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The WikiGnome
WikiGnomes have been spotted here.
The elusive WikiGnome
Scientific classification
Genus: Smallus
Species: S. editus

A WikiGnome is a wiki user who makes useful incremental edits without clamouring for attention. WikiGnomes work behind the scenes of a wiki, tying up little loose ends and making things run more smoothly. Examples of WikiGnome-like behavior include fixing typos, correcting poor grammar, creating redirects, adding categories, and repairing broken links. Typical behavior is ticking the 'This is a minor edit' before saving any edit. The WikiGnome is the original example of WikiFauna, having originated in the first wiki, WikiWikiWeb.[1] WikiGnomes are also known as WikiGardeners.[2]

Many highly active wiki contributors exhibit WikiGnome-like behavior as part of their work, while others may limit themselves to WikiGnome activity.

WikiGnomes are considered to be friendly like WikiFairies and WikiElves. The rough opposite of a WikiGnome is a WikiTroll.

WikiGnomes love to work in the shadows (making what are called minor edits) in various nooks and corners of Wikipedia. Look at recent changes and you may even spot one at work.

WikiGnomes who are feeling familial or desirous of a grander sense of purpose often adopt a typo; gaining fulfillment by raising themselves into existence on the article namespace. Of course, editors are encouraged to garner up some courage and come into the light of day as a gesture of open friendliness and make their edits in a straightforward manner without being afraid of what others think.

Further examples of WikiGnome-like work include adding ISBNs of books that people mention and making an entry for their articles in the list of books by title, tracking down the authorship of "someone once said" quotations, organizing word pairs into tables, repairing links to disambiguation pages, adding links to text already in an article or to useful categories, adding redirects, finding sources for "citation needed" tags, adding examples and details to information referenced in the text (for example, adding "such as Silence and Deep River" to the line "Shūsaku Endō has written important books"), or clarifying vague information in the text (for example, replacing "the 2009 flu pandemic was the first in 40 years" with "the 2009 flu pandemic was the first since the 1968 Hong Kong flu").

How to identify WikiGnomes[edit]

The list of Wikipedians who wish to advertise their status as WikiGnomes is at Category:Wikipedian WikiGnomes.

If they so choose, users can advertise their WikiGnome-like qualities on their pages by adding a userbox to their user page with the following code:

{{User wikipedia/WikiGnome}}

It produces:

Wikignome crop.gif This editor is a WikiGnome.

If editors prefer not to use userboxes, they can still list their user pages in the WikiGnomes category by putting the following on it:

[[Category:Wikipedian WikiGnomes|{{PAGENAME}}]]

Another way for someone who self-identifies as a WikiGnome to advertise this is to display a small picture of a mushroom or WikiGnome at the top of the page next to their user name, which can be done by adding the following to your user page:

{{WikiGnome topicon}}

If editors do not wish to advertise themselves unduly, they can make a simple textual note of their interest in wikignomic activities.

Care and feeding of WikiGnomes[edit]

Wikipedians should know that despite their humble and very unassuming nature, WikiGnomes nevertheless still need to be told from time to time that their work is valued. If WikiGnomes don't feel the love from any of the people their work has helped often enough, they may sneak into the kitchens of such users at night and sit on their dairy products. Their needs in this regard are modest, however, and it only takes a brief word to them once in a while to avert such an unfortunate outcome. A collection of kind messages left for the WikiGnomes can be found at Wikipedia:WikiGnome/Kudos.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "WikiGnome on the WikiWikiWeb". Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  2. ^ Mader, Stewart (2007). Wikipatterns. Wiley. ISBN 0-470-22362-6.