The Deoband Community Wikimedia (DCW) researchers working on its strategic research project have submitted their February 2023 learnings. During the first month of studies, the past activities of the DCW were critically analyzed by Tahura Aafi, who submitted the learnings on February 28.

The research project formally began on 1 February 2023 with an introductory session that took place a day earlier in New Delhi. The session discussed the methodologies to be adopted in the research and how the study is to be conducted and concluded. Subject to the learnings from that session, the February tasks were taken care of by Tahura Aafi. She is a student and has been volunteering for the offline development of the user group affiliate.

Participants of the 18 February 2023 meet-up going through initial findings of the strategic research

Tahura’s initial learnings were subject to community discussion’s in the February 2023 general meetup. Her analysis up to that day focused very much on the affiliate’s “scope”. The study suggested that, “It is pretty much problematic to find better participation whilst having a limited scope”, even though the affiliate had already widened its scope from global Deobandi scholarship to general Muslim academia and scholarship. She suggested that, “If the affiliate extends its focus to the Oriental Islamic studies, we might be able to receive a better participation from the other parts of the world”. This suggestion has been implemented and the upcoming research studies would evaluate its outcome.

Similarly, the researcher successfully analyzed the Bhopal Photo Event alongside several others. Her learnings indicate that although the Bhopal event was successful in terms of “target” however it was not very much helpful with respect to the investment made on it. Such events must be resource friendly as well.

DCW February 2023 strategic learnings

“Photographic events must take place and the DCW should necessarily invest on such projects to increase its quality-oriented-participation on Wikimedia Commons and other projects where the images could be helpful”, was her initial review. She elaborated that, the target-based photographic events where the only target is the collection of images should be made single-participant activities instead of group activities. In such a case, a single participant who is to be selected on the basis of their quality contributions, would be given a specific target, and supported with travel and accommodation, and they would easily do the same work as done by a group of resource persons during Bhopal Photo Event. This however requires the affiliate to form local networks before scheduling such events.

Tahura says that, the outcome of such an event would be more in comparison to that of the Bhopal event, and at the same time, the resources spent would be very less. Such events should take place once every month if we need a long-time-oriented participation.

Tahura also analyzed the affiliate’s method’s of recruiting new editors. She suggested that it is necessary for the affiliate to form a training program. The aim of the training program would be to train and prepare the first cohort of volunteers who have had some exposure and experience in meeting new people and passionate about contributing to the cause, as expert trainers. The training of the first cohort has been suggested to take place until the end of June 2023. In this manner, the affiliate could engage more in leadership and skills development.

These learnings would subsequently be adopted by the affiliate and studied by the researchers for any possible outcomes and the most appropriate methods would be recommended for the affiliate’s future strategic growth. Any suggestions to the researchers can be shared through the affiliate’s official e-mail address, “dcw@wikimedia.org”.