Old and new juxtaposed in the financial centre of Warsaw
Chamber of the Sejm
, the lower house of the Polish parliament
is the largest city in southwestern Poland
Polish physicist, chemist, and Nobel laureate Marie Curie
When we approached the community at WikiProject Poland for an interview, we didn't expect a record-breaking 11 contributors to respond. Included below are members and non-members, native Poles and foreign friends, who come together at WikiProject Poland to improve Wikipedia's coverage of Polish history, politics, and culture. Some are excited by the project's accomplishments while others worry that an anti-Polish and anti-Eastern European bias still pervades Wikipedia.
The project's "ancient history" is best described by Piotrus: "WikiProject Poland was created in 2005 by Witkacy, a mysterious figure who after a period of high activity suddenly disappeared on us. At the same time, there were old WikiProjects (hailing to 2004) dedicated to the geography and history of Poland, with unfinished frameworks for restructuring and renaming articles. I became involved in finishing those tasks, trying to bring structure and standardized naming into Poland-themed articles. Over the years, those WikiProjects were retired as inactive, and merged with WikiProject Poland, channeling everybody interested in Poland issues. Around that time I decided to help with the maintenance of the project, and became more and more involved in it. In 2009, Poland-topics noticeboard was merged with the WikiProject talk, which finalized the process of merging all Poland-related discussion boards into one."
Today, the project is home to over 75,000 pages, including 14 pieces of Featured content, 6 A-class articles, and 53 Good Articles. The project keeps tabs on a watchlist, provides a variety of tools for improving articles, and welcomes discussions on its talk page. We interviewed Volunteer Marek, Xx236, Tymek, Nihil novi, Malik Shabazz, Piotrus, Kpalion, Vecrumba, Halibutt, Orczar, and Darwinek.
What motivated you to join WikiProject Poland?
- Volunteer Marek: The How to deal with Poles essay. Just kidding. I just stumbled upon the project after making some minor edits (initially I edited only economics-related subjects) to articles that nobody else seem to care about. The turbulence, the drama, the conspiracies, the cabals, the uprisings and insurrections, as well as the reconstruction and the rebuilding, all that came later.
- Xx236: Because I know many subjects and I didn't like the bias of several existing articles.
- Tymek: Nothing in particular. A few years ago I came across Wikipedia, looking for some information. After noticing that more Poland-related articles were needed, I decided to share the little knowledge I have.
- Nihil novi: I looked up some topics I was interested in; I learned from some articles, and I discovered that I could contribute to, or start, others. I had grown up bilingual and early began translating from Polish to English. In secondary school I realized that I was interested in everything generally, rather than in any one specific thing. At university I fantasized being able to audit whatever classes caught my interest, without having to bother about exams, credit-hours or grade-point averages (a little along the lines of what Steve Jobs practiced). Years later, it occurred to me that I might enjoy writing for, and helping edit, a general-interest magazine. More recently, all these inclinations found a venue for me at Wikipedia. And since I am fluent in the Polish language and have a general knowledge of Polish history and culture, I have been able to write, translate, edit, source and illustrate in the Wikipedia Polish project, among others.
- Malik Shabazz: Although two of my grandparents were born in Poland, I really didn't know much about it except some generalities (a few of which, I learned, were quite wrong). After an acrimonious exchange with several members of the WikiProject over Polish-Jewish history, I decided to join to mend fences and learn more.
- Piotrus: What made me became involved with the WikiProject in the first place? I guess I was looking for a place where some other editors interested in Poland-related issues would hang out, and the WikiProject was a natural place for it, in the Wikipedia-scheme of things.
- Kpalion: I never did! Apparently, I'm listed as an "honorary member" – one who contributes to Poland-related content, but never bothered to actually join the WikiProject.
- Vecrumba: The history of Eastern Europe is extraordinarily rich and complex as peoples and/or powers have waxed and waned over that territory. So, whether Poland-Lithuania or Poland annexed out of existence or Poland between the wars, Poland has always been a central figure to EE history over the ages.
