Vishnu | 19 Aug 14:52 2014
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(Announcement) Nitika's exit from CIS-A2K

Dear fellow Wikimedians,

It’s with regret that I announce the exit of Nitika Tandon as Programme Manager of CIS-A2K on July 31, 2014. Sorry for this delayed announcement.

As many of you know, Nitika joined the Wikimedia movement in August 2011 as a Consultant for the WMF's India Programme. She later on transitioned into the CIS-A2K program in September 2012. Nitika has played quite an important role in the CIS-A2K programme since then.

CIS would like to thank her for all her valuable contributions to the Wikimedia movement and particularly in anchoring the Konkani language plan during the last one year. As a Konkani language anchor Nitika did her best in helping the Konkani Wikipedia community grow. During her stint at CIS-A2K, Nitika also had put concerted efforts to build partnerships with the Goa University and the Nirmala Institute of Education and in sharing the A2K's work openly with the Wikimedia community.

We wish Nitika the best in life!

Vishnu
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Vishnu | 14 Aug 12:00 2014
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Statement on CIS-A2K's FDC Proposal

Dear Wikimedians, WMIN EC, FDC Members, FDC Staff and the WMF Board:

*sorry for X posting and for the long e-mail*

This statement is in response to the CIS-A2K's FDC proposal discussions during the months of April to June 2014. For those of you who would like to know the context please see the discussion pages on meta here [1] & [2]. Apologies for putting out this statement at least a couple of weeks late.

It was in September 2012 that CIS was given an opportunity and a responsibility to serve and grow the Wikimedia movement in India through our Access to Knowledge (A2K) program. As many of you know we have left no stone unturned in doing our best to growing the free culture/open knowledge movement in India and in Indian languages. CIS is grateful to the Wikimedia movement from which we have learned immensely as an organization. We are yet again grateful to all you for reposing the trust and responsibility yet again in the A2K program with the FDC Grant [3]. Even more so as our FDC application went through a rigorous community feedback.

Some interesting stats on the CIS-A2K FDC proposal: the entire discussion ran into approximately 75,000 words. Of this CIS-A2K's responses consisted about 28,000 words and 47,000 words were by the community members, WMIN EC members, FDC staff and FDC members. This is probably the longest discussion on any of the FDC proposals so far. 25 Wikimedians (of this about 8 are “new users who have not edited since”); 4 out of 7 WMIN EC members; 4 FDC members; 4 FDC/WMF staff; and 1 WMF Board member took part in the CIS-A2K FDC proposal discussion.

On a candid note, some of the community engagement during the FDC process was painful like walking on fire, but we are glad that we have gone through this process. We thank each and everyone who has engaged with our A2K work and the program proposals that we have put forth for the next year. We have learnt some useful lessons and assure you that we will continue to improve upon our programmatic efficiency, efficacy, accountability and transparency.

We would also like to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the critical points of feedback that we received from all of you and outline the steps that we have taken or plan to take.

1) The Grant proposed is too high within the local context. Especially Salaries and the Administrative costs were considered to be high. (This was echoed by many Wikimedians - Ravi, Dhaval, Hari & Pradeep; WMIN EC members Karthik & Pranav; FDC Staff and FDC members. Some specifically suggested that we consider revising the salaries at least to bring them on par with the existing salaries within CIS.)

We have taken the community's feedback to CIS Board and our Board concurred with the community's feedback and suggested that we take appropriate measures to bring in some sort of parity in salaries for the A2K team, and noted that this will be better in the long run. Accordingly we have revised the CIS-A2K team salaries taking into consideration the following factors a) feedback from the Community and FDC; b) performance of the team member during the last one year (i.e. until March 2014); and c) scope of work for the coming year based on the draft work plans. *We would like to inform that the total revised staff salary budget is less than 35% from what was proposed to the FDC.* The average monthly salary of the A2K team under the FDC grant will be about Rs. 73,000/- per month. Further CIS will also raise some portion of the salary. Please see here [4] for the revised salary structure for the CIS-A2K team which is effective from July 1, 2014. We have also reduced some of the costs against Team travel across the plans. This and the other changes to the budget will soon be shared with the community.


