On 7 September 2017, Pranayraj Vangari created an article about Telangana culture on the Telugu Wikipedia. In response, members of the Telugu Wikipedia community gathered to celebrate.
Why? This marked the end of Vangari’s self-given challenge to create one Wikipedia article per day for 365 consecutive days. He even wrote an article on the day he got married. He called this his “wikiyear,” as it had grown out of the #100wikidays challenge.
His dedication inspired his wife to create a Wikipedia account. “Our fellow Wikipedian Pavan Santhosh coined a term for that: Wiki Kalyanam (Wiki Marriage),” Vangari noted.
Vangari is a native of Telangana’s capital Hyderabad. He works as an assistant theater director and is working on an M.Phil degree in theater arts.
Since joining Wikipedia as an editor in March 2013, Vangari has made over 85,000 edits on the Telugu Wikipedia and created over 700 new articles—a not insignificant chunk of the Telugu Wikipedia’s 67,000 total articles. The site, which has been growing since 2003, now ranks as the fifth-largest Indian language on Wikipedia.
#100wikidays challenge extends to a year
Vangari heard about #100wikidays from fellow Wikipedians who had completed the challenge. During #100wikidays, editors write a new Wikipedia article every day for 100 consecutive days. Vangari decided to take his challenge even further.
“At first, I thought that 100wikidays [were] enough,” Vangari recalls, “but … on the 95th day of this challenge, I decided to take up the wikiyear challenge.”
Over the course of a full a year, Vangari encountered several occasions when it was difficult to find time to create and edit a page. He had to travel for work, or even get married. That was no barrier for Vangari. He was always prepared.
“When I go away, I carry my laptop and [a list of] previously-selected articles to work on,” he explains. In September 2016, he was an assistant director for a Telugu film. Vangari had to be on location at 7 a.m. and wouldn’t return home until 11 p.m. “I woke up at 5 a.m. every morning, selected the article content, created the article at 5:30 with some content, then completed it when I came back home in the evening,” Vangari recalls.
Vangari is so dedicated to Wikipedia that the community nominated him as an administrator. When not online, he can be found at local editing workshops where he helps new users learn how to create and edit articles.
“Wikipedia is the first door I knock on for knowledge,” Vangari says. “The idea of giving your part and contributing to Wikipedia sounds like a fantastic idea to me. Making my knowledge available to the rest of the world for free is what inspires me to keep editing … Wikipedia is important because it helps share the knowledge irrespective of who you are.”
And that inspiration has never gone away. In June 2019, Vangari nearly tripled his original year-long challenge: one thousand new Wikipedia articles in one thousand days.