Wikipedia’s 15th birthday inspires Bangla translators

Together with the global communities, Wikimedia Bangladesh also organized a series of programs to mark Wikipeda's 15th anniversary. As part of the anniversary celebration, couple of events were organized that were hugely successful and appreciated by the local community. Good article contest, Good article edit-a-thon day and Wikipedia workshops for University students were notables events among them. Finally, a gala event was held on 15th January 2016 at Bishwo Shahitto Kendro in Dhaka to celebrate the special day.

On January 15th, 2016, Free encyclopedia — Wikipedia — completed its 15 years journey. To celebrate this special day, a good article writing competition was organized in Bangla Wikipedia by Wikimedia Bangladesh. Bangla Wikipedia has a total article count of 42,000+. Among these, only a handful of articles have been reviewed as good articles. In an attempt to enhance the content quality in the Bangla Wikipedia, the competition was organized which aimed at increasing the number of good articles. The competition continued from 1st of November 2015 to 10th of January 2016. The events received press coverage from around the country, including newspapers like Prothom Alo and The Daily Star.

In this contest, Bangla Wikipedians have fully translated about 600 good articles from English Wikipedia. A total of 550 Bengali speaking registered users from Bangladesh, India, Italy and South Korea participated in this two months long competition and 130 of them were awarded Wikipedia Badge, wristband, USB flash drive and T-shirts by Wikimedia Bangladesh. A reviewer panel comprising 35 experienced and regular users evaluated the translated articles. Among all the participants of the competition, 86% were new in Wikipedia and contributed for the first time, 14% were frequent editors and 12% were female editors. This contest has increased the number of good quality articles in Bangla Wikipedia and, at the same time, engaged a huge number of new users in Wikipedia through this contest. S.M. Monir created the highest number of articles and was awarded the first prize, a bicycle, and a certificate in the 15th year celebration program.

Good article edit-a-thon day was another event of this series of programs. Five edit-a-thons were organized in three different cities, which are - Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong division. The aim of the edita-thons was to increase the number of good articles in Bangla Wikipedia. As a result of these edita-thons, the number of good articles are increased from 14 to 60. Besides those events, Wikipedia Workshop were held in three different Universities of Bangladesh. On an average, about 50 students attended in each workshop. The main goal of the workshops was to create awareness about Wikimedia projects. Another goal was to introduce Wikipedia (especially Bangla Wikipedia) to the audience and show the attendees how to edit the articles and contribute photographs to Wikimedia Commons.
The series programs ended on 15th January 2016 at Bishwo Shahitto Kendro in Dhaka through the celebration of Wikipedia's birthday. Noted filmmaker Mostofa Sarwar Farooki was present at the program as a special guest.

* Event details in Bangla Wikipedia

* See Photos on Wikimedia Commons

Nahid Sultan, Secretary,
Wikimedia Bangladesh

Bengali Wikipedia: the largest Bengali content website on the Internet

Greetings! With about 250 million native and about 300 million total speakers worldwide, Bangla is the seventh most spoken language in the world by total number of native speakers and the eleventh most spoken language by total number of speakers. It is the only language in the world which is achieved by a language movement; people sacrificed their lives for the right to read, write, and speak the language Bangla. Building an encyclopedia in this language was unavoidable.

Bangla Wikipedia started its journey in January 2004. Back then, the people of Bangladesh had a little interest in Wikipedia. A few students and scholars used the English Wikipedia, but it was not accountable. Besides that, there were various difficulties contributing in Bangla. One of the pioneer of the Bangla Wikipedia, Dr. Ragib Hasan, said that “the biggest challenge was writing something on internet in Bangla. The Bangla Unicode was not supported on most operating systems, only few websites on the internet supported Bangla Unicode, and users had difficulties configuring it. Moreover, the idea of writing something with Bangla Unicode was new. … in the beginning, the idea of a Wikipedia in Bangla was not actually workable.”

