Type of site
|Country of origin||India|
|CC Attribution / Share-Alike 3.0|
Most text is also dual-licensed under GFDL; media licensing varies
|Other names||Wikipedia of India|
Bharatpedia also known as the Wikipedia of India is a free multilingual online encyclopedia written and maintained by a community of volunteer contributors through a model of open collaboration, using a wiki-based editing system. The site was created using the MediaWiki software and is an open-source where anyone can share their knowledge with or without an account. It carries no advertisements and is hosted by the Bharatmedia Foundation, a non-profit organization funded mainly through small donations.
The site was first launched under wikipedia.ind.in in August 2020, by a Mumbai-based couple, but in September 2021, the domain was officially changed to bharatpedia.org.in.
Unlike traditional encyclopedias, Bharatpedia follows the procrastination principle regarding the security of its content. It started almost entirely open—anyone could create articles, and any Bharatpedia article could be edited by any reader, even those who did not have a Bharatpedia account. Modifications to all articles would be published immediately. As a result, any article could contain inaccuracies such as errors, ideological biases, and nonsensical or irrelevant text.
Due to the increasing popularity of Bharatpedia, some editions have introduced editing restrictions for certain cases. For instance, only registered users may create a new article. A frequently vandalized article can be "semi-protected" or "extended confirmed protected", meaning that only "autoconfirmed" or "extended confirmed" editors are able to modify it. A particularly contentious article may be locked so that only administrators are able to make changes. In certain cases, all editors are allowed to submit modifications, but a review is required for some editors, depending on certain conditions.
Review of changes
Although changes are not systematically reviewed, the software that powers Bharatpedia provides tools allowing anyone to review changes made by others. The "History" page of each article links to each revision. On most articles, anyone can undo others' changes by clicking a link on the article's history page. Anyone can view the latest changes to articles, and anyone registered may maintain a "watchlist" of articles that interest them so they can be notified of any changes. "New pages patrol" is a process whereby newly created articles are checked for obvious problems.
Any change or edit that manipulates content in a way that purposefully compromises the integrity of Bharatpedia is considered vandalism. The most common and obvious types of vandalism include additions of obscenities and crude humor. Vandalism can also include advertising and other types of spam. Sometimes editors commit vandalism by removing content or entirely blanking a given page. Less common types of vandalism, such as the deliberate addition of plausible but false information to an article can be more difficult to detect. Vandals can introduce irrelevant formatting, modify page semantics such as the page's title or categorization, manipulate the underlying code of an article, or use images disruptively.
Obvious vandalism is generally easy to remove from Bharatpedia articles; the median time to detect and fix vandalism is a few minutes. However, some vandalism takes much longer to repair.
Bharatpedianss often have disputes regarding content, which may result in repeatedly making opposite changes to an article, known as "edit warring". The process is widely seen as a resource-consuming scenario where no useful knowledge is added. This practice is also criticized as creating a competitive, conflict based editing culture associated with traditional masculine gender roles, which contributes to the gender bias on Bharatpedia.
Content policies and guidelines
According to the rules on the Bharatpedia, each entry in Bharatpedia must be about a topic that is encyclopedic and is not a dictionary entry or dictionary-style. A topic should also meet Bharatpedia's standards of "notability", which generally means that the topic must have been covered in mainstream media or major academic journal sources that are independent of the article's subject. Further, Bharatpedia intends to convey only knowledge that is already established and recognized. It must not present original research. A claim that is likely to be challenged requires a reference to a reliable source. Among Bharatpedia editors, this is often phrased as "verifiability, not truth" to express the idea that the readers, not the encyclopedia, are ultimately responsible for checking the truthfulness of the articles and making their own interpretations. This can at times lead to the removal of information that, though valid, is not properly sourced. Finally, Bharatpedia must not take sides. All opinions and viewpoints, if attributable to external sources, must enjoy an appropriate share of coverage within an article. This is known as a "neutral point of view" (NPOV).
Bharatpedia's initial anarchy integrated democratic and hierarchical elements over time. An article is not considered to be owned by its creator or any other editor, nor by the subject of the article.
Editors in good standing in the community can run for one of many levels of volunteer stewardship: this begins with "administrator", privileged users who can delete pages, prevent articles from being changed in case of vandalism or editorial disputes (setting protective measures on articles), and try to prevent certain people from editing. Despite the name, administrators are not supposed to enjoy any special privilege in decision-making; instead, their powers are mostly limited to making edits that have project-wide effects and thus are disallowed to ordinary editors, and to implement restrictions intended to prevent certain persons from making disruptive edits (such as vandalism).
Bharatpedia has developed a semi-formal dispute resolution process to assist in such circumstances. To determine community consensus, editors can raise issues at appropriate community forums, or seek outside input through third opinion requests or by initiating a more general community discussion known as a "request for comment".
The Arbitration Committee presides over the ultimate dispute resolution process. Although disputes usually arise from a disagreement between two opposing views on how an article should read, the Arbitration Committee explicitly refuses to directly rule on the specific view that should be adopted. Statistical analyses suggest that the committee ignores the content of disputes and rather focuses on the way disputes are conducted, functioning not so much to resolve disputes and make peace between conflicting editors, but to weed out problematic editors while allowing potentially productive editors back in to participate. Therefore, the committee does not dictate the content of articles, although it sometimes condemns content changes when it deems the new content violates Bharatpedia policies (for example, if the new content is considered biased). Its remedies include cautions and probations (used in 63% of cases) and banning editors from articles (43%), subject matters (23%), or Bharatpedia (16%). Complete bans from Bharatpedia are generally limited to instances of impersonation and anti-social behaviour. When conduct is not impersonation or anti-social, but rather anti-consensus or in violation of editing policies, remedies tend to be limited to warnings.
The site was launched in the Hindi Language in a celebration of Hindi Day in September 2021.