Steven Pruitt

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Steven Pruitt
Pruitt in a jacket and tie
Pruitt in 2018
Born1984 (age 36–37)[1]
EducationCollege of William & Mary (BA in Art History)
Years active2006–present
Known forMost edits on the English Wikipedia
HonorsTime's "The 25 Most Influential People on the Internet", 2017

Steven Pruitt (born 1984) is an American Wikipedia editor with the highest number of edits made on the English Wikipedia: over four million.[2] He has also created more than 34,000 Wikipedia articles. Pruitt was named as one of the 25 most important influencers on the Internet by Time magazine in 2017.[3]

Pruitt edits under the pseudonym Ser Amantio di Nicolao, which is a reference to a minor character in Giacomo Puccini's 1918 opera Gianni Schicchi.[4] He fights systemic bias on Wikipedia to promote the inclusion of women via the Women in Red project.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Pruitt was born around 1984 in San Antonio, Texas, the only child of Alla Pruitt, a Russian Jewish immigrant, and Donald Pruitt of Richmond, Virginia.[1] His mother migrated from the Soviet Union under the loosening of the policy of Jewish migration under Leonid Brezhnev, while his father worked as a college professor in Virginia.[5] They met when they were both teachers in the Defense Language Institute's Russian Department at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio.[1]

Growing up, Pruitt was an avid reader of classical literature and mystery stories by Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh.[1]

Pruitt graduated from St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia in 2002.[6] He attended the College of William & Mary, where he sang as part of a choir,[5] and graduated in 2006 with a degree in art history.[1]

Career[edit]

Pruitt is a contractor for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, where he works with records and information[3] and prefers to work on paper.[4]

Wikipedia editing[edit]

Pruitt began editing Wikipedia in 2004.[6] His first Wikipedia article was about Peter Francisco, a Portuguese-born Revolutionary War hero known as the "Virginia Hercules", who is Pruitt's "great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather."[1][7] His favorite article to have worked on is te Virginia Pohick Church.[7] He created his current account in 2006 while a senior at the College of William & Mary.[3] Being unemployed during the recession, Pruitt took to spending hours editing, which had the unexpected effect of not getting job interviews, since potential interviewers often confused it with Julian Assange's WikiLeaks.[7] As of February 2019, Pruitt made over three million edits to Wikipedia, more than any other editor on the English Wikipedia, and made over four million edits by February 2021. He surpassed editor Justin Knapp for most edits in 2015,[4] the same year was made an Administrator.[7] Pruitt believes he made his first edit to Wikipedia in June 2004.[4] As a contributing member of the Women in Red WikiProject,[7] his Wikipedia edits have included creating articles on more than 600 women, in order to counter the site's gender gap.[1][8] Even though the majority of his work is done alone,[5] he is also member of the WikiProject Virginia.[7] Pruitt, who identifies as an inclusionist[7] and a WikiGnome,[2] spends between three[5] and four[9] hours daily editing, with more on the weekends.[9] He made Wikipedia's billionth edit on January 13, 2021 to the page Death Breathing.[10]

Interviews[edit]

Pruitt was featured on CBS This Morning in January 2019. In the interview, Pruitt described how the first article he worked on was about a distant ancestor (Peter Francisco).[1] He described his commitment to help boost Wikipedia's coverage of notable women, one area in which Wikipedia critics have noted the site falls short.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Pruitt's non-Wikipedia-related interests include the Capitol Hill Chorale, in which he sings. He is also an avid fan of opera, which started from his parent's inculcation at an early age,[5] which provided inspiration for his Wikipedia username "Ser Amantio di Nicolao" – after a minor character in the 1918 Puccini opera Gianni Schicchi.[1] Upon his own admission, Pruitt "[drinks] a lot of Diet Coke, and [doesn't] shave every day."[5] As of 2018, he is single and living with his parents, as their caregiver and due to the high costs of housing in the Washington D.C. area.[5]

Distinctions[edit]

  • Time's "The 25 Most Influential People on the Internet" (2017)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Eshleman, Tina (September 17, 2018). "The Wikiman | How the most prolific Wikipedia editor is expanding what we know about the world". W&M Alumni Magazine. No. Fall 2018. College of William & Mary. Archived from the original on April 10, 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Harrison, Stephen (January 15, 2021). "Wikipedia Is Basically a Massive RPG". Wired (magazine). Condé Nast. ISSN 1078-3148. Archived from the original on January 15, 2021. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "The 25 Most Influential People on the Internet". Time. June 26, 2017. Archived from the original on May 18, 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2019. The family moved to Monterey, California, for several years before settling in Northern Virginia in 1989, when Steven was 5.
  4. ^ a b c d Brown, Jennings (January 15, 2016). "Meet The World's Most Prolific Wikipedia Editor". Vocativ. Archived from the original on February 1, 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Malloy, Daniel (February 13, 2018). "This Prolific Nerd Is Shaping the Future of Wikipedia". OZY. Archived from the original on February 1, 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Steven Pruitt '02". St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School. Archived from the original on January 20, 2021. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Harrison, Stephen (October 2, 2018). "The Wikipedia contributor behind 2.5 million edits". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on October 2, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Meet the man behind a third of what's on Wikipedia". CBS News. January 26, 2019. Archived from the original on February 1, 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2019. The last statistic I saw was that 17.6 percent of the biographical articles on Wikipedia are about women, on the English Wikipedia I should say," Pruitt said. "It was under 15 percent a couple of years ago which shows you how much we have been able to move the needle.
  9. ^ a b Wallace, Jaleel; Wallaca, Nicole (April 12, 2021). "What Content Creators Can Learn From the Internet's Most Prolific Editor". Medium (website). Archived from the original on April 12, 2021. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  10. ^ "The English Language Wikipedia Just Had Its Billionth Edit". www.vice.com. Retrieved January 25, 2021.

External links[edit]