Interview: Wikipedians in Love with History

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14 April 2023 Eugene Ormandy: a Japanese Wikimedian; founder, the Wikipedian Circle at Waseda University; founder, Tōmon Wikipedian Group.

In this article, you will be reading interviews with Ney and McYata, or two Wikipedians in love with history who write and edit World History topics on Japanese Wikipedia. They will talk about the articles they have created so far, how they have joined Wikimedia, and what motivates them to edit Wikipedia. For those who like studying topics in history and language, or if you are interested in Wikipedia, enjoy reading.

Also, reading this article and if you are urged that “I want to edit Wikipedia!”, then I would recommend that you will check out [[Help:Introduction]], and create your own user account. When you have any questions about how to walk through editing Wikipedia, read [[Wikipedia:Help desk]], or reach out to us and ask questions on Twitter at the account “Tōmon Wikipedian Group”! (Toumon Wikipedian Club, the almni association of @Wikipedian_W)


Ney: A Wikipedian who contributes articles on and about the UK and Hong Kong. Having produced many “Good articles“, Ney also takes care of the Japanese Wikipedia as an active Administrator. For history buffs, offers lists of reference materials on [[Reference materials on Ney’s user page]], a must-see.

Notable translated articles

McYata: A Wikipedian who translates many articles on World History. The life record exceeds 300 articles to offer edits. The source articles for translation cover a wide range of topics, from bios like [[Muhammad I (Nasrid)]] (in Japanese, or ja hereinafter) (en: Muhammad_I_of_Granada) to quirky articles like [[Animal Explosion]] (ja) (en: Exploding animal).

Notable translated articles

Eugene Ormandy: The author of this article, who moderates the discussion part. Mainly creates articles on Japanese Wikipedia focusing on cafes and musical conductors.

Notable articles

Interview: the area of activity

Eugene Ormandy (as EO): Thank you for taking time for discussion. First of all, please tell us about your fields of interest and activity.

Ney: I mainly write articles about British aristocrats and parliamentarians. As an admin on the Japanese Wikipedia, I also maintain those daily chores of blocking troublesome accounts as well as looking after citation templates and so forth. For admin tasks, I pace myself on “do it when seeing it” basis, since the admin tasks are also done on a volunteer basis.

McYata: I focus my translation work on the History of Europe. As I specialize in the study of early modern Europe and its history, I apply that background and knowledge on my works for Japanese Wikipedia.

EO: Both of you have written numerous articles. How do you choose your subjects?

Ney: I have encyclopedias on British aristocrats and members of parliament, including “The Complete Peerage” as well as “The History of Parliament“, and devote my time to writing articles about the people introduced therein. These encyclopedias are also very good to read, and I find a lot of topics for writing.

If you’d like, I offer a list of those encyclopedias on the UK accessible on the web, and the list is posted on my user page at: [[User:Ney/References]] (ja).

McYata: For me, there is no fixed choice. If there is an article that interests me, I will check that it is well-sourced, then if yes, I will translate it into Japanese.

What motivates you

EO: Now, kindly tell me what motivated you to edit Wikipedia.

Ney: The very first article I wrote was about the members of Parliament in the UK as “The History of Parliament” (1964-). The research method employed therein is called prosopography, a method to investigate the biographies of people who belong to a particular group, so as to apply those as statistical data or to analyze the interrelationships of people. While I found there were so many reference materials for citations that will be cited for such surveys, they were scattered all over the place. I thought there would be articles referencing identical materials, and by applying those materials I have researched once, I was motivated that I can reduce the trouble of searching for those from scratch, by returning to them.

McYata: In my case, my motivation comes the opposite way to speak. Instead of preparing an exhaustive article, I would like to translate one of those subjects which is completely unknown in Japan, and share the surprise that “there is such a world in front of us!” In particular, I hope that adding as small as one article would increase awareness by giving a spotlight on a minor or neglected field on Japanese Wikipedia. Honesty, I also enjoy expanding my own knowledge. 

“History of the British Parliament”: Wikimedia Commons [[File:History_of_Parliament_volumes_at_Senate_House_History_Day_2017.jpg]] (Philafrenzy, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Looking back at the very early days on Wikipedia

EO: How did the two of you start editing Wikipedia?

Ney: I started in 2007. At that time I was editing articles on mathematics and chemistry. I have been actively involved since 2017. It was around this time that I became an admin (ja) on the Japanese Wikipedia, hoping that there was something I could do to help.

McYata: It was in 2014 when I started editing Wikipedia. Used to edit manga articles and such, though I don’t remember much about those days. Around 2015, we started using a function called Content translation. I was thrilled to see those articles I translated began to pile up.

EO: By the way, when you started on Wikipedia, did you find Wikipedian friends around you?

Ney: No, none around me.

McYata: I didn’t have anyone either.

Learning to edit as newcomers

EO: How have the two of you learned how to edit Wikipedia?

Ney: I learned wiki markup and how to write articles from other Wikipedia articles. When I started editing, I already had acquired how to write programs, so I did not have much trouble writing source codes.

McYata: Before joining Wikipedia, I was among online gaming communities editing such web pages as TRPG and so forth, where they apply “wiki”.

To the future

Eugene Ormandy: Finally, please tell us about your perspective towards the future.

Ney: I hope that I can help improve the Japanese Wikipedia. My hope would be that more people get involved in writing about British history as well.

McYata: I want to brush up those articles I’ve created so far and upgrade them to good articles.


What impressed me the most in this interview was the contrasting motivations of the two Wikipedians. Ney, the one that tries to comprehensively organize articles field by field, while McYata translates articles in various fields, who wants to increase own knowledge as well as to expand the world of knowledge among the Japanese-speaking communities. It was a great opportunity to know their passion towards editorship and translatorship as Wikipedians, while I found it very interesting and meaningful that we have Wikipedia as a stage for those two contrasting editors working together, and that should keep Wikipedia such a fun medium to participate.

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