The whole scenario has been changed in 2006. During that time, the Bangla blogging world was growing slowly, and many people became accustomed to Bangla computing—thanks in part to a free and open-source Bangla typing tool, Avro. On March 25, 2006, a Wiki team was created by the Bangladesh Open Source Network (BdOSN) to popularize Wikipedia through out the country. The aim was to represent the country to the world through Wikipedia and build a complete encyclopedia in Bangla. At that time, Bangla Wikipedia had only 500 articles. But the ‘BdOSN wiki team’ was not alone. They managed to spread the word through some newspapers and start a Bangla Wiki mailing list. Soon, many Bangla-peaking people from home and abroad joined them in this dynamic project. As a result, by theend of the October, Bangla Wikipedia got to 10,000 articles. Among the South Asian language Wikipedias, Bangla Wikipedia reached that milestone first, and many of these articles were illustrated with photos from the demonstrator of Bengali Language Movement Dr. Rafiqul Islam, who donated all his historical photographs taken during the language movement to Wikimedia Commons.

The community now began increasing the quality of their articles. Between 2009 and 2010, Bangla speakers from West Bengal, India also started to contribute to Bangla Wikipedia. In the meantime, the Wikimedia Foundation started their operations and in October 2011 a ‘local chapter was approved in Bangladesh by the Foundation to promote educational content in Bangla.

Now, Bangla Wikipedia has more than 38,000 articles on various topics with over 500 active editors per month. People from around the country now regularly arrange workshops and meet-up with active Wikipedians.

On February 26, 2015, Jimmy Wales—the founder of Wikipedia—visited Bangladesh for a celebration programme that was organized to mark the tenth year of Bangla Wikipedia, a great motivation for Bangla Wikipedia community. In his keynote, Jimmy said that according to the article depth, Bangla Wikipedia is rated quite well. It may also be noted that Bangla Wikipedians from Kolkata, India arranged a similar event, and both of the events were attended by Wikipedians from both sides.


Written by,

Nahid Sultan and Nurunnaby Chowdhury (Hasive)

Administrators, Bengali Wikipedia


* Originally published on Wikimedia Blog on November 10, 2015.


Wikimedia Bangladesh and Grameenphone arranged a Wikipedia Contributor Day in Dhaka

On Sunday and Monday, 16/17 February 2014, Wikimedia Bangladesh (WMBD) and Grameenphone (a Telenor concern) jointly arranged a two-day long event titled ‘Wikipedia Contributor Day’ with i-Genius students.

Grameenphone/Telenor is a Wikipedia Zero partner. We organized two days of workshops on Bengali Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. Grameenphone chose the participants from last year’s i-Genius students, which are selected from all over the country through a year-long program conducted by Grameenphone and the daily newspaper Prothom Alo. Usually one i-Genius is selected from every district of Bangladesh.

The goal of the workshops were to introduce Wikipedia (especially Bengali Wikipedia), and show the attendees how to edit the articles and contribute photographs to Wikimedia Commons. Most participants were new to Wikipedia, but at the same time we found several of them were already contributing to Wikipedia. It was very inspiring for us.

বাংলাদেশীদের উদ্দেশ্যেঃ উইকিপিডিয়ায় আপনাকে প্রয়োজন!

ক্রমবর্ধমান তথ্যপ্রযুক্তির এই বিশ্বে ইন্টারনেট আমাদের জীবনের একটি অবিচ্ছেদ্য অংশে পরিণত হয়েছে যেখানে মানুষ তথ্যের জন্য মাত্র কয়েক ক্লিক দূরে ওয়েবের দারস্থ হচ্ছে। অধিকাংশ ক্ষেত্রেই ওয়েব সার্চের ফলাফল আপনাকে উইকিপিডিয়ার লিংকে নিয়ে যাচ্ছে; তাই এটি একটি দুঃখের বিষয় যদি আপনার অনুসন্ধানকৃত তথ্যটি উইকিপিডিয়ার পৃষ্ঠায় না পাওয়া যায়, অথবা যদি এটি ভুল ও দুর্বলভাবে উপস্থাপন করা হয় - এতে আপনি হতাশ বা মন:ক্ষুণ্ণও হতে পারেন।

