In a few hours of the shooting in texasthe Wikipedia page of Robb Primary School in Uvalde had seen 765 edits from 154 different contributors and was overseen by 103 page watchers who ensure that only accurate information is published. This ability to offer “reliable information”, especially in critical moments, is for Raju Narisetti, member of the board of directors of the Wikimedia Foundation, “the significant opportunity” for Wikipedia in countries like India.
India is also a challenge “because of the languages”, he admitted. “Most people don’t realize it, but almost 80%+ of the articles on Wikipedia are not in English. And among the 300 languages, Hindi is around number 55 in terms of ranking, followed by Tamil and Telugu. Regarding the number of articles, Hindi is close to 150,000 articles, Tamil is around 130,000 articles and Telugu is about to be around 100,000,” says Narisetti, explaining why this is an important opportunity for a nonprofit like Wikipedia, which has a 2030 strategic plan. roadmap to help every person on the planet access free knowledge and information.
Narisetti, who has been associated with The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal after starting his career as a journalist in India, many people in India are unaware of history, arts, politics and science. “So we are particularly targeting young Indians, you know your typical Gen Z, with a #KnowWithWiki campaign.”
And India is already an important part of Wikipedia in more ways than one. Narisetti says Indians visited Wikipedia pages 750 million times in the past month. “Also, while we’re focusing on Indian languages, at Wikipedia, Indians are the second largest English language contributors…and that’s a pretty astonishing number.”
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In fact, India has 65,000 Wikipedia contributors, about 20% of all contributors to the platform. And Indians have also wholeheartedly supported Wikipedia fundraisers. “The last time we did a fundraising campaign in India, 500,000 Indians contributed,” he says, adding that this was around 7% of their global donors.
“As a non-profit foundation, we believe that India is an opportunity and in some ways a challenge, because of languages…and how can we as a non-profit reduce the disorder ?”
Over the years, Wikipedia has started offering content in around 300 languages, including many from India. Much of the adoption is due to awareness campaigns in places like India. Narisetti highlighted the role of what Wikipedia calls Project Tiger, aimed at integrating more Indian languages and training volunteers.
“Unlike many other countries, India is mobile-centric…you can’t tell people to go to a desktop or laptop and edit. So it’s become a constraint So we actually partnered with Jio and made sure that (editing) was built into the app itself… We allowed people to edit Wikipedia on the phone, which is a big breakthrough in a country like India, and so this has contributed to the significant growth in languages,” he said, adding that this is also why Wikipedia is fundraising.
Narisetti explained that Wikipedia could go into about 15 other Indian languages, but “the key is to make sure you can get 2,000 articles and, more importantly, 50 to 100 volunteers… That’s where it starts to snowball.”
This is why Wikipedia invests a lot of energy in creating these user groups and communities and empowering them by giving them the tools. “Over 75% of the money we raise globally goes to two things. One is giving money back to the volunteer community so they can launch a new language. Two is about half that goes to infrastructure. You have to have databases and put them in the cloud and make sure they’re reliable,” he said. is collected in more developed Western markets, most of it is actually headed south, where growth will come from languages and users.
On creating content that’s in demand, Narisetti clarified that unlike Facebook or TikTok, Wikipedia doesn’t have a central command to take those calls. “We create technologies like bots to translate certain critical information. So you automatically have a base layer in a new language. But most of the directions in which our Wiki language goes often depend on the community.
The cornerstone of Wikipedia, said Narisetti, has always been this idea of neutrality, which is based on its transparency, unlike the current media. “So the cornerstone of a platform where there are 350 changes per minute is that everything is public, everything is recorded and everything can be seen. I think you are trying to establish trust,” he said. -he explains.
However, he admitted that this does not mean that there are no errors. “What people don’t realize is literally in less than five minutes that has been fixed by people looking at this page. So, for me, that’s how trust is built.
While Wikipedia is open to endowments from billionaires, especially in markets like India, Narisetti said the focus remains on individual donors to keep the platform running. “But honestly, the best thing you can do for Wikipedia is to contribute to it (with updates, edits)…the easiest thing is to read it…”