Subhashish Panigrahi | 21 Aug 11:04 2015

[CIS-A2K] July Newsletter

Dear all,

CIS-A2K would like to share with you the newsletter for the month of
July 2015. We look forward to hearing any feedback or input you might have.

The Goan Konkani Wikipedia (available at has gone
live after spending nine long years in incubation.

Konkani Wikipedia has many heroes, Melissa Simoes and Darshan Kandolkar
are two of the many long-term contributors who joined Konkani Wikipedia
during the Konkani Wikipedia  <at>  Goa University program and are still
active even after the program was formally concluded. Darshan is an
Assistant Professor at the Government College Pernem in Goa. His
professor at Goa University, Dr. Madhavi Sardesai—who passed away last
year—played a vital role in inspiring him to pursue higher studies in
Konkani. Darshan realized that there is a lot to be written in Konkani
when he was introduced to Wikipedia, and after that, he became dedicated
towards contributing to the project.

The Konkani Wikimedia community has been using social media actively to
promote the Konkani Wikipedia project, and to celebrate the successes of
its contributors. After Melissa became the top contributor to the
project, her fellow editor Luis Gomes congratulated her. That brought
Melissa into the spotlight, gaining the attention of editors from the
global Wikimedia community. The community is continuing a tradition to
rewarding the most prolific contributor of each month as the "Wikipedian
of the Month".

More in the Wikimedia blog:
(Continue reading)

Arun Ganesh | 11 Jul 06:07 2015

OSM mapping party tomorrow in Indiranagar

The last mapping party we ended up creating Kannada maps.

If you are around Indiranagar and want to get into some open mapping come right by for our next meet tomorrow.

Feel free to spread the word and invite your friends.

Arun Ganesh
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CherianTinu Abraham | 6 Jul 10:12 2015

[Press] Times of India : 'The vandals of Wiki'

( Article appeared on TOI Delhi on 5th July  and Mumbai on 6th July print editions. )

For the better part of June 30, Kolkata was India's largest city and Bangla was the government's official language along with Hindi and Indian English. The sly attempt at misinformation also featured the national motto 'Satyameva Jayate' written in Bangla script on Wikipedia's 'India' page. Many hours later, an administrator who goes by the username SpacemanSpiff landed on the page, saw all the telltale signs of a vandal attack, and scrubbed it clean of the errors. This was right after a round of firefighting on the pages of Jawaharlal Nehru and his family, where an anonymous vandal had tried to pass off the late PM's grandfather as a Muslim.

 Vandalism is a fact of life at Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Administrators like Spacemanspiff are senior editors who, over the years, have been entrusted by the Wikipedia community to protect, delete or restore pages, and even block notorious editors.

 As SpacemanSpiff reminded fellow volunteers on the India notice board about the need to keep a watch on the Nehru wikis, another editor remembered that similar attempts were made in 2014. "This is not a new meme on or off-Wiki. Parallel attempts to establish that Feroze Gandhi was Muslim are even more common," writes Abecedare.

 The popular site sees vandals of all kinds, says A Ravishankar, program director at the Wikimedia Chapter in India. Newbies sometimes click the edit button on a page to make some trivial changes. Some vengeful ones go on a rampage when editors reject their edits due to insufficient citation or poor sourcing. Then there are the passionate hordes that descend on their pet topics, mostly entries about religion and politics. The only way to deal with vandalism is by remaining vigilant, says Ravishankar.

 What's more insidious and hard to rein in are changes by editors who are paid to twist the rules at Wikipedia so that their clients' pages sparkle. "We've had PR agencies editing pages for their clients, including actors. IIPM was a prime example of such paid editing," claims Ravishankar. The now-defunct business school allegedly got help from a senior editor called Wifione and an army of sock puppets (bogus user accounts) to keep out negative information about it between the years 2010 and 2012. They were reportedly reverted after severe backlash from within Wikipedia.

