Stories

Ota Takashi (User:Takot)

 

Takashi, a native Japanese speaker, volunteers as a Wikimedia translator. He helps interpret events, translate articles, and more. In fact, Takashi says the most impactful thing he has done as a volunteer is translate the user interface text of the Wikipedia app (for Android/iOS) into Japanese. Every time you launch the app in Japanese, you are reading his translation.

 

My hope for Wikipedia’s 20th birthday is that automatic machine translation will reach native speaker level for every language. That way, all the knowledge across Wikimedia projects would be available to readers in every language as soon as it is written. At that time, human translators will no longer be needed. It would make me, as a translator, somewhat sad, but it's okay in the universal aspect.

– Ota Takashi (User:Takot)

 


Dr. Nkem Osuigwe (User:AfricanLibrarian)

 

Dr. Nkem Osuigwe creates powerful connections between the African librarian community and Wikipedia. In 2020, she organized the first African Librarians Week as part of the Wikimedia Foundation’s bi-annual #1Lib1Ref (One Librarian, One Reference) campaign. More than 800 editors participated, making 27,800 updates to improve information on Wikipedia.

 

Getting African librarians to believe in the power of telling the true African story through adding citations and editing articles about Africans was amazing. It was a call to action for librarians to go beyond being disseminators of information to information leaders in their different countries, telling the stories of their communities on a global platform.

– Nkem Osuigwe (User:AfricanLibrarian)
 


Tulsi Bhagat

 

With the desire to promote and preserve his mother tongue, the Maithili language, Tulsi helped launch Maithili Wikipedia in 2014. He has since authored more than 500 Wikipedia articles in the language. Tulsi has also created and participated in campaigns such as the Wiki Awareness Campaign in Nepal, Wiki Loves Folklore, and Wikipedia Pages Wanting Photos, which help fill content gaps on Wikipedia.

 

I realized that there are a lot of ways to contribute to the Wikimedia movement beyond only writing articles. I have been involved in combating vandalism, trolls, and spam. I am also active in Wikimedia outreach events and activities. Continuous learning and being able to share what I have learned makes me happy and eager to continue volunteering.

– Tulsi Bhagat
 


Sam Oyeyele

 

Thanks to Sam and his brainchild, the Afrocine Project, more than 3,000 articles about African cinema have been added to Wikipedia. The project is just the latest success for Sam, a co-founder of Wikimedia Nigeria. In 2017, he helped produce two Wikipedia informational videos that went viral and dramatically increased awareness of the website in Nigeria. Learn more about Sam’s story.

 

In Africa, I would love for people to realize that what they read on Wikipedia is written and added by other internet users like them, and we desperately need them to also join in contributing to this huge knowledge base.

– Sam Oyeyele
 


Dr. Netha Hussain

 

Netha, a medical doctor, wrote, updated, and translated dozens of Wikipedia articles during COVID-19 to ensure reliable information about the pandemic is available for everyone. Recently, she launched a project to improve information about vaccine safety topics on Wikipedia, helping combat misinformation. Learn more about Netha’s story.

 

In emergency situations like this, it is not possible for traditional encyclopedias, or even some governments, to access, filter, analyze, and summarize massive loads of information coming from around the world every day and make it available in roughly 300 languages. This is only possible with a large global network of volunteers and a platform such as Wikipedia.

– Dr. Netha Hussain
 


Jess Wade

 

Dr. Jess Wade, a physicist by day, started editing Wikipedia in 2018 after learning about the site’s knowledge gaps. Since then, she has written nearly 1,200 Wikipedia biographies about women, people of color and LGBTQ+ scientists, helping increase their representation online and beyond. Learn more about Jess’s story.

 

I knew Wikipedia was important – although I think I only realized how important lately. The world needs honest and impartial information more than ever before – and Wikipedia is the most powerful, collaborative platform we can write and share that on.

– Jess Wade
 


Graham Pearce (User:Graham87)

 

As a volunteer, Graham most enjoys doing “wikiarchaeology” — which means he checks the edit histories of Wikipedia pages to ensure all the past edits have been properly attributed. If there is an issue, he tries to fix it. As a blind Wikipedia user, Graham also helps to advocate for accessibility on the platform and guide other users on best practices. Learn more about Graham’s story.

 

Wikipedia has made it much easier to find a starting place for information about all sorts of topics. It's been particularly beneficial for blind people like me because access to books has historically been very difficult for us., With Wikipedia, we can now have an encyclopedia that we can use on a close-to-equal footing with sighted people.

– Graham Pearce (User:Graham87)
 


Sherry Antoine

 

Sherry is on a mission to improve representation on Wikipedia for people of African descent. She is the Executive Director of AfroCROWD, an initiative to create and improve information about Black culture and history on Wikipedia, and the lead organizer of the Wikimedians of the Caribbean Usergroup. She is also motivated by a sense of community. So, during the pandemic in 2020, Sherry planned a 24-hour virtual event in which Wikimedia volunteers around the world uploaded pictures and shared updates that represented their experiences in the unique time. Learn more about Sherry’s story.