2) Ambitious scaling up of the language specific strategy that CIS-A2K has adopted and the sustainability of the growth. Also the number of proposed plans is too ambitious. (FDC members, Staff along with Ravi and Blue Rasberry).

We have taken this feedback into consideration and decided to limit the language specific plans to 5 (4 existing and 1 new), and will suspend 2 language area plans . Since we started to actively work with the Wikimedia movement (from Sept. 2012), sustainable and qualitative growth of Indic Wikimedia projects has been one of our core concerns. We have already stated the measures that we will proposed to take up towards sustainability of the various initiatives in our response to the questions raised on Meta during the FDC proposal process. We look forward to seeking more ideas from the community on this aspect as we continue to work with them through the next 12 months. CIS-A2K will also cut down some of the proposed stand-alone projects. Based on the community's feedback we will soon share revised plans that will guide our work for the next one year.

3) Focus on policy, advocacy and content donation and acquisition. (FDC members and Pradeep.)

CIS-A2K program will more pro-actively look at various possibilities of influencing policy in creating an enabling environment for open knowledge and Wikimedia movement in India. We have already put in efforts to create policy level changes in each of the language area and some of them may fructify soon. However, it is important to note that any kind of policy work is difficult to quantify to visibly demonstrate the impact and to appropriately claim attribution of success. We will also put more effort in bringing Indic content in the open. We are incorporating this suggestion in revising the plans.

4) Independent community review of the work done by CIS-A2K. (Ravi and Pradeep)

We see the importance of this suggestion. As stated here <link> CIS-A2K did propose for a Community led review in our last year's plans. However, this could not materialize for various reasons. We have internally discussed on how best we could ensure that this is done. In the coming weeks we will share some ideas for the community's feedback on how we could collectively create a structure that will independently and periodically review the work done by CIS-A2K and other movement entities. We will use this learning in the next one year.

5) Community involvement in the programs and activities catalyzed by CIS-A2K. (Ravi, Hari, Pradeep, some from WMIN EC, FDC members and staff)

We disagree with this aspect of the feedback, especially with regard to the four language areas (Kannada, Konkani, Odia and Telugu). CIS-A2K was privileged to have the active involvement of these language communities and the proposed plans for July 2014 to June 2015 were discussed with the respective language community across various channels. We believe that there is a silent majority across these language communities and also in other language communities that actively engages with CIS-A2K and our work. However, we do recognize the importance of appropriately capturing the community mandate to CIS-A2K publicly (especially on wiki). We are exploring various means of capturing the community's involvement. We also believe it is important for the FDC, WMF and Wikimedia movement in India to find ways of listening to this silent majority of the community members who otherwise choose not to be very vocal on the mailings lits and Meta.

6) Impact of the language specific strategy. (Pradeep, Hari, Ravi, Ansuman, Dhaval, Shyamal, some from WMIN EC and FDC members)

CIS-A2K believes that it's language specific strategy, has been effective in growing the respective Wikimedia projects. We have already brought in a significant traction to each of the four language area projects and associated communities. Though it is too early to assert (as we rolled-out plans based on this strategy a year ago in June 2013) we believe that our language specific strategy is already yielding productive results. Other than the “independent community review” we will explore even more robust methodology/ies to demonstrate the impact of the language strategy. However, we welcome continuous feedback from the community which help us to learn and progress collectively. The community feedback if it is of formative in nature than summative would be a significant value add for us to make swift changes.

7) Natural/Organic v. Artificial/Inorganic growth of Indian language Wikipedias. (Ravi, Pradeep & FDC members)

CIS-A2K does not see the bright line that is being drawn about organic v. inorganic growth within the context of Wikimedia movement (in India). There are many nuances to this debate and it is not productive to pitch these as mutually exclusive approaches. Further, our experience taught us that what is organic (to be done by volunteers) and what is inorganic (could be supported by paid professionals) changes from a language community to language community and their context. There is no one model. We believe it is important to respect this diversity across language communities in India. For instance, some language communities (given their current context) feel that Wikipedia Outreach should be supported by paid professionals whereas some think it should be done by volunteers. While we appreciate the broader philosophy that define each of these approaches, we have been putting every effort to bring the best of both of these approaches in our work. We strongly believe that there is an immense amount of learning for all of us as a movement, if we could collectively explore how to best utilize volunteers and voluntary sector professional energies than to pitch them as mutually exclusive. At the end of the day we all are driven by the same collective vision of growing open knowledge.

