BANGALORE: In support of LGBTs across the globe, in June this year, Wikipedia launched its campaign ‘Wiki Loves Pride’, their first ever campaign for the community. As part of Wiki Loves Pride, the world’s largest free-content curation website has held a series of edit-a-thons across the world in cities like New York City, Washington, D C, Philadelphia and Oregon to get citizens to add locally-relevant content related to the community. And come July 19, India will be hosting edit-a-thons in Bangalore and Delhi.
Through these edit-a-thons, the foundation aims to increase the scope of public-domain coverage of the community in order to improve their representation. Says Netha Hussain, one of the organisers, “In India, one will not find much information about the community or their culture. As such, their online presence is low. We want to give them the recognition they deserve.”
About the edit-a-thon, Srikanth, the treasurer of Wikimedia, India chapter, says, “Wikipedians will edit and add content to the website on topics surrounding LGBT.” The topics will range from history, identity, politics, culture, rights and attitudes in order to make content widely available internationally. The edit-a-thons will also work towards adding more content in regional languages. But the most important aspect is adding content that is accredited to third-party sources, Srikanth emphasises. He adds that poorly researched articles can negatively affect public perceptions.
The volunteers, close to 15 of them from Bangalore, will also be encouraged to reach out to associations working towards LGBT rights and people who have publicly identified themselves as belonging to this community. Netha says, “There are many such organisations in the country and they have a wealth of information that we can make available on the public domain.”
Though they have received a good response from the participants in both the cities, Srikanth laments the lack of institutional support in the country. “In other countries, there are government institutions involved in the workshops,” he says.
However, overall they are upbeat about the movement. Netha says, “We have already received a response from two LGBT rights organisations in Bangalore and Chennai to curate content. We expect more to come forward."