My experience from Diversity Conference 2017!

Wikimedia Diversity Conference was organised by Wikimedia Sweden on 3rd November 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden. The conference was hosted for 2 days ( 2 days and a half for the Social event) with over 80 participants from 40 countries, representing various languages and communities. It was the time to meet old friends, make new ones and learn from their activities and projects in the Wikimedia Movement.


The conference was started on 3rd November 2017 for the Social event in the Royal Armory Museum of Royal Palace of Stockholm. Volunteers gathered in the lobby of Stockholm Sheraton hotel and came to the Museum, the 15 minutes walk also helped in knowing people. After reaching the Museum, we were provided with registration kit. While going through my ID card, I found a bunch of papers were there inside. And going through the papers, I found a Bingo sheet, some instructions, and a page to note down the discussion. After attending the last 2 Wikimanias, I was aware of playing a Wiki Bingo, with a lot of words related to the movement being there in the puzzle, you have to mark it when the speakers during the Opening ceremony say that word. But in Diversity conference the Wiki Bingo was quite different with the Bingo sheet having questions, Person who is from Africa contributes to Wikipedia every day, uses Linux Operating system and others. I found it really amazing and a nice icebreaker activity. Diversity Conference being a conference with a small number of participants such activities helps in knowing people, being open and initiating a conversation with strangers. Later, when you get a Bingo, you have to form a group and discuss challenges and achievements of your community. I was also surprised by seeing the QR codes in the museum, which was later shared by the curator of Royal Museum about how Wikimedia Sweden and the museum have collaborated for the Open Knowledge movement and gave some brief about their work.

The main event started on 4th November with the opening speech by the Executive Director of Wikimedia Foundation, Katherine Maher. She started her speech saying “We are a community that believes in every single information need to be shared” saying that she explained How can we move towards knowledge equity, which was followed by a question she asked, Have we changed the world? And the crowd shouted “Yes”. By that time I had got the idea that the smaller is the conference the better you interact with more people and know from their work.


During the conference, we were asked to sit in a group in such a manner that people from the same country should not be repeated and I believe we had one of the most diverse groups with Ivan, Carmen, Caroline, Reem and me, representing different projects and different communities. There was a good bonding in the group, our group actively took part in many discussions and we made some very good posters (As Ivan was in our team 😀 ) but everything changed when Ulrika introduced the WikiCafe, this was the first time I was part of revolving cafe concept. Within the 2-3 hrs of the WikiCafe session, I got a chance to interact with almost everyone present in the conference, we discussed the topics given, challenges we are facing and what could the solution for it. It not only helped in interacting with people, it also helped to know how people react to situations and deal in their community.  Also, I believe Mentimeter was one of the best things in the conference, where you could give your comments and suggestion live during the presentation, also you can see what others have suggested.

From using Wikimedia projects to engage vulnerable and underrepresented people into our movement, which I never thought that by teaching how to edit Wikiquote can make patients happier and feel good about themselves to how to make events more inclusive, make process map, Wikimedia Diversity has taught me a lot of things. It has also helped me to understand that the diversity doesn’t come with a single representation, it comes with a lot of people with new ideas and understandings, also diversity is not only about representation, there’s a various way of achieving it through content, participation, and others.

In the end, we understood how a commitment to diversity also needs to manifest itself in the governance structures of our movement organizations. “We” are a group of diversity activists who work on these issues in a volunteer and/or staff capacity.


Women’s History Month: Sambad collaborates with Odia Wikipedia for a Two Day Edit-a-thon

