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This is the user page for Jayne Cravens.

I'm sure I've done this user page incorrectly - Wikipedians LOVE to berate you for not editing Wikipedia the way they think you should. In fact, I bet it will be deleted.

About Me (Jayne Cravens)[edit]

I am an internationally-recognized professional with more than 25 years of experience, primarily regarding communications, community/volunteer involvement, and capacity-building for nonprofit organizations, non-governmental organizations/civil society, government-based community programs, and corporate philanthropy programs.

I became active on the Internet in 1994, when I bought a Mac Classic II and a modem from CompUSA, putting the entire amount on a credit card and spending more than a year paying it all off. It came with an America Online disk, so that was my Internet provider for more than a year. I was active on the Star Wars discussion group (where I gushed about The Art of Star Wars exhibit in San Francisco in January 1995) and Ronald Colman AOL discussion groups, and then discovered the Usenet newsgroup (sadly, the Wikipedia page for this has been deleted), which became my most-frequented online place for many years. At my workplace at the time, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, then headed by Becky Morgan, I started involving remote volunteers: two university students who were helping me to build web sites for all the different JVSVN affiliates - and did a workshop in 1995 for the Support Center for Nonprofit Management (now called CompassPoint) regarding how managers of volunteers could use the Internet to support the work, including working with online volunteers. In 1995, a then-new nonprofit organization called Impact Online, based in Palo Alto, California, began promoting the idea of virtual volunteering, a phrase that was probably first used by one of Impact Online's co-founders, Steve Glikbarg and in 1996, Impact Online received a grant from the James Irvine Foundation to launch an initiative to research the practice of virtual volunteering and to promote the practice to nonprofit organizations in the United States. This new initiative was dubbed the Virtual Volunteering Project, and because of my virtual volunteering experience - which I didn't know I had until they called - I was hired to run the project, which eventually moved to the University of Texas at Austin.

I am most well-known online regarding my research and promotion of virtual volunteering. My book, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook: Fully Integrating Online Service into Volunteer Involvement, was published in January 2014. I also provided advice and research regarding the online volunteering component of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative, through People In Aid and France Volontaire (Nov. 2013–April 2014), and provided research regarding Internet-mediated volunteering (virtual volunteering, online volunteering, microvolunteering, crowd-sourcing, etc.) in the countries of the European Union for the ICT4EMPL Future Work project, undertaken by the European Commission / Joint Research Centre / Institute for Prospective Technological Studies / Information Society Unit. An additional goal of the research is to explore how this might provide opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment, skills and social inclusion, and transition from education to employment for young people. Work included creation of a wiki regarding virtual volunteering and related issues in EU countries. From February 2001 through February 2005, I directed the United Nations' Online Volunteering service, hosted at the UN Volunteers programme in Germany (previously a part of NetAid, under the leadership of Sharon Capeling-Alakija; I oversee the transition of the online volunteering service from NetAid entirely to UNV. I also was a manager of the United Nations Information Technology Service, an initiative of Kofi Annan; I researched and authored resources regarding computer technologies in community service/volunteering/advocacy, among other things.

In addition to my work regarding virtual volunteering, I also consult with international humanitarian agencies and USA-based nonprofits regarding various communications issues, and have worked in Afghanistan and Ukraine for UNDP in this capacity. In addition, I'm particularly interested in how urban legends, folklore, and rumors interfere with humanitarian and environmental development and aid/relief efforts, including public health initiatives, and how such challenges are overcome. [1]

Also, in 1998, I created the first online resource of advice for camping with your dog (or dogs), which you can see at this web site.

I was the Fall 2015 Duvall Leader in Residence] at the University of Kentucky’s Center for Leadership Development (CFLD), part of UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, in Lexington, Kentucky, and my lectures, consultations and online activities were focused on leadership development and community development and engagement as both relate to the use of online media. In November 2010, I received a VERA (Volunteer Excellence Recognition Award) from Business Council for Peace (BPEACE), a USA-based nonprofit that recruits business professionals to help entrepreneurs in countries emerging from war, like Afghanistan and El Salvador, to create and expand businesses and employment (particularly for women). In March 2003, I was a co-winner of the Dewey Winburne Community Service Award, presented at a special ceremony in Austin, Texas, at the conclusion of the Texas Interactive Media (TIM) Awards Ceremony. Dewey Winburne served as one of the original co-founders of what is now known as the SXSW Interactive Festival. I was once named one of the Top 25 Women on the Web by San Francisco Women on the Web, and I was an active member of HerDomain. I'm on oh-so-many online discussion groups -- more than I care to name here.

