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Posts Tagged ‘multilingual post’

Recovering the shared history editing Wikipedia in Argentina, Mexico and Spain

This post is available in 3 languages:
English  •  Spanish Catalan


The Spanish Republican Exile forced thousands of Spanish citizens to leave their country after the Spanish Civil War and the aftermath of persecutions by the Francisco Franco dictatorship. Nearly 220,000 supporters of the Second Republic left Spain to other countries like Argentina and Mexico.

Attendants at the edit-a-thon

To mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Sinaia vessel to the Mexican port of Veracruz, the Wikimedia chapters in Argentina, Spain and Mexico ran ​​the First Spanish Republican Exile Edit-a-thon of Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource on historical facts, biographies and testimonials related to these events.

The coordination of this event was conducted by the Iberocoop initiative. The event in Mexico City was held at the Space X of Cultural Center of Spain in Mexico. This edit-a-thon was curated by Guiomar López Acevedo, historian of the Spanish Ateneo of Mexico, who contributed sources and reviews for the activity. At the opening, Macarena Pérez, staff of the Cultural Center of Spain, said that the Spanish exile is a prolific theme and many more working sessions will be needed to retrieve all available evidence.

At around 2 pm local time in Mexico, Santiago Navarro Sanz, member of the board of Wikimedia Spain, joined in a videoconference from Vila-real and saluted the participants and noted that he was happy that a hard episode in Spanish history is a positive reason to gather Wikipedians in three countries and contribute to the growth of information on Wikimedia projects.

(more…) in the Swedish spotlight

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Svenska

English’s logo.

Most Swedes have a basic understanding of English, but many of them are far from being fluent. Hence, it is important that different computer programs are localized so that they can also work in Swedish and other languages. This helps people avoid mistakes and makes the users work faster and more efficienttly. But how is this done?

First and foremost, the different messages in the software need to be translated separately. To get the translation just right and to make sure that the language is consistent requires a lot of thought. In open source software, this work is often done by volunteers who double check each other’s work. This allows for the program to be translated into hundreds of different languages, including minority languages that commercial operators usually do not focus on. As an example, the MediaWiki software that is used in all Wikimedia projects (such as Wikipedia), is translated in this way. As MediaWiki is developed at a rapid pace, with a large amount of new messages each month, it is important for us that we have a large and active community of translators. This way we make sure that everything works in all languages as fast as possible. But what could the Wikimedia movement do to help build this translator community?

We are happy to announce that Wikimedia Sverige is about to start a new project with support from Internetfonden (.Se) (the Internet Fund). The Internet Fund supports projects that improve the Internet’s infrastructure. The idea of translating open software to help build the translator community is in line with their goals. We gave the project a zingy name: “Expanding the – ‘Improved Swedish localization of open source, for easier online participation’.” This is the first time that Wikimedia Sverige has had a project that focuses on this important element of the user experience. Here we will learn many new things that we will try to share with the wider community while aiming to improve the basic infrastructure on The translation platform currently has 27 programs ready to be translated into 213 languages by more than 6,400 volunteers from around the world.


Making a change to our Terms of Use: Requirements for disclosure


Today, we’re making an important change to our Terms of Use. This change will clarify and strengthen the prohibition against concealing paid editing on all Wikimedia projects.

Half a billion people use Wikipedia every month as their source of knowledge. Wikipedia’s community editors work tirelessly at maintaining the accuracy, transparency, and objectivity of the articles, which requires identifying conflicts of interests and removing bias. Editing-for-pay can be a source of such bias, particularly when the edits are promotional in nature, or in the interest of a paying client. The Wikimedia Foundation is committed to continuing to support the Wikipedia community’s efforts to keep articles free of promotional content.

What’s changing?