- Halibutt: I never did. Although listed as a honorary member, I never actually joined the project. I still contribute to Poland-related topics and to some extent I collaborate with WP:PL, but mostly through my agent! That is, I ping Piotrus and he often carries the matter forward to the WikiProject. Other than that, I'm on extended wiki-vacations.
- Orczar: I started editing the Polish Wikipedia articles, then gradually English, where I almost exclusively work now. It seems that my time is put to better use this way, because a lot fewer people who have an interest in the history and affairs of Poland can do it in English than in Polish. Checking the WikiProject Poland talk page brings to my attention issues that I may be interested in. Most of my edits fall naturally in this subject area anyway.
- Darwinek: General interest in Polish topics. Also I found out it is a great place to ask for help and discuss some unclear topics.
Do you speak Polish? Have you contributed to the Polish Wikipedia?
- Volunteer Marek: Yes and yes. My contributions to Polish Wikipedia are limited, however, mostly because if I install Polish language diacritics on my computer somehow it screws up the mathematical symbols I need for real life work. And since typing out the special Polish letters manually is a big pain, I don't contribute there all that much.
- Xx236: Yes and yes.
- Tymek: Polish is my native language. As far as Polish Wikipedia is concerned, I improved some soccer-related articles a few years ago, but nothing else.
- Nihil novi: I have made a few contributions to the Polish Wikipedia. But while I am bilingual, English is the stronger of my languages, so I prefer to write in English.
- Malik Shabazz: No and no.
- Piotrus: Yes and yes. But I prefer to help out at en wiki – it is the international one, with best coverage of most issues. Not Polish, now, the country-specific issues are almost always better covered by national, local wikis – but we are working on fixing that!
- Kpalion: Polish is my native language. I've never contributed to Polish Wikipedia except occasional minor fixes or adding interwiki links. Polish Wikipedia is doing great, being the sixth largest by article count; on the other hand, contributing to English Wikipedia means you can reach a much wider audience and spread the knowledge of Poland all around the world!
- Vecrumba: No and no.
- Halibutt: Yes, I do speak Polish. And yes, initially I tried my luck at Polish Wikipedia. However, I had trouble with both the style and scope of Polish wiki. Back then (2004!) its standards were really low and many articles were little but collections of gossip and hearsay, and written in unusually poor Polish language at that. I realised that, being a grammar Nazi, I could spend my whole life just correcting simple grammar and stripping articles of weasel terms and dubious statements. Instead, I decided to flee in terror and settled here, in English wiki.
- Orczar: Yes and yes. In Poland related areas there is much more vacuum to be filled in English Wikipedia though. For the same reason, if I systematically edited in Polish I would probably want to cover foreign subjects.
- Darwinek: Yes and partially yes.
Have you contributed to any of the project's Featured and Good Articles? Are there any unique challenges to improving articles about Poland?
- Volunteer Marek: I have participated in some of the Featured Article Reviews and tried to improve/save some of the articles that were up for review. In some cases I was successful, in other, it was simply too much work. I have never written a Poland related FA "from scratch".
- I have written a couple Poland related GAs however (Robinson Crusoes of Warsaw, Jan Mazurkiewicz, Hugo Steinhaus), and contributed to more than I can count.
- The unique challenges revolve around three issues: obtaining in-depth sources isn't always easy. Lots of the subjects are actually covered pretty well in high quality academic sources but these have been published only in Polish, and even in Poland itself may be hard to find. Second, there is always a scarcity of editors. Over the years there have been quite a few but at any one time the number is low. This makes collaboration difficult and honestly, a lot of the articles are a product of effort by one or two editors. The other "unique challenge", which actually isn't all that unique on Wikipedia, is that, like other "Eastern and Central European topics", Poland-related articles can be quite controversial and this means battlegrounds and disputes and all that other fun. This can get in the way of just your basic content creating work. I should say though that the atmosphere has been much better lately.
- Xx236: No – I'm not a perfectionist and my English is poor.