 Internationally, blog writers for Wikipediocracy, a review site examining Wiki's flaws, have criticized Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit that runs the site, for not doing much to allay allegations that Croatian and Kazakh Wikipedias have been manipulated, sometimes by the government machinery itself. Bots such as <at> parliamentedits (UK) and <at> congressedits (US) came up to track anonymous edits done from official IPs after several instances of tinkering by parliamentarians and Congressmen surfaced. A similar bot from India, <at> AnonGoIWPEdits, linked the Nehru edits to an IP address belonging to the National Informatics Centre.

 The reason why so many people flock to get the content right on Wikipedia is the number of page views it gets. Indian users account for 4.1% of the total page views on the site. In December 2014 alone, there were 50,000 edits from the country with 'India' itself being the top edited entry for that year.

 Others on the most-edited list include wikis of actors Vijay, Shah Rukh Khan, Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Curiously, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi and Hinduism also made it to this list as per data generated by the Centre For Internet and Society (CIS) from the Wikimedia database. Trending news items also quickly make their way in. PM Narendra Modi's estranged wife Jashodaben got a wiki last year; so did the first Indian in NBA Satnam Singh Bhamara, says Tanveer Hasan, programme officer, CIS-Access to Knowledge.

 For all this buzz, India has followed a global trend of slowdown in the number of edits on the English language Wikipedia. "When Wiki started in 2001, the first generation of editors was in their 20s. Many of them have moved out due to family and professional commitments and not many new editors have replaced them," says Ravishankar. Senior editor Tinu Cherian Abraham remembers starting off in 2005 and creating entries from scratch about anything and everything, from a historic fort near Bangalore to villages in Kerala. He also used to organize meet-ups in various cities to create awareness about the site and recruit more editors. Though he still edits, he says he doesn't have much time for anything else.

 For now, the action has shifted to Indian language Wikipedias, where smaller and vibrant communities are busy creating pages and correcting errors. There are nearly 2,600 editors in English and close to 10,000 in Indian languages now. Either way, vandals have their hands full.

Tinu Cherian

Disclaimer: Non-commercial reproduction of the article by Sandhya Soman / Times of India. All copyrights are respectfully acknowledged.

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CherianTinu Abraham | 2 Jul 08:46 2015

[Controversy / Press] : Wikipedia entries on Nehru family edited from NIC IP

There is a current controversy in which Wikipedia entries related to Jawaharlal Nehru and family, edits from an IP address related to Government.

Some coverage:-

CNN-IBN - Nehru, his forefathers' Wikipedia pages mischievously altered using a government IP address: Congress

Times of India : Wiki entries on Nehru family edited from NIC IP?

The Economic Times : Jawaharlal Nehru Wikipedia page: Congress demands 'full enquiry', PM Modi's apology

India Today : Congress attacks government over doctored Wikipedia entries

Scroll : Think the Nehru Wikipedia edit is bad? See what else government workers have been changing

First Post: 'Nehru's grandfather was Muslim': Wikipedia pages changed from govt IP address, Congress demands apology

First Post : Nehru Wikipedia page row: Congress demands full enquiry, wants PM Modi to apologise

Indian Express : Government agency tried to change Nehru’s profile on Wikipedia, claims Congress

Hindustan Times: Jawaharlal Nehru's Wikipedia page edited from govt IP address

NDTV : Jawaharlal Nehru's Wikipedia Page 'Edited' by Government Department: Congress

IBT-India : 'Jawaharlal Nehru was Muslim', Says Wikipedia Page Edit Tracked to Govt IP Address

The Hindu : Nehru's Wikipedia pages altered from GoI IP address: Congress

New Indian Express : Congress Attacks Centre over Changes in Wikipedia Page on Jawaharlal Nehru

Zee news :Jawaharlal Nehru's Wikipedia page edited from govt IP address; Congress seeks PM Modi's reply

DNA: Jawaharlal Nehru's Wikipedia page vandalised, Congress alleges it was done from government IP

Mid-day : Jawaharlal Nehru's Wikipedia page edited from govt IP address, alleges Congress

Tinu Cherian
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Arun Ganesh | 26 Apr 08:51 2015

Nepal earthquake mapping

Calling Bengaluru wiki volunteers to help map earthquake hit areas for rescue workers on the ground.

