Wikipedia does its bit for sexual minorities

Globally, the LGBT propaganda has taken on a large scale over the last one-and-a-half-years, with a lot of civil rights movements and pride marches being conducted, all fighting for their equality and freedom from discrimination. 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, Wikipedia, 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, and closer home in Bangalore and Delhi on June 19, 2014.  

Wiki Loves Pride is a global campaign to expand and improve LGBT-related content across several Wikimedia projects

Wiki Loves Pride is a global campaign to expand and improve LGBT-related content across several Wikimedia projects

Portland_Pride_2014_-_036   SF_Pride_2014_-_Stierch_6

Through these edit-a-thons, the foundation aimed 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 representation is very low online. We wanted to give them the recognition they deserve.”

At the edit-a-thon, Srikanth, the treasurer of Wikimedia, India chapter, says, “Wikipedians edited and added content to the website on topics surrounding LGBT.” The topics ranged from history, identity, politics, culture, rights and attitudes in order to make content widely available internationally. The edit-a-thons also worked towards adding more content in regional languages. But the most important aspect was adding content that is accredited to third-party sources, Srikanth emphasises, as poorly researched articles can negatively affect public perceptions. “The goal was to get as many articles as possible from credible sources like Government bodies, newspapers and scholarly papers and remove information that is not authentic.”

The volunteers, close to 15 of them from Bangalore, were 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 opines, “There are many such organisations in the country and they have a wealth of information that we make available on the public domain.”

Though they had received a good response from the participants in both the cities, Srikanth laments the lack of institutional support in the country. “In many places, 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 and help us with this internet revolution.”

Published on July 15, 2014 in The New Indian Express.

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