 

Connection had become ever more valuable, and I felt it could be therapeutic. So with help from organizing partners, at noon local time, from New Zealand to India, Italy to Nigeria, and from New York where I stood to Oregon and California, Wikipedians came together. We edited about the pandemic, shared our experiences in our own languages, and left messages of encouragement for one another.

– Sherry Antoine
 


Syed Muzammiluddin (User:Hindustanilanguage)

 

Muzammiluddin, who goes by Muzammil, is a living historian of the Wikimedia movement. For more than half a decade, he has highlighted the work of fellow volunteers through countless interviews and blog posts. An accomplished Wikipedia editor and community organizer himself, Muzammil has participated in conferences, established a growing volunteer community in India, and made more than 100,000 edits across Wikimedia projects.

 

Although people from all walks of life use Wikipedia for knowledge and information, many are either unaware or unmindful of the fact that they too can help in creating or expanding the content in their area of interest and in their own language.

– Syed Muzammiluddin (User:Hindustanilanguage)
 


Bobby Shabangu

 

Bobby speaks five languages fluently. It is a skill he puts to use regularly in editing several language versions of Wikipedia, with a focus on promoting smaller languages such as Swati. In addition to editing, Bobby also supports community engagement activities, which includes sharing input on a new Universal Code of Conduct for all Wikimedia projects. Learn more about Bobby’s story.

 

The strength of Wikimedia lies in its ability to crowdsource content and its quest to share that content freely. I think this has made a huge impact on the world.

– Bobby Shabangu
 


Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight

 

Rosie’s work to close the gender gap on Wikipedia is so notable that there is a Wikipedia article about it. In 2015, Rosie co-founded Women in Red, a project focused on creating Wikipedia articles about women’s biographies, works, and topics. At the time, only 15% of Wikipedia biographies were about women, and there is still more work to do. Rosie has created 5,000 new articles on Wikipedia, an activity that she says is her great passion in life. Learn more about Rosie’s story.

 

Wikipedia changes people's lives. It is shifting people's understanding of the world in a way that nothing has before it.

– Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight
 


Wilfredo Rodríguez

 

Before he was forced to flee Venezuela, photographer Wilfredo risked his safety on several occasions to take and share photos of his home country. He once went three days without food on a journey to capture the melting glaciers on some of Venezuela’s highest mountains. In total, he has uploaded more than 46,000 images to Wikimedia Commons, a free online media repository. And, unlike many other contributors, he releases most of his photos completely into the public domain, giving up the right to be credited when his work is shared. Learn more about Wilfredo’s story.

 

I always thought that what I was trying to show was more important than my life, because what I was doing was going to remain for future generations.

– Wilfredo Rodríguez
 


Emna Mizouni

 

In the wake of the Arab Spring, Emna was startled by the lack of information available about the history of her home country, Tunisia. She saw an opportunity to close the content gap with Wikipedia. Since then, there is not much Emna has not done in the Wikimedia movement. The 2019 Wikimedian of the Year organizes workshops; recruits new volunteers; and edits articles on women, African people and culture, and human rights topics. Learn more about Emna’s story.

 

“Wikipedia is for everyone to read and edit. Many people use it as an informative website. If they spot a mistake while reading it, I hope they edit it instead of ignoring it.”

– Emna Mizouni
 


Greta Doçi

 

Greta’s volunteering journey started with translating articles from English and Italian Wikipedia into Albanian Wikipedia. From there, she began training other new contributors and hosting workshops in partnership with universities and cultural institutions. In 2017, Greta co-organized an event called WikiDiversity, which led to the creation of the first articles about LGBTQ+ topics on Albanian Wikipedia.

 

Wikipedia helps the world to be more free and educated. I want people to know that doing little things on the website can culminate in a great impact on other people.

– Greta Doçi
 


Hrishikes Sen

 

Hrishikes is an active volunteer on one of Wikipedia’s sister projects, Wikisource, also known as the free library. There, he proofreads documents and uploads freely licensed books. One of Hrishikes’ most recent projects was adding the original calligraphed Constitution of India to English Wikisource, where he proofread the entire manuscript of the constitution, identified its signatories, and for the first time listed all of the artists involved. This daunting task was made even more challenging because all of the text was handwritten. Learn more about Hrishikes’ story.

 

Wikipedia has made knowledge freely and readily accessible to the masses. Instead of information scattered around in multiple websites and offline libraries, now all of it is under one umbrella, which makes our real life endeavours that much easier and knowledge-based.