Sambad, in collaboration with Odia imageWikipedians, is organising a two day ‘edit-a-thon’ on March 18 and 19, 2017 to increase and improve  articles on women in Odia Wikipedia. Sambad, a regional language daily newspaper in Odisha, is among the most widely circulated and published newspapers as it is from eight key cities in the state, including the capital city of Bhubaneswar. The event will be organised in Sambad Bhawan Bhubaneswar with around 15-20 participants from different walks of life.
In 2011, a survey carried out by the Wikimedia Foundation found that only 8.5 percent of Wikipedia editors were female. Since then, awareness has risen and many have found the editor demographic imbalance to be a strong reflection of what the encyclopaedia does or does not cover, including how written language and discourse were constructed on the pages and how discussion flows on article talk pages.
The aim of this 100 Women Edit-a-thon is to create articles on 100 Women from Odisha, hailing from different fields of work. Mrutyunjaya Kar, Admin, Odia Wikipedia hopes that “through this edit-a-thon, Odia Wiki will get a new batch of female Wikimedians. I hope all the other Indic Wikipedias will replicate this to create and improve articles in their respective languages.” The Women’s Studies department of Utkal University and the archives of the Sambad newspaper are major resources for this edit-a-thon.
The program will run for two days with a batch of journalists from Sambad and Eastern Media along with local Wikipedians from the city. Tanaya Patnaik, Director of Eastern Media says, “Odisha and Odias have such rich history and accomplishments, but information regarding the same is limited on the Internet. Wikipedia has emerged as the most popular go-to information site and it is essential that we Odias as a community get together to make our presence felt on the web. We loved the idea of collaborating with Odia Wikipedia for an edit-a-thon aiming at creating 100 Wikipedia articles on Odia women achievers. This would be an incredible learning experience for us.”

WikiTungi Bhubaneswar, the city based community of Odia Wikipedians is taking the lead in organising the event. The first day of this edit-a-thon is dedicated to introducing Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects to the participants. Participants will also be taught how to create user accounts. The second day of this edit-a-thon is to create or improve articles from the 100 Women list. Tanveer Hasan, Program Manager, CIS-A2K added, “It is vital that Wikimedians take the lead in contributing to a gender sensitive Wikipedia. Edit-a-thons such as these are instrumental in doing so. These events must be carefully nurtured and an effort to follow-up should be made. According to Wikidata, Odia Wikipedia is among the gender balanced Wikipedias in terms of content. 20.6% of articles on Odia Wikipedia are related to women. In collaboration with Sambad for this initiative, Odia Wikipedians strive to bridge the gender gap and create an example in this movement.

Women’s History Month Wikidatathon

Wikimedians translating labels of Wikidata. Image by User:Saileshpat under CC-BY-SA 4.0

The Odia Wikipedia was one of the first languages to have the article placeholder extension. The extension helps automatically generate content pages on Wikimedia projects displaying data from Wikidata. Since August 2016, a series of Wikidata label translation activities have been carried out in collaboration with the Wikimedians from Puri to help with this project. The goal of this project is to mark the presence of the Odia language in the Wikidata and to let the article place holder extension work flawlessly on the Odia Wikipedia.

On 12th March 2017, the second Wikidata-thon event was organized in Puri. The event was organized during the 7th WikiTungi Puri meetup. All total 8 Wikipedians joined for the event, 2 of them being female Wikimedians and 3 of them contributed through the mobile phone. The community members spent 2 and half hours translating the labels, descriptions in Wikidata and editing Wikipedia. 220 Labels and description were translated, and almost 26,762 Bytes were added into Wikidata. 

The event was focused on International Women’s history month and the labels translated were related to the articles created so far in Odia Wikipedia’s WHM editathon.  All the 220 labels were related to the Women personalities.  Wikipedians were taught about the Wikidata game and other tools of Wikidata. 

The Wikidatathon series has a target to translate at least 10,000 labels and description on Wikidata in Odia language by the end of 2017.

To do:

  • Engage the Wikipedians with the technical team and global contributors of  Wikidata to learn more about the project.
  • Bring at least 20 more editors into Wikidata.
  • One Wikidatathon mega event in the KIIT University to translate labels in Odia, Hindi and Bengali language.





Meet the youngest Odia Wikipedian.

Ashutosh Sarangi, a 6th-grade student age 11 years is the youngest contributor to the Odia Wikimedia projects. He is one of the most active contributors to Odia Wikisource. Ashutosh started contributing to Odia Wikisource after attending the secimg_5636

ond Odia Wikipedia workshop in Delhi in February 2015 and is going to complete his first anniversary in Odia Wikisource.

