not my primary language which is needed for rewriting are all the actualities, as well as sometimes the excuses for the same. I am happy atm doing section edits or adding my 2 bit line (hopefully with a reference to back it up)
At the end, it was a very productive meetup with some ideas, some motivations and some clarity on what we need to do in the weeks/months and perhaps years ahead as well.
We finally concluded with a group photograph and a short takeaway around 20:30 hours. Incidentally there was a Drupal 7 release party so we were also invited to partake part in the celebrations as well as wikipedia and Drupal have also similar ideals as well. Another synchronicity at work 😛
You can find Ashwin’s photostream here which has more photos of the meetup.
That’s all for the day 🙂