within hours of Texas shooting., Wikipedia page Robb Primary School in Ovaldi It has seen 765 edits from 154 different contributors and oversaw 103 page moderators who ensure only accurate information is published. This ability to provide “reliable information”, especially in critical times, is for Raju Nariseti, a member of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees, an “important opportunity” for Wikipedia in countries like India.
He admitted that India is also a challenge “because of the languages”. “Most people don’t realize it, but nearly 80 percent of the articles on Wikipedia are not in English. Among the 300 languages, Hindi comes 55th in terms of its ranking, followed by Tamil and Telugu. In terms of the number of articles, the number of articles in the language approaches Hindi of 150,000 articles, Tamil around 130,000 and Telugu around 100,000,” Narsetti explains why it’s such an important opportunity for a non-profit like Wikipedia, whose 2030 strategy has a roadmap to help everyone on the planet reach Free knowledge and information.
Narsetti, who has been associated with Washington Post And the The Wall Street Journal Having started his career as a journalist in India, he said that many people in India are not familiar with history, arts, politics and science. “So we are specifically targeting younger Indians, not the typical Generation Z, with the #KnowWithWiki campaign.”
And India is already an important part of Wikipedia in more ways than one. Narsetti says Indians visited Wikipedia 750 million times in the last month alone. “While we also focus on Indian languages, on Wikipedia, Indians are the second largest contributor to the English language… and that’s a pretty staggering number.”
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In fact, India has 65,000 contributors to Wikipedia, which is about 20 percent of all contributors on the platform. The Indians also wholeheartedly supported the Wikipedia fundraisers. “When we recently did a fundraising drive in India, 500,000 Indians contributed,” he says, adding that this represents about 7 percent of global donors.
“As a non-profit, we believe India is an opportunity and in some ways a challenge, because of the languages…and how can we as a non-profit cut the chaos?”
Wikipedia has over the years begun to provide content in about 300 languages, many of which are from India. Much of the uptake is due to awareness campaigns in places like India. Narsetti stressed the role of what Wikipedia calls Project Tiger, which aims to get more Indian languages on board and train volunteers.
“Unlike many other countries, India is mobile-centric…you can’t tell people to go to their desktop or laptop and make the edit. So that became a limitation. So we partnered with Jio and made sure that (the edit) was included. In the app itself… We have made it possible for people to edit Wikipedia on the phone, which is quite an achievement in a country like India, and it has contributed to the huge growth in languages,” adding that this is also the answer to why Wikipedia is raising money.
Narsetti explained that Wikipedia can enter about 15 other Indian languages, but “the key is to make sure you can have 2,000 articles and, most importantly, 50-100 volunteers… and that’s when you start growing.”
This is why Wikipedia invests a lot of energy to create these user groups and communities and empower them by giving them tools. “More than 75% of the money we raise globally goes to two things. The first is to get the money back into the volunteer community so they can launch a new language. Two of them go about half of it to the infrastructure. You have to have databases and put them on the cloud and make sure that its reliability.” Although a lot of the money is raised in the more developed western markets, most of it actually flows into the global south, where the growth will come in languages and users.
When creating wanted content, Narisetti explained that, unlike Facebook or TikTok, Wikipedia does not have a central command to receive these calls. “We make technology like robots to translate certain important information. So you automatically have a base layer in a new language. But most of the directions that our language wiki uses are often the responsibility of the community.”
Narsetti said that the building block of Wikipedia has always been this idea of neutrality, built on its transparency, unlike the current media. “So the building block of a platform where there are 350 edits per minute is that everything is public, everything is logged, and everything can be seen. I think you’re trying to build trust,” he explained.
But he agreed that this does not mean that there are no errors. “What people don’t realize is literally in less than five minutes it’s fixed by people viewing that page. That to me is how trust is built.”
While Wikipedia is open to endowments from billionaires, especially in markets like India, Narsetti said the focus remains on individual donors to keep the platform running. “But honestly, the best thing you can do for Wikipedia is to read it…”