Vitor Mazuco‘s contributions to the Portuguese Wikipedia are impressive: to date, he has made over 280,000 edits and created more than 2,400 articles. Fellow editors have noted 34 of them for their quality—many of which are about the Canadian singer and songwriter Avril Lavigne.
Mazuco made his first edit to Lavigne’s Wikipedia article at the age of 14. He dedicated quite a bit of time in the following years to improving Wikipedia’s content about her.
“I remember that in my first months of [contributing], I wanted to expand and improve all Avril Lavigne articles,” says Mazuco. He faced many challenges, though, because he didn’t yet understand—or care to follow—Wikipedia’s sourcing policy. “I did not want to read [sources about her], and I was only 14 … imagine the size of my immaturity.” Mazuco was even banned from Wikimedia Commons for two years because he failed to follow its policies.
Mazuco eventually learned how to properly source articles and became one of the most active Portuguese Wikipedia editors. Along with his detailed upkeep of Lavigne-related articles, Mazuco contributes to other music articles, works to combat vandalism on the site, and leads several offline initiatives as part of the Wikipedia Education Program and the Wikimedia Brazil User Group.
“I show how the teacher can help [their] students with … Wikipedia inside the classrooms, and break the prejudice that our country has about [Wikipedia’s] reliability,” Mazuco explains. “It’s a job I’m very proud of.”
Mazuco believes that working with students will be the center of his attention for the next few years. He believes in everyone’s right to access “free and quality knowledge, regardless of their race, religion, status, or anything.” He explains:
“[Wikipedia] is a place, where I learn many things, every day. I meet new people in the meetings, at the conferences, I improve my skills, spelling, knowledge, about [any] subject. I am very curious person. I always want to know about something.”