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Wikipedia Workshop

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At gCon (technical fest organized by BVP GTUG, 14th March 2012), we had the privilege to host a Wikipedia Workshop at our campus. Representing the Wikimedia Foundation were Hisham Mundol, Nitika Tandon, and Piyush Aggarwal. Amazing people! The first part of the workshop covered the basics of Wikipedia, how the community works, how articles are to be written, the five pillars of Wikipedia, and what we gain by contributing to the 5th largest website in the world. The articles that we had a look at (to understand how we can modify and add content, and how to write content suitable for an encyclopedia) ranged from rather amusing ones to extremely sensitive articles. Some things that I found interesting (and which I can recollect):

  • It is critical to maintain an unbiased and neutral point of view, and not just while writing articles. As an individual (or group), I have no rights to make any inferences which apply to everyone. State the facts.
  • There are 50 people in the world who are active contributors to Wikipedia who write articles in Hindi. It is a bit disturbing to find such a small number of contributors to India's official language.
  • Notability is very important. Is the content/article relevant to people outside a small group?

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The second part of the workshop was a live editing session. We picked the most unusual article. Chole Bhature. And everyone in the room took turns to make edits to the article. Simply editing an article on a simple topic like Chole Bhature was enough to show how editing Wikipedia is more effort than meets the eye. People reading the Chole Bhature article in the future will probably never know how much applause was involved to make it a bit better for the rest of the world. ;)

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