Basak Tosun from Wikimedia Turkey

How did you become a Wikimedian, tell us your story?
I became a wikimedian back in 2005. I remember receiving an e-mail inviting people to edit Turkish wikipedia from an email group i was subscribred. At that time i was blogging and contributing to several web sites about travel, books, etc. as a hobby. When i’ve learned that i could edit wikipedia as well, i got excited i knew that i would enjoy it very much even before trying to edit. At the begining i was editing only for fun. I liked writing about fictional characters, cartoons. I thought editing more “serious” articles related to science, history, politics would be made by some experts. But soon i recognised that there were very few contributors therefore i could make an important change by editing articles on any subject i am interested in even though i may not be an expert on it. I started to take editing more and more seriously. I didn’t know any other Wikimedian in person until i was invited to a wikicamp in Skopje in 2015 as a prize for contributing. There, i’ve met Wikimedians from different countries and learned more about Wikimedia Foundation and affiliates. When i am back, i shared my experience at Village Pump and soon i found my self as one of the founder members of the user group in Turkey. I very much like coming together with Wikimedians around the world at regional and international events, becoming a bridge between my local community and the rest of the Wikimedia Movement. Now, i am member of two other international user groups and also am member of Affiliations Commitee.

Your most liked Wiki projects you work for?
Turkish wikipedia! I like editing in my native language. I belive Turkish wikipedia is still far behind where it should be in terms of number and quality of articles and i can feel my edits could make an important change. I also very much like contributing to Commons with images that could be useful in the articles i edited.

You had this hard time with Wikipedia in Turkey. Now it is over. Some lessons learned and how do you feel now about it?

Yes, Wikipedia was blocked in Turkey between April 29, 2017 and January 15, 2020. Internet-savy people were able to circumvent the block by using technologies like VPN. I am so proud that our editor community never stopped editing Wikipedia and our user group kept organising events during those years. However, the small edits of the passersbys were gone and we understood the value of those edits better. Most of the community members contribute to the projects because they see it a good way of passing their leisure time; but i think all of us understood better how valuable what we are doing for the society and started see our contributions not just as a leisure time activity but as an important volunteer work. Therefore we thought that rather than being an informal community we should be organized better and after the removal of the block we got a non-profit status.

So where is the Turkish Wiki community now and how do you develop it?
Turkish wiki community is more vibrant than ever.The community is now communicating more at off-wiki channels such as Telegram in order to ask help about translating a sentence, editing a template; we find this useful for collobration. Regular online meetings are being held every two weeks; experienced wikipedians and new comers come together to ask questions, share their suggestions about projects, events, we make presentations to each other to develop skills. Actually There a lot of things are going on at the same moment. We had Wiki Loves Earth Turkey for the first time this year. There was unexpectedly big participation. We expected around 500 photos to be uploaded in a month but we received 3500 photos. We thought of this as a big welcome to Wikipedia by the readers.
We organise edit-a-thons with our partners, such as Jazz-Day Edit-a-thon with Istanbul Jazz Festival or Female Filmmakers Edit-a-thon with Filmmor Women’s Cooperative.
Visiting university courses to invite students to contribute and give trainings is the most important actvity of the user group. We continue visiting courses by video-conferences; we plan reaching much more students in the new school term. We do all this to help the community grow not only in terms of number of the members but also to increase the diversity of the community members.

How Wikipedia helps, works for people in countries like yours?
Turkey is a country where internet penetration is high and people use online sources as their first and maybe the main source information. However, Turkey’s infosphere is exposed to great information pollution. In such environment, Wikipedia can not be a gatekeeper of false information but at least give internet-savy people some power on factual knowledge creation or sharing.

Your greeting to the Wikipedians and friends who read this interview?
Dear friends, i am so proud to be a member of such community and i am looking forward to be able to come together with you at a in-person event.

Christel Steigenberger – Тrust and safety team and Volunteer editor from Germany

Christel Steigenberger
Date 12 August 2017, 07:11:58
Author VGrigas (WMF)

You know this big smile and this great person behind it – Christel! A great friend and really amazing wikipedian, Christel is member of the Trust and safety team and Volunteer editor from Germany. Here is a short story of her love with the Wiki-community and contributions.

