Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Keep your eyes on the prize

The #Wikimedia #strategy is clear; double the #traffic and particularly double the traffic from the "global south". With the prize defined, we should  do what it takes to realise this result.

Having defined a goal and knowing our current status, it is important to look for potential. What does it take to realise the involvement of communities that have not warmed to Wikipedia yet.

The two of the biggest success stories are Russian and Indian. Both are inspiring and both leave accepted wisdom behind. The Russian approach to newbies is inspiring and the Indian approach to their languages is outreach at its best.

For the Indian language communities, the English language Wikipedia is where much of its potential readers are hanging out. If they are to take articles in their native languages seriously, the quality of these articles has to be as good. When you look at the number of workshops organised, it is amazing. They come thick and fast for the many languages.

Indian developers are also getting into the act. The first results can be found in the Narayam input methods. This is combined with outreach to the language communities who can benefit from this and testing is done both on a private wiki and at translatewiki.net. These technical Indian Wikimedians are also involved in projects outside of the Wikimedia Foundation. As a consequence, solutions can be local to MediaWiki and external to MediaWiki.

The solutions we should adopt and develop are those that do the most good and provide real solutions for our language communities. Particularly solutions that remedy flawed production processes like our PDF export or the openZIM support are strategic.

They are strategic because they demonstrate the importance the WMF gives to providing equal opportunities to its communities. Any investment that we do not only helps us to enable our communities, but they also provide perfect opportunities to reach out to the people who do not know our projects yet.

These opportunities are what our man in India will want to leverage in marketing our opportunities and culture to the people of a country we recognise as having the biggest unrealised potential.

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