Namaste! Interview with Janak Bhatta from Wikipedia Nepal

Is Wikipedia popular in Nepal?
Yes, Wikipedia is popular in Nepal. Its popularity is increasing gradually day by day. We have a programme called WACN (Wiki Awareness Campaign in Nepal) to increase the awareness of Wikipedia as well as to improve recognition of Wikipedia and understanding of its uses among the different communities of Nepal.

How big is the Nepali wiki community? Tell us a bit more about the language versions you have?
Nepali wiki community is a mid-sized one. As per statistics, It has over 45,000 registered users, and out of which it has 100+ consistent active users who keep editing it, and various anonymous users are there who use Wikipedia to get the information.
Till now, we have nine different communities i.e., Nepali, Maithili, Doteli, Newari (Nepal Bhasha), Bhojpuri, Sanskrit, and Santali Community as well as two emerging Incubator communities – Awadhi and Marwari. We have two active user groups “Wikimedians of Nepal” and “Maithili Wikimedians” to support, promote and develop free educational materials(media) in the various languages spoken over Nepal.

How you personally became Wikimedian?
About ten years ago, one of my friend Mr [[User: Ganesh Paudel|Ganesh Paudel]] informed me about Wikipedia. Till then, I was totally unknown about it. Hardly two years later, then after collecting information and becoming more familiar with Wikipedia, I decided to open a Wikipedia account. On 3rd October 2012, I have registered on Wikipedia. I started my journey to Wikipedia by writing on common topics like about my village/hometown, our culture, traditions in the early days. In the meantime, I got a chance to visit the blog on Wikimedia which touched my heart and encouraged me to contribute more to it.
https://blog.wikimedia.org/2014/06/24/writing-wikipedia-from-the-western-hills-of-nepal
The blog seems to be very interesting and touchy and thus enforced me to enhance contribution and spend more time on Wikipedia. Since 2014, I’ve been an active contributor and I started becoming more active on Wikipedia and also at that time my mother tongue’s Wikipedia is in an incubator. https://blog.wikimedia.org/2015/11/04/doteli-wikipedia-makes-significant-progress/ I used to spend most of the time on Doteli Wikipedia(incubator project) and Nepali Wikipedia. Later on gradually I entered on the other Wikimedia projects like Commons, Wiki data and other projects also. In this way, knowingly and unknowingly I became a Wikimedian.

What are the topics you contribute most in Wikipedia?
Most of my contribution to geography, biography and update the recently changed events. I love to write about our culture, traditions and literature also in my home Wiki. Expect that, I am doing language correction and smaller article expansions also.

What activities do you have in Nepal, related with Wikipedia? And which are your favourite?
We have various activities in Nepal, related to Wikipedia. Some of the selected activities are Wikicamp Nepal, Wiki Loves Birds, Wiki Loves Earth(WLE), Wiki Loves Monuments(WLM), Wiki Women Edit-a-thon, Wiki Women Train the trainer program, Wikiproject Data-a-thon, Wikimedia education program “Wiki Knowledge Club” etc.

Among these, my favourite is Wikimedia education program “Wiki Knowledge Club” and Wikicamp Nepal. Wikimedia education program is a 13 days Wikimedia education program in a community-based campus in Kathmandu. This was for undergraduate students to be enrolled into Wiki knowledge club and teach the team the basic know-how of wiki projects and open knowledge within the period of 13 hours course. Female participation in this program was really appreciated. More than 90% were female and they contributed awesomely.
https://outreachdashboard.wmflabs.org/courses/Wikimedians_of_Nepal/Wiki_Knowledge_Club
The program helped in women empowerment and to solve the online gender gap problem even if a little. The program was really successful and fruitful. This encourages us to do such types of events in the future by taking the feedbacks of the participants as an improvement.

‘Wikicamp Nepal’, This is the first event of its kind being held in Nepal and intended to become an annual national flagship event for Wikipedia/Wikimedia in the country. Bring together experienced and newbie Wikipedians/Wikimedians from nine different communities across the country come under one roof to share one vision of Wikimedia movement
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikicamp_Nepal_2018

Janak Batta

Your greeting to all Wikipedian volunteers all over the world?
Namaste!
Thanks for reading this and thanks to all for contributing to this wonderful movement, because without people like you and me, this free content encyclopedia wouldn’t exist on the internet. Together we can make a better encyclopedia. 🙂