There will be a mapathon at the Mapbox office in Indiranagar today from 1-4PM with instructions on how anyone can contribute. Do join in and spread the word.


We have already uploaded high res streetmaps of Kathmandu and Patan to commons:

Arun Ganesh
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Vishnu | 1 Apr 22:10 2015

CIS-A2K draft work plans July 2015 to June 2016

Dear Wikimedians,

We are happy to share with you the draft work plans for the period July 2015 to June 2016 [1]. We have more or less followed the same work plan templates from last year. Some of these plans have been done in consultation with the community members. We look forward to receiving your feedback and inputs on the talk pages. This time we have included an endorsement section at the end of every program plan for the community members to endorse, should they wish to do so.

Based on these plans we have also put up the next round of FDC proposal here[2].

We intend to revise these draft work plans based on your and FDC feedback in July, 2015, subject to grant support from FDC.


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Subhashish Panigrahi | 24 Mar 11:47 2015

[Announcement] Vacancy for Programme Director (Access to Knowledge)

Dear all,

The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) is seeking applications for the post of Programme Director for its Access to Knowledge (A2K) Programme. The position will be based in its Bangalore office. The Programme Director will manage CIS’s Access to Knowledge programme (CIS-A2K) which is funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, to support the growth of Wikipedia and its sister projects and to advance access to free and open knowledge in India. The Programme Director will partner with the large Wikimedia community in India to focus on Indic and English languages and will manage a team of four staff members.

Position summary:
As a Programme Director your responsibility will be supporting the growth of Indic language Wikimedia communities and projects. You will be expected to design community collaborations and partnerships that recruit and cultivate new editors, tackle technical challenges and explore innovative approaches to building the projects, e.g. donations of state encyclopedias, education partnerships, galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM) institution partnerships. Your responsibility also includes supporting India-focused initiatives to improve the quality of India-relevant content on English Wikimedia projects such as, outreach activities, GLAM institutional partnerships, India-relevant thematic contribution campaigns, etc. You shall be responsible for generating and documenting lessons from programme activities in the Indian context and similar programmes in other countries. Providing ad-hoc support to the Wikipedia community on all aspects of Indian languages as may be deemed necessary, and supporting expanded access to free and open knowledge across India by developing technology-based solutions will be a priority for this position.

Helping the Indian Wikimedia community share experiences and narrate its story to the wider Indian and global Wikimedia communities through conventional and social media, generating and documenting lessons from programme activities that can inform the work of Indian communities and similar programmes in other countries, managing the team and grant resources effectively, serving as a spokesperson for the CIS-A2K programme , and sustaining collaborative relationship with the Wikimedia India chapter (WMIN), and other free and open knowledge communities and movements in India such as free/open source software, Open Access, Open Data, Open Educational Resources, Indic-language computing, etc. are the other job responsibilities.

For more details see this link [1]. To apply, please send your resume with a covering letter to Sunil Abraham ( or Pranesh Prakash ( with three references. The last date for the receipt of applications is April 15, 2015.


Subhashish Panigrahi
Access To Knowledge (CIS-A2K)
Centre for Internet and Society / <at> subhap

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Arun Ganesh | 7 Mar 09:50 2015

Making Kannada Maps this Sunday

If anyone interested in creating localized maps for Wikipedia, please come over for the openstreetmap community meetup this Sunday in Indiranagar. We will do some locality mapping and experiment with rendering Kannada maps. No prior experience required.

Arun Ganesh
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Parul | 4 Mar 14:54 2015

Women's History Month 2015 : Bangalore Edit-a-thon on March 7

Hi All,


We, at Wikimedia India community are happy to announce an edit-a-thon on Women’s History Month on 7th March and celebrate International Women’s Day with fellow Wikipedians. 

This will be a day-long event (10 am to 4 pm) which will consist of encouraging new women editors to learn editing and also creating/expanding some new articles in order to increase women specific content on Wikipedia. Apart from creating articles, you could also help us by identifying/correcting or expanding existing ones.


Here is a little more information for your reference:

  1.          Event Page
  2.          Facebook Page

We would love for those of you in Bangalore on March 7th to join us and help make this event a success. Feel free to join remotely or help us in adding/choosing articles to improve or write. 


