Polish student publishes more than 16,000 articles in Wikipedia since 2006
By Maria Karatzia
A Journalism student at De Montfort University (DMU) has a sideline translating and writing Wikipedia posts in Polish and Silesian.
Maciej Wójcik, a mature student from Poland, has been a volunteer admin for Wikipedia since May 2006 and has published more than 11,000 articles on Polish Wikipedia, more than 5,000 on Silesian Wikipedia, and also a couple of articles on English and Russian Wikipedia.
“As a child, I was often upsetting my parents by ‘updating’ printed encyclopaedia, and I got upset when margins were too narrow,” said Maciej. “I learnt a lot from Wikipedia, much useful knowledge as well as many curiosities.”
Maciej was born in Poland in Katowice city, which is the regional capital of Upper Silesia, and Polish and Silesian are native languages for him.
He applied for the volunteer role 16 years ago because it was initially just for his convenience, as he needed some incorrect pages to be deleted, to protect and maintain Wikipedia’s integrity.
Half of his articles are about Polish villages and hamlets. The rest are on a wide range of topics – some about islands, British politicians, some about culture, religion, and many are biographies of interesting people.
“My goal was for Wikipedia to have all of them described, and now it is finally done,” he said.
The first article which he had published was about Coche, an island off Venezuela. He said he was initially stressed not knowing if it would stay, or if it would be deleted. Eventually, it stayed.
“It is more than a hobby,” he said.
Maciej is most proud about the “Wilk w kulturze” (“Wolf in culture”) article. He started it and about 65 per cent of its content is his, but it also has many other contributors.
“It was a hard piece of work because it describes many different cultures, including exotic ones, like Korean or Japanese,” he said.
One of the benefits that Wikipedia offered was that he got a job as journalist, without formal qualifications, just because the media company was impressed by his portfolio from Wikipedia.
Sadly, the job only lasted for less than two years because of the economic crisis at the time. However, he said it was the best time of his life.