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RuWiki History (Doronina and Pinchuk)/English/Interview with Soul Train

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1. Your handle on Wikipedia?

Soul Train

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

My educational background is in socio-cultural service and tourism. I work as a journalist, writing mostly about industry and the economy. I work part-time at the radio.

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


4. How old are you?

on December 6th [2010] I'll be 26

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

I heard about it sometime around the beginning or middle of 2006. Because I wanted to bring to the Russian-speaking reader a world of knowledge for which there were no Russian-language sources.

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).

I'm in my 5th year of participation. I registered in October 2006, but before that I edited without registering. I didn't edit from the end of 2009 to June 2010 because of an insult from the community - they didn't pick a list of mine for Featured status.

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

Having a hard time answering. Perhaps because, when you create high-quality articles, you receive moral satisfaction. Besides which, this is a convenient method of building up your knowledge of languages. Whatever it is that people who don't write articles but only fight tooth and nail on the forums find so good about it - I have no idea.

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

The development of criteria for notability. Otherwise this wouldn't be an encyclopedia but a garbage dump. Also noteworthy is the polishing and development of criteria for Good and Featured articles. I'd also mention the institution of patrolling, which has limited the capabilities of anonymous spammers.

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?

A considerable amount of the articles I've created only partly coincides with my professional interests. I haven't created many articles on geography, though possibly in the future the quantity and quality will increase.

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?

Patrolling - yes; nominations for deletion and renaming - not always, but yes; I work with templates, mostly when this concerns my articles, but not only; I only look into the Forum rarely, and the decisions of the ArbCom are actually not very interesting if they don't somehow affect the general work on Wikipedia. Because you need to write articles, not run your mouth.

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

Here we need to look at things separately. There are outstanding administrators, and there are okay ones. In general and on the whole, I feel that they should pay more attention to the spirit of Wikipedia, and not the strict letter of the "law."

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?

For myself, I find the most important is to ignore all rules if they get in the way of normal work. On the one hand, the atmosphere is strict - I'm sick of all this constant banging over the head with "Etiquette" and other terrifying aberrations; on the other hand, it's exceedingly lax, because some fanatical users should have been eternally banned a long time ago, but the administrators won't do it.

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 practically don't ever communicate personally. If I do, it's on the forums, over social media or something like that.

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

Perhaps one thing is it takes up quite a bit of time. But on some issues, after I've written an article on them, I feel myself to be a legitimate authority in certain circles. Though even without that, I already felt that way. So, that's a plus.

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

Almost not at all. Except maybe that recently I've tried to be more restrained on the Internet. But maybe that happened of its own accord.

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?

En.wiki, Commons, Spanish and Portuguese wikis. The Portuguese/Brazilians and especially the "Spaniards" are considerably below ru.wiki. This is just a general impression. Though of course, it goes without saying that even there they have some interesting articles. They're more haphazard, though. Ru.wiki strives for the level of quality of en.wiki, though there remains a wide horizon of work on cleaning up old articles, articles by newbies that are copyright violations, and conforming to the criteria of notability. Some articles hang around for 5 or more years, not patrolled or corrected by anybody.

I haven't really noticed any problems in English Wikipedia, because usually everything I write there is accepted just fine by the local residents. In the Spanish and Portuguese I usually use English, because I understand Spanish and Portuguese in writing, but I wouldn't risk writing in these languages myself, because I'm self-taught. There also haven't been any problems there - those users who I've talked with even apologized to me for their bad English :) In the English wiki, it's practically the same as in the Russian. With the "Iberians," it seems to me, admins are more weighed down with writing articles. Now if they'd only pay more attention to unfair mass bot uploads, that would be nice. I think that they really do beat you over the head less with Etiquette there. For instance, I was reading a multi-kilobyte discussion of an article on the Uruguay soccer club Penarol between fans of this club and National. It's hard to find two bigger antagonists in the world of soccer rivalries. They make the hockey teams Avangard and Vityaz or [the soccer teams] Spartak and Zenith look like the best of friends. But everything went fine, without any blocking and not even all that many insults or swearing.

17. What other web projects do you participate in?

On many LiveJournals, Facebook, MySpace, mail.ru, vkontakte.ru, odnoklassniki.ru - I have all of this stuff. I mostly prefer vkontakte.ru - a convenient interface for groups, in some of which (I'm a participant in a few hundred), I'm an administrator. I'm also the moderator on a few other sites dedicated to my favorite music group.

18. What other hobbies do you have?

Soccer, history of soccer (I run my own site on the MediaWiki engine, but not on Wikipedia), music, geography, history, ethnology, heraldry, vexillology, travel.