Wikipedia and you – tell us more about this long lasting love 🙂

Wikipedia and me – this was a love that started slowly and took several meetings in which I first mostly ignored her. But when I started to really look, I was fascinated. The diversity of topics and the many ways in which I could engage drew me to the website. I could learn something here every day! First only online on the German Wikipedia, then, pretty soon also offline with the Munich, then the German community. And then in 2016 I went to the Wikimania in Esino Lario, because it was not so far away and I did not have to fly to get there. Since the day I arrived there it is a true love story, the scope of the Wikimedia movement and the many wonderful, smart, gifted people driving it make me fall in love all over again and again.

What is your role in the Wiki movement now?

By now I have two roles in the movement. I am a volunteer editor who
loves to write short articles for the German Wikipedia and to upload
pictures to commons and to take part in world wide events and
edit-a-thons. And I am a staff member of the Wikimedia Foundation, a
Trust and Safety Specialist.

Wikimedian community is lange, colourful, inclusive. How this culture is spread? How it grows? How it is protected?

It is a bit of a secret how this wonderful community grows. Many people report initiatives that try to make it grow in certain ways, to try and make it spread to certain places, but they also often report failure. And yet we grow and prosper. More research needs to be done on this! As to the protection – this is partly what my team tries to help with. We deal with the most serious threats to individuals on the platforms, but also support the volunteers to protect themselves.

What is the role of the Wikimedian movement in the everyday life of people let’s say in India, Ghana or Canada? How Wikimedia, not just like open knowledge, but as movement changes peoples’ life?

I am also not sure about the role of the Wikimedia movement in
everyday life of people in other countries, or even in my own
countries. For me, there are morning and evening slots where I do my
volunteer editing or just look at what amazing things other volunteers
have done recently. And when I chat with my friends all over the world who are amazing Wikimedians. And well, during the workday, it is very much part of all I do, of course!

Which is your favourite part of the Wiki world / projects / work?

I do not really have a favourite project. I am again and again
fascinated by the many facettes this movement has.

Your greeting to all the Wiki and non-Wiki people who will read this interview?

Sending Wikilove to all people who read this,. Stay curious, keep your
good faith and critical thinking and share your knowledge freely!

Justice Okai-Allotey from Wikimedia Ghana User Group

Wikimedia_Conference_2017
Wikimedia_Conference_2017

Justice Okai-Allotey

Please tell us your story about Wikipedia? How did your involvement start?

Prior to starting to edit Wikipedia, I use to be a heavy user of Wikipedia for a lot of my research and arguments with friends over sports and the rest. One thing they kept mentioning was that Wikipedia can be edited by anybody so it’s not credible but for some reason, I always went on there for information. On February 20, 2016, I attended my first Wikimedia Ghana User Group edit-a-thon and then I became more interested in editing Wikipedia. I started getting more interested in editing by the day and then I joined my first Wiki Loves Monument contributing photographs I have taken during the period. Then I started volunteering for the user group on various capacities and then now after 4 years I can say we have come a long way in the Wikimedia movement.

And now, today – how are you doing? And on what kind of projects do you work for Wikimedia in your country and in Africa?

After four years of being actively involved in volunteering for Wikimedia Ghana User Group and the Wikimedia Foundation I can say I am more active in editing Eglish Wikipedia. Also because of my photography background I have contributed a lot of images from events I covered for our user group also to Wikimedia commons.

What is important for you in Wiki movement and why you are part of it?

One of the most important reasons why I join the Wiki movement was it’s goal of sharing in the sum of all knowledge. It was a statement that resonated so well with me I instantly decided to take Wikipedia serious. And as a visual storyteller having an opportunity to tell our story the Wiki way was also some I very much looked forward to every time. So far getting to read and contribute to Wikipedia has been one of the best decisions I ever took in my life.

How Wikimedia is changing the life of people in Africa?

The Wikimedia movement is changing the life’s of people in Africa in various ways either through teaching people how to write, read and acquire soft skills. People also get to contribute to shaping their history and truth.

Justice Okai-Allotey Wikimedia Ghana User Group

Your most favourite Wiki project?

English Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.

And what are the biggest challenges you face running wiki projects in your community?

It’s difficult getting people to volunteer due to their work schedules and our environment hadly allows young people the opportunity to volunteer for projects. They are always saddled with getting a formal employment as against volunteering for Wiki projects which is time consuming and doesn’t pay in monetary terms. Volunteering is a luxury for a lot of people and poses as a challenge in our communities.

