Wikipedia is a funny place. My first encounter still lingers with me and I have to confess to being an addict in part because it matters. Wikipedia is after all the first hit on search for many a subject. I originally got involved to see what it was like to be an agent in a complex adaptive system. Since then I have been frustrated by various editors who I collectively term advocates of idiocies who tend to focus on protecting their heros or heroines from any criticism, or use Wikipedia as a propaganda front. You also see old conflicts continuing in modern forms. Debates about the legitimate or illegitimate use of the term British Isles occupies many a page. Did Sinn Féin start in 1970 or 1905 is an ongoing debate. I’m starting to spend time on various new age and related articles that tend to be populated by editors whose neutrality is suspect. My son says its my computer game, and he may be right. Its a great experiment, and I still think that ultimately right does win out. Editing also teaches you the value of patience, and the way in which a large community can create its own conventions of good practice.
However its not just a place to debate content, its also a place where great friendships form. By engaging with people as they edit you start to understand their passions and commitments. As you get to know them more other contacts and links follow. You also find useful sources for many things. Daicaregos is one example of this. He started to edit Wikipedia after I did and is a welsh speaker, so engages in various geographical and sporting articles as well as some political ones. A good content editor with a sense of balance and fair play, its always a pleasure to interact with him. That sort of interaction creates a mental image, but then you discover that he is a part of the fine arts scene in South Wales responsible for an incredible range of jewelry (example above). Caregos by the way means pebbles if translated from the Welsh, and Dai is south-Welsh for David. Its not a connection that my normal social range would have made, but then again without wikipedia I wouldn’t have had a fascinating six hour chat about philosophy with a member of Arbcom (the ultimate governing body) ending up with a hysterical game of trying to find the most appropriate punishments for various sects in Dante’s inferno. So join in, wikipedia needs you, and if you fancy a high quality gift or two then visit Caregos on line.