We will soon share the revised plans and budget for the next year and look forward to your continuous engagement in our collective dream of further growing the Wikimedia and open knowledge movement in India.

Best wishes,

Vishnu
CIS-A2K
Note: This is being put up on Meta here [1]

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants_talk:APG/Proposals/2013-2014_round2/The_Centre_for_Internet_and_Society/Proposal_form
[2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants_talk:APG/Proposals/2013-2014_round2/The_Centre_for_Internet_and_Society/Staff_proposal_assessment
[3] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Board_decisions/2013-2014_round2
[4] http://bit.ly/1sY6XQU


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RadhaKrishna Arvapally | 4 Aug 12:58 2014
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WikiAcademy in Reva College

Hi,


I will be conducting a WikiAcademy (tentatively on 8th August) in Reva College, Bangalore.

I will appreciate if one more wikimedian can join me.

Note: copied India-list to see any other geography wikimedian is in bangalore at this time & can join me


--
Thanks & Regards,
A.Radha Krishna

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Sowmyan Tirumurti | 16 Jul 12:53 2014
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Chapter recruitment

I am reporting this here to request you all to spread the word.
Regards,
Sowmyan
Wikimedia Chapter

Dear Wikimedians,

The chapter intends to have a office, and recruit 2 employees. The job
descriptions are posted in the link below.

http://wiki.wikimedia.in/FDC_Proposal_2013/Budget/Staff

The post of Executive Manager will be renamed as Program Director. The
other role will be that of the Program Executive. At present we will not
fill the third position mentioned in the link, namely administrative
assistant / executive.

If any one is interested in applying for these roles, they may send in
their applications to Careers-AeOJrEpdGNeacSAJ64KLvA@public.gmane.org.

We are looking for active Wikimedians, who can conduct training workshops,
organize events, GLAM programs, etc.

For the role of the Program Director, the additional expectations are
working on a strategy, FDC grant applications, general administration,
government relations etc.

We intend to fill these positions by August 2nd week so that the new
employees can take charge along with the new EC members to be elected on
Aug 16, 2014.

Apply within 10 days.

Regards,
Sowmyan
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Vishnu | 7 Jul 17:17 2014
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(Announcement) Draft Policy for Open Access to DBT & DST funded research

Dear Wikimedians,

I am happy to share with you the Draft Policy for Open Access to Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India funded research  http://dbtindia.nic.in/docs/DBT-DST_Open_Access_Policy.pdf

CIS has contributed to this draft, which is up for comments until July 25, 2014. Hope this will come through soon and ensure that more scientific research in India would be openly accessible for all of us.

Best,
Vishnu

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Vishnu | 7 Jul 10:02 2014
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Wiki Loves Pride, India 2014

Dear Wikimedians,

Wiki Loves Pride is a global campaign to expand and improve LGBT-related content across several Wikimedia projects [1]. We invite you to participate in a two-week long edit-a-thon to help improve Wikipedia's coverage of India relevant LGBT-related content. The edit-a-thon will lead up to offline events on Saturday, July 19, 2014 in Bangalore and Delhi [2]. You are welcome to join the offline events.

The event aims at creating new articles, expanding the existing stubs and translating English articles to various Indian languages with a focus on LGBT Rights, Culture and History in India. Please feel free to chip in with ideas, articles and activities on the event page on Meta [3].

Everyone is welcome to join the event as enthusiasts, editors, translators, bloggers or event managers. Start by signing up as a participant [4].