উইকিপিডিয়া, যদিও অধিকাংশ লোকই জানেন, এটি একটি উন্মুক্ত অনলাইন বিশ্বকোষ যা বর্তমানে ২৯১টি ভাষায় চালু রয়েছে - এবং এটি এমন একটি বিশ্বকোষ যা আপনার এই মহুর্তে মনে পড়ছে এরকম প্রায় সব বিষয়ই কাভার করেছে। উইকিপিডিয়া, বিশ্বের সর্ববৃহৎ বিশ্বকোষ যার মুখ্য উদ্দেশ্য হল, মানুষকে এমন একটি গ্রহ উপহার দেওয়া যেখানে সমস্ত জ্ঞান সব মানুষ তাদের নিজস্ব ভষায় শেয়ার করতে পারবেন এবং যেখানে সব মানুষের থাকবে সমান প্রবেশাধিকার।

Bangladeshi awareness programs drive Bangla Wikipedia usage

Wikimedia Bangladesh (WMBD) is conducting 'Secondary level school programs' in different schools in Bangladesh named "Wikipedia awareness program". These programs are specially designed more to encourage students to effectively use Wikipedia or other Wikimedia projects for their benefit than to contribute to it. As part of Bangla Wikipedia 10th anniversary celebration, it is the first time in the country that a Wikipedia-related events are taking place in school levels.

যাত্রা শুরু উইকিমিডিয়া বাংলাদেশের

উইকিমিডিয়া বাংলাদেশ অবশেষে তার যাত্রা শুরু করলো! উইকিমিডিয়া ফাউন্ডেশন জনপ্রিয় মুক্ত অনলাইন বিশ্বকোষ উইকিপিডিয়াসহ ইন্টারনেট-ভিত্তিক বিভিন্ন মুক্ত প্রকল্প পরিচালনা করে আসছে। এ কাজে সহযোগীতার জন্য সারা পৃথিবীতে উইকিমিডিয়া ফাউন্ডেশনের ৪১টি স্বীকৃত চ্যাপ্টার রয়েছে যার মধ্যে উইকিমিডিয়া বাংলাদেশ একটি। এর মাধ্যমে উইকিমিডিয়া বাংলাদেশ দক্ষিণ এশিয়ার দ্বিতীয় চ্যাপ্টার হিসেবে উইকিমিডিয়া ফাউন্ডেশনের অনুমোদন লাভ করলো।

উইকিমিডিয়া বাংলাদেশ উইকিমিডিয়া ফাউন্ডেশনের বিভিন্ন শিক্ষামূলক মুক্ত প্রকল্পের প্রচার এবং প্রসারের লক্ষ্যে সমগ্র বাংলাদেশ জুড়ে কাজ করবে। ভাষাগত দিক থেকে বাংলা প্রকল্পগুলো উইকিমিডিয়া বাংলাদেশের মূল ফোকাস হলেও, বাংলার পাশাপাশি অন্যান্য আঞ্চলিক ভাষার প্রকল্প ও ইংরেজি প্রকল্পগুলোর প্রচারণাতেও উইকিমিডিয়া বাংলাদেশ কাজ করবে। উইকিমিডিয়া ফাউন্ডেশনের একটি প্রকল্প হিসাবে ২০০৪ সালে প্রথম বাংলা অনলাইন বিশ্বকোষ বাংলা উইকিপিডিয়া আত্মপ্রকাশ করে – কালক্রমে তা আজ অনলাইনে সবচেয়ে বড় বাংলা বিশ্বকোষ। সেই থেকে স্বপ্নের পথচলা শুরু।

Wikimedia Bangladesh completes its local registration after a five-year journey

Wikimedia Bangladesh finally completed the exhaustingly long bureaucratic process of local registration when treasurer Ali Haidar Khan collected the registration certificate from the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies & Firms office. This marked another big step towards the creation of a Wikimedia Chapter in Bangladesh. The formal public launching of the chapter is the last task, which we will be doing very shortly.

The idea of having a Bangladesh chapter began in 2009. Since then, Bangladeshi Wikimedians have been hosting regular offline activities for the purposes of realizing this goal. We formally submitted our bylaws to the Chapters Committee (now AffCom) in April 2011. Final approval from the Wikimedia Board of trustees came a few months later on October 3, 2011. We were the 39th chapter to be approved by the Wikimedia Foundation board.

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