About Uli

The lines between online and offline life are fast splintering. Online gender-based violence against gender and sexual minorities and misogyny results in offline harm and results in people receding from online spaces. Uli (meaning chisel in Tamil) is our attempt to hand the chisel and power over to users most affected by online gender-based violence. Uli aims to build and demand for responsibity and inclusivity in the systems that shape our online life. Uli was born from the collective labour of journalists, activists, community influencers, and writers engaged in the struggle against the interwoven caste, religion, gender and sexuality-based violence both online and offline. They contributed towards the development of the Uli tool that allows us to filter out offensive words/phrases, archive problematic content and call out for support. Uli is not imagined as the final product, but rather a simple tool, a chisel, that allows one to make a room of one’s own or courtyards where people can come together, share stories, and reflect on the future we all want to see. In its second year, Uli is evolving as a user-facing tool; as well as a set of resources that researchers, Trust and Safety teams and professionals, and journalists can use in their workflows.

(Uli in Media)[../uli_media.mdx]

The Team

Uli was launched in 2021 as a joint project between The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) and Tattle Civic Tech. It is currently hosted at Tattle and is being developed in close partnership with feminist organizations in India. You can read more about the people involved in the pilot here: Uli Pilot Team

The current project team is comprised of:

  • Denny George : Engineering lead, denntenna,
  • Siddharth Manohar: Data Governance Researcher,
  • Sudeep Duggal : Fullstack engineer,
  • Tarunima Prabhakar : Project Manager, website,
  • Yash Budhwar : Operations and contracts,
  • Yohan Mathew : ML DevOps

Advisors/ Volunteers:

  • Ambika Tandon : Overall Project,
  • Arnav Arora : Data Science, @rnav_arora,
  • Cheshta Arora : Researcher,
  • Kaustubha Kalidindi : Community Building,

For our work in 2023 we have partnered with four stellar organizations:

  1. Chambal Media Private Limited (Khabar Lahariya)
  2. Point of View
  3. Nazariya: Queer Feminist Resource Group
  4. Feminism in India (FII)

Supporters

Uli development was supported by Mozilla Foundation's 2023 Data Futures Lab Cohort. It was also a part of GitHub's DPG Open Source Community Manager program. The pilot stage was supported by the Digital Society Challenge grant provided to the Centre for Internet and Society.

Support the Project

Uli has a strong research component, as well as a product development component. These are the roles where we need support:

  • Communications and outreach
  • User Research
  • Data Science
  • Partnership development

While we appreciate all help, we might not always be able to work with volunteers since onboarding also requires effort from the team, and time schedules might not always align. But please drop us a line at uli_support@tattle.co.in

We're also actively looking for funds to build Uli to sustainability. If you are interested in knowing more about our 24 month roadmap, please drop us a line. Broadly, the expenses in the project are around:

  • Research and technical development
  • Infrastructure cost
  • Partnerships

Through our work with partners we continue to hear requests for additional features. What makes it to the roadmap is a function of perceived criticality and available resources (finances and skills in the team). If you want to work on any of these features, please reach out to us on email (uli_support@tattle.co.in) or Slack or create an issue on GitHub describing the user story.

This project also engages with some difficult and critical questions around machine learning, the democratization of technology, expertise and online safety. We are also open to partnering with researchers who can helps us refine our approach (at all levels), while also contributing to action-centred research in these areas.