Thank You/Ken Thomas

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Ken Thomas

Whether you realize it or not, there's a war going on today that will determine the future of the Internet.

On one side, you have a bunch of rich, powerful companies. They want to turn the web into a medium for consumption: interactive television meets shopping mall.

On the other side, you have a bunch of people who think the internet can change the world.

Since I'm sitting here writing a pitch for Wikipedia, you can probably guess which side I'm on. Since you're here reading, you’re probably on the same side. And despite the growing pains and weird quirks... Wikipedia is simply the best argument our side can make, and the most powerful proof we have.

Through collaboration, cooperation and genuine hard work, we've created this amazing resource that anyone on the planet can use for free. Thousands of volunteers from all over the world and all walks of life give their time.

Like me: I was born a fifth generation coal miner in West Virginia, and today I work as a safety supervisor in construction. And I’ve shared hundreds of beautiful, high-quality photos on Wikipedia, completely for free.

When I take a shot, I don’t own the bird. I don’t own the light. I don’t own the tree branch that the bird was sitting on. I take these pictures because I want people to see how beautiful these things are. Who am I to charge for that?

Now, I'm here to convince you to share something, too.

Right now, there's a kid growing up in the Appalachians, or in a village in Mexico, or on a farm in South Dakota. He may not have access to a public library, but he's got an internet connection and an endless supply of curiosity.

That kid's curiosity is the single most important thing our species has going for it. But he (or she!) needs Wikipedia to nurture that curiosity and help it grow. And Wikipedia needs your help to give that kid the depth of knowledge he deserves.

Sound simple? It is.

— Ken Thomas

Ken Thomas lives in the mountains of North Carolina, where he works as a safety supervisor in construction management. His first contributions to Wikipedia were articles about the tiny Appalachian mining towns nearby. However, he soon realized how many articles were in need of high quality photos — and a new hobby was born. He's now uploaded more than 500 photos, which he chooses to release into the public domain with absolutely no restrictions.

Image Attribution: Ken Thomas by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported, from Wikimedia Commons.

Meet some of the editors of Wikipedia.

We would like to introduce you to some of the dedicated volunteers who you empower when you donate. It is our hope that after you read or hear a few of their stories, you'll want to join them in sharing your knowledge with the world by editing Wikipedia.

You can edit Wikipedia!

  • Icon-newpage-transparent.png Create and improve articles. Wikipedia is still missing articles on many topics. Thousands of articles need expanding, copy editing and additional references.
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Images licensed under CC-BY-SA. Please see the individual autobiography page for attribution.