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First place winning image of chestnut-tailed starlings by Touhid biplob, CC BY-SA 4.0.

In the volcanic valleys of Russia, a red fox lies alert amongst chossy boulders; in the treetops of Thailand, an owl precariously slumbers; and in the forests of Bangladesh, a venomous pit viper stalks its prey.

As unprecedented as 2020 has been, this year’s Wiki Loves Earth photography competition presents a stunning view of the world beyond our walls. Out of 106,240 submissions, this inspiring shot of two chestnut-tailed starlings fighting (and one seemingly in shock) clinched the first-place spot.

Each year, Wiki Loves Earth (WLE) calls for photography of local natural heritage, particularly in protected areas such as nature reserves, national parks, habitat management zones, and wilderness. It asks participants to share their work on Wikimedia Commons, a media repository that houses many of the photos found on Wikipedia and its companion projects. …


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We spoke to four women who are updating Wikipedia with facts about COVID-19 to help keep the public informed.

In one antiquated brain teaser, a boy and his father, both hurt in an accident, are taken to separate hospitals. The doctor tasked with treating the boy looks at him and says, “I can’t operate; this is my son.” How is this possible?

The answer is that the doctor is the boy’s mother. This scenario has puzzled listeners for too long because of deep-seated stereotypes about who does what in our societies. The truth is, we can learn more — and do better — when everyone contributes, without gender stereotypes as a limiting factor.

As the world comes together to fight the spread of COVID-19, women are making an impact everywhere from emergency rooms to research labs. They are making an impact on Wikipedia, the world’s resource for free knowledge, too. …


A series showcasing the women behind Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects.

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Over the last decade, volunteer Vera de Kok has uploaded nearly 70,000 media files to Wikimedia Commons.

Netherlands-based volunteer Vera de Kok has been a Wikimedian for almost a decade. Her participation started after hearing Jimmy Wales’ TED Talk about the birth of the online encyclopedia.

Vera participates in the Wikimedia movement in a variety of ways: With a background as a developer, she helps develop scripts and tools that improve Wikipedia’s functionality. She also has a passion for enhancing the visual aspects of Wikipedia — whether that’s transferring photo collections from Flickr, digging through archives for public domain works, or even going out to take photos herself to add to articles.

Photography is a powerful medium for making people, cultures, and communities visible, but it can also perpetuate stereotypes. Numerous studies have found that stock photos and Google Image results often depict highly gendered pictures of different categories of work, for example. …


A series showcasing the women behind Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects.

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Dr. Jess Wade has written nearly 1,000 Wikipedia biographies about women, people of color and LGBTQ+ scientists.

You might already know Dr. Jess Wade from one of her numerous speeches, media appearances, or even her Wikipedia page. The London-based physicist has been making waves since she started editing Wikipedia in 2017, becoming a high-profile voice for the representation of women in science online.

At times, it has felt like an uphill battle. Dr. Wade has faced backlash for some of her efforts to chronicle the accomplishments of women in science, such as when other editors deleted a biography she authored of American nuclear chemist Clarice Phelps. …


A series showcasing the women behind Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects.

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Rupika Sharma, founder of Wiki Loves Folklore, uses Wikipedia as a platform to uplift the Punjabi language and culture so it can continue to survive.

Rupika Sharma’s journey as a Wikimedia volunteer began in 2014, when a classmate told her that anyone could edit Wikipedia. When she went home, Rupika started writing an article for the Punjabi language edition of Wikipedia about Karva Chauth, an Indian festival that celebrates the love and longevity of married couples. From there, she expanded her topics to write about everything from linguistics to Indian cuisines and women’s biographies on Wikipedia.

“It felt like I had entered a new world where there was a chance to connect with a community of open-minded people who worked together for a cause, for a mission,” Rupika said. …


A series showcasing the women behind Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects.

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Wikipedia volunteer Basak began editing the online encyclopedia in 2005.

Basak, a longtime Turkey-based Wikimedia volunteer, was sitting in a concert audience gathered to hear a performance of Tchaikovsky’s classic “Swan Lake” when she opened the program booklet and saw some familiar words. “I knew that it was simply copied and pasted from Wikipedia,” she said, “because I could easily recognize my own sentences.” She describes that moment — looking around and seeing people read the content of a Wikipedia article she’d edited — as unforgettable. It is one of many treasured moments Basak has experienced since she started editing Wikipedia in August 2005.

But things have not always been easy for Basak and her fellow Wikimedians in Turkey, especially during a two-and-a-half year block of Wikipedia in the country, which was just lifted earlier this year. …


Out of more than 200,000 submissions, fifteen winning images were announced today in the tenth Wiki Loves Monuments photography contest.

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The second-place winning image. Photo by Morteza Salehi, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Wiki Loves Monuments isn’t your typical photography competition. For starters, it’s the world’s largest, as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s also a platform for global collaboration in making beautiful, significant photos of monuments freely available to anyone, anywhere.

As part of the competition, photographers from around the world donate their images to Wikimedia Commons, the free repository that holds most of the images used on Wikipedia, to ensure that the world’s most visible cultural heritage is documented and held in trust for future generations.

This is a mission that only grows in importance each year, as our heritage is often under threat from human action or natural disasters — the latter already being exemplified in 2020 by the bushfires raging all across Australia, earthquakes in Puerto Rico, and volcano eruption in the Philippines. …


Which English Wikipedia entries got the most views this year? Here’s the top 25.

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Billie Eilish. Photo by crommelincklars, CC BY 2.0.

You should see me in a crown
I’m gonna run this nothing town
Watch me make ’em bow
One by one by one

Billie Eilish, “You Should See Me In A Crown” (2019)

Billions of people visited Wikipedia over the course of a chaotic 2019, and we now have the data to say what they were most interested in. Let’s all kneel before Thanos, whose Avengers: Endgame ruled over all of us.

The film, the culmination of over a decade of storytelling across nearly two dozen films, is now the highest-grossing film of all time. …


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Photo by Sven Damerow, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The child of a monkey holds on to its mother tightly. A lone straw bale stands in a field prior to being collected. A few rays of sunlight filter into a dark, foreboding cave filled with clear blue water.

These are a mere three of the imagination-fueling winners from the international Wiki Loves Earth photography competition, whose results were announced today. The overall winner, seen above, shows a banded demoiselle hovering near a dandelion’s seedhead. …


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George Oates. Image by Europeana EU, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Earlier this year, the Wikimedia Foundation asked designer George Oates, who has worked for Flickr and the Internet Archive’s Open Library, among others, to conduct a deep dive into Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository that provides many of the images used on Wikipedia. We wanted a fresh pair of eyeballs, and we were particularly interested in Oates’ observations about possible areas of improvement.

Oates soon realized navigating Wikimedia Commons and finding interesting materials is challenging. She noted how the category system used to organize and tag media files on Commons is confusing and hides — not shows — the richness of content there. Other areas of improvement she mentioned include making both contributors and contributions more prominent and inviting, improving the user experience for new users, and actively recruiting more diverse gender participation in the project. …

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The official Medium account for the Wikimedia Foundation and the sum of all knowledge, Wikipedia.

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