To mark the occasion of only our second ever award of the A-Class medal with Swords (see below), we interviewed our medal winner, Parsecboy, about his time here on Wikipedia and his secrets for being such a productive high quality content contributor.
Bugle: Can you tell us a little about how you first got into editing Wikipedia?
Parsecboy: I was doing some online research on Bolivia and came across the Wikipedia article. I noticed that a non-native English speaker had written much of the article, so I decided to fix the grammar. Then I was hooked.
Bugle: Much of your milhist-related work has been on warship articles. What attracts you to the subject?
Parsecboy: Part of it is that I've always been interested in naval history, but that's not how I got started on writing these articles. Most of the A-class articles I've written have been about German warships; about three years ago I stumbled across a sub-stub I thought I could expand, and that's what got me interested in this specific area.
Bugle: 30 A-Class articles is an extremely impressive total, especially considering that your first A-Class medal was awarded only 16 months ago. What's your secret?
Parsecboy: One of the big things that has helped me write articles faster is that I have many of the sources I use on hand. For example, I own all but one of the books cited in my most recent A-class article, SMS Westfalen. Not having to wait as much for inter-library loans has been very helpful. There are also a number of editors who have assisted me; first and foremost is Dank, who has been indispensable, especially for his copy-editing skill. I've also learned a lot about article writing by working with editors like Sturmvogel 66 and Ed. Last but not least, simple practice has enabled me to write faster. My first "high-quality" article, SMS Von der Tann, took me nearly a year to turn this into the version that went to an A-class review. In comparison, I did the bulk of the writing for SMS Westfalen in the span of about 21 hours.
Bugle: It has been said that the average participation span in an internet community is less than three years. How do you maintain your interest in, and enthusiasm for, contributing to Wikipedia?
Parsecboy: One thing that spurred me on was the creation of Operation Majestic Titan, a project to create the largest Featured Topic consisting of articles on every battleship ever built or planned—it's always nice to see a red or orange box turn green or blue. Another important thing is variety; editing in the same area for a long period of time can become tedious. It's a good idea to find something else to do from time to time. For instance, earlier this year I wrote the article on Reinhard Scheer. Even though it was still directly related to my main area of interest on Wikipedia, the transition from a ship article to a biography was a welcome breath of fresh air.
Bugle: Finally, can we look forward to our first award of the A-Class medal with Diamonds in the near future?
Parsecboy: I don't know about near future. For the highest grade I'd need ten more A-class medals, which means another 30 A-class articles, or doubling what I've accomplished so far. I do plan on getting there eventually, if only because finishing this should do it. Will I be the first? That's another question; there are plenty of editors who are not too far behind me.
Bugle:Thank you very much for your time, and congratulations on your achievement. We eagerly anticipate many more A-Class articles to come!
Parsecboy for SMS Posen, SMS Bayern (1915) and SMS Westfalen — this is only the second occasion for the awarding of this level of ACM since the tiered awards system was introduced in January 2009, and the first award of the Swords in 13 months!