What can I learn from Wikipedia?

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Working with the YWAM Knowledge Base is quite an experiment. First you need to get to know how to write in Wiki Language. To understand the concept of it. When I use a code I get this and that accomplished. And to add a picture or video to the page is also quite some study. But the result is great.

So what else can be learned? How does Wikipedia do what they do? Especially, how does the wikipedia community function?

Well best way to find out is to join them.

What can I learn from Wikipedia?

Before I joined the YWAM Knowledge Base I was already fascinated by Wikipedia. I love to browse around there. Click on one article and get into a whole long track of reading articles. Plus I also go from one language to the next. In my own tongue some things are shorter in description and other times I rather read a more detailed page, because I want to go into depth.

So that is what I love. But it does amaze me how it all got together. How it all exploded to an encyclopedia with millions of pages. What a source it is. And yes, it shapes us, the people of today.

Editing and Writing

Somewhere in 2008 I made my first edits on Wikipedia. Not long after I also made a profile page and did a few more small edits. Usually what I did is correcting some spelling errors or add a book of a writer that was missing. It is only recently that I get a bit more bold and yes, I wrote two short pages. Okay, I wasn't really the author. I actually translated two pages from Portuguese to Dutch. But still it is like I wrote them. And yes, it gives me a good feeling.

The great thing is that the pages still exist. The didn't get deleted and I even got a little feedback, thumbs up and some people even improved them. Links that didn't work were removed, other links got connected. I also found a picture in wiki.commons that make it even more complete.

Here you can see the results:

Gunnar Vingren
Daniel Berg

These two men did start a movement in Brazil from which came the church of the Assemblies of God. They were young missionaries from Sweden and a good example for YWAMers.

User Profiles

Following these two articles I got to know the people a bit more who gave me the thumbs up and did the extra changes to the articles. On their profiles they describe a bit of who they are, what interests they have, articles they have worked on and even awards they have received from others for what they did on Wikipedia.

I tried to copy a bit of what they had and made my own profile a bit like theirs: Adelaartjes.

Projects

Due to they Worldcup in Brazil a lot more attention is given to this country. Also on the Dutch Wikipedia there appeared a banner at the top asking for volunteers to join a project to write more articles about Brazil.

Of course, I couldn't resist. I needed to join. I wrote my name in the list and started to look around what there was to do on this page:

Schrijfweek Brazilië

What followed was amazing. I got to know a lot more about what is worked on and how much is already out there about Brazil. A lot! The main things that I saw that were added is the roadnetwork (Dutch people don't want to get lost in the jungle), national parks (Dutch people love everything green), and a whole list of tribes (Dutch people also like to see and visit people who walk around naked with feathers on their heads). And oh yes, there is also a passion to try out Brazilian beer. Furthermore there are a whole bunch of different topics.

One of them I found interesting about a Catholic church in Belo Horizonte. It is build by a famous architect, Oscar Niemeyer, who also designed the new capital of Brazil, Brasilia. It was said that this church wasn't blessed until years later. There was some sort of painting that wasn't fitting, according to what I read. So I left a comment with the page, because I really wanted to know what type of painting that was. And yes, I did get response. The painting is really abstract. Only one thing could be recognized: a dog. Apperently the catholics didn't like it to have their saint Francis being compared with a dog.

Sweet. That's what I like about the Wikipedia community. It is vibrant. Very active. Encouraging. And relaxed as well. I hope we will have some of the same here on the YWAM Knowledge Base. Let's keep on learning and share what we learned.

By Arnoud van Dillewijn.