– Hrishikes Sen
 


Mónica Paola Bonilla-Parra

 

Mónica is a linguist and researcher who sees Wikipedia’s value as a tool for social development. She works with fellow volunteers to add articles to the website in indigneous languages — helping preserve and promote the culture and histories of native communities in Latin America.

 

It motivates me to know that Wikipedia and the movement are built day by day, with each individual contribution, and that we still have much to learn from new voices. There are no limits to participating and contributing. If you don't do it, who will?

– Mónica Paola Bonilla-Parra

 


Sandister Tei

 

Sandister is the 2020 Wikimedian of the Year, an annual award granted by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to recognize one of our movement’s most exceptional contributors. As one of the founding members of the Wikimedia Ghana User Group, Sandister helped pioneer the development of Wikipedia’s volunteer communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Learn more about Sandister’s story.

 

Wikipedia is more than an encyclopedia. It extends into sister projects, global editor and volunteer communities; a foundation; multidisciplinary and multicultural project opportunities; it can be plugged into various partnerships; it gives basis for advocacy – it's a galaxy.

– Sandister Tei
 


Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Wales 

Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, continues on in the Wikimedia movement as a member of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees, 20 years after he first orchestrated Wikipedia’s debut on the internet.  He also continues to inspire people across the Wikimedia movement, as with his talks at Wikimedia events and his personal celebration of each year’s new “Wikimedian of the Year” – an award that Jimmy started in 2011 to give greater recognition to our projects’ most inspiring volunteer contributors. By staying actively involved with Wikipedia and by engaging with our entire community, Jimmy evolves our projects in the best possible way: through collaboration, which has been Wikipedia’s trademark from the very beginning. Learn more about Jimmy.

 

In a world where information is increasingly commoditized, Wikipedia’s model has always been based on the belief that knowledge belongs to all humans.

– Jimmy Wales
 


Janeen Uzzell

Janeen Uzzell 

Janeen is Wikimedia’s Chief Operating Officer, which means she’s steering and evolving our nonprofit’s daily operations – a position that requires vision, smarts, people skills, and a bona fide track record of leadership success. Since joining the Wikimedia Foundation from General Electric in 2019, Janeen has improved our operations at every level. She has built operational practices that allow us to measure what matters, creating short-term and long-term metrics to help our growing, globally distributed organization to fulfill our mission. Learn more about Janeen.

 

Wikipedia is a perfect example of the potential that can be achieved when we pair technology with the challenges faced by a growing global society.

– Janeen Uzzell
 


Katharine Pierce

 

Katharine Pierce, who's now 80, says she had a "childhood dependence" for answers on the Encyclopedia Britannica, which her parents bought for her family and kept in the living room. Today, she says Wikipedia holds a similar special role in her life and the lives of millions of other people who go online for Wikipedia's wealth of knowledge. That's why she's a major donor to the WIkimedia Foundation. 

 

It's a joyous privilege to support the Wikimedia Foundation as it offers infinite free knowledge to those fortunate enough to be online. In equal measure, I have heartfelt appreciation for Wikimedia’s focus on extending crucial access to learning -- for the enhancement of human dignity, spreading the light of knowledge, the excitement of discovery -- to the furthest corners of the earth.

– Katharine Pierce

 


 

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Photo credits

Takot_photos_v2_faces_x4

Nkem_Osuigwe_3

AfricanLibrarian

CC BY-SA 4.0

Tulsi Bhagat during Maithili Wikimedians 1st meetup in Janakpur

PANKAJ DEO

CC BY-SA 4.0

1024px-Sam_Oyeleye_from_Wikimedia_User_Group_Nigeria

Netha_Hussain-925

Adam Novak / Wikimedia Foundation

CC BY-SA 3.0

Jess_Wade_-_2017_(cropped)

Dave Guttridge (The Photographic Unit)

CC BY-SA 4.0

Graham87_at_Dubai_Museum_(cropped)

Linda Pearce

CC BY-SA 4.0

Sherry_Antoine_(2)

1024px-Syed_Muzammiluddin_03

Bobby_Shabangu_-

Neo Ntsoma, Wikimedia Foundation contractor

CC BY-SA 3.0

Rosie_Stephenson-Goodknight_at_WikiConference_North_America_2019

Victor Grigas

CC BY-SA 4.0

The_Photographer_User_in_Humboldt_Peak

Wilfredor

CC0

1024px-Emna_Mizouni-4

1024px-Greta_Doçi._Photo_Gitta_Wilén_CC_BY-SA_4.0

Hrishikes

Hrishikes

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MPBONILLAP_1

Mpbonillap

CC BY-SA 4.0

Sandister_Tei_Wikimedian_of_the_year_2020

Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Wales - August 2019

Zachary McCune/Wikimedia Foundation

CC BY-SA 4.0

Janeen Uzzell

Janeen Uzzell

Janeen Uzzell

CC BY-SA 4.0

Katharine_C._Pierce_photo_for_Nora_Nichols