Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2018-12-01/Op-ed

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Looking back, looking forward: A beginner's experience on Wikipedia: The experiences of a new user on Wikipedia, told in their own words.
Tarte pruneaux 2.jpg
Pie diplomacy via Isarra WP:WPX. Maybe I could try pizza diplomacy, salad for the health concerned. Or maybe even an Indianised version of this, umm, Kaju barfi diplomacy, or even Panipuri! Sigh, only if the pictures of the Indian stuff were more appealing! Will add to my endless Wiki to-do list. I'll stick with pie for now!
DiplomatTesterMan takes us on a journey of a new user on Wikipedia, told in their own words. You will read about what the user has been up to here so far, about how the motivations to keep editing have changed over time, what the user thinks of Wikipedia now and some deliberation on what the future aims could be. The user tries to keep it humourous (Wikipedia:Humor) here and there, so bear with them, from the pie at the beginning right till the prayer at the very end. So let's begin...
Please bite the newbies

With a global edit count reaching 3,000, and with 2,641 edits on Wikipedia, I still consider myself a newbie here. On my user page my first line still stays "I am still getting the hang of Wikipedia" and I think that’s gonna stay there now, forever, as a memory to remind myself what it was like to be a newer newbie with around just 50–60 edits ten months ago. (Yes yes edit counts matter, see Wikipedia:Edits Per Day & WP:EDITCOUNT [quality + quantity] hence all the numbers! :P) And I am also a noob since I joined after 2000AD according to Wikipedia:Please bite the newbies.

My takeaways related to Wikipedia so far

Wikipedia is an amazing example of collaborative human effort that everyone can be a part of. All Wikipedians know this, but hearing this from just one more person reaffirms the thought, always.

  • The Wikipedia community at large has amazing people and amazing editors, even if some love to create sock puppets and pick on each other every now and then.
  • Personal motivations to edit Wikipedia will keep changing for a young user like me.
  • Editing Wikipedia is a thankless job most of the time (WP:THANKLESS) This is where the community aspect that happens behind the scenes makes a difference in the long run. Simple things like sending "thanks" do work in cheering up people (WP:THANKS,WP:THANKYOU) (I guess psychologists use the term instant gratification for this, a more relatable example maybe would be cat pictures for others, oh the joy!)
  • But at the end of the day, Wikipedia does not need you aka "Get over it". If you think Wikipedia owes you something for the stress of editing articles, then no. Read this: Wikistress for getting the facts into your head such as "that you're just getting sucked into a scheme to line Jimbo's pockets" just to feel even more depressed :D :D
  • If you think you're the only one cribbing about how flawed Wikipedia is, you haven't seen sites such as Wikipediocracy.
  • Wikipedia has more strengths than flaws. The strengths clearly outweigh the faults (only if you are an optimist and you keep your own ego in check, or you like pie).
  • The parts of Wikipedia that are transparent are the best parts: being able to see page histories, user histories, talk pages, being able to see how decisions are being made, being able to see whether the core principles of Wikipedia really are honourable or just the biggest Wikipedia hoaxes of all. :D
  • Take a break from Wikipedia when your stress goes up. (WP:ENJOY) It helps. Being on Wikipedia should be rewarding, and shouldn't feel blood sucking or even worse, soul sucking! WikiVampire Slayers needed.
  • I now have a reason to pray and believe in God... to pray that Wikipedia doesn't implode or explode anytime in the near future. I am young and am so curious related to how Wikipedia will have evolved say after fifty years. (WP:ARMAGEDDON, LOL wiki essays cover it all, WP:TOOMANYESSAYS, stop, no more..... WP:FUCKIT)
Vikram Sood Ex Intelligence Chief RAW India.jpg
Among the media which I have uploaded, one of the photographs of a former intelligence chief of India which I took for Wikipedia is among the ones I am most proud of, especially because it is on the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) page which had no pictures before I stumbled along :D
Shehla Rashid Yuva Hunkar Rally New Delhi.jpg
Contributing pictures has been ever so fun. It gives added purpose to my smartphone camera other than just being used for selfies!
What I've been up to over here

On a more serious note, this year I have been consistent on Wikipedia and have managed to create 43 new articles in main space, all which still need improvement, some closer than others to "GA" status such as Delhi War Cemetery. Just recently Cwmhiraeth accepted my first DYK submission for a page I initiated and expanded: National Police Memorial (India). (The day I found out that this memorial had just been revamped and was open to public again, I actually rushed out in the morning to take pictures with my mobile phone just so that I could put it onto Wikipedia! Newbies huh!) Then I voted like a diligent Wikipedian in the Arbitration Committee Elections December 2018 and learnt of Isarra's pie diplomacy. At another level I have got into arguments with users and sock puppets here and there, but now looking back, I was at fault most of the time (WP:CLUELESS, WP:FALLIBLE) and have learnt a lot from the encouragement and guidance of various experienced editors here such as DBigXray, Kautilya3, Vanamonde, Adamgerber80 and so many others.

