Experiences From the Wikipedia Academy
The first Wikipedia Academy got off to a nice start today. For those of you new to the concept, its an effort to teach and encourage more people to contribute to Wikipedia in terms of knowledge. Most of us just consume Wikipedia but don’t bother to edit or add any information. The academy is a small effort to change that.
Within a few hours of tweeting about the event, the registrations overflowed the small capacity my office could hold. We opened up an ‘overflow’ section and that got full as well. The next Wikipedia Academy is planned for December 12th for which Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia Founder, will be present as well.
That’s Mr.Gangadhar Bhadani, one of India’s most prolific wikipedian. He is the Chief Manager of Bank of India’s Pondicherry branch and yet 2 to 3 hours every day contributing to Wikipedia. So passionate is he that, he hired a cab on his own cost from Pondicherry to Chennai to teach at the academy. That’s quite a commitment and the participants were highly appreciative of his effort.
The nearly 3 hour session dealt with advanced editing techniques, how the volunteering hierarchy works, how to grow up the ranks to be an editor. Our small office make it look like a packed standing-room only session!
I realized the sore need of a projector. The folks at the end of the room had difficulty following the edits on the computer screen. With Wikipedia academies planned at a regular scale, it would be great if corporates can help donate a projector. It could even be an old one. It would be of great help for future sessions.
ExpressBuzz, a New Indian Express publication had a nice write up about the Wikipedia Academy. The whole idea behind the academy is to make it viral. Anyone can conduct one in their neighbourhood. All it takes is just the intention. For anyone wanting to start one and need advice, feel free to call me at 98415 97744 or email Kiruba[@]Kiruba.com. I’ll be more than glad to help. The more people contribute, the better wikipedia becomes.