This change adds a new subsection to Section 4, Refraining from Certain Activities, on “Paid Contributions without Disclosure.” The Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation has issued a letter explaining the change. We have also prepared an FAQ that helps explain how the change applies in specific instances. We encourage you to read the full update, letter, and FAQ, but the most important points are:

  • If you edit as a volunteer and for fun, nothing changes. Please keep editing! You’re part of an amazing community of volunteers contributing to an unprecedented resource of free information available to the whole world.
  • If you are employed by a gallery, library, archive, museum (GLAM), or similar institution that may pay employees to make good faith contributions in your area of expertise and not about your institution, you are also welcome to edit! The FAQ provides more guidance on when you should provide disclosure.
  • If you are paid to edit, you will need to disclose your paid editing to comply with the new Terms of Use. You need to add your affiliation to your edit summary, user page, or talk page, to fairly disclose your perspective. You’ll want to read the FAQ to learn more.
  • If you are paid to edit, other rules beyond the Terms of Use may also apply. Specific policies on individual Wikimedia projects, or relevant laws in your country (such as those prohibiting fraudulent advertising), may require further disclosure or prohibit paid advocacy editing altogether. Details on the legal issues and risk associated with undisclosed paid advocacy editing may be found in this FAQ.
  • Individual Wikimedia projects may discuss and implement alternative disclosure policies appropriate to their particular needs, as explained at greater length in the FAQ.

Why are we making a change?

As explained in October of 2013, we believe that undisclosed paid advocacy editing is a black hat practice that can threaten the trust of Wikimedia’s volunteers and readers. We have serious concerns about the way that such editing affects the neutrality and reliability of Wikipedia.

The change to the Terms of Use will address these concerns in a variety of ways. First, it will help educate and explain to good-faith editors how they may continue to edit in the spirit of the movement and mission, through simple disclosure of their affiliation. Second, it will empower the community to address the issue of paid editing in an informed way by helping identify edits that should receive additional scrutiny. Finally, it will provide an additional tool to the community and Foundation to enforce existing rules about conflicts of interest and paid editing.

How did we make the change?

The Terms of Use sets out rules for how nearly half a billion monthly users engage with Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects. The current Terms of Use are the result of an extensive community collaboration in 2011.

We periodically review the Terms to ensure they are responsive to changes in the law and on the Wikimedia projects. To address community and Board concerns about paid editing, the Foundation proposed an amendment to the existing Terms of Use in February of this year. The Terms of Use already prohibited “deceptive activities,” such as misrepresentation, impersonation, and fraud. The original proposal was intended to help ensure compliance with these rules by requiring any users who “receive or expect to receive” direct compensation for their edits to disclose their employer, client, and affiliation.

Throughout February and March, the Wikimedia community extensively discussed the issue of undisclosed paid editing, resulting in 320,000 words of discussion in various languages and 6.3 million views of the proposal. The discussion was overwhelmingly supportive of the change. It also provided constructive criticisms that helped refine the amendment, and led us to improve our planned FAQ to provide more context and better examples.

At the meeting of the WMF Board of Trustees in April, members of the Board reviewed the change and results of the public consultation. After their discussion, they approved the amendment. The Wikimedia Foundation will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the amendment, and remain open to changes as necessary to improve it.

What happens next?

This change is effective immediately. We are notifying all users with banner messages on all Wikimedia projects.

If you have any comments, or would like to discuss this change further, please join the conversation on the Meta talk page for the Terms of Use.

Thanks everyone who has contributed to the discussion on this important issue. Your concerns elevated and clarified the issue in a manner that helped improve the original proposed amendment. Your input and feedback ensured a strong, yet appropriate, policy that we expect will strengthen the projects overall.

Stephen LaPorte, Legal Counsel

Luis Villa, Deputy General Counsel

Geoff Brigham, General Counsel


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Wiki Tour Chile 2014 photo contest in its final stage!

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Spanish


Moai in Rano Raraku, Easter Island, Chile.

Wiki Tour Chile 2014.

Wikimedia Chile organized the photo contest Wiki Chile Tour 2014 which ran between April 5 and May 4 with a theme centered around Chile’s heritage and identity. The competition focused on photographs of nature, urban landscapes, holiday destinations, typical locations, economic activities, crafts, customs and cuisine that showed the cultural particularities of Chile.

Old house in Alegre Hill, in Valparaíso, going up through Almirante Montt street.

The contest produced 3,000 photographs, counting those directly uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and the ones shared on the Flickr group that requested compatible licenses. These pictures will serve to better illustrate articles on Wikipedia, but mainly the articles on Wikivoyage, the free travel guide that anyone can edit, a project of the Wikimedia Foundation that was launched in early 2013.

Two winners will be determined by popular vote by way of most “likes” received on Facebook. The voting will take place between May 26 and June 22 via the albums Wikimedia Chile made ​​available to the public through Facebook. You can find the links below:

Contestant’s photographs are housed on Wikimedia Commons, another project of the Wikimedia Foundation, which are available for you to see and use, provided that you respect the license with which the photos were released with by their authors.