Best,
Vishnu

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wiki_Loves_Pride
[2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Access_To_Knowledge/Events/Wiki_Loves_Pride_2014#Off-line_Events
[3] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Access_To_Knowledge/Events/Wiki_Loves_Pride_2014
[4] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Access_To_Knowledge/Events/Wiki_Loves_Pride_2014#Sign_up
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Subhashish Panigrahi | 2 Jul 17:01 2014
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Hello Bangalore, let's meet

Hello all,

It is been quite some time we all have not met. How about meeting on the 12th July (Saturday) around 3 pm?

Omshivaprakash and Tinu suggested that we should probably meet it in a place that is central to people commuting from different places from the city. I am up and here are three other community spaces I have found out:


Any other options? If we could freeze one of these or any other place then I could call and finalize.

Do let me know your availability and place of choice.

--
Best,
Subha
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RadhaKrishna Arvapally | 23 Jun 13:54 2014
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Tentative Talk <at> CDOT

Hi All,


CDOT (http://www.cdot.in) invited me for a talk at their premises. (tentatively on Friday 27th July 11:00AM-12:30PM)

Please let me know if any ONE can join me.



--
Thanks & Regards,
A.Radha Krishna

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Carolynne Schloeder | 19 Jun 09:39 2014
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Aircel blogger event in Bangalore

Hello, My name is Carolynne Schloeder, and I am now heading up mobile partnerships for the Wikimedia Foundation, including the Wikipedia Zero program. 

I will be in India next week, and I hope to meet the local communities, to begin a dialogue about how we can align partners to support your work. I would really love to learn about what you're doing, share ideas and get your input on our partnership strategy. 

Our Wikipedia Zero partner Aircel is organizing a blogger event on Friday June 27 from 4-6 pm, location to be announced. I will share details with you as I get them and enlist your help. 

If you are free to meet on Friday and/or attend the blogger event, please 
reply copying me at cschloeder-AeOJrEpdGNeGglJvpFV4uA@public.gmane.org. I apologize for the short notice. 

And if next week doesn't work, then I hope this can be the start of a dialogue over email. I'm looking forward to collaborating with you. 

Thanks very much and best regards,

Carolynne

--
Carolynne Schloeder
Director Global Mobile Partnerships
Wikimedia Foundation
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Hari Prasad Nadig | 12 May 14:15 2014
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On CIS's grants request from Wikimedia Foundation

Fellow Wikimedians,

As you all know, Center for Internet and Society, Bangalore has sought funding of about 1.8 Crores through the FDC process from Wikimedia Foundation to carry out work on seven local language projects in India that includes Kannada, Telugu among others. [1]
The funds primarily cover the salaries of the people belonging to the CIS-A2K team among other administrative expenses and other expenses as outlined on their proposal page.

The proposal was up for Community review and comments until April 30th and many have recorded their response about it [2]. Several community members have come forward in pointing out that the staff salaries being paid and that being proposed - are quite on the higher side (which is up to 2.4 Lakhs per month per person).

Apart from the concerns on extremely high salaries for Indian norms of the team members of CIS-A2K team, there have been some serious concerns raised about some apparent Conflict of Interest [3] and non-compliance with the local laws (mainly Karnataka Societies act and the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act).

However, looks like the proposal has moved forward through the FDC process for funding despite the concerns raised and has gotten through to the next stage.

More concerns have now been raised by several community members on the Staff Assessment discussion page here:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants_talk:APG/Proposals/2013-2014_round2/The_Centre_for_Internet_and_Society/Staff_proposal_assessment

I invite you to participate in the discussion and help steer this in the right direction.
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muzammil | 24 Apr 19:15 2014

Urdu Wikipedia crosses the 50,000 mark

Dear friends,

I am pleased to inform you that today the Urdu Wikipedia has crossed the 50,000 articles mark.

I am honoured to be a humble contributor of this Wikipedia which has reached a dream milestone which is yet to be covered by many other Wikipedias.

The focus, as the community feels, will now shift on referencing and elaborating many of the existing articles to satisfactory levels.

Also, the next target is to cross the 1,00,000 articles mark.


Regards,
Muzammil.

 

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