Your greeting to all people who read this interview?

I would love to say a great Thank You to everyone reading this interview and for supporting the various Wiki projects. Namaste.

Vahid Masrour: education is the process that unfolds humanity’s wings to improve and make the world better

Charla Vahid TICEC sobre Wikipedia y la educación Date 28 November 2019 Author Edjoerv
Charla Vahid TICEC sobre Wikipedia y la educación
Date 28 November 2019
Author Edjoerv

Vahid really inspiring person, wikipedian and open education visioner! He is currently employed by Learning Equality, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing digital learning resources to schools and communities that are offline, where he contributes to the contents team.

Tell us the story between you and open knowledge? How it all started and what are the main projects you are involved in?

I am a believer that the strongest form of oppression is keeping people ignorant, and that, conversely, education is the process that unfolds humanity’s wings to improve and make the world better. This is perhaps why, every time i read or see something that connects to open learning, i am drawn to it. Once you understand that human achievements happen in a social context, within history, and accept becoming human demands accepting mutual interactions, open knowledge is the only reasonable path, in my mind.

And how Wikipedia came up in your life?

I was connected to some of the techie community in Quito, Ecuador, and was invited to a breakfast with some friends i knew from that community. As it turned out, the topic of that meeting was to establish the Ecuadorian chapter. I had been learning about educational technology for some time, and so my main question was: “Is there something that can be done to connect education and Wikipedia?” Little did i know! 😀 So i read and learned about Wikipedia+Education and started promoting it in Quito and Ecuador. I naturally became the “Education Coordinator/spokesperson” for what became the Wikimedians of Ecuador User Group. Until then i had made a couple of small anonymous edits, and from then on, my main contribution to the Wikimedia movement has been engaging with educators and helping them understand the value of Wikimedia in education. I sincerely believe that the active integration of Wikimedia in educational processes is transformative.

And how Wikipedia complements the open culture and open education movement?

From a Western perspective, every culture needs an encyclopedia, and so does the open culture! The idea that culture can both be public and open while respecting the rights of the authors is how culture actually works. Wikipedia has proved that volunteers, with a minimalist -and even outdated- interface will bring together their knowledge and capabilities for the benefit of humanity. It’s an amazing testimony of humanity at its best when the people involved collaborate in good faith.

Charla Wikipedia y la educación en Cuenca 2019 – Wikimedistas de Ecuador en Cuenca
Date 30 November 2019, 11:53:59
Source Own work
Author Edjoerv

How open education and understanding about it change the world we live in?

Open education is an opportunity to re-think how we do education. Though it gained traction around the issue of making educational materials at near 0 cost, to me its when we discuss how educational systems can work in the 21st century (instead of the 19th century) that open education can exert its greatest benefits.

We have built educational settings (schools, universities) as fortresses that are disconnected from their immediate communities, and opening education means breaking those walls as we share contents, engage in dialogue, and learn to produce meaningful knowledge, from local to global.

Where we can read more – please give some relevant links and books on this topic?

One of my big references for Open education is the Open Education Consortium https://www.oeconsortium.org/ where a lot of the academic community meets and discusses the latest topics. They also have https://www.oeglobal.org/ which is connected to the OE consortium.

For those that are interested in Open education in practice, i suggest looking at OER-enabled Pedagogy, which is one particular application of open education. You can find many links about it in Google Scholar, and on Twitter.

Your greeting to all wikipedians, who will read this interview 🙂

I am very thankful for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with the Bulgarian WM community, and i have to say i miss CEE meetings and their never-boring dynamics! I hope everyone is well and taking care of themselves in this testing period in our lifetimes.

Fay Rezkallah – photographer and volunteer for Wikimedia Algeria

Portrait of Fayçal Rezkallah at Wiki Indaba 2019 Date 9 November 2019 Author Kaizenify

How did the relationship between you and Wikipedia start?
At the beginning I met Bachounda, who manages the Wikimedia community in Algeria, through my photography club, we often organize events around photography where the Wiki Loves Africa competitions or Wiki loves monuments are represented with exhibitions.
Our relationship quickly becomes friendly, and we work together to ensure that our projects are linked, I quickly become a jury for these contests and here I am participating in my first community meeting in Tunis in 2018, WikiIndaba!!