The Umepedia Challenge has now ended!

This post is available in 2 languages:
svenska  • English


The Umepedia Challenge is the latest part of the work done in the QRpedia project Umepedia.

The winner will, amongst other things, be able to showcase this on her/his user page.

Everybody who takes part in the Challenge and through their efforts helps us once again to show how fantastic Wikipedia is will be able to showcase this beautiful award on her/his user page.

A graph listing all the different language versions of the 40 original articles.

The Umepedia Challenge has now come to an end and we are extremely happy with the results! The contest took place between May 1-31 and has been focusing on creating (initially) forty Wikipedia articles about the Swedish city of Umeå in as many languages as possible. These forty articles have been expanded over the last year by a group of Swedish volunteers and translated into English in the weeks before the contest.

Based on other previous online contests we had set our hopes low with only 25 contributions, but this was reached and surpassed on the very first day of the Challenge! As I am writing this (May 27) we have a stunning 551 contributions by 37 participants! It’s also great to see that 11 languages now have all 40 articles available, making them an excellent source of information about the city of Umeå. We are blown away by this! Because so many languages already had all of the 40 articles created, we decided, 20 days into the contest, to add six more bonus articles. We want to sincerely thank all of you for the hard work on Wikipedia and for spreading information about the contest (and to Amical Wikimedia for the idea of using the simple and elegant WLM design in online writing contests) and to Wikimedia CH for sponsoring a number of special prizes!

So why did we limit ourselves to 40 (+6) articles? Well, the idea was that we wanted to focus the efforts and make it possible for the participants to see how much work was left. During the year we will place signs with “QRpedia codes” next to these 40 historically and culturally important places in Umeå (which is currently the European Capital of Culture). You might already know this, but a QRpedia code is a smart form of a Quick Response (QR) code, which automatically identifies what language you are using on your phone and directs you to the right language version on Wikipedia, so that you can read the article in your native tongue. This is an excellent way for immigrants, international students and tourists to enjoy and learn more about the city. Having all of these articles ready will make it easier for us to come to an agreement with the house owners to put signs on their buildings, so in that sense, the volunteer effort is extremely valuable.

One problem is, for example, that tourists have to pay a lot for the roaming charges, but luckily Umeå already has a city-wide Wifi network that is free to use for 15 minutes per day. On top of the 40 places, we also have QRpedia codes in the exhibits in Guitars – the Museum, connected to famous musicians. Perhaps our next challenge will include these, and Umepedia Challenge 2.0 will surely include other important articles that will support the 40 Umepedia Challenge articles in order to give them more depth. In future contests we will also do our best to improve the point system further to make it even more fair, while keeping it fun and easy.

For anyone interested in organizing translation challenges in the future please feel free to use the handy tool that we developed, where the number of languages an article has been translated into can be counted using calls to the Wikidata API.

The winners of the main prizes in the Challenge are:

1st: User:Satdeep gill = 828 points
2nd: User:Artificial123 = 763 points
3rd: User:ANKAN GHOSH DASTIDER = 710 points
4th: User:Semso98 = 574 points
5th: User:DirkVE = 526 points
6th: User:Stryn = 396 points

Congratulations to all of you!

Warm regards,

John Andersson, Project Manager, Wikimedia Sverige.


Umepedia Challenge är nu över!

Umepedia Challenge är den senaste delen inom QRpedia-projektet Umepedia.

Vinnaren kommer bland annat att kunna visa upp det här fina digitala priset på sin användarsida.

Alla som har deltagit i tävlingen och genom deras insatser än en gång visat hur fantastikt Wikipedia är belönas med det här vackra priset att visa på sin användarsida.

Ett diagram som visar hur många av de ursprungliga fyrtio artiklarna som finns på de olika språken.

Umepedia Challenge har nu kommit till sitt slut och vi är extremt glada över resultatet! Tävlingen ägde rum maj 1-31 och fokuserade på att skapa (inledningsvis) fyrtio artiklar om Umeå på så många språk som möjligt. Dessa fyrtio artiklar har utökats under det gångna året av en grupp svenska volontärer och översattes till engelska under veckorna före tävlingen.