If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Chinmayi or me.


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Vishnu | 1 Mar 04:41 2015

CIS-A2K Quarterly Reports (Announcement)

Dear Wikimedians,

We are happy to share with you the quarterly reports of CIS-A2K for the period July to December 2014. These reports give a comprehensive overview of all the activities undertaken by CIS-A2K under the current FDC Grant.

We welcome your suggestions and feedback on the Talk page of the report.

July-September 2014:

October-December 2014:

Apologies for the delayed submission of the first quarterly report.


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Rahmanuddin | 25 Feb 20:58 2015

CIS-A2K Newsletter January 2015

Dear all,

Below is the details of the activities by the Centre for Internet and Society's Access To Knowledge program (CIS-A2K).

Telugu Wikimedia Hackathon 2014

Telugu Wikimedia (including their projects Telugu Wikipedia, Telugu Wikisource etc.) is one of the largest and most powerful Indian language Wikimedia projects, and it is growing and expanding everyday[1]. In the last half of 2014, Telugu Wikimedia community members contacted CIS-A2K team with a request to organize a MediaWiki tutorial workshop for them. Following their request, on 28 December 2014, CIS-A2K team organized a MediaWiki hackathon event for Telugu Wikimedia community members to enhance their skills and understanding of technical matters related to MediaWiki usage. The theme of the workshop was “Mediawiki, its extensions and tools to work around” and it aimed at allowing Wikipedians to use MediaWiki tools more effectively.


  1. ଓଡ଼ିଆ ଭାଷା ପାଇଁ ଅନ୍ତର୍ଜାତୀୟ ପ୍ରକଳ୍ପ (Subhashish Panigrahi; The Samaja, January 31, 2015).

Blog Entry

  1. Telugu Wikimedia Hackathon 2014 (Rahmanuddin Shaik; January 31, 2015).

Media Coverage

  1. Works of Veerasalingam Pantulu on web (Hans India; January 1, 2015).
  2. Centre should partner local communities in 'Digital India': Expert (IANS and mirrored in Zee News; January 9, 2015).
  3. Musician donates Gwalior Gharana songs to free e-library (Times of India; January 20, 2015).

Participation in Event

  1. Citizen Media Summit 2015 (Organized by Global Voices; January 24 – 25, 2015).


  1. 2015 Community Awards Every year, awards people from our community who have excelled in contributing and sharing stories about open source. Subhashish Panigrahi from the CIS-A2K team won the award under the category ‘People's Choice Awards’.


  1. Telugu Wikipedia Stats tables

The Access to Knowledge Team

  1. Wikimedia Foundation has funded A2K to anchor the growth of the Wikimedia movement in India. The A2K team consists of five members, all of them being based in Bangalore: T. Vishnu Vardhan, Dr. U.B. Pavanaja, Subhashish Panigrahi, Rahmanuddin Shaik and Tanveer. We also have one Advisor, Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana working with us.
    Archives of our newsletters can be accessed here. Wikipedians from various communities can request for outreach programmes, technical bugs, logistics-merchandise and media, public relations and communications here.

About CIS

The Centre for Internet and Society is a non-profit research organisation that works on policy issues relating to freedom of expression, privacy, accessibility for persons with disabilities, access to knowledge and IPR reform, and openness (including open government, FOSS, open standards, etc), and engages in academic research on digital natives and digital humanities.

Follow us elsewhere

Request for collaboration

We invite researchers, practitioners, and theoreticians, both organisationally and as individuals, to collaboratively engage with Internet and society and improve our understanding of this new field. To discuss research collaborations, write to Sunil Abraham, Executive Director, at or Nishant Shah, Director – Research, at To discuss collaborations on Indic language Wikipedia, write to T. Vishnu Vardhan, Programme Director, A2K, at

This bulletin is also available on Meta-wiki at:

Thank you all for your kind support and collaboration!

With Thanks & Regards
Rahmanuddin Shaik
Program Officer,
Centre for Internet and Society - Access 2 Knowledge Program
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