I am originally from Henderson, Kentucky. I still have family in Spottsville, Beals, Baskett, and Reed). From February 2005 through most of April 2009, I lived in Germany, mostly in a small village south of Remagen. I am now back in the USA, living in the Portland/Salem Oregon area UTC-8. I am oh-so-happily married to Stefan Dietz.

Will I ever be a professor at Scuffletown Community College?

How I Use Wikipedia[edit]

I frequently look up subjects on Wikipedia for a quick overview about a particular topic or a definition. It's great for that. However, I don't quote from Wikipedia in my articles, as I cannot trust the accuracy of entries entirely. If I want to quote information in an article I'm writing, or ensure information is accurate, I look for the source that the Wikipedia page cites for the information I need, I double-check that source myself, and then use that original source, rather than Wikipedia. I encourage my students to do the same.

As a long-time researcher and promoter of virtual volunteering, I am very interested in how Wikipedia involves volunteers for most of the content of this web site. I monitor media and blogs regarding Wikipedia's involvement of its community members in contributing to the content of the site and in decisions regarding how Wikipedia operates. I use Wikipedia as one model of online volunteering in presentations I make. I just wish Wikipedia would link to the Wikipedia virtual volunteering page on the About Wikipedia page (they won't even link their page to the volunteer page!).

As a Wikipedia contributor: I began the original Wikipedia page on online volunteering, but have given up editing it - I get a nasty note every time I try. I have frequently encouraged volunteer managers and researchers, via various online discussion groups and my own blog, to contribute to the page, as well as lots of other volunteerism-related pages, but, so far, they have not done so. I blogged about my frustration about how people knowledgeable about volunteering won't update pages on Wikipedia related to such.

I also started the Knowbility page, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) community service team page, the page for the Congressional Motorcycle Safety Caucus and the page for San Francisco Women of the Web, among others.

I also contributed a lot of information to the page on theater as a tool for development in 2006 (particularly the references), per my research in pursuit of my Master's Degree at Open University. You can view my own research regarding theater as a tool for development, as well as my experience studying with Open University.

I've been contributing to Wikipedia to 2005, though I'm hardly a "super user." You can see a list of my contributions. The contribution as an individual volunteer that I was most proud of for a long time was correcting the description of the novel Elmer Gantry such that it summarized the book rather than only the film. Many have edited the summary since then (and it's not nearly as good as my version, of course), but I'm glad to have gotten the book much more talked about (it's so overshadowed by the film, and that's so unfair -- the film is terrific, but the book is one of the greatest American works ever, in my opinion).

In 2010, I participated in Wikimedia Community Health Task Force. Here are my favorite recommendations made by various people (including myself). My recommendations focused on volunteer recognition.

In 2016, I added or updated several pages regarding volunteerism days around the world, and made sure they all linked together. I had no idea there were so many until I started trying to get them all updated and relatively uniform.

My Thoughts About Wikipedia[edit]

What I like about Wikipedia:

  • The volume of information (zowie!)
  • The clean, simple design of the web site, which makes it oh-so-simple to navigate
  • It's "low-tech" style (can be used on a low-end computer)
  • The increased use by many users to cite sources (versus when the site first started)
  • More often than not, it does give me the general definition or description or summary of something I was looking for

What I don't like about Wikipedia:

  • How difficult it is to edit pages
  • How difficult it is for a non-"techie" user to find guidance to appropriately edit pages
  • How often strongly-opinionated contributors dominate entries; people with vendettas and personal grudges, being more persistent, "win" any edit wars with others, regardless of whose information may be more accurate
  • How rude many Wikipedia users can be to those seeking help or trying to participate as Wikipedians
  • That there is no referee for edit wars/disputes between users regarding what a page should say
  • How unclear it can be regarding the rules for editing. I don't understand how making a page more accurate or more full of info can get a person in trouble because that person happens to be an expert on the subject - that's NOT "conflict of interest"!
  • The widespread inaccurate or incomplete information, and the lack of acknowledgment regarding this lack of quality control)
  • The shrug-of-shoulders response by Wikipedia leadership that seems to accompany acknowledgment of inaccurate information
  • That no one gets thanked for the time they take to improve information

Contacting Me (Jayne Cravens)[edit]

I do not log in to Wikipedia regularly. Therefore, if you send me a message via Wikipedia, I may not get it for months. It's much better to email me directly if you really want to get in touch with me.


  1. ^ "Folklore, Rumors (or Rumours) & Urban Myths Interfering with Development & Aid/Relief Efforts, & Government Initiatives (& how these are overcome)". Jayne Cravens, Retrieved 2016-03-29.