In an intensely fought competition among Indian languages, Tamil has bagged the first place in the second edition of ‘Project Tiger’, organised by Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) and Google, with a total number of 2,959 articles contributed by 62 participants.
Experts say the well-researched articles, which have helped increase Tamil content online, will act as a database. Google and WMF launched the competition in 2018 with an aim to increase the online content of vernacular languages by motivating participants to contribute articles to Wikipedia. The second edition of the three-month-long competition commenced on October 10 and the results were announced recently.
In the first edition of the competition, Tamil lost the first place to Punjabi in a closely-fought contest. But, this time, with the highest number of participants as well as articles contributed by them, Tamil has secured the first spot.
“It is important to note that 12 out of the 62 participants were first-time contributors. This shows that there are more people who are interested in contributing Tamil content online,” says S. Rajaraman, a software engineer, and one of the admin of Tamil Wikipedia, who goes by the pen name ‘Neechalkaran’.
Explaining the importance of the performance, Mr. Rajaraman says articles were written on important topics suggested by Google. “Articles have been mostly written on important places, personalities and on entertainment. Also, only articles with proper references were approved. Hence, the focus was not only on the number of articles written for the competition, but also on their quality.”
A couple from Salem, S. Balasubramanian, Superintendent at the School Education Department, and his wife V. Vasantha Lakshmi, have contributed a total of 899 articles. “These articles will be highly useful for Tamil medium students and scholars, as Wikipedia is the first tab that appears when a topic is searched on any search engine,” he says.
Keerthi Jeyaraj, Director of EduRight Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, which also focuses on the skill development of Tamil teachers, says the victory shows how participants have contributed creative content in Tamil. “This win will motivate more people to contribute creative content in the future,” he says.
The organisers will conduct a training programme for the winning team.