Being a student from Delhi, Ashutosh never studied his mother tongue Odia in his educational curriculum, because of family interaction, He was only able to speak in Odia. His mother Pankajamala Sarangi, another active user of Odia Wikisource helped Ashutosh in learning Odia by teaching him how to read and write the Odia language with the help of a Delhi-based organization called the Intellects.
Ashutosh says, contributing to Odia Wikisource helps in digitization of the Odia language and makes availability of Odia books on internet. He has edited “Semananka Piladina” and many other Odia books on Odia Wikisource. He uses Google OCR tool for his contribution which was taught to him on WhatsApp by Chinmayee Mishra, this OCR tool helped Ashutosh to contribute frequently to Wikisource.
As a member of Odia Wikimedia community, He recently attended the WikiConference India in August 2016, where he was the youngest Wikimedian among all the participants. He received a trophy from Natalia Tymkiv the Board member of Wikimedia Foundation for being the youngest volunteer in the conference. During WikiConference India, Ashutosh  got a chance to meet most of the Odia Wikipedians for the first time and also different language Wikipedians, which helped him gaining the knowledge of editing and better understanding of the movement. In future he wants to contribute more to the Odia Wikisource by digitizing more number of books and making it available for everyone. He also wishes to contribute and learn more on Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.

WikiTungi Bhubaneswar marks its first anniversary.

Group photos of Wikipedians during the  anniversary dinner.

WikiTungi is a city based Wikipedia community formed to help the Wikipedians around the city to meet, share and learn from their experience in the Wikipedia movement. The Tungi meetups are mostly organised with the help of the volunteers. Odia community’s WikiTungi is a based in two cities, Puri and Bhubaneswar. While Wikimedians in Puri conduct meetups bi-monthly, Bhubaneswar Wikimedians meet once a month. In every meetup, Wikimedians exchange their resources with each other, helping address their doubts and queries regarding their problems and projects.Started in February 2016 the Bhubaneswar WikiTungi has marked its first anniversary on 9th February 2017. The community members of Bhubaneswar Tungi meet on every second Sunday of the month, and Durimg the first year anniversary eight community members from the Bhubaneswar Tungi met for a dinner to celebrate the volunteer practice of attending the WikiTungi meetups regularly. The community discussed on various ideas, and implementing them in the regular meetup of the Tungi, members of the community also shown their interest in organising the third WikiConference India in Bhubaneswar to spread more awareness on Wikipedia in Odisha. During the community meetup, Tungi members came up with few ideas to implement it as a best practice in the Wikipedia movement.

Some of them are listed here:

  • The Tungi members will invite one of the global community leaders for a Skype or hangout session.
  • Discuss the best practice from the global community and discuss them with the community.
  • Updating the minutes of the meeting and sharing them with the other community members.
  • Updating the learning and evaluation team about the new learning of the community every month.
  • The community will also send Postcards as a souvenir to the participants of the global community for the online sessions.

Bargarh manuscript digitization project.

Mahishamardini sloka manuscript from the temple record room

Shree Dadhibamana Temple also known as the Srikshetra of Western Odisha is a 400 years old temple in Bargarh, Odisha. Being one of the prominent places for the religion practice in the Western Odisha, the temple has a record room with 250 ancient palm leaf manuscripts in Odia language, which dates back to 16th century. These palm leaf manuscripts consist the story  of Mahabharat, Ramayana, Skanda Purana and on the history of the temple.

The 400-year-old manuscripts are on the verge of erosion,  and  the Temple administration and Temple trust have preserved the pothi with the help of various chemicals. The process of preservation of the manuscripts was started in last 2-3 years where the student volunteers of different colleges in Bhatli helped the temple administration in identifying and storing the manuscripts.

Minati Sahoo, a well known social activist in Bargarh and few other journalist explained the importance of digitisation of the manuscript to the temple administration and took permission for digitising the manuscripts in the month of March. One of the Panda (Temple priest), Pandit Shri Goura Chandra Ratha released his book Jay Shree Dadhibamana under Creative Commons 4.0 license. A three day long digitisation camp will be organised in Bhatli for orienting the students on Wikipedia and the process of digitization, also the manuscripts will be digitised during that period.

After getting the confirmation from the Temple administration, an orientation program was organised in Imperial College, for orienting the students of the college about the digitisation process, also to introduce them the pothi digitisation which the students will take part.

Participants of Imperial College orientation program

With more than 40 participants the workshop was mainly a Wikipedia Orientation program for the students which provided an idea of the movement to them, and how they can use the digitisation skill for the preservation of the  language.

This digitisation project will bring different manuscripts into Odia Wikipedia, and will also help in spreading awareness about the digitisation of language in western Odisha. After scanning the manuscripts the Odia Wikipedia community will take help from the students for uploading, digitising and proofreading the manuscripts.

When I met GDG Bhubaneswar group.

