Tamil Nadu government's contest to promote content in the Tamil Wikipedia
Last month the government of Tamil Nadu, an urbanised state in southern India, held a contest for college students to expand the Tamil Wikipedia. Along with a graphic design contest for high school students, it aimed to introduce young people to modern Indic computing ahead of the World Classical Tamil Conference organised by the Tamil Nadu government, and the co-located annual IT expo, the Tamil Internet Conference, to be held in June. The Tamil Wikipedia has 22,000 articles and some extremely committed editors, but its existence is not well-publicised in the Tamil community. The current annual growth of just 3,000 articles a year shows the significant opportunities for expanding the rates of participation (see Signpost coverage). The Telugu Wikipedia has twice as many articles, despite roughly the same number of native speakers of both languages. The Tamil Nadu government is hoping for 30,000 to 40,000 new articles to be uploaded when the contest closes on 30 April.
Update: the closing date has been extended two weeks.
Orientation programs were run at Loyola College in Chennai to teach participants how to write standard wiki articles. The best entries, selected by a jury of Wikipedia editors, will receive prizes and certificates from the government.
The contest went unnoticed on the main Wikipedia forums. An announcement was made on the Wikimedia India mailing list and a blog was used to post media coverage, but no updates were posted on the Foundation mailing list. Within India it received attention due to the involvement of Kanimozhi in this year's Tamil Internet Conference. M. K. Kanimozhi MP – a former journalist who has championed Tamil literature since entering politics – joined P. A. Aruna, the state IT Minister, on the organising committee. One Indic computing expert said the Tamil Wikipedia is "gaining good traction and patronage".The Hindu reported this is the first time a state government has promoted local content in Wikipedia.
The international press has been taking a lot of interest in Wikipedia editors lately. User:Brucevdk was quoted extensively in the Ontario newspaper The Sault Star (circulation: 25,000) on research he has done for the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike article. This follows a full-page interview with User:Heitor C. Jorge in the Brazilian Estadão newspaper (circulation: 220,000) in which he discussed his efforts to bring the São Paulo article up to featured article standard. There have also been interviews in the Italian newspapers with a disgruntled former administrator and a priest who uses the site.
A short comedy video on atom.com poked fun at COI editing, sockpuppeting ("You used my Wikipedia account to change your page? Yes, of course I used your account. I can't use my own, people will think I am a phony!") and BLP issues.