And how about you a photography?
I decided to become a professional photographer in 2010, I left my job and I created a photography club with friends, then I trained, participated in competitions, internships, workshops and I became a trainer in this field, event organizer, I also worked with the national and international press, I was head of photo workshop for 3 years in Algiers and often asked to be a jury in competitions or represent brands known in the photo field.
I most consider myself as an artist, loving meeting people and telling their stories through my work.
Two years ago, I started F-EYE Agency which is my own photo services agency, we mainly offer training, but also shootings, event covers…

What do you do most as a volunteer on Wikipedia?
As a photographer, I contribute mainly on Commons, but above all, I set up projects linking photography to Wikimedia, in fact in 2018 I created the WikiNomad project that I realize the same year with the help of a grant that I ask from the foundation, it is about organizing a discovery expedition with contributors, going to explore a region in Algeria and coming back with lots of articles, photos on different subjects, gastronomy, flora and fauna, geography, music…

What are the languages you contribute in, as you speak a few?
As I said before, I contribute more in image, so in a universal language, I speak French and English, Algerian Arabic is my mother tongue, and I start to learn Spanish but I confess not being a big contributor in articles.

Is Wikipedia popular among your community?
Wikipedia is very popular in Algeria, it is even a reference, it is most of the time, the first site on search engines.
The problem, as raised during our conference in Tunis is the contribution, the concept of volunteering is not so popular with us, at least in the field of written contributions (articles, correction…) it is precisely on this problematic that I looked into when writing WikiNomad which offers contributors an opportunity to travel, discover their country, but in return, they write articles, take photos and upload them.

Your greeting to all the people, who will read this interview?
I would like to sincerely thank Justine for this interview, it really honors me, the whole WikiDZ community who accompanied me and encouraged me to join the movement, Bachounda, Reda, Ahmed… But also all the friends whom I knew during the meetings, Anès, Emna, Zeineb, Farah, Shola, Alex, Felix and the others.
All this to tell readers that my experience in the community seems to me to be a real human adventure.

Nicolas Vigneron – Wikimedia France

Nicolas Vigneron speaking at the Celtic Knot 2019 conference.
Nicolas Vigneron speaking at the Celtic Knot 2019 conference.

How Nicolas became wikipedian?

Wow, I started back in 2004. I don’t recall exactly what motivated me to start. I remember the amazing feeling to be able to write articles with other people as a team. I don’t know everything but together we can cover a vast array of knowledge. Some know what to write, some know how to format the text and how to illustrate, and so on; in the end we produce something better than what anyone would have done alone. Everyone bring a little drop but together we make an ocean!
This is really exciting and also addictive. 16 year later, I still enjoy it a lot, even more maybe.

Now you do much more Wikidata – tell us about this „love“ a bit more 🙂

I do love Wikidata. This is a fantastic project, the multilingual aspect and the pure logic of data are very appealing to me. You can focus on the essence of information and then make things around it.
Wikidata is multilingual, you have the power of a wiki but multiplied by 400+ languages!
There is also a lot of tools to help edition and correction of Wikidata data. With the query service in SPARQL, you can make lists or check the quality of the data to locate the area to improve. With OpenRefine you can import in batch data from external sources to create new items or improve existing one.
I work on a lot of different data but especially around data about monuments and heritage sites, it’s very important to have a dataset complete and updated. It’s useful for Wikipedia articles and also for Wiki Loves Monuments, the annual international photographic competition to take pictures of monuments each September.

Your favorite Wiki projects and the once you are involved most?

Wikisource is my favourite Wikimedia projects. I mostly transcribe texts but there is also curation, organisation of books around a same subject to ease the reader navigation. Transcription is turning an image into a text, it is very important as text offer many opportunities, it makes the document easier to read, to search (with ctrl+f or with more elaborate text mining tool), to make it more discoverable for external search engine or to export and transfer to other devices (mobile phone, tablet and e-reader).
Already million of books has been transcribed, enough to read for a long time and for every taste.
Wikisource has also a very special pace and ambiance. It’s more quiet, almost zen; after doing mind-consuming tasks on Wikipedia I love come to „relax“ on Wikisource.