Baserat på andra online-tävlingar satte vi våra förväntningar lågt med enbart 25 bidrag. Detta resultat nåddes och överskreds dock redan första dagen på tävlingen! I skrivande stund (27 maj) har vi imponerande 551 bidrag av 37 deltagare! Det är även fantastiskt att se att 11 språk nu har alla 40 artiklar tillgängliga vilket gör dem till en utmärkt källa för information om Umeå stad. Vi blev verkligen helt överväldigade av detta! Eftersom så många språk redan hade skapat alla 40 artiklar bestämde vi oss för att, 20 dagar in i tävlingen, lägga till ytterligare 6 bonusartiklar. Vi vill rikta ett stort tack till er alla för ert ihärdiga arbete på Wikipedia och för att ni hjälpt till att sprida informationen om tävlingen (och till Amical Wikimedia för idén om att använda den enkla och eleganta WLM-designen för skrivtävlingar online) samt till Wikimedia CH för sponsringen av flera specialpriser.

Så varför begränsade vi oss till 40 (+6) artiklar? Jo, idén var att vi ville fokusera insatsen och göra det enkelt för deltagarna att se hur mycket arbete som återstod. Sedan kommer vi under året att sätta upp skultar med “QRpedia-koder” intill dessa 40 historiskt och kulturellt viktiga platserna i Umeå (som för närvarande är Europeisk kulturhuvudstad). Du kanske redan vet detta men en QRpedia-kod är en smart typ av Quick Response (QR)-kod vilken automatiskt identifierar vilket språk du använder på mobiltelefonen och tar dig till den språkversionen av Wikipedia, så att du kan läsa artikeln på ditt modersmål. Detta är ett utmärkt sätt för invandrare, internationella studenter och självfallet turister att ta del av och lära sig mer om staden. Att ha alla dessa artiklar redo kommer att göra det enklare för oss att komma överens med husägarna om var skyltarna ska sitta så även för detta har volontärinsatsen varit extremt värdefull.

Ett problem är självfallet att exempelvis turister måste betala höga roaming-avgifter, tursamt nog har Umeå redan ett stadstäckande wifi-nät som är fritt att använda 15 minuter om dagen. Utöver de 40 platserna har vi även QRpedia-koder i utställningarna i Guitars – the Museum, kopplade till artiklar om kända artister. Vår nästa utmaning kommer kanske inkludera dessa och Umepedia Challenge 2.0 kommer säkerligen att innehålla mer viktiga sidoartiklar så att de nuvarande artiklarna får mer djup. Då kommer vi även att arbeta vidare på att utveckla ett ännu rättvisare poängsystem som dock kommer att vara fortsatt enkelt, då det är en central aspekt för att göra det roligt.

För den som är intresserad av att organisera översättningstävlingar i framtiden kan vi tipsa om ett bekvämt verktyg som vi utvecklat där antalet språk en artikel har översatts till automatiskt räknas ihop genom anrop till Wikidatas API. Det sparar en hel del tid!

De sex vinnarna i Umepedia Challenge är:

Första: User:Satdeep gill = 828 poäng
Andra: User:Artificial123 = 763 poäng
Tredje: User:ANKAN GHOSH DASTIDER = 710 poäng
Fjärde: User:Semso98 = 574 poäng
Femte: User:DirkVE = 526 poäng
Sjätte: User:Stryn = 396 poäng

Ett stort grattis till samtliga!

Med vänliga hälsningar,

John Andersson, projektledare, Wikimedia Sverige.

“Wiki Learning” to be adopted at Mexico’s Tec de Monterrey

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Spanish


Project leaders Dr. Lourdes Epstein, Leigh Thelmadatter and Dr. Paola Ricaurte.

Tec de Monterrey has officially adopted Wiki Learning throughout the school system, working with Wikimedia projects as part of its continuing effort to develop a 21st century pedagogy for the institution.

Tec de Monterrey is Mexico’s largest private university system, with 34 campuses throughout Mexico. In 2013, this system, based in Monterrey, Mexico, launched an ambitious program called the Tec 21 Educational Model (Modelo Educativo Tec 21) to redesign teaching and learning methods for all of its programs, from high school to the graduate level. Recognizing that students learn differently in the digital age and that graduates need skills beyond mastery of the subject matter to succeed, the program is part of an effort to encourage and strengthen in students 21st century skills and to improve the universities’s standing among other institutions in Mexico, Latin America and the world.