- Tymek: To the best of my knowledge, I have not contributed to any Featured and Good Articles. I have written a number of DYKs, if it counts. I do not know of any unique challenges.
- Nihil novi: I have contributed to many Featured and Good articles, as well as to every other class, and to many DYKs.
- Malik Shabazz: My only contribution to Good Articles has been assistance in copy-editing. Some members of our WikiProject don't speak English as a first language, and the prose sometimes needs a little polishing.
- Piotrus: Yes, although I'll note that in my experience (having written a good number of FAs and GAs), they are not really "project projects". They are written primarily by one editor, with others helping with prose cleanup and such. In fact, I think only the Warsaw Uprising article was a collaborative effort by several different editors, working more or less simultaneously. This is more exemplified by the failure of our Collaboration of the Month attempt – rarely anybody but the nominator was interested in that subject. This is nothing unique to Poland, mind you, it is the case throughout Wikipedia. Developed articles have usually only one principal author, and collaborative projects fail. Trying to get many Wikipedians to work on the same topic is like herding cats, really.
- As for unique challenges, compared to most English-language subjects, lack of online sources comes to mind. Few books are scanned and available on Google Books, few Polish academic journals are online. A complimentary issue is the fact that Polish-language knowledge is highly useful for creation of articles. At the same time, English-language knowledge is of course necessary, and one of our major issues is the lack of English language prose copyeditors, who can improve the prose of articles created by ESLs such as myself. Neither of those are so much Poland-specific, really, as non-English specific.
- Kpalion: I've written four Poland-related Good Articles and one Featured List, but I have yet to (co-)write a Featured Article. Reaching consensus may prove difficult where spheres of interest of more than one national wikiproject overlap and too often degenerates to POV edit wars or protracted naming disputes – including the now legendary Danzig/Gdańsk war. Other challenges, like lack of time or occasional demotivation, are hardly unique.
- Vecrumba: I've been paying more attention of late to getting articles related to Eastern Europe promoted to GA and FA status. From that standpoint, Poland has the most content that is "almost there", so given my English language skills and knowledge of Eastern European history and critical eye, it's probably the best area for a positive contribution away from the endless bickering over portrayal of the Soviet legacy on WP, which won't change until Russia owns up to the USSR's role in starting WWII, invading and occupying the Baltic states, etc.
- Halibutt: I don't really know as I'm not an active member of the WikiProject. I've written some Poland-related Good and Featured Articles, but they seem to be missing from the project's page. Anyway, I've known many of its members for quite some time now and often ask for their help or advice on articles I'm working on. So in a way I don't collaborate with WikiProject Poland, but I do collaborate with its members.
- Orczar: I've written several GAs in the area of history of Poland, where I'm working on creating a sequence of comprehensive articles by a time period. There are many challenges. The number of editors with access to Polish language sources (often necessary) and writing in English is miniscule compared to the number of English speakers contributing to primarily English related articles. Many articles are basically unsourced. Adding references adds work and requires extra skills, many people just won't do it.
How well are Polish subjects covered by the English Wikipedia compared with subjects related to other European countries? Are there any topics or areas of Poland that are over-represented?
- Volunteer Marek: Compared to countries of the "former Soviet bloc" Polish subjects are very well covered. Compared to British, French or German related subjects, Polish topics are pretty poorly covered. Compared to other Western European countries, I think we're doing pretty good, especially given the "unique challenges" presented above.
- The sub-topic which is over covered within the area is basically history. Given Poland's past, history as a subject is very popular in Poland, in a way which I don't think people from countries with more "normal" (i.e. boring) histories can appreciate. So every Pole is an amateur (or more) historian. More modern topics on the other hand are fairly neglected. One exception – which I don't know all that much about – is Polish sports. Apparently some of the most viewed articles from WikiProject Poland are on Polish mixed-martial arts fighters. I have nothing to do with those.
