Designing for and with Grassroots Values: Action Research with the Southern Movement Assembly

How can we design for the sociopolitical values of grassroots organizing?What does it mean to use those values in our design process? In my work, I exercise a commitment to design for grassroots values the grassroots way. Toward answering these questions, in my current work, I  do action research partnering with a regional social movement called the Southern Movement Assembly (SMA), both participating in their organization and studying them. The Southern Movement Assembly is a regional grassroots social movement consisting of 118 grassroots organizations from all over southeastern United States.

Understanding Role of Technology in Grassroots Activism: Action Research with Science for the People

I did emancipatory action research with the social movement organization Science for the People, Atlanta. With my work, I helped them with their needs, work with them, and took a political stance aligned with their work. I simultaneously studied how social movements can best use the scientific knowledge of the volunteer researchers of SftP.

Bachhon Ka Avishkar, of Pines, Electronics, and Powerful Ideas


In a little village named Rakkar (situated in the laps of Dhauladhar range of Dharamsala, India) – I worked with the local kids through activities that involve: constructing products that we find meaningful, questioning things that seem unfair, and unlearning all that we find restricting and useless. We named our initiative as: Bachhon Ka Avishkar. Here, the village learns through hands-on experiences of Science, Technology, and Education: by doing – by touching, feeling, cutting, sticking — pulling things apart, putting things together.

other projects

I was engaged with MediaWiki development for a long time. I worked  for the Wikimedia Foundation as a Software Engineer for a little over two years, and had been a volunteer developer to Wikipedia and other Open Source projects for longer. So, here is a list of the projects I had been involved in.

Visual Editor, the rich text editor for Wikipedia


The VisualEditor project aims to create a reliable rich-text editor for MediaWiki. VisualEditor is being developed so it can be used as a MediaWiki extension using the Parsoid project to supply HTML+RDFa; however, its core implementation can be run without MediaWiki, Parsoid, or Node.js.

My responsibilities as a frontend developer in the team included: Leading development of VisualEditor’s integration with MediaWiki, and providing seamless editing with VisualEditor and wikitext available to users side-by-side • Developing technical documentation for features and API for the Visual Editor • Maintenance and development of existing features for the Wikimedia projects • Supporting such development through (Code Review; Unit Testing and Bug Fixing; Integration Testing and Documentation)

Content Translation, a tool aimed to make translation of Wikipedia articles easier


Content Translation is a Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tool aimed to make translation of Wikipedia articles easier and better. It integrates other tools such as dictionaries or machine translation services, and it can be extended to include more. Content Translation complements the existing  MediaWiki extension Translate: while text from Wikipedia menus and other user interface elements are translated and kept in sync by the community using Translate, Wikipedia content can be translated using Content Translation. My work as a part of the Language team of the WMF was to take care of the frontend part of the project when it was shaping up.

Language tools and extensions

Universal Language Selector

As a Software Engineer at the Language team of the Wikimedia Foundation, I was working extensively on the language extensions and tools developed and maintained by the team itself. I worked a great deal on the Universal Language Selector and the MediaWiki extension known as Translate around this time. My responsibilities particularly included: working as a frontend developer on the project Content Translation • Applying latest web technologies and best practices in JavaScript, PHP and MediaWiki to develop new features and maintaining existing features for Wikimedia websites’ internationalization and localization features and tools • Developing technical documentation for features and APIs on

Language Coverage Matrix Dashboard


Co-developed the project Language Coverage Matrix Dashboard  which was a Wikimedia Foundation initiative to present information about the availability of language tools for various languages in the Wikimedia universe and to track their progress

Compacting Interlanguage Links


As a mentor to Niharika Kohli, worked on the project that deals with compacting the usual list of Languages you normally see on any Wikipedia and/or Wikimedia page and displaying only the few languages which are relevant to the user who is browsing the website.

EtherEditor, a collaborative editor for Wikipedia


Worked on  the MediaWiki extension named EtherEditor that enables realtime collaboration for editors in Wikipedia, with Mark Holmquist as a mentor.

Volunteer Development

Have been a volunteer contributor to the MediaWiki codebase for about 3 years. Find all my code on phabricator: mostly licensed under the MIT license!