Not a Wikimedia project but I also love the “#100wikidays” is a personal challenge. The goal is to create an article each and every day. I finished it 2 times already and I’m currently doing it for the third time. I do translation from English to French of articles about Irish Women (doing my part to close the gender gap) with the help of Rebecca O’Neill, who is also doing the #100wikidays on the same article but in English a few days earlier. Again, a good example of how people can work together. My objective this year is to more than 100 days, maybe 1000 days, who knows?

What is special about French community among the wikipedians?

The french-speaking community is quite diverse, French is spoken all around the globe. The Wikimedian French community is strong and mostly nice. Like everywhere, there is troll and less kind people but I think that overall this is a good and friendly community. Some people can be stubborn and at first say „no“ to new things or tools but even if the community resist a bit at first, on the long run, a lot of new tools are adopted. For instance, it took time but now Wikidata is strongly interconnected to the French Wikipedia or Wikisource and it’s a win-win.

Your invite for the people who still do not contribute?

Just try it yourself! You don’t have to start big or to commit to edit every day, every little bit is welcome. There is so much to do on Wikimedia projects I’m sure you’ll find something you will enjoy.
And don’t forget to have fun, Wiki is serious but also seriously fun 😉

Namaste! Interview with Janak Bhatta from Wikipedia Nepal

Is Wikipedia popular in Nepal?
Yes, Wikipedia is popular in Nepal. Its popularity is increasing gradually day by day. We have a programme called WACN (Wiki Awareness Campaign in Nepal) to increase the awareness of Wikipedia as well as to improve recognition of Wikipedia and understanding of its uses among the different communities of Nepal.

How big is the Nepali wiki community? Tell us a bit more about the language versions you have?
Nepali wiki community is a mid-sized one. As per statistics, It has over 45,000 registered users, and out of which it has 100+ consistent active users who keep editing it, and various anonymous users are there who use Wikipedia to get the information.
Till now, we have nine different communities i.e., Nepali, Maithili, Doteli, Newari (Nepal Bhasha), Bhojpuri, Sanskrit, and Santali Community as well as two emerging Incubator communities – Awadhi and Marwari. We have two active user groups “Wikimedians of Nepal” and “Maithili Wikimedians” to support, promote and develop free educational materials(media) in the various languages spoken over Nepal.

How you personally became Wikimedian?
About ten years ago, one of my friend Mr [[User: Ganesh Paudel|Ganesh Paudel]] informed me about Wikipedia. Till then, I was totally unknown about it. Hardly two years later, then after collecting information and becoming more familiar with Wikipedia, I decided to open a Wikipedia account. On 3rd October 2012, I have registered on Wikipedia. I started my journey to Wikipedia by writing on common topics like about my village/hometown, our culture, traditions in the early days. In the meantime, I got a chance to visit the blog on Wikimedia which touched my heart and encouraged me to contribute more to it.
https://blog.wikimedia.org/2014/06/24/writing-wikipedia-from-the-western-hills-of-nepal
The blog seems to be very interesting and touchy and thus enforced me to enhance contribution and spend more time on Wikipedia. Since 2014, I’ve been an active contributor and I started becoming more active on Wikipedia and also at that time my mother tongue’s Wikipedia is in an incubator. https://blog.wikimedia.org/2015/11/04/doteli-wikipedia-makes-significant-progress/ I used to spend most of the time on Doteli Wikipedia(incubator project) and Nepali Wikipedia. Later on gradually I entered on the other Wikimedia projects like Commons, Wiki data and other projects also. In this way, knowingly and unknowingly I became a Wikimedian.

What are the topics you contribute most in Wikipedia?
Most of my contribution to geography, biography and update the recently changed events. I love to write about our culture, traditions and literature also in my home Wiki. Expect that, I am doing language correction and smaller article expansions also.

What activities do you have in Nepal, related with Wikipedia? And which are your favourite?
We have various activities in Nepal, related to Wikipedia. Some of the selected activities are Wikicamp Nepal, Wiki Loves Birds, Wiki Loves Earth(WLE), Wiki Loves Monuments(WLM), Wiki Women Edit-a-thon, Wiki Women Train the trainer program, Wikiproject Data-a-thon, Wikimedia education program “Wiki Knowledge Club” etc.