- Xx236: Polish subjects are poorly covered, because English language sources are obsolete or don't exists and/or quote German/Russian sources. The main opinion about Poles is that they are antisemitic. Polish editors are legally discriminated against in this project (as Eastern Europeans). I believe also that Poles from Poland aren't assertive enough to oppose other editors. "Articles which relate to Eastern Europe, broadly interpreted, are placed under discretionary sanctions. Any uninvolved administrator may levy restrictions as an arbitration enforcement action on users editing in this topic area, after an initial warning."
- Tymek: Polish subjects look pretty good, which does not mean that the project is finished, as there is much more work to do.
- Piotrus: We don't really have reliable data on that; I am not familiar with any academic study of country-specific coverage. I am gathering some at this page, but it is more for gauging how much Poland-topics we have covered (~6%?) for the missing articles estimate rather than to compare with other countries. I'd like to think that because of the relatively high activity of our project, higher than that for many other countries, our coverage is above average. But I have no data to prove that.
- For area coverage within Poland subjects, I agree with VM that history is well covered, because many of us, myself included, are interested in it, and there are many sources for it. Overall, like for many other subjects, how well an area is covered really depends if we have an editor interested in it. For example, we have to GAs on cities, Białystok and Kraków, because we have (had) two editors who were very interested in improving the articles about cities they had some personal connection with. The fact that other Polish cities have articles of lesser quality is certainly not an indication of their lesser importance for the project – rather, it simply means that we don't have active editors who care enough about them to work on those. In other words, the importance and quality of Poland-themed articles are not strongly correlated with one another, neither is the quality significantly correlated with article's popularity – it is, however, strongly correlated to personal interests and hobbies of the small pool of our active editors.
- Kpalion: Maintaining the Poland Portal offers a tremendous opportunity to get a good overview of Wikipedia's coverage of Poland. Almost all of this WikiProject's quality articles (GA or higher) are history articles, with the odd biography here and there. You may have noticed that, where other portals have "Selected article" section to showcase the projects best articles, the Poland one sports a "From Polish history" section. The reason is probably that most Polish contributors to English Wikipedia (including myself) are history buffs – and more generally, Poles as a nation are often described as being obsessed with history. The Poland of the past seems to have a much better coverage here than the Poland of today. For the amount of information Wikipedia has about Poland, there is surprisingly little about Poland's geography and economy.
- Vecrumba: Generally, better covered than other Eastern European countries. One of the challenges is deletionism, particularly regarding articles about individuals significant to the history of culture or EE countries. There's still a strong Anglo-centric bias. As also mentioned, there is a mountain of uninformed anti-Eastern European bias out there that Wikipedia can address through well-written objective articles.
- Halibutt: Generally, Polish-related topics are fairly well represented, at least when it comes to non-controversial or not history-related articles. Now those are a completely different matter. A couple of years ago we had a nasty all-out war against Polish Wikipedians waged by a number of groups. In the end many decent contributors withdrew from English Wikipedia altogether. I also decided that constant quarrels and slandering my good name are not what I volunteered for, and went on extended wiki-leave. This resulted in many articles being written entirely from Russian or Lithuanian perspective, as there was no one to check new edits and tone them down if their only source, for instance, was a book by well-known holocaust denial pseudo-historian. Or to add Polish perspective to articles on Polish history. As long as the book you are citing as a source is not in English, you are pretty much safe to add anything to Wikipedia after all, it all comes down to good will, or lack of it. Correcting such articles might be a difficult task, certainly one I'm not willing to take. But again, if you're not looking for information on WWII, Poles expelled from the east in the 1940's or the history of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth but rather for articles on towns in Lesser Poland or a castle somewhere in Masovia, you are likely to find what you are looking for.
- Orczar: I don't know about over-represented, large areas are not properly covered. As is the case in Wikipedia in general, the development of a subject or article depends on the existence of an interested, willing and able editor, who makes a major effort. Countless many Poland-related topics are not yet properly covered and the same is true I'm sure in other foreign language expertise areas, so there is a lot of work to be done. Many editors have the tendency to push national myths that they grew up absorbing in their countries of origin, the Poles, needless to say, are no exception.