Changing motivations to edit Wikipedia: From my college teachers plagiarizing Wikipedia to the thrill of calculating pageviews to wanting to find the secret ingredients that makes Wikipedia tick

My first burst of motivation to start editing Wikipedia was related to creating a new article which wasn't there on Wikipedia in 2013. I had noticed that Wikipedia always kept popping up in my Google search results, somehow always managing to appear right at the top of the search results and I felt that this organisation "deserved" to have a page of its own. After a gap of four years the next burst of motivation came when I realised that some of my teachers in college were blatantly picking up matter from the lead of Wikipedia articles word for word and using it as a class presentation without any reference to where that information came from; and just to rub in their laziness even more, the final nail was when a teacher came to me asking if I could collect some matter on interpretative journalism. I soon found that probably the only reason the teacher said that was because Wikipedia didn't have a page on it at the time, which I then created.

Over time my motivations to continue editing Wikipedia have changed, one of the grandest being wanting to learn the secrets that hold the Wikipedia universe together. I wanted to understand who made the gel that keeps the hair straight and sexy, I wanted to understand the hukana to the matata, to understand who is the wife here and who is the husband and who are just the angry neighbours next door. I wanted to understand why Wikipedia editors are volunteers when the joker has clearly told us not to work for free. But trying to understand the secrets of Wikipedia and how it works was in a way like Master Po's revelation in Kung Fu Panda, when he is told there is no secret, there are no secret ingredients.

Wikipedia Congratulations idea for page views.jpg
Part of a larger set of ideas I had in mind, which I now consider a classic example of Wikipedia:Most ideas are bad

Another burst of motivation spread from knowing that edits I was making and pages I was initiating on Wikipedia were being viewed by many many people. Just how many I wondered so I even checked once – over 1.2 million views at the time of counting in August 2018. This was mainly because of Satyameva Jayate which already has crossed 2 million page views in just a few months. Now pageviews do not give me the same motivation as it did before. Pageviews also aren't a good way to decide whether to contribute to a particular page or not in the long run. This hunger for pageviews and recognition also resulted in a classic example of 'Wikipedia:Most ideas are bad' as depicted in the picture.

What lies ahead for editors like me, for me?
Atal Bihari Vajpayees Funeral Procession.jpg
A picture of a former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, during his funeral procession which I took. This picture is currently on his Wikipedia page, the only picture which hasn't been uploaded via official channels. Sadly India still doesn't know enough about uploading pictures onto Wikipedia Commons.

Aims of mine in the future include:

  • Not letting my mainspace contribution fall below 60% (As if that's going to happen)
  • Help improve existing articles. (And forgetting about whether this is a never ending process or not. BTW, it is never ending)
  • Contribute and help out at The Signpost more!
  • Deletion percentage of articles I create needs to reduce and accordingly get a couple of other tags such as autopatrolled and NPR
  • Work on idea suggested at Idea Lab
  • I am an Indian Wikipedia user living in India. Utilise this to your advantage!
  • umm...
  • Help out new editors, they may just be a WikiDodo
  • Figure out whether a user is better off staying anonymous or revealing a real identity on the userpage in brief? (WP:ANONYMOUS, WP:BLESSING, WP:ANONYOVERUSE)
  • Keep sleepwalking the basements of Wikipedia for pages such as Wikipedia:Esperanza, WP:SPIDERMAN and Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an MMORPG
(From most serious to least serious, for those who didn't get it. I guess that is the beauty of the humour here too, that the humour is also crowd-sourced from around the world)
As I close this article here,
I request all citizens of Wikiville to please bow your heads in prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the pages I cannot edit,
The courage to edit the pages I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
(Source: WP:HOLIC; adapted from The Serenity Prayer)[1]
Amen.