kzhr's diary

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Eighteen years with Wikipedia

This is notes for a coming event.

It was a slashdot article that brought it to my attention that has been there ever since. Honestly, it was the second time that I saw it. The first time was a disappeared HotWired Japan's coverage that focused on English Wikipedia (You can read it in Internet Archives from a link in an article for Japanese Wikipedia in Japanese Wikipedia itself). As its headline tells, it was a topic that 1,000 articles were simply counted in the project. Nothing more than that. There were no articles on basic articles at all so that I could ‘create’ an article for Human Being, Islam, etc. I was a junior high school student then, who just passed an entrance exam for high school—meaning that I had a lot of time. The majority of my contributions to Japanese Wikipedia were made during the two years since the encounter: After I retired from administratorship in 2005 for the preparation of university examinations, my contribution to that project became occasionally. However, I am still an admin for two its sister projects, and relate in some way*1. In this sense, Wikipedia is what is being there for me.

I was not active in its community development, not authored single policy or even guideline*2. It was because I was so nervous that I could make a consensus in the community, and what is worse, I was—or has been—so lazy to raise a discussion for a problem. Anyway, I can't remember what was my contribution to the community as a member of the community. I did some translation for the Wikimedia Foundation, who is responsible for the running of the projects. It includes messages for the annual fundraising campaigns, Wikimanias (an annual conference of the Wikimedia projects), and so forth. My first commitment to Wikimedia's fundraising campaign was, If I can recall it correctly, the server crisis of 2004—which led to the creation of the Wikimedia Foundation, I remember[citation needed]*3. As an administrator, I was active in vandalism fighting, what I am doing now in other projects. And I was long a participant to an IRC channel in Freenode, a chat system popular in the geek world, I think. There I talked a lot, including important issues off-wiki (outside of the Wikipedia—the official channel was either on Wikipedia's wiki or the official mailing list). Some called the Freenode channel a cabal, blaming that important issues were discussed and decided informally there. I don't know what they meant.

Personally, I was lucky in that I could be one among pioneers in Japanese Wikipedia. If I join now, I can hardly survive in tons of rules. It sounded brilliant when I saw the idea, "every single person can freely share in the sum of all human knowledge". I wholeheartedly hope that every rule should contribute to this idea, not for short-sighted communities.

*1:Oh, I was among the executive committee in the Wikimedia Conference Japan 2009 event with Ao Komoriuta.

*2:Because it was in the early days, drafting or translating a new policy or guideline was an important commitment to the community development.

*3:As a matter of fact, it appeared not to be an actual cause of the transition to the Foundation from Jimmy Wales' small company. I can't recall why I thought so.