The earliest assignments with Wikipedia at Tec de Monterrey were in 2007 with advanced English students at the Toluca campus. These assignments were continued at the Mexico City Campus in 2010 and have since developed to include various levels of English, as well as classes in journalism, communication and Spanish for foreigners. The Mexico City Campus’s initiative to have students translate Wikipedia articles (from the language students are studying — English — into their native language: Spanish) came to the attention of the Wikipedia Education Program, which later adopted the model in Egyptian universities in 2012. Since then, translation assignments have become relatively common in schools that use Wikipedia.

Tec students organized Mexico’s first Wikipedia student group, today under the name of Wiki Borregos. Other innovations include assignments involving the uploading of images, creation of sound files and illustrations, using photo descriptions to impart language and cultural knowledge, and Wikipedia work to satisfy community service requirements for both International Baccalaureate and undergraduate students.


Wikipedia Zero will accelerate Wikipedia in Nepal

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Nepali

Screenshot of Nepali Wikipedia.

This is a guest post from Nepali Wikipedian Ganesh Paudel and does not necessarily express the views of the Wikimedia Foundation. 

On May 6th mobile operator NCELL announced the launch of Wikipedia Zero in Nepal. Wikipedia Zero is expected to be a very useful service in Nepal, where over 90% of internet users access the internet using their mobile phones. The service will provide Nepalese users in very remote areas access to Wikipedia – free of cost. The local Wikipedia community, Wikipedia Education Program leaders, Wiki Poject Med and all volunteer contributors are excited by the news.

The Wikipedia Zero team and local Wikimedians are communicating with Nepal Telecom, the government owned mobile operator company, to encourage them to start this service as well. Throughout the years, Wikipedia has been established as an increasingly effective educational tool. There will surely be an acceleration in use and expansion of Wikipedia after launching Wikipedia Zero in Nepal. Currently, five languages have pages that serve the Nepal Wikipedia community – Nepali, Newari, Bhojpuri, Pali and Sanskrit. Ten other language Wikipedia pages are in test phases. This service will broaden the path to develop local content in all 123 languages spoken in Nepal.

So what exactly is Wikipedia Zero? Wikipedia Zero is a free browsing service that allows users to surf Wikipedia pages without incurring data charges. The name refers to the zero cost of using the service. The Wikimedia Foundation provides this service in collaboration with mobile operators. If the user clicks on an external link, a message will warn them that ‘this service is chargeable’ to ensure that accidental data charges are not acquired.


Hacker osmosis: Ideas abound at the European Hackathon in Zurich

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  •  ‎русский

In English

Group photo of the attendees at the 2014 Wikimedia Hackathon in Zurich (Lila Tretikov can be seen in the middle of the front row, in pink)

After an exciting first encounter with the San Francisco-based WMF staff at the May Metrics Meeting where I was introduced as the incoming ED, I had the opportunity this past weekend to meet even more dedicated staff and community members, and learn a little more about what the WMF life is like for our nearly 30% of WMF product and engineering staff that work remotely. On Saturday and Sunday, the 10th and 11th, I was in Zurich at the annual European Wikimedia hackathon, organized by Wikimedia CH, the Swiss chapter and our very capable hosts.

It was an amazing experience. As I was flying back I kept thinking about how much energy and motivation I took away from meeting everyone: the talent, technical ability, and drive to make this world a better place. The international nature of the community was really on display, too: people came from 30 different countries, meeting face to face after long stretches of only communicating online.

At the same time, I was invigorated by the challenging and unexpected: just a few hours after my arrival, I was peppered by tough, candid questions and feedback about what mattered the most to the more than 150 people in attendance from the WMF and community. I am really glad I had the chance to take that on — it was a direct and unfiltered way to learn about the way people understand the opportunities we face: reimagining our products, improving our community health, innovating in technology.

I was truly impressed by the technical chops I saw on display, and the ability of the gathered developers, engineers, sysadmins, and geeks to jump-start and run with projects. Some of the projects underway were the very embodiment of the Wikimedia movement: expanding the way we capture, structure, and share knowledge, and how we recognize and encourage contributions and participation in all projects. I was particularly excited about some of the innovations that focused on serving a universal audience, regardless of the user’s language or location, to ensure that they benefit every Wikimedia user in the world.

