WikiConference concludes with a call for more editors | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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WikiConference concludes with a call for more editors

A total of 600 Wikipedia editors, contributors and users participated in the three-day, first-ever Indian WikiConference that concluded at University of Mumbai, Fort, on Sunday. Besides live editing demo sessions, the final day recognised active editors across 20 Indian languages.

mumbai Updated: Nov 21, 2011 01:49 IST
Humaira Ansari

A total of 600 Wikipedia editors, contributors and users participated in the three-day, first-ever Indian WikiConference that concluded at University of Mumbai, Fort, on Sunday. Besides live editing demo sessions, the final day recognised active editors across 20 Indian languages.

Among them was 76-year-old Sengai Podhuvan of Tamil Nadu. “I bought a computer in 2005, but till about four years ago, I didn’t know how to use a mouse,” he said. Fifteen months ago, Podhuvan came across an English translation of an ancient Tamil scripture. “I was shocked to find that it even contained factual errors,” said Podhuvan, who then registered on Wikipedia and edited the entry. Since then, he has edited a total of 833 articles.

According to Barry Newstead, chief global development officer of the Wikimedia Foundation, “We don’t need just techies and linguists but people from all walks of life to create and edit content on Wikipedia,” Newstead said.

Another highlight of the conference was the push for more Marathi editors. While there are 16,000 registered Marathi Wikipedians as of September 2011, only 320 are active contributors, up from 200 last year.

To draw in more editors, administrators of Marathi Wikipedia said announced a pilot project to be launched in January 2012 in seven cities — Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Amravati, Solapur and Aurangabad.

“We will train one teacher and three students from Marathi-medium schools on how to use Marathi Wikipedia,” said Rahul Deshmukh, technical officer, IIT-Bombay, and one of the administrators of Marathi Wikipedia. “Marathi pages receive 4.7 million hits, second only to Hindi. But we still have a long way to go when it comes to editing articles,” said Mahitigar, another contributor to Marathi Wikipedia, who now goes by his Wikipedia username even when he is offline.