Interview with Farhad Fatkullin – Wikimedian of the Year 2018

Please tell us your story, your way to meet Wikipedia?
I discovered Wikipedia sometime between 2004 and 2008. It was particularly beneficial thanks to its interlanguage links, which are now stored on Wikidata – I used to search & read articles either in English or Russian, and then switching the language. It was an efficient way to get an overview of the field and related terminology in two languages. I discovered Tatar Wikipedia articles sometime in the first half of 2008, made first edits around Christmas 2009 & came back for good at the end of February 2012.You are Wikimedian of the Year for 2018 – what does it mean?
You can read Wikipedia page about the term here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikimedian_of_the_Year.
I would say, it’s a recognition of efforts undertaken by some group of volunteers active around Wikimedia projects, but specific initiatives and related individuals are marked as a symbol. During last Wikimania, I was happy and honored to meet Rosie of U.S., who carried this torch back in 2016 & is since playing an important role in various volunteer support functions in the Wikimedia movement (File:Rosie & Farkhad at Wikimania 2019 Learning Days jeh.jpg) & later my other colleagues with whom we even started a WOTY club https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedians_of_the_Year.
Wikimedia projects document diverse cultural heritage of our planet and make it available in a multitude of languages – Jimmy somehow came up with an idea how to celebrate individuals, acknowledge groups and energize other volunteers, and he does that annually at the closing of Wikimania conference. I assume that efforts of multilingual Wikimedians from Russia deserved praise, and my contribution into cross-cultural and inter-language communication in somehow got on his radar & was identified as a worthy example.
And how this changed your life and attitude towards Wikipedia?
This didn’t affect my attitude towards Wikipedia, but clearly added some new roles and responsibilities within the movement – which decreased the amount of time I could continue dedicating to the tasks I was previously concentrating on. Local stakeholders in the Republic of Tatarstan wanted to learn more and engage with Wikimedia-offered opportunities & my colleagues throughout the Russian Federation wanted me to capitalize on this public interest. I am now concentrating on communicating public engagement with Wikimedia projects through various Smart Region initiatives, such as the one on municipal level (w.wiki/EfH) or cultural heritage promotion bodies, etc.
Tell us, as volunteer, what are the most common things you do for your Wikipedia?
I treat all 300+ Wikipedia language version as „mine“ – I believe that all languages and cultures of this world belong to all of us, as this is our common heritage.
Over 50% of my edits are in Tatar Wikipedia where I started, but since 2015 I am also taking care of all https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikipedias_in_the_languages_of_Russia (about 30 Mainspace versions in languages that have official status somewhere within the Federation, and 45 others in Wikimedia Incubator (see recent report in English https://ru.wikinews.org/?curid=531219) plus those in Turkic languages. Since Fall 2019 I started helping Northern Sami Wikipedia as well.
In Tatar Wikipedia I started with developing articles around my hobbies (History, Holidays and Observances, various socio-economic topics) and interests of my kids (Cartoon characters, Animals, etc.), later on moved to various service tasks, such as developing Help pages and Guidelines, Categorization, interlinking etc. I later started teaching others both online and offline, and still do.
How do you involve and encourage new people to join and volunteer as you do?
Volunteering is about being conscious of the benefits, seeing positive results of one’s actions and feeling empowered to do something bigger. So I don’t waste my time trying to involve anyone – just sharing about the benefits I’ve seen in the area of person’s interests & demonstrating examples of positive results. If the person recognizes the value and is interested to try getting something done – I am ready to help them develop the necessary Wiki-skills. Since I keep learning the Wiki-world myself, I allow myself to periodically share new pertinent examples with people that have shown sincere initial interest.

 

What is the most inspiring thing for you, related with Wikipedia?
Wikipedia gives all of us the tools to edit the world. It’s about sharing your knowledge with others to simplify collaborative molding of our global society.
No other website in Top-10 can be edited as easily as Wikipedia!

No other business, NGO, government or intergovernmental institution website trusts and empowers its visitors in a similar fashion.

Your greeting to all who will read this interview?
No matter where you are, what languages you speak or cultural background you are from – we are part of one humankind. Wikipedia is just one of the most effective tools available to us today to make our common world brighter, richer and more joyous. I am grateful to each and every one that makes my planet better & promise to make everything possible to take care of yours from wherever I am. 🙂

Interview with Gevorg Ghazaryan from Wikimedia Armenia

Tell us a bit more about yourself 🙂

I am Gevorg Ghazaryan. I am a 14 years old student from Armenia. My hometown is Artashat, which is one of the capitals of the ancient Armenian Kingdom. My favorite school subject is geography. It is also one of my hobbies. Last year I participated in the Geography Scholar Olympiad and almost got to the international stage. I love soccer, and when I have spare time, we gather together with friends and play. But most of the time, I usually study or edit Wikipedia.

