Wikipedia’s editors should treat each other with respect and civility

Pillar 4 says that Wikipedia’s editors should “treat each other with respect and civility.” Editors should “act in good faith,” and “be open and welcoming to newcomers.” These traits are evident every day as scores of volunteers do the work that’s essential to Wikimedia’s projects.

How Passionate Volunteers Are Bettering Wikimedia Projects

The embodiment of this commitment is Olga Paredes, a longtime volunteer from Bolivia who teaches other volunteers how to contribute to Wikimedia projects. Olga helps lead two important groups — Bolivia’s working group of volunteer contributors called Wikimedistas de Bolivia, and another called Wikimujeres that’s made up of women and allies working on the Spanish language edition of Wikipedia. For a decade, Olga has been an inspiration to scores of people on Wikimedia projects, so it came as no surprise that in 2022 Olga won the most prominent award a volunteer can receive: Wikimedian of the Year. The award did shock Olga, who like other previous winners learned she’d won through a surprise congratulatory call with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Our Wikimedian of the Year awards let us highlight volunteers and affiliates that are ordinarily out of the spotlight. All of the honorees, says Wales, “are a testament to the passion, curiosity, and spirit of collaboration that powers our movement.”

Besides Paredes, who’s an architect and researcher beyond her Wikimedia work, we celebrated six other notable volunteers in 2022:

  • Longtime contributors Andrew Lih and Deror Lin both received “Wikimedia Laureate” honors, which go to contributors who’ve made a significant difference over many years. Andrew, who was the first person to teach Wikipedia at the university level, is an internationally recognized Wikipedia expert, author, professor, and Wikimedia contributor. Deror, meanwhile, has been a key organizer of multiple Wikimanias, which are the Wikimedia movement’s biggest annual gathering for active editors and project contributors. Also a longtime Wikipedia contributor, Deror has written more than 8,600 articles for Hebrew Wikipedia, which is more than 2% of that Wikipedia edition.
  • Anna Torres, Executive Director of Wikimedia Argentina, was an “Honorable Mention” winner who has helped grow the Wikimedia community across Latin America. She has been a partner, leader, and role model for many volunteers, organizers, and projects in the region and around the world — and has also helped lead the 2030 Movement Strategy that’s envisioning and planning Wikmedia’s impact going forward. 
  • Dr. Nkem Osuigwe, “Newcomer of the Year,” helped start a partnership between the Wikimedia Foundation and the African Library and Information Associations & Institutions, which has generated more than 25,000 edits on our projects. Her success led to the development of a Wikipedia training course for over 300 African librarians — which led to trainees making sizable contributions,  joining local communities, and beginning new communities across Africa.
  • Annie Rauwerda, “Media Contributor of the Year,” is known for posting screenshots of various quirky, funny and interesting Wikipedia pages to Instagram (@depthsofwikipedia) that create greater awareness of Wikipedia’s wide spectrum of knowledge. Annie has more than 1.5 million followers on her social media platforms — including 760,000 on Twitter, and 1.2 million on Instagram. 
  • Taavi Väänänen, “Tech Contributor of the Year,” is based in Finland and volunteers with the Wikimedia movement as a developer and as a system administrator. He’s been a crucial member of the team running Wikimedia Cloud Services, including pieces of infrastructure that let community members host their Wikimedia-related bots, tools, and other software projects for free.

Joining them with awards were two affiliate organizations: Wikimedia UK, the United Kingdom affiliate for the global Wikimedia movement; and Art+Feminism, which is a nonprofit that builds a community of activists committed to closing information gaps related to gender, feminism, and the arts, beginning with Wikipedia.

Honoring Pillar 4’s instruction to welcome newcomers, this year the Foundation rolled out a new set of features that will inspire people to embrace editing Wikipedia for the first time. These features include a dashboard for new editors, a mentor program in which experienced volunteers guide new ones, and a feed of suggested edits that uses machine learning to offer quick and easy suggestions to begin editing our projects.

Our community of editors drive forward our movement and our mission, increasing knowledge equity and making Wikimedia projects the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge.

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