- Darwinek: I think they are fairly well covered comparing to other European countries. Good examples include history and football. As with other countries, the under-represented topics are mostly the scientific ones or literary articles.
Describe the community at WikiProject Poland. Are most members residing in Poland or are they expatriates? What kinds of conversation most frequently occur on the project's talk page? Are there any go-to editors for questions about Poland-related articles?
- Volunteer Marek: We're a fun bunch. No, really. I think there is a sense of community within the project, and I'd even to venture to say that some bad-faith people might say too much of it. But like I said already, sometimes the numbers get low and it's up to just two or three people to keep things going. Anyone familiar with WikiProject Poland, or actually, just Wikipedia itself, knows that Piotrus has been the driving force and the "go-to" guy of the project for ever since anyone can remember. He essentially build the project up and is responsible for its development, as well as the hundreds of high quality Poland-related articles that Wikipedia has.
- I think project members tend to split pretty evenly between in-Poland and expatriates, though like I said, the numbers fluctuate.
- Most conversations on project page actually revolve around technical matters. About a quarter of the posts or so involve people from outside the project raising Poland-related questions (requests for translations, clarifications, sources etc.) which we happily try to answer (and in the past these kinds of outside queries have led to the development of some under-appreciated areas of the project).
- Xx236: I know very little about the community.
- Tymek: Most of my encounters with members of WikiProject Poland have been positive. We try to help each other, yet we act independently, and everybody has their own opinion about Poland, its history, culture, etc.
- Nihil novi: Over the years, Polish-subject participants have shown a broad range of knowledge, linguistic ability, and capacity for civil discourse. Until a year or two ago, much Polish-project energy was wasted by demagogy and skirmishing among chauvinists of various, mostly adjoining, countries. Some difficulties continue to be created by individuals whose self-assurance exceeds their objective knowledge, as when Polish and other speakers of English as a second language display a tin ear for the nuances of English and insist on their own awkward English renderings of Polish names, terms and toponyms. The most consistently productive and helpful project member is no doubt Piotrus.
- Malik Shabazz: The members of the WikiProject are a great bunch of editors. I get the impression that we're about evenly split between people in Poland and expatriates. There is little question that our "go-to" guy is Piotrus.
- Piotrus: The community is composed of several active editors. The project may boast dozens of members, but only a fraction of them participate in the discussions and other activities; I won't name them – they will probably post here anyway (or had already). Various people have their own expertise, being a go-to persons for various tasks. If I have a question about economics, I'll talk to VM, if about philosophy, to NN, if about Kresy, to Halibutt, and so on. Of course, outsiders cannot be expected to know who to ask – this is what our project talk page is for; they ask – we answer.
- Kpalion: Piotrus is certainly not only an extremely prolific and dedicated Wikipedian, but also the one who keeps the whole WikiProject together. I wouldn't even know about this interview without him! He's also the only member of the WikiProject I've had the occasion to meet in person.
- Vecrumba: Being in a position of being pro-Polish, pro-Lithuanian, et al., I have, on occasion, been able to bring some objectivity to the portrayal of intractable conflicts over history and who wronged whom, who wronged whom first, who wronged whom worse, etc. There is some Polish blood on my wife's side of the family.
- Darwinek: The community consists of several quite active editors and many occasional contributors. The conversation on the project's talk page generally deals with some unclear issues, reporting of AfDs and some sort of general article troubleshooting.
Have you contributed to the project's portal? How difficult was it to achieve Featured Portal status? What are some lessons other country-specific projects can learn from WikiProject Poland for developing their portals?
- Volunteer Marek: Nope, and so I don't know hard it was to get to Featured Portal status.
