Centre for Internet & Society

It wasn’t something that we set out to do when we started working on The Ballot, but one of the most satisfying unintentional side-effects of the project has been the chance to correct facts and figures, and remove inappropriate content from entries related to India and its politics on Wikipedia.

The first oddity we spotted was way back in August, the day we announced The Ballot to the world. The Hindi word “bewajah” (which means “without reason”) was cropping up all over the wiki entry on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). Nirbheek restored this entry. When we were putting together our post about the representation of women in the Lok Sabha, we noticed errors in the census figures on Wikipedia. Once we had extracted the right numbers from the data available on the census portal, not only did we use them in our post, but we also corrected them in the wiki entry. More recently, some missing information in the info-boxes in the entries on a handful of Indian states gave Pooja the opportunity to make her first ever edits!

These, of course, are just the tip of the iceberg. We have a longer list of issues to fix, and an even longer one for potential improvements. If only we could spare more time and involve more collaborators, a real difference could be made to the quality of Wikipedia entries on Indian politics.

We met Subhashish of the Access to Knowledge programme at CIS yesterday and have some great things planned with him for the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

About The Ballot
The Ballot is a visual compendium of information about the world’s largest democracy. Every week till the general elections in 2014, it will publish easily digestible yet relevant nuggets of information about India, its government and its workings, presented as richly illustrated graphs and charts.

About Pareidolic
Pareidolic is a collection of collaborative projects by Nirbheek Chauhan, a software developer, and Pooja Saxena, a typeface designer. Besides their weekly efforts towards The Ballot, Pareidolic also released a free and open source Devanagari to Bharati Braille Converter this year, which is on its way to supporting several other Indian languages.

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