Among these, my favourite is Wikimedia education program “Wiki Knowledge Club” and Wikicamp Nepal. Wikimedia education program is a 13 days Wikimedia education program in a community-based campus in Kathmandu. This was for undergraduate students to be enrolled into Wiki knowledge club and teach the team the basic know-how of wiki projects and open knowledge within the period of 13 hours course. Female participation in this program was really appreciated. More than 90% were female and they contributed awesomely.
https://outreachdashboard.wmflabs.org/courses/Wikimedians_of_Nepal/Wiki_Knowledge_Club
The program helped in women empowerment and to solve the online gender gap problem even if a little. The program was really successful and fruitful. This encourages us to do such types of events in the future by taking the feedbacks of the participants as an improvement.

‘Wikicamp Nepal’, This is the first event of its kind being held in Nepal and intended to become an annual national flagship event for Wikipedia/Wikimedia in the country. Bring together experienced and newbie Wikipedians/Wikimedians from nine different communities across the country come under one roof to share one vision of Wikimedia movement
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikicamp_Nepal_2018

Janak Batta

Your greeting to all Wikipedian volunteers all over the world?
Namaste!
Thanks for reading this and thanks to all for contributing to this wonderful movement, because without people like you and me, this free content encyclopedia wouldn’t exist on the internet. Together we can make a better encyclopedia. 🙂

Interview with Farhad Fatkullin – Wikimedian of the Year 2018

Please tell us your story, your way to meet Wikipedia?
I discovered Wikipedia sometime between 2004 and 2008. It was particularly beneficial thanks to its interlanguage links, which are now stored on Wikidata – I used to search & read articles either in English or Russian, and then switching the language. It was an efficient way to get an overview of the field and related terminology in two languages. I discovered Tatar Wikipedia articles sometime in the first half of 2008, made first edits around Christmas 2009 & came back for good at the end of February 2012.You are Wikimedian of the Year for 2018 – what does it mean?
You can read Wikipedia page about the term here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikimedian_of_the_Year.
I would say, it’s a recognition of efforts undertaken by some group of volunteers active around Wikimedia projects, but specific initiatives and related individuals are marked as a symbol. During last Wikimania, I was happy and honored to meet Rosie of U.S., who carried this torch back in 2016 & is since playing an important role in various volunteer support functions in the Wikimedia movement (File:Rosie & Farkhad at Wikimania 2019 Learning Days jeh.jpg) & later my other colleagues with whom we even started a WOTY club https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedians_of_the_Year.
Wikimedia projects document diverse cultural heritage of our planet and make it available in a multitude of languages – Jimmy somehow came up with an idea how to celebrate individuals, acknowledge groups and energize other volunteers, and he does that annually at the closing of Wikimania conference. I assume that efforts of multilingual Wikimedians from Russia deserved praise, and my contribution into cross-cultural and inter-language communication in somehow got on his radar & was identified as a worthy example.
And how this changed your life and attitude towards Wikipedia?
This didn’t affect my attitude towards Wikipedia, but clearly added some new roles and responsibilities within the movement – which decreased the amount of time I could continue dedicating to the tasks I was previously concentrating on. Local stakeholders in the Republic of Tatarstan wanted to learn more and engage with Wikimedia-offered opportunities & my colleagues throughout the Russian Federation wanted me to capitalize on this public interest. I am now concentrating on communicating public engagement with Wikimedia projects through various Smart Region initiatives, such as the one on municipal level (w.wiki/EfH) or cultural heritage promotion bodies, etc.
Tell us, as volunteer, what are the most common things you do for your Wikipedia?
I treat all 300+ Wikipedia language version as „mine“ – I believe that all languages and cultures of this world belong to all of us, as this is our common heritage.
Over 50% of my edits are in Tatar Wikipedia where I started, but since 2015 I am also taking care of all https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikipedias_in_the_languages_of_Russia (about 30 Mainspace versions in languages that have official status somewhere within the Federation, and 45 others in Wikimedia Incubator (see recent report in English https://ru.wikinews.org/?curid=531219) plus those in Turkic languages. Since Fall 2019 I started helping Northern Sami Wikipedia as well.
In Tatar Wikipedia I started with developing articles around my hobbies (History, Holidays and Observances, various socio-economic topics) and interests of my kids (Cartoon characters, Animals, etc.), later on moved to various service tasks, such as developing Help pages and Guidelines, Categorization, interlinking etc. I later started teaching others both online and offline, and still do.
How do you involve and encourage new people to join and volunteer as you do?
Volunteering is about being conscious of the benefits, seeing positive results of one’s actions and feeling empowered to do something bigger. So I don’t waste my time trying to involve anyone – just sharing about the benefits I’ve seen in the area of person’s interests & demonstrating examples of positive results. If the person recognizes the value and is interested to try getting something done – I am ready to help them develop the necessary Wiki-skills. Since I keep learning the Wiki-world myself, I allow myself to periodically share new pertinent examples with people that have shown sincere initial interest.

