According to Wikipedia, an edit-a-thon (sometimes written editathon) is an organized event where editors of online communities such as Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, and LocalWiki edit and improve a specific topic or type of content, typically including basic editing training for new editors. They often involve meetups, but can be distributed as well. The word is a portmanteau of “edit” and “marathon”.
What is a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon?
Why does FII organises Wikipedia Edit-a-thons?
We are all aware of the large reach and popularity of Wikipedia. However, what most people don’t know is that, according to a study conducted in 2011, only 9% of the editors at Wikipedia were women. And the percentage for India is even lower, just 3%.
Wikipedia recognises the systemic gender bias that is created because of factors such as these and thus enables its diverse range of users to edit and create Wiki pages, with reliable and authentic sources.
FII recognises the need for increasing the representation of Indian women across the internet. Hence, FII conducts monthly Wikipedia Edit-a-thons in collaboration with other social justice organisations. The aim of the Edit-a-thons is to increase gender-sensitive content on Wikipedia in India as well as an increase in women editors. This also enables women to learn new technologies and digitally empower themselves.
When: Once a month, on Saturday.
Time: Full-working day, i.e. 10 AM – 5 PM
How do we go about it?
We choose a topic for each month and make a list of names which have low or zero representation on Wikipedia. Then, we make an event page, announcing it on various online and social media platforms. We also partner other social justice organisations. During the event, the first hour is dedicated to introduction and briefing on how to create and edit articles on Wikipedia. Then participants work in groups or individually on a pre-made list of women who lack representation on Wikipedia. At the end of the day, all of this newly made Wikipedia pages are collated.
Logistics: We are constantly looking for new venues with good WiFi to host us. We provide beverages, snacks and lunch to the participants.
What do we achieve?
FII conducts monthly Wikipedia edit-a-thons exploring various facets of gender in India, thus increasing content on women and marginalized communities on Wikipedia as well as training women to create and edit Wikipedia pages and hence increasing the number of women editors.
Impact: New pages are created or existing pages are elaborated of women and marginalized people who currently lack representation on Wikipedia. These pages are not just created in English but are also expanded to vernacular Indian languages. Women, especially from non-tech backgrounds, learn a new skill both in terms of technology and research. Finally, this helps in reducing the gender gap both in terms of content and women editors on Wikipedia.
Media and Press Coverage
“It was a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon organized by Feminism In India. Our target was to minimize the gender gap that is observed in Wikipedia. I elaborated information about Rajeshwari Chatterjee, who was the first woman scientist from Karnataka. It was interesting to work on promoting something that even I was not aware of earlier. I got a chance to learn about some amazing women who have not got a privilege to be known for their contributions. I thank FII for taking such an initiative and wish them luck.” – Shivangi
“I had a great experience as I learned how to edit on Wikipedia and I also felt like I was a part of something bigger. I added to the profiles of the two Indian female lawyers on Wikipedia.” – Shruti
“Never edited a wikipedia page before. Learned something new and it was a good experience!” – Alice
“Attending the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was a great learning experience. I learned how to create and edit a Wikipedia page, so now I will be able to contribute towards bridging the gender gap that is there in the pages dedicated to important personalities.” – Shinjinee
“The Editathon was interesting. I did not know how to edit Wikipedia pages. It was for the first time that I was attending an Editathon organised by Feminism in India. I learned new things about Wikipedia i.e. how to use citations, and insert paragraphs and links, etc. Overall, my experience was amazing. And will surely attend such editathons in future.” – Tanya
“It was the first time that I participated in a Wikipedia editathon event. I am very grateful that I got this opportunity. I never knew that anybody can edit a Wikipedia page. Also, I learnt a lot of new things. I got to know how to create Wikipedia pages, what things one should keep in mind while editing a page. The coordinator was also very helpful. It was fun working with the members of FII. Will surely attend such events in future. It was a wonderful experience.” – Tanisha