This post was written by Jon Davies, Wikimedia UK Chief Executive
1-7 June is Volunteers’ Week in the UK What better time to remind everyone that Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia, are written and edited entirely by volunteers?
For over 12 years a vast group of people of all backgrounds, ages, opinions and personal interests have come together to create these enormous repositories of freely available knowledge, sharing it for no other reason than that they feel it is a worthwhile thing to do. And they continue to do so.
Wikimedia UK takes this opportunity to offer a huge thank you to everyone who volunteers their time, energy and knowledge to furthering free knowledge for all. Whether you fix typos, edit content, write articles, share images, teach people to edit, work with GLAM and education institutions or make the occasional cup of tea – thank you for making Wikimedia projects possible. In this vein I asked some of my colleagues how they felt about working with Wikimedia volunteers.
Daria Cybulska, Programme Manager, is impressed by the way volunteers are so keen to share the skills needed to edit Wikipedia. “I have supported many Wikipedia training events over the past year,” she said. “During the training I usually find myself focusing on organisation, and being anxious to give people exactly the right information and understanding of the encyclopaedia. But the true heart of these events are Wikimedia volunteers, trainers who give people the joy of seeing their first edit going live, and the empowerment to share what they know with others.
“The volunteers are wonderfully motivated to teach others the art of editing Wikipedia, and we would not be able to run the events without them.”
Stevie Benton, Communications Organiser, pointed out the stories that Wikimedia projects generate. “My job is all about storytelling,” he said. “The biggest story of all is how an encyclopaedia that is available in around 300 languages, with over 26 million articles, can be the result of volunteer collaboration. And it’s still growing. There isn’t praise enough for the gift these volunteers have given to the world. To be able to help share what they do is a great privilege.”
Jonathan Cardy, GLAM organiser admires the diligence of Wikimedians. “I’ve been astonished at the attention to detail that you see when you crowdsource the creation of an encyclopaedia,” he said. “When I talk to Wikipedia editors, these are people who are incredibly committed to getting things right, whether it is photoshopping tilted photographs or eradicating particular ungrammatical phrases from Wikipedia.”
If YOU want to become a member of this wonderful community get in touch with us and we will help get you started. You will be very welcome.