 

What is the most inspiring thing for you, related with Wikipedia?
Wikipedia gives all of us the tools to edit the world. It’s about sharing your knowledge with others to simplify collaborative molding of our global society.
No other website in Top-10 can be edited as easily as Wikipedia!

No other business, NGO, government or intergovernmental institution website trusts and empowers its visitors in a similar fashion.

Your greeting to all who will read this interview?
No matter where you are, what languages you speak or cultural background you are from – we are part of one humankind. Wikipedia is just one of the most effective tools available to us today to make our common world brighter, richer and more joyous. I am grateful to each and every one that makes my planet better & promise to make everything possible to take care of yours from wherever I am. 🙂

Interview with Gevorg Ghazaryan from Wikimedia Armenia

Tell us a bit more about yourself 🙂

I am Gevorg Ghazaryan. I am a 14 years old student from Armenia. My hometown is Artashat, which is one of the capitals of the ancient Armenian Kingdom. My favorite school subject is geography. It is also one of my hobbies. Last year I participated in the Geography Scholar Olympiad and almost got to the international stage. I love soccer, and when I have spare time, we gather together with friends and play. But most of the time, I usually study or edit Wikipedia.

How your Wikipedian journey started?

I started editing Wikipedia when I was13 years old. After transferring to the new school, I found out about Wikipedia and the local Wikiclub. I always thought that the ones who wrote articles in Wikipedia were smart robots. I could never imagine that all articles were written by volunteers who invested their time and knowledge to make information free for others. I made my first edit on February 27 of 2018. Since that day, my life has completely changed. I edit Wikipedia every day and work hard to get better and better.

You made #100Wikidays and now you run #1000Wikidays – tell us a bit more about this challenges

Editing was never a tedious activity for me. Even so, I like challenges. When I learned about 100wikidays challenge and its community, I was amazed by how people were willing to dedicate their precious time and effort to develop Wikipedia. That blew my mind, and I decided that I wanted to try it. However, I failed the first attempt due to enormous pressure. At that time, I was not ready for it.
Nevertheless, I never gave up, and after a small break, I posted about my second attempt. All articles were about basketball players. After 100 days, I made a facebook post and announced about completing the challenge. I got motivated and did it again. My second challenge was dedicated to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and during those 100 days, I made 300 articles. Right after Bosnia, I started the third challenge and wrote approximately 350 articles about Bulgaria. Now I am doing 1000wikidays challenge and working hard to finish it.

What motivates you?

When I started editing, it wasn’t easy for me. I struggled with vocabulary, grammar, and also with technical issues. I got blocked 3 times for making low-quality articles. However, I did not give up and started working even harder to prove that I was capable of doing and achieving greater things. I wanted to convince everyone that 13 years old kid could succeed. After putting colossal effort and spending a considerable amount of time, my articles got better and better. Also, the fact that my articles can help and teach someone makes me super motivated to edit more and more.

What are your plans for the future?

I have many plans and goals for 2020, and most of them are related to Wikimedia Armenia. Our team and I are trying to motivate more people to edit our encyclopedia. We are planning to organize events and workshops to encourage new editors. We are currently working on the “Armenian History“ project and discussing new ones. I also want to learn more about Wikisource and Wikidata. My ultimate goal is to finish the 1000wikidays challenge and improve the quality of the articles.

Read also:

Interview with Sofie Jansson Wikimedia Sweden

Filip Maljković from Wikimedia Serbia

Interview with Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight – Women in Red

Interview with Anass Sedrati – Your small drop in the infinite ocean of knowledge!

Interview with João Alexandre Peschanski – What you know matters! 

Interview with Nat Tymkiv – Ukrainian Wikipedia

Interview with Shani Evenstein Sigalov

 

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. 🙂