- As far as lessons go, I realize that it's "Wikipedia correct" to hype collaboration and all that. But honestly, for a country-specific project to get off the ground and to persist (I have also been involved in some other Wiki Projects which seemed to have died a natural death) you really do need one or two individuals who are deeply committed to it and who can drive it forward. The folks who'll keep going even when the rest of the project goes limp. People who are both good editors but also good organizers and managers. Even if you look at something like WikiProject Military History, which is probably the most successful topic-specific WikiProject in existence, you'll see that back when it was started it was just one or two editors who turned it into what it is today. Same thing here. And yes, it's Piotrus who has kept it going through thick or thin.
- Another lesson particular to country-specific projects is that country-specific topics will sooner or later end up embroiled in some controversy or dispute, simply because of history. At that point the thing to keep in mind is that all them battles and disagreements, while sometimes inevitable, are really a side show. The thing to do is to keep writing articles and keep contributing content. It keeps you anchored.
- Oh yeah, also, try starting a secret mailing list. That works really well.
- Piotrus: Portal:Poland is almost solely maintained by User:Kpalion, who has taken care of it for years. This just goes to show how much depends on one person, and how much can one editor achieve.
- Kpalion: While I'm practically the only person to directly maintain the portal on a regular basis, I must say that many other members of the wikiproject contribute much more to it indirectly. There's no original content in the portal; its sole purpose is to showcase Wikipedia's coverage of Poland and that coverage is created by many a tireless wikipedian – least of all by myself. Getting a portal to featured status does require some work, creativity and patient maintenance, but at least you can leave sourcing and citations to the authors of actual articles! As for tips for other country portals, the trick is not to concentrate on what the country has to offer, but what Wikipedia has to offer on its topic. If the coverage of a given country is skewed to some particular area, you can create a section of the portal devoted to that area – be it history, sports or cuisine. Making use of random selection is helpful, but regular maintenance is also necessary. In the Poland portal, DYK is updated monthly, reusing Poland-related hooks from Main Page DYK. I also add news manually under criteria similar to the Main Page ones (only if an article is created or updated to reflect the news) rather than pulling them automatically from Wikinews.
- Vecrumba: No, I haven't. Maintaining a portal is a thankless, but very visible, task for which I offer my thanks to the above! I did do a significant amount of work on initially filling out the Latvia portal, however, I have my own web sites to fulfill those impulses.
What are the project's most urgent needs? How can a new contributor help today?
- Volunteer Marek: Hmm, more content is always good. But also improving existing articles, which were written long time ago when standards where much lower but which deserve better treatment. A lot of this is a thankless task with little recognition outside the project. But that's actually what builds an encyclopedia. Sourcing a lot of older articles would be good. Simply having more bodies on the ground would help a lot.
- One aspect which I have been thinking about, but have not brought up at the project talk page yet is that at this point the project has grown big enough that an internal categorization scheme would be useful. We already assess articles according to class and importance, but it would be good to also categorize them according to whether they have to do with Polish history, Polish sports, Polish politics (the three largest components), Polish architecture, Polish cuisine, etc., in a manner similar to the "task force" categorizations of the Military History project. I think carrying out something like that would enable us to highlight the areas which need more work. Sort of like an internal audit of the project. At this stage this is just an idea.
- Tymek: WikiProject Poland needs more people. There are millions of Poles living all over the world. Yet there are so few people involved in the project.
- Malik Shabazz: We have a backlog of articles waiting for B-class assessments. Any editor, even if they're not a subject expert, can help.
- Piotrus: We have the same urgent need now as we had for the past years: we need more editors to take part in our discussions, and to occasionally help out with tasks like the B-class reviews. We have barely made a scratch on those, struggling to do a few B-class reviews per months (still the fact that we do them puts us in the top few per cent of the most active projects), and ambitious plans for A-class have are shelved for the future. Too many tasks rely on one person – I am the only one who monitors the new article feed, Kpalion is the only one maintains the portal, and so on. We need more people to help out to improve the redundancy with such tasks. If we were to lose two or three editors, the project would lapse into semi-activity or inactivity. A few more active editors would really help us a lot. Even if one would only comment in the discussions few times a month, do one or two B-class reviews per months, or such, it would help a lot. So if you are interested in Poland issues, please, watchlist our page, and join in. You could make a big difference.
