Over 600 people from across the country who regularly write and edit Wikipedia entries will meet for the first ‘WikiConference India’ to be held at the Mumbai University campus at Fort. The three-day event will commence on November 18.

The conference, which is set to become an annual affair, is aimed at providing a common platform for all Indian Wikimedians to discuss challenges and exchange useful tips, best practices and other information related to the Wiki project.

“We are also looking at encouraging more users to contribute in their mother-tongues so that we can build and improve 22 Indic-language projects including the Marathi, Hindi and Gujarati Wikipedias,” said Hisham Mundol, Consultant and Head, India Programs Division, Wikimedia.

“Of the 1 lakh people who contribute to Wikipedia, only about 3,000 are Indian. We want to encourage more people to write articles about the country,” he adds.

Co-founder of Wikipedia and chairman emeritus of the Wikimedia foundation, Jimmy Wales will kick-start the event with a keynote address.  This will be followed by by users presenting on Wiki-related topics, including a visually-impaired user’s experience on using the service and a talk that encourages women to contribute more, considering that only 13% of Wikipedians are women.

“This will be the first time, users from different parts of the country, contributing to different language Wikis, will be able to discuss tips and problems they face while writing and editing articles,” says Pranav Curumsey, Chairperson, Organising Committee, WikiConference India.

Editathon and Hackathon

Besides the presentations, an Editathon (where participants will be encouraged to edit as many articles as they can after being coached by Wikipedia pros) and a Hackathon (where techies will collaborate to build programs and applications to improve the user interface and mobile access of Wikipedia) will also be held.

“We have also organised a separate track for contributors of Marathi Wikipedia to discuss topics including the problem of typing in Devnagiri font,” said Moksh Juneja, Secretary, Organising Committee, WikiConference India. With over 35,000 articles, Marathi Wikipedia is the third-largest regional wiki in India.