sgardner at wikimedia
Feb 17, 2009, 10:27 AM
Post #1 of 1
Report to the Board of Trustees: India
I am sadly behind on the reports to the board – I am late sending them
to the board, and therefore also to you. My apologies, and my thanks
to those of you who are asking me about them off-list: it's nice to
know they are valued and missed.
I hope to get caught up later this week. Meanwhile, here is a special
report that I wrote for the board documenting a visit Jimmy and I made
to India in December. Later today I'll send you a second special
report, documenting the World Economic Forum at Davos last month.
For confidentiality reasons, I've redacted specifics about major
donors and major donor prospects. (As you know, we don't reveal
individually identifying information about donors/prospects.)
Everything else is intact from the original.
Report to the Board: India Trip
Prepared by: Sue Gardner, Executive Director
Prepared for: Wikimedia Board of Trustees
Date: December 30, 2008
Background & Context
From December 9-15, Jimmy and I visited India. The purpose of the
trip was to create some excitement and interest about Wikipedia inside
India among editors and potential editors, media, and potential
donors. We were there to accept a gift from the Kerala government of
a Malayalam encyclopedia, which Kerala was releasing under a free
license, as well as to carry out a variety of outreach and media
Please note that as always, Jimmy paid for his own travel: the
Foundation only paid for mine. Also: we owe a huge thanks to advisory
board member Achal Prabhala. Achal's advice, arrangements and
introductions made the trip worthwhile: it wouldn't have been nearly
as successful without his help :-)
In general, I would characterize the trip as productive and useful.
The staff continues to rapidly evolve our thinking about media, public
outreach, volunteer self-organization and major donor fundraising:
this trip helped advance our thinking on all those fronts. There are
no major conclusions or big directional changes in this report: it's
just a quick summary of what happened.
* December 10 and 11: Trivandrum. Jimmy and I attended the Free
Software Free Society conference. Jimmy was a keynote speaker; I met
Richard Stallman for the first time; the conference arranged a press
* December 12: Chennai. Press conference and individual interviews.
We attended a Wikipedia Academy staged by local blogger Kiruba, and
met briefly with representatives from the Knowledge Foundation, a
* December 13: Bangalore. Lunch with representatives of the Centre
for Internet and Society < http://cis-india.org/ >, a new Bangalore
NGO funded by Indian billionaire Anurag Dikshit, which has been
described as the Indian equivalent to the Berkman Center. We are
hoping to partner with CIS informally on a variety of initiatives. We
also got a basic briefing on the work of the Akshara Foundation,
Pratham Books, Argyham and e-Gov. Jimmy spoke at the Bangalore
* December 14: Bangalore. We facilitated a meeting between CIS and a
number of Bangalore-area Wikipedians, at which the CIS offered
Wikipedians meeting space in Bangalore as well as advice on how to
navigate the Indian regulatory context when setting up a chapter.
Also CIS staged a free culture lunch in our honour with local
Wikipedians and other free culture advocates. In the evening, we spoke
at a dinner.
Observations and Analysis
(in no particular order)
1.Despite the fact that we had done very little preparation and had no
major announcements to make, there was plenty of media interest.
During the trip, there were about two dozen media stories generated,
including (I believe) all/most major Indian national and regional
outlets (see list later in this report). It's pretty obvious, but
worth saying, that there's lots of general media interest in
Wikipedia, and India is no exception to that.
2.The coverage was across-the-board positive, but also full of (mostly
small, inconsequential) errors. Jimmy, Jay & I have discussed this:
upshot is, we believe that although we could choose in future to
manage the message much more tightly on trips like this, it would
probably not be worth the effort – especially given that the stories,
albeit full of mistakes, are generally positive.
3.Multi-event international trips are administratively expensive: they
are a lot of work.
4.During the trip, Jimmy and I noticed that we were often not working
from the same basic information base. I've asked Jay to start making
all the basic info available on one of the wikis -including our
standard powerpoint- so you should please feel free to
reuse/adopt/adapt whatever you like. I'll share the URL, or Jay will,
once he knows it. Also, Jay is now regularly disseminating global
comScore usage stats to the staff: I will ask him to CC the board as
well. FYI, we have standardized on comScore "monthly global uniques"
as our core metric for both raw numbers and rankings.
5.In general, I would say that South India seems well-positioned to
create either a national or sub-national chapter – I would guess there
will be one within six months. We made some critical introductions to
help get things off the ground, and we offered practical support – I
told them the Foundation will pay to send a rep to the chapters
meeting in April in Berlin, and will ensure they get scholarships to
Wikimania if they apply. I introduced them to Andrew Whitworth of
the chapters committee, and to Mike Godwin. They have also asked for
a local established chapter "mentor" - I advised them to wait and pick
their own mentor group in Berlin.
Appendix: Media coverage
Below are headlines from Indian newspapers that appeared via Google
News Alerts. There was also lots of TV coverage, and probably also
stories not picked up by Google.
* Stallman, Wales to star Intl Free Software meet
* CM to open free software meet
* Wikipedia Academy Launched
* India a major attraction for Wikipedia
* Wikipedia fares well in India - Wales
* Wikipedia's launches WikiAcademy in Chennai
* Interview With Wiki Founder Jimmy Wales
* Wikipedia founder scouting for R&D alliance in India
* Mobile Version launched by Wikipedia
* Wikipedia launches 'academy'
* Wiki-community strives to extend eastward
* Darwinian or Marxist?
* Wikipedia Finds a Home in Chennai
* Wikipedia needs more contributors from India
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