RuWiki History (Doronina and Pinchuk)/English/Interview with Laurentia

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RuWiki History (Doronina and Pinchuk)/English
Name Лаврентия
Languages Russian, English
Number of edits


Interview with Laurentia

1. Your handle on Wikipedia?

Laurentia

2. What is your educational background and where do you work?

Literary editor

3. Where do you live (Moscow, St. Petersburg, a city with a million inhabitants, a small town, etc)?

a city with a large number of inhabitants (I was born and lived all my life in Moscow, now I live in New York)

4. How old are you?

This is not a question for ladies (older than 30)

5. When and how did you first hear about the Russian Wikipedia, and why did you start editing?

I found out about it from discussions: my whole family is here (in the sense that there are articles about them), and we all came in, edited mistakes in articles on our relatives and acquaintances, and talked about Wikipedia amongst ourselves. Then I started wanting to edit articles on others, so I registered and got pulled in. The work needs to be done, and I know a lot of people, so I can fill in some things.

6. How many years have you participated? If you ever took an extended wiki-vacation, please provide the reason (i.e., too much work offwiki, unpleasant atmosphere/events in the project itself, or something else).

One year.

I decided not to return after a very unpleasant scandal, in which I considered myself to be insulted. I corrected a mistake in someone else's article, which the author of the article didn't like, so she instantly caused a commotion, though some people supported me. Then, there arose another group of people -- by the way, holding respected positions in ru.wiki -- who actively spoke out against me and those administrators who supported me. As a result, the article of the aforementioned author continued to have mistakes. Finally, I was tired of this -- professionally, I can't stand mistakes in a text, so I turned to "Report mistakes" with a request for correction. There was one decent administrator who fixed it. And some users responded very warmly to my comments and asked me to return. But this time, I didn't have the same euphoria, and I realized with absolute certainty that among the administrators there are people who, as they say, "do what they want." I don't even know in what way this comes about: there are no salaries, users hide behind pseudonyms/handles, but, clearly, there is some kind of careerism or, more accurately, a kind of self-aggrandizement. Among the users there are many people who live in foreign countries, and this is difficult: all around is a foreign tongue, foreign customs, foreign people (even if you meet someone and become close, this will never substitute for your old school and university friends), and in general people feel lonely and cannot fully realize themselves in foreign countries, so they find themselves on ru.wiki. And even among those who live at home, there are still many lonely people, especially among the youth (younger than me, i.e., under 30). Intellectual uselessness brings people to Wikipedia, where people can share their knowledge and receive interesting knowledge. Wikipedia is a game for intellectuals.

среди администраторов есть люди, которые, что называется, «делают свои дела»

7. What do you like most about participating in the project? Why do you think you and other users participate in this work?

The intellectual demand.

8. Which events do you consider to be the most important in the history of ru.wiki?

I don't know. I'm relatively new here. And after the scandal I reduced my participation in Wikipedia.

9. Do your professional interests overlap with the areas in which you edit on ru.wiki? If not, how do you decide which articles to edit?

Yes, they overlap. I love my work -- that is, literary editing. And here, in contrast to a professional job with a salary, I can choose the topics that I like, that are closer to me. And not even always closer; sometimes I see obvious inadequacies and confusion in articles that are not very thematically familiar to me (but, of course, still having to do with culture -- that's my field), and sometimes you find something through Google and add to it.

10. Do you participate in "metapedian" work, i.e., patrolling, discussions of nomination for deletion or renaming, templates? Do you follow the discussions that take place on the Forum, discussion pages of the ArbCom, etc.? Why/why not?

Not under any circumstance. At first I didn't even know that these kinds of discussions exist and simply worked on articles. But gradually I found out because of the scandal, in my own way. On the whole, I hate scandals, because somebody is usually the subject of harassment, and I feel bad for people and don't like this. Goodness always works better than any kind of punishment.

11. How do you feel about the administration of ru.wiki? (About the system in general, about certain admins, about the ArbCom?)

It seems that, unexpectedly, I already answered this question. Administrators differ: among them are honest people who genuinely want to do what needs to be done, Wikipedia. But there are also dishonest people who use Wikipedia for their own ends: climbing the career ladder due to their lacking this in real life, personal grudges (maybe somewhere on some article they didn't see eye to eye, and the inability to resolve conflicts leads to hostility -- but now hostility towards everything), support of "theirs" against "outsiders," which results in a lot of rudeness and crudeness.

12. How do you feel about the rules? Which rule (which "pillar") do you consider to be most important? Do you think that the atmosphere of the project is too strict?

I don't know the rules. Not at all. I don't even know where I can go to read them. I orient myself by normal human relations, but I try not to talk to anyone too much. I'm interested in just one thing: to create a reliable article. I find Wikipedia to be a necessity of our time, there is a need for it -- so, we need to work on it. As far as strictness goes, I don't know about that, but there is a lot of rudeness. In the first days after I registered an account, I started looking around to see where I had ended up, and I found a lot of crudity, rudeness, cruelty -- one little thing, and all of a sudden it begins, people getting burned alive like heretics. Almost like the KGB checking your papers. Not very good characteristics. I'll use a cliche: this has happened so many times in human history that it brings to mind the melancholy thought that Wikipedia will die out. Though it appears that humanity still hasn't died out. No matter how many people get burned alive or die in camps, life, in some miraculous fashion, continues, but worse than it could be. But after the lows there are slight highs. And here it's exactly the same: one goes, others will come. But the general level is falling.

13. Do you communicate with other users outside of Wikipedia? If yes, how: at wiki-meetups, by chat, or through other Internet communities (LiveJournal)?

I correspond with a person who began helping me and explaining things to me at the very beginning, and it's because of him that I've remained here, since he's already bestowed so much of his time and energy on me. I never help newcomers get settled, and many go away offended. Harsh mores in this city.

14. How has working on Wikipedia helped/hindered you in real life?

It hasn't helped or hindered.

15. Has participating in the project affected you personally? How so?

It hasn't.

16. Do you participate actively in other projects of the Wikimedia Foundation? If so, what are the main differences (positive or negative) from ru.wiki?

No, I don't know anything about them. I don't have the slightest idea. I only found out just now from you that there is such a thing.

17. What other web projects do you participate in?

None. I don't consider myself to be a computer person at all. I work more with texts.

18. What other hobbies do you have?

None, I suppose.