On this June 14, Google Developer Group Bhubaneswar organized an extended I/O at Bhubaneswar. To my surprise, I found that there were more than 60 participants attending the conference. Basanta Kumar Maharana. TELL WHO HE IS was the speaker at the event. Basanta shared his memories from Google I/O 2015, San Francisco and demonstrated about the new launch and updates of Google. It was quite interesting for me to learn about various Google apps (?) kike Google cardboard, Android M, etc.


Odia Wikipedia meets Google Developer GroupIn an informal interaction with the host Sanjib Parida, he proposed me to speak about Odia Wikipedia there who came to know about the project while attending Odia Wikipedia’s 13th anniversary.

I started my talk by asking four questions to the audience:

  1. How many of the audience know about Wikipedia? (Everyone raised hands.)
  2. Who has copied content from Wikipedia for assignments? (People giggled about it, 50-60% of the participants nodded saying yes!)
  3. Who knows that anyone can “edit” Wikipedia? (the count reduced to about 10-20%)
  4. Who knows about Odia Wikipedia and contributes in creating and editing articles? (Only 4-5 people said yes, I found 2-3 of them being contributors to Odia Wikipedia)

I started my talk with a brief introduction to the history of Odia Wikipedia and how it was started in 2002 as one of the first four Indic languages Wikipedia projects along with Assamese, Malayalam, and Punjabi.

Odia Wikipedia was in dormant for the next eight years which was intervened when Wikimedians like Subhashish Panigrahi, Ashutosh Kar, Anshuman Giri, Mrutyunjaya Kar and others started building a community to improve and increase the content of Odia Wikipedia. Now we have grown as a community consisting about 17 active editors and the project has more than 8800 articles. The monthly page view of Odia Wikipedia has grown to more than 800,000 from merely 200,000 in 2011. We have three active Odia-language Wikimedia projects; Odia Wikipedia, the largest Odia online encyclopedia, online library Odia Wikisource, and multilingual online dictionary Odia Wiktionary. Odia Wikipedia community has not limited their work only in editing articles, rather has expanded into many other aspects of Odia computing. On the day of Odia Wikipedia’s 13th anniversary, it has launched a converter that can convert many non-Unicode encodings into Unicode. We have been supported by CIS-A2K for many activities to grow our community and the Odia Wikimedia projects. Like Odia Wikipedia, we have 20 more Wikipedia projects in other Indic languages and in over 288 languages globally. Hindi Wikipedia among all the Indic Wikipedia projects has the highest number of articles whereas Malayalam Wikipedia has the highest number of quality articles.

Odia Wiki1
Pictured above: Participants at the conference organized by the Google Developer Group at Bhubaneswar

Some of the state governments have been quite open and positive in bringing Wikipedia into academics. The Government of Kerala has introduced Wikipedia contribution in its curriculum for BA and MA students and The Government of Tamilnadu has introduced Tamil Wikipedia to participants at the International Tamil Conference which helped the Tamil Wikimedia community in expanding the community. Awareness and community building are two major challenges for us at this moment. I invited the participants there to take part in the Wikimedia movement.

I touched upon the Odia input for the audience. While it was quite difficult a few years back for Odia input it is no longer a challenge. With the help of the Android app “Indic Keyboard, ” we can also edit Odia Wikipedia from mobile phones. I myself have used it for editing Wikipedia, for tweeting and posting Facebook status in Odia. After the talk, I was asked a few questions. There are two important ones I would like to share here. To the question “how can I contribute to Odia Wikipedia? Do I have to install any keyboard for it?” I elaborated how anyone can edit and expand articles or create new Wikipedia articles in Odia just by creating a new account and logging into, and how the Wikimedia projects like Wikipedia have an input tool called Universal Language Selector (ULS) enabled in them and one does not need to install any additional input method. I was asked by one from the here is no support from the government at this moment but we are constant effort to collaborate audience about the Government of Odisha helping to grow Odia Wikipedia.

Many participants came and personally greeted me after the event was over. I was really excited to share the news about our (Odia Wikimedia community’s plans for creating Bhubaneswar Wiki Group/WikiTungi with two active communities in engineering colleges like CET and KIIT. It was a wonderful experience at Google I/O and I hope to grow our Wikimedia community by collaborating with more like-minded communities.


Originally posted at- The Center for Internet and Society Blog