His contributions to the Portuguese Wikipedia are impressive: To date, Vitor Mazuco has made over 270,000 edits and created more than 2,400 articles. 34 have been noted by fellow editors for their quality—and in turn, most of those are about the Canadian singer and songwriter Avril Lavigne.
Mazuco made his first edit on Wikipedia to Lavigne’s article at the age of 14 and dedicated quite a bit of time in the following years to improving Wikipedia’s content about her.
“I remember that in my first months of [contributing], I wanted to expand and improve all Avril Lavigne articles,” said Mazuco, 23, an instructor in the areas of computer, networking, and other tech-related areas. He faced many challenges, though, because “I did not know the rules … of Wikipedia. I did not want to read [sources about her], and I was only 14 … imagine the size of my immaturity.”
This juvenile thinking and failure to follow central policies extended to Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, where he was banned from editing for two years.
Along with his detailed upkeep of all pages about and related to Lavigne, especially those which have the “featured” and “good” quality markers, Mazuco contributes to other music articles, works to combat vandalism on the site, and leads several offline initiatives as part of the Wikipedia Education Program and the Wikimedia Brazil User Group.
“I show how the teacher can help [their] students with … Wikipedia inside the classrooms, and break the prejudice that our country has about [Wikipedia’s] reliability,” the native Brazilian explained. “It’s a job I’m very proud of.”
Mazuco believes that student editing will be the center of his attention for the next few years. He believes in everyone’s right to access “free and quality knowledge, regardless of their race, religion, status, or anything.” He explains:
“[Wikipedia] is a place, where I learn many things, every day. I meet new people in the meetings, at the conferences, I improve my skills, spelling, knowledge, about [any] subject. I am very curious person. I always want to know about something.”
Interview by Ruby Mizrahi, Interviewer
Profile by Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig, Wordsmith, Communications