Thank you so much to Wikimedia CH (Manuel Schneider, Muriel Staub, Charles Andres, and Ilario Valdelli), and everyone else who helped put together such a great event! Everything was wonderfully organized, allowing us to really focus on playing with ideas. I can’t wait to come back across the Atlantic in a few months’ time for Wikimania in London, and the chance to meet so many more of you.

Even with such a deep dive this past week, I know that there is so much more to learn, and so much of our global community to hear from. My trip to Zurich was just the first step — so I’m excited to announce that next Wednesday, May 21st, I’ll be holding IRC office hours from 4:30 – 5:30pm Pacific Time (23:30 – 0:30 UTC) in the #wikimedia-office channel on freenode. Please see here for details on how to join! (Of course, you can also always reach me on my talk page on Meta.)

Lila Tretikov

Incoming Executive Director


In Russian

Среди хакеров: Изобилие идей на Европейском дне хакера (European Hackathon) в Цюрихе

Групповое фото участников Дня хакера Викимедиа (2014 Wikimedia Hackathon) в Цюрихе (Лялю Третьякову можно увидеть в центре переднего ряда, в розовом).

Вслед за первым захватывающим знакомством с сотрудниками Викимедиа в Сан-Франциско, случившемся на майской встрече по вопросам показателей деятельности, где я была представлена как новый исполнительный директор, в конце прошлой недели у меня появилась возможность познакомиться с другими преданными своему делу сотрудниками и участниками сообщества и узнать ещё немного о жизни той значительной (около 30%) части сотрудников Фонда Викимедиа, занятых продуктами и инженерно-техническими вопросами и работающих удалённо. (more…)

Ten years of the German Wikipedia writing contest

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Deutsch


The article on the brown bear won the fourth writing contest.

The article on Direct Democracy in Germany is the best article written on the German Wikipedia for the month of March, 2014. After a long and heated discussion, the jury of the German writing contest (“Schreibwettbewerb“) chose it above the article about historian Percy Ernst Schramm and the article about Block 11, a building in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Twice a year, the eyes of the community turn to this competition. Writers can choose their own topic: Past winners have tackled varying subjects, including the brown bear, Carolingian illuminated manuscripts and the French football club Stade de Reims.

The writing contest is a microcosm of Wikipedia: It’s not just about good articles and encyclopedic writing – stories, social dynamics and the fundamental principles of Wikipedia content matter, too.

Ten years of triumphs and tears, articles and opinions

The “Schreibwettbewerb” was modeled on the Dutch Wikipedia’s “schrijfwedstrijd.” On September 5, 2004, user Achim Raschka created the first page on the German Wikipedia that launched a writing contest. Forty-four articles were submitted for this first writing competition. The five-person jury chose user Lienhard Schulz’s article on the Lehnin Abbey as the winner.

The writing context struck a chord within the community and attracted considerable interest. In some years, more than 120 articles competed for the prize and after the contest many of them were rated as “featured” or “good,” placing them among the 0.3% best articles on the German Wikipedia. In the months after the end of the writing contest, far more Wikipedia articles than usual were awarded “featured” or “good” status.

The winners have never been chosen by the community of people active on Wikipedia; instead, a jury of Wikipedians makes the selections each year. The fifth writing contest, held in 2006, was the first occasion in which jury members met in person. Paying the jury’s travel costs for this meeting was one of the first direct community funding tasks undertaken by Wikimedia Deutschland, which was then still a young organization.

Winners and runners-up

The article on the viral envelope won the seventh writing contest and the audience award.

The list of winners in 2004 was headed by an article on a typical local history topic – the entry on the Lehnin Abbey focused on a monastery near Berlin. Winning articles in subsequent years covered a wide range of subjects.

Some articles, such as the  one on the viral envelope and on L-gulonolactone oxidase, dealt with scientific subjects. Others, such as the article about the Nazino affair, were about history, while the article on Carolingian illuminated manuscripts was an example of an entry on art; and the one on Nosferatu was about a film. Sometimes the winning article is on an unusual subject – such as the piece on the théâtrophone, an early twentieth-century device that enabled subscribers to listen to opera and theatre performances over the telephone.

Medical experts, in particular, have tackled the writing contest with gusto. An astonishing number of articles about human and animal diseases have reached the top three; viruses, bacteria and ailments of all sorts. Also common in the top rankings are articles on topics such as line-drawing algorithms and entries on various Olympic Games, diverse aspects of history, art history and individual animal species.


There are no barriers to free knowledge

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Polish


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.