Interview with Sofie Jansson Wikimedia Sweden

Sofie Jansson
CC BY-SA 4.0 File:1 Sofie Jansson CC BY-SA Gitta Wilén.png Created: 23 November 2017
 
Sofie, for how long you are Wikipedian and how all started?

I made some edits already like fifteen years ago, but without having a user account. It was mainly language correction and smaller article expansions. When I wrote my first article around 2007 it was deleted and when I tried to get an answer to why, I was met with silence. And when I waded through discussion pages in my search for answers I got the clear impression that new article creators wasn’t wanted and that the „real“ Wikipedia-work should only be done by those already included „in the club“ – so I quit editing. Some years later I had a seminar cancelled and since I was already in the city center and  didn’t want to turn around and go home immediately I popped in to a Wikipedia editathon for women, to try and get some answers. Lennart Guldbrandsson was the one talking about Wikipedia, and he talked about what had been done lately in regarding Wikipedians to be better at welcoming people and he spoke with such enthusiasm that I thought I could give Wikipedia another try. And now I’ve been an active contributer since 2013.

 

How Wikipedia changed your life?
It has given me a very rewarding hobby, with friends all around the world. (But I tend to spend too much time doing volunteer work, time that I should really spend looking for paid jobs …) Oh, and Wikipedia has actually changed my view on separatism, something I was totally against before engaging in the Wikipedia (an Wikimedia) movement, but now see as a necessary short-term tool. I think the need for separatism to be a symptom of a problem that we as a movement have.

 

You do many offline things to attract new wikipedians as well as many other events – please, tell us more?

Yes, I’m a co-founder (together with Lennart Guldbrandsson) of the weekly editathons we have in Gothenburg. We came up with the idea in the beginning of January 2014 and spent two months making plans and had our first editathon on 11 March 2014 and since then we’ve had editathons every Tuesday afternoon (with a small exceptions of some red days). Per A.J. Andersson attended the first, and has been a major contributor of helping to organise the events (and he probably holds the world record in number of attended editathons). By the way, we do not call our Tuesday afternoon meetings for editathons, we call them „skrivstugor“ (write-ins), something we believe to be more inviting for newcomers. We’ve had close to 300 editathons/write-ins and more than 100 people have been engaged and we’ve created or expanded about 500 articles about our main theme Women & Literature (and some out of scope).
I have also been organising WikiCamps for people identifying as women for four years, a series with combined lectures and write-ins at a library, some events around the International Women’s Day, helping out at WikiGap events and some more. Since 2017 I’m a board member of Wikimedia Sverige.

 

As volunteer what inspires you to do all this Wiki work?
That I always find something new that’s missing, there’s always a need for something more to be done… And there is also always something new to learn. Curiosity is a key to Wikipedia, I think. I also think free knowledge is important and that we have a need to share all human knowledge, not just knowledge from within one pretty homogeneous group of people – to me it is a matter of democracy.

Your favorite topics to write articles?
I love to write about authors and about literature. I also like to take portrait photos of authors to illustrate the articles with.

 
What do you say to all people, who still don’t edit?

Come on, it’s not that hard! And you may find some new friends along the way. 🙂

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