How your Wikipedian journey started?

I started editing Wikipedia when I was13 years old. After transferring to the new school, I found out about Wikipedia and the local Wikiclub. I always thought that the ones who wrote articles in Wikipedia were smart robots. I could never imagine that all articles were written by volunteers who invested their time and knowledge to make information free for others. I made my first edit on February 27 of 2018. Since that day, my life has completely changed. I edit Wikipedia every day and work hard to get better and better.

You made #100Wikidays and now you run #1000Wikidays – tell us a bit more about this challenges

Editing was never a tedious activity for me. Even so, I like challenges. When I learned about 100wikidays challenge and its community, I was amazed by how people were willing to dedicate their precious time and effort to develop Wikipedia. That blew my mind, and I decided that I wanted to try it. However, I failed the first attempt due to enormous pressure. At that time, I was not ready for it.
Nevertheless, I never gave up, and after a small break, I posted about my second attempt. All articles were about basketball players. After 100 days, I made a facebook post and announced about completing the challenge. I got motivated and did it again. My second challenge was dedicated to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and during those 100 days, I made 300 articles. Right after Bosnia, I started the third challenge and wrote approximately 350 articles about Bulgaria. Now I am doing 1000wikidays challenge and working hard to finish it.

What motivates you?

When I started editing, it wasn’t easy for me. I struggled with vocabulary, grammar, and also with technical issues. I got blocked 3 times for making low-quality articles. However, I did not give up and started working even harder to prove that I was capable of doing and achieving greater things. I wanted to convince everyone that 13 years old kid could succeed. After putting colossal effort and spending a considerable amount of time, my articles got better and better. Also, the fact that my articles can help and teach someone makes me super motivated to edit more and more.

What are your plans for the future?

I have many plans and goals for 2020, and most of them are related to Wikimedia Armenia. Our team and I are trying to motivate more people to edit our encyclopedia. We are planning to organize events and workshops to encourage new editors. We are currently working on the “Armenian History“ project and discussing new ones. I also want to learn more about Wikisource and Wikidata. My ultimate goal is to finish the 1000wikidays challenge and improve the quality of the articles.

Read also:

Interview with Sofie Jansson Wikimedia Sweden

Filip Maljković from Wikimedia Serbia

Interview with Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight – Women in Red

Interview with Anass Sedrati – Your small drop in the infinite ocean of knowledge!

Interview with João Alexandre Peschanski – What you know matters! 

Interview with Nat Tymkiv – Ukrainian Wikipedia

Interview with Shani Evenstein Sigalov

 

Filip Maljković from Wikimedia Serbia

Filip Maljkovic
Filip Maljkovic Photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg

How Filip and Wikipedia started to work together? Tell us your story 🙂

As with most people, I too was brought to Wikipedia through Google. I frequented the English Wikipedia main page as early as 2004, but I was not fully aware that there’s a community of people editing Wikipedia behind the scenes. Those days I was soaking up knowledge from digital encyclopedias such as Microsoft Encarta and Encyclopædia Britannica, but their content was limited in scope and especially depth. Wikipedia was beating them in terms of size and it was beating them fast. I remember losing many hours falling down the Wikipedia „rabbit hole“. At one
point, a sitenotice prompted me to think about who’s creating the content and soon I found out that there’s a vibrant community and that I can be a part of it. So, in September 2004, I tried to do some editing and I added some Latin phrases to the List of Latin proverbs and my
edits were immediately visible and they actually stuck. In the following months I did some smaller edits, but then I stopped. That is, until spring break 2005, when I started editing again out of boredom. I had just visited a car show in Belgrade and wanted to write about something
I saw there, and having noticed that there was no article about Toyota Aygo, I decided to create it. Soon I started adding photos I took on my previous travels in Europe to Wikipedia and I guess one Serbian Wikipedian noticed my edits on English Wikipedia and approached me, saying that I should „come over“ to Serbian Wikipedia, because it desperately needed editors. At first I was skeptical about it, but it quickly turned out Serbian Wikipedia was much easier to edit and improve, since it only had around 11 thousand articles back then. In a matter of days I started writing new articles, fixing existing ones and generally getting more immersed in the whole thing. Very soon I took
part in my first offline meeting of Wikipedians and I’m sure it helped that Jimmy Wales was visiting Belgrade in a week. Meeting him and many other local Wikipedians was, I believe, crucial in cementing me as a firm Wikimedia community member. Soon I became an administrator and then
bureaucrat on Serbian Wikipedia, and in December 2005 I was one of the founding members of Wikimedia Serbia, so I suppose the rest is history.