- Kpalion: The breadth of coverage is already impressive, especially in the history area. But there are few GA+ quality articles about Poland and not necessarily on the most important subjects. Identifying core topics for the WikiProject and working on improving them is probably the most urgent need.
- Vecrumba: I'm focusing on article quality improvement.
- Darwinek: I'd say newcomers should be able to create quality articles, countering system bias. They could also help with tagging existing articles with the WikiProject's banners, and by taking part in discussions on project's talk page.
Anything else you'd like to add?
- Volunteer Marek: Yeah, don't edit Wikipedia unless you enjoy it. And a good part of that means being true to yourself and avoiding hypocrisy, even if that means either getting your ass blocked for speaking your mind, or (and this is a very important "or") admitting that sometimes you're wrong and made a mistake on some occasion.
- Tymek: I really enjoy Wikipedia. I like to write articles in my broken English, I like to search for information, to search for new topics, which are not covered yet by the project. When I write a new article, I share my knowledge, but also I learn about a topic myself. I also want to thank all people involved in the project, especially Piotrus. If it wasn't for him, WikiProject Poland would not exist.
- Malik Shabazz: No, except that Poles are not evil.
- Piotrus: A tip to people interested in creating an active country-themed WikiProject (or a topic discussion board): merge those two! The most active projects, IMHO, are those which have eliminated a regional noticeboard (WP:RNB), and channeled editors into one discussion forum. We don't have enough people to maintain multiple discussion fora, it's as simple as that.
- I'll also add that this WikiProject community is a major reason I am still contributing, despite few close calls with being burned out. We are a number of helpful and friendly people, who for years have worked to create and maintain a friendly editing environment. Helping out with a WikiProject and related tasks is no more hard work than most other tasks on Wikipedia, but it is much more rewarding. Perhaps this is because we are at heart a content-creation community, with little need or desire for conflict, drama and power-posturing. If you want to relieve some wiki stress with a friendly bunch of people, check us out (or another WikiProject you find interesting). Content-creation and content-discussion, with shared interests, bring people together much more than anything else I've seen around.
- Vecrumba: I've interacted with a number of editors, including Polish, on WP that I would consider them to be real-life friends at this point. The pleasure of working with editors who are striving to bring Eastern Europe out of its half-century cloak of obscurity and still clouded in Nazi- and Soviet-era propaganda makes up for all the down-sides of being active on WP. The love of one's country and heritage is the best guarantee for superior content, regardless of the grossly insulting and demeaning prejudice that is exhibited every day that one's blood and surname determine whether an editor is objective, and that being third generation Irish American is an inoculation against the Eastern European genetic POV-affliction disease. Sorry for being blunt, but that has been the state of affairs for years, and continues to be so.
- Orczar: I heard once on NPR or Chicago's WBEZ radio that Wikipedia's major problem is how to contain its growth. What nonsense. This is like saying that the major problem with human knowledge is how to contain its growth. To me Wikipedia is mostly empty space that needs to be filled! If you think I'm wrong, compare the Wikipedia of today (February 11, 2012) with what you'll see there twenty years from now (presuming its survival).
- I just read above on the (excessive?) emphasis on Polish history. You could have gone to any of the presently defunct Border stores (or any of the major still existing brands) and easily find hundreds of books on the history of any of the larger West European nations or Russia, but nothing or nearly nothing on Poland. Apparently for the average Western mind we simply don't exist. So if Wikipedia can make up a little bit of this deficiency, so much for the better.
- Nihil novi: Amen to above comment. Poland tends to be one of those countries that are invited to make a brief guest appearance only when they experience disasters (e.g., invasions and occupations) too great to ignore. I can think of some Polish national experiences whose contemplation could profit other countries today.
Next week, we'll try to separate fact from fiction. Until then, contemplate alternate history and dystopian futures in the archive.
Explore Wikipedia history by browsing The Signpost archives