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Wiki Conference India 2016 is the largest gathering of contributors to Wikipedia
The largest Wikipedia gathering in South Asia kicks off
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Wiki Conference India 2016 (WCI), the largest gathering of contributors to Wikipedia and its sister projects in South Asia, will be held during August 5-7 this year in Chandigarh, India.
The first iteration of this event was five years ago in 2011. The event is focused around South Asian language Wikipedias and Wikimedia projects. Hundreds of participants, including over 100 scholarship holders from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, will participate in this three-day event. A team of volunteers representing several Wikimedia communities across the country and three Wikimedia affiliates—Wikimedia India, Punjabi Wikimedians and Centre for Internet and Society's Access to Knowledge program—are working together to make this event a success.
Several Wikimedia project and program-related talks, meetups and thematic workshops, focused on technology, program design, volunteer leadership building and engagement, gender gap in Wikipedia, global reach, and education, will keep the participants occupied. There will be separate technical tracks, which were chosen from the results of a pre-event needs assessment survey to ensure that community needs are met. Prior to the conference, a month-long edit-a-thon has been running in twelve South Asian language Wikipedias, and one European language Wikipedia (Ukrainian Wikipedia). The focus of this sprint was to expand the content reach of Wikipedia on Punjab, Punjabi people, and their language and culture as the event is happening in Punjab. So far, more than 1900 articles have been created by about 150 Wikipedians, and the edit-a-thon will be also running during the conference to keep the option of creating more articles open to the participants. Some of the guests includes Wikimedia Foundation's board member Nataliia Tymkiv, the organization's newly promoted executive director Catherine Maher, Punjabi-language poet Surjit Patar and Internet freedom advocate and Centre for Internet and Society's Executive Director Sunil Abraham.
As compared to the last WikiConference India, this conference has more thematic focus, especially on challenges like the gender bias on Wikipedia, and emerging projects like the Wikipedia Education Program. There are as many as six presentations related to gender gap, and six more related to education program.
There has been constant engagement on both on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #WCI2016. Some of the most-used basic phrases in the Punjabi language have been recorded and shared to the participants from outside the region to communicate with the locals.