Which projects of Wikimedia Serbia you are most proud of?

Wikimedia Serbia has had a lot of projects in almost 14 years of its existence. One of its oldest programs and now one of its most developed is probably the Education program and it has a special place in my heart because I’ve been a part of it basically since its beginnings in 2005.
The first lecture/presentation I held about Wikipedia was in a private University in my hometown of Pančevo back in December 2005, when I was still a high school student. Even though the first fruits of our Education program labor were produced more than a year later, I believe these first steps were instrumental for us to determine that we really want to cooperate with educational institutions and all we needed was some time. Nowadays, the Education program works in basically all levels
of education and we have partnered with dozens of institutions throughout the years, creating millions and millions of bytes of content. At first, and in fact throughout most of Wikimedia Serbia
history, this program has been volunteer led and we’ve had tremendous success without any sort of financial help. However, we’ve spurred our progress with the introduction of the Education Program Manager position back in early 2015.

What is the best part for you prom being active in the Wikimedia movement?

I like getting to meet a lot of interesting people around the world. Having shown interest in international affairs, I’ve been (Wikimedia) Serbia’s go to guy when it comes to that and ever since my first Wikimania back in 2006 I’ve met hundreds of great people, some of which I truly consider friends. I appreciate the collaborations that these meetings bring about: the exchange of ideas and experiences, casual banter with like-minded people and long lasting relationships are just
some of the examples of this.

On the other hand, being the president of Wikimedia Serbia has also had some side effects: I’ve met the Mayor of Belgrade, appeared in many radio and TV shows and officiated many events, which are all nice things. Of course, there have been some bad things as well, like death threats, lawsuit threats and some stressful HR issues, but I suppose life can’t always be perfect. All in all, I think Wikipedia and Wikimedia for me have been net-positive experiences.

How do you encourage new people to join and become volunteers?

To be honest, I think I used to be a much better evangelist of our movement before compared to nowadays. But generally, I like to point out the positive sides: volunteerism, altruism, sense of community and belonging, widening of horizons and general knowledge, doing something useful with one’s time etc. Some people are more interested in offline (Wikimedia) rather than online (Wikipedia) work, so then I can show them what we’re doing in Wikimedia Serbia, hoping they might want to take part in some of the activities. Of course, most people don’t become volunteers, but most people do appreciate my work and the work of all the volunteers out there, lauding us for tireless efforts to make knowledge available to everyone.

Tell us a bit more about the CEE meetings and the one in October you organize.

CEE meetings are events that have taken place in the region of Central and Eastern Europe for years now and have been steadily growing in the number of participants, but also the number of external people interested in it. The first thought about creating such a conference happened in an informal meeting of Wikimedians from the CEE region during one lunch at Wikimania 2011 in Israel. There was a clear wish to organize ourselves as a region that has had a common or similar past
(communism in the latter half of 20th century, to be precise), since many things work in similar ways. The first actual CEE Meeting was held in Belgrade in October 2012 and I’m proud to have been one of the organizers of that conference. Of course, that was a smaller conference – about 40 people visited the conference throughout its two days of program – but the attendance and interest have grown quite well in recent years. This October, the conference is getting back to Belgrade for the first time since 2012 and this will be the 8th CEE meeting, with about 100 participants expected. This time around, we have 3 staff members of Wikimedia Serbia as well as some of us from the board and about a dozen other volunteers helping out with organizing this large event. I’m confident everything will go as planned, but the main worry our region has now is whether having CEE meetings still brings value and if so, where will Wikimedia CEE Meeting happen in 2020.

Your greeting to all wikipedians reading this interview? 🙂

Thanks for reading this far! 🙂 And thanks for contributing to this wonderful movement, because without people like you and me, this ecosystem of knowledge wouldn’t exist.

Interview with João Alexandre Peschanski – What you know matters! 

Жоау Александре Песчански Уикимедия Бразилия
Maratona de produção e edição de imagens 
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Interview with Nat Tymkiv – Ukrainian Wikipedia

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Цялата публикация „Interview with Nat Tymkiv – Ukrainian Wikipedia“