Saturday, September 30, 2017

Wikimania 2017: Learnings, ideas, motivation and outcome

Wikimania 2017, a 5-day conference held at Le Centre Sheraton Montreal hotel during 9th Aug - 13th August was full of learnings, connections, getting inspired, motivation, free knowledge, events, hackathon, food (sorry, I'm foodie :D), positive vibes and what else, you call it a family of Wikipedians.

My previous blog post, depicted my experience at the hackathon. This post will share my experience at Wikimania 2017 as a whole. I hope you will find it worth a read!

Wikimania 2017: An unexpected twist

This year too, I was awarded with Wikimania Scholarship. How many times does it happen to you, that you wake up, check your mail, and you see you're going to Canada to attend Wikimania? It happened with me. The moment I received the E-mail from Scholarship Committee, I almost fall off my bed in happiness. I didn't go to college that day, and went back home to deliver the happy news to my family. They were equally happy. It was a moment of euphoria for all of us. If you think this was the twist, you're wrong. I applied for Canada TRV in June. With all other Indic Wikipedians getting rejected by the Canadian embassy, I was very nervous. August arrived and still there was no news from the embassy. On August 03, I went back home totally disheartened. I was sure I won't be going to Canada. So, how many times does it happen to you, that you wake up, and unexpectedly, you get Canada visa just 4 days before your flight. The twist didn't end here. We were celebrating the good news but my passport didn't arrive at the VFS office. It was still with the embassy. I wasn't sure whether the embassy will release my passport that day. And I was again depressed. It was Friday and if embassy didn't release the passport that day, my trip would have been canceled despite getting the visa. Saturday, Sunday and Monday was off at the VFS office and I had my flight early Tuesday. :( I called my dad and he said, "Believe in God. You go to Chandigarh. Don't let your hopes die." So, I went to Chandigarh later that day and guess what? The moment I reached the VFS Office, I got the confirmation that my passport has been dispatched from Canada Visa Office. I was so happy. It was unbelievable. So, after waiting for 2 hours more, I finally got my passport with Canada visa and I went back home with victory.


My agenda for this year Wikimania was pretty clear and straightforward. With my involvement in Wikipedia Education Program and my evolution in the existing program, I thought of sharing my experiences and learnings with the community in the lightning talk. I also wanted to gain more insights in the technology so I spent the first two days in the hackathon sessions. Build more connections from different communities and get inspired from their experiences. So, in a nutshell, Learn from the workshops and sessions, get inspired from the talks, meet with other Wikipedians and enjoy.


  • Gained better insights on the Wikimedia tech. Learnt about the technologies used in Wikidata.
  • Attending a session on "Speaking the language of non-Wikipedians helped me a lot. Now, whenever I run an education program or just teach the people how to edit Wikipedia, I think like them and I make sure I teach them in a way they find it interesting and contribute more and more even after I leave.
    • Encourage them to write in Google Doc, MS Word, wherever they feel comfortable and later paste it later to sandbox.
    • Make plans and strategy that ease them.
    • Welcoming the new editors with Visual editor and teaching them references, the article format, media upload etc.
    • Sharing the educational experiences within the community.
  • I gained better insights on how to develop an education program from scratch.
    • Importance of Context in implementing the education program.
    • Advertising the education program with the help of local newspapers.
    • Importance of partners such as teachers, students and logistics such as ISP's.
    • Sharing the educational experiences within the community.
  • Learnt from the experiences of Wikipedia Year of Science 2016.
    • Approaching the students to share their knowledge of science.
    • Professors bring the subject matter expertise.
    • Recruiting instructors was a bad idea.
  • The session from Zach was the best session I attended at Wikimania 2017. His outcomes from WEP were outstanding and his way of connecting Wikipedia with real life was amazing.
  • The Wikispeech session was very nice. I was finally seeing the latest innovation in Wikipedia. Though, it needed some improvements but still the demo was worth watching.
  • Wikispeech was followed by the "Editing through Telegram" session by Amir. A. Aharoni where he created a bot which is connected with and you can continuing your translation just by using Telegram. People actually find it difficult to edit Wikipedia via phone so they skip doing it but at the same time they are using messenger apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and FB Messenger to talk. What if we make them edit Wikipedia using these apps? A brilliant idea indeed!
  • The Kathabhidana workshop was very informative. Wikitungi was explained in this session which focuses on preserving the languages and dialects. I am working on to expand it in my area where different dialects of Hindi is being spoken. Preserving their dialect for future is a much essential need.
  • Outcomes

  • I talked with Education experts like Nichole, Vahid, Zach and learning from their experiences, I was delighted. So, I implemented their learnings in my WEP program at SSPM College of Engineering and my school and it came out to be so fruitful.
  • Wikipedia SAARC Meetup was very constructive. A lot of things for the next year was decided especially the next WikiConference India.
  • I ran a Wikimania 2017 learning session to share my learnings with the local community. Apparently, one of the people who attended it got motivated to contribute more. He is now my very good friend and he will be joining the Hindi Wikipedia Technical workshop at Jaipur hopefully. He is Sachin Katiyar.
  • MEP (MediaWiki Education Program) implemented at SSPM College of Engineering! (So happy)
  • Will be opening a WikiClub in my college to invite young editors from my college to edit Wikipedia and run edit-a-thons.

So, this was it. Wikimania 2017 was indeed my best Wikimanias ever. The hotel, the place and my post Wikimania trip to Toronto and Niagara with my cousins was so exhilarating. With the amazing memories, people, learnings and outcomes, I am missing Montreal. Thank you Wikimedia Foundation for the scholarship application. Noting would have been possible without you.

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