There are no barriers to free knowledge

This post is available in 2 languages: English Język polski

This post is available in 2 languages

St. John’s Bridge, a gothic bridge in the Old Town of Kłodzko, Poland.

When Jacek Halicki first discovered the Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest through a banner located on top of the main page of the Polish Wikipedia, not only hadn’t he realized he could actually edit Wikipedia by himself; he could never have foreseen that contributing to Wikipedia would soon become a passion and a way to overcome the barriers in his life.

Hailing from Kłodzko in south-western Poland, a city referred to as the Little Prague due to its high number of culturally significant buildings, Jacek Halicki is a former photojournalist, amateur radio operator, jazz lover and perhaps most importantly to his story, a pensioner with severe mobility impairment.

Jacek Halicki with his tricycle.

When asked what made him stay with Wikipedia, he says that it is a natural consequence of the active life he lived before falling ill. “It is a great use of my free time to the benefit of others and also a way to prove to myself and others that illness does not mean idleness, apathy and depression,” he adds.

Halicki’s contributions to the Wikimedia movement certainly reflect this positive attitude. Since September 2012, he has uploaded more than 4,000 pictures to Wikimedia Commons; more than 100 of them have been assessed to be of quality image standard by his fellow Commons contributors, with an additional dozen or so being awarded featured picture status on the Polish Wikipedia.

A local patriot, Halicki expresses his fondness for the city of Kłodzko by creating new articles about its culture and monuments. He also improves existing articles about Kłodzko and illustrates them with the pictures he takes from his tricycle, a modified e-bike that he operates with an electric motor.

Describing the way in which he took his first pictures for use on Wikipedia — through a car window and on a per procura basis, — Jacek Halicki expresses his gratitude to his daughter Asia and his friends Krzysztof Motylewski and Maciej Wardach, without whom, he says, he could never have participated in Wiki Loves Monuments. He also makes sure to mention Krzysztof Brożyna, a friend with whom he travels around the Kłodzko area on a very special mission to document the rich cultural heritage of the region.

A die hard Wikipedian by now, Halicki is determined to make full use of the time he is spending on Wikipedia; only recently did he apply for a grant to Wikimedia Polska, the Polish Wikimedia chapter, to purchase a book that would allow him to create dozens of more articles about the Kłodzko area. He even admits to having bought a camera so that he can take even better pictures for Commons. “A good lens is next on my shopping list,” he adds with laughter.

When asked about his future participation in the Wikimedia movement, he says that he will contribute as long as his health permits. “I’m glad I’ll leave something good behind when I’m gone from this world. I’m glad that my pictures will live on and perhaps, will be useful to people…”

(You can read an English translation of Jacek Halicki’s interview for the Polish Wikinews on the Wiki Loves Monuments website).

Tomasz W. Kozlowski, Wikimedia community volunteer

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7 Comments on There are no barriers to free knowledge

Evelyn Johnson 6 months

Hi: I think what you are doing and have done is a wonderful thing. When I think of how you get around taking pictures for all to see it makes me
Feel less about my own physical misgivings. I love looking at history not just reading it. Our newer generation does not appreciate what one day might be gone. Keep up the good work and know there are people all over the world who appreciate you and your photos.

Krurstini Nakawatngalaad 6 months

dear Ibrahim Kir
You need to understand and respect the idea that some people may write abusive comments on free for all comment sections like these ones.
sometimes the people will start swearing and innapropriate language on this comment section.
Please understand

christos chionidis 6 months

you are just amazing!!

Yuvvraaj J SINGH 6 months

WIKI LOVES MONUMENTS BEAUTIFUL PLACE

Leigh Thelmadatter 7 months

Good to see well-thought out posts on individual editors!

ping 7 months

opinions =/= knowledge

But, hmm. Your comment has not censored.

İbrahim Kir 7 months

“There are no barriers to free knowledge”, huh? Is this why I encounter the message “your comment is awaiting moderation” everytime I try to share my opinions in this blog? Arbitrarily censoring unwanted comments and taking away the people’s right to express themselves doesn’t match the motto, don’t you think?

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