Wikipedia meetup in Bangalore, my first one

I attended Wikipedia Meetup Bangalore 23 today. It was for the first time I ever attended such a meet up.It is held every 2nd Sunday of the month. No excuse for not attending it as it is very near my house (it could interrupt the Sunday afternoon nap though!)

Danese Cooper, Chief Technical Officer, Wikimedia Foundation, Alolita Sharma, Engineering Programs Manager, Wikimedia Foundation attended the meeting. I decided to attend this meet when I saw the email from Tinu Cherian, a very active member from Bangalore.

The meet was held at TERI auditorium, a very cozy and nice place to hold such events. There was good attendance from various professional fields – wildlife photographers, journalists, techies, students from Rajasthan (who were in Bangalore to attend FOSS.in) and many who were interested in Indic versions of Wikipedia (this was a surprise & heartening for me). Some points from the meet,

  • There was a quick trivia – which character was dropped from the new Wikipedia logo? Ans: Klingon.
  • Wikipedia has 250 language versions
  • Their main data center is in Tampa (Florida), about to start another one in Virginia.
  • Most surfers from India would be hitting their caching servers in Amsterdam.
  • Primary data will always reside in the US as Wikipedia appreciates the freedom of speech provided by US govt.
  • Just 4.5 resources maintain 450 Wiki servers (kudos folks)
  • In 2011 some development work may happen from India (this shouldn’t be seen as outsourcing, but serious development work)
  • Wiki has met many important government departments in Delhi for promoting the Indic versions of Wiki. Govt not willing to opensource the fonts that are developed by CDAC.
  • Wiki wants to promote Indic versions on mobile in a big way.
  • Keen to work with Indian mobile handset makers to have the offline version of Wikipedia shipped with handsets.
  • English has about 3.5 million articles. Indic is far lesser, it can catch up provided people start contributing content.
  • Indic editors can set up their own rules for content contribution and it need not be as tight as they have for English.
  • Russia has been doing exceptionally well in adding Russian content.
  • When it comes to achieving perfection, nobody is able to beat the Germans. They pay a lot of attention to quality. We Indians too should.

Danese asked the entire crowd on what issues we wanted to hear from her. I wanted to know more their caching, load balancing and CDN architecture. Got to know a little about it from the expert. Thanks!

Comments

  1. Thanks for your writeup and images. Its always interesting to read what happens in Bangalore which has been at the forefront of Wikipedia meeetups. Since the Wikimedia reps were from the technical side, naturally the meetups they attended were on tech issues.

    My wishlist for meetups i as follows:
    * I do hope that Indian language WPs get collaborating to the level shown by Malayalam and Tamil Wikipedias.
    * I was however disappointed that during the meetup we are not able to network effectively to form partnerships for editing, or perhaps these are not evident.
    * I would be happy if we had more talk about editing issues, WikiProject India, inter-wiki article development.
    * I also hope that meetups provide real hands-on training to newbies in editing.

    All the best!

  2. good coverage.. thank you!

  3. Couple of things came to my notice :-

    a. Sad to note that Klingons were considered and then dropped. This is after some of them have joined the Star Trek team . See Worf as an e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worf

    Ok, I am an addict of Star-Trek.

    b. The 4.5 resources, what’s that ? Did you mean 4 people full-time and 1 person part-time run the show. The 4.5 resources doesn’t sound good.

    Nice overall 🙂

  4. Ah! Thanks. Have been wanting to attend for a long time now, but have not been able to. The next one hopefully.

    I wonder if we should all lobby hard with the GoI to opensource their indic fonts. It seems quite strange that they do this.

  5. shashikumar says:

    “English has about 3.5 million articles. Indic is far lesser, it can catch up provided people start contributing content.”

    There are many people who can contribute contents in Indian Languages. But, they are not aware of how to do it. I myself write in Kannada. Whenever I feel like reading something in Kannada, I visit Wikipedia Kannada. But, the contents available in in it are very less. I can contribute content. But, I am not aware of how to upload it. Unless and until Wikipedia Kannada does not get popularized, i.e. spreading a word about it and measures to encourage and guide people to contribute content are not taken, it won’t be successful.

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