Hygrometer, snails and global database: meet a celebrated Wikimedian from the CEE region!

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This is probably a situation familiar to many of us: while reading Wikipedia, we stumble upon an unexpected red link, indicating that there is an article missing. The majority of us just keep reading on, but some just can’t resist filling that knowledge gap. This is how the Wikipedia adventure started for Vera, also known as Pinky sl, a Slovenian Wikipedia editor, tech contributor, administrator and our Celebrated Wikimedian for September. She was reading Slovenian Wikipedia and noticed a red link, where a link for an article about a Hygrometer. So she decided to write that missing Wikipedia entry. And that decision made her a Wikimedian. 17 years later she is a dedicated contributor with more than 100 000 edits, a template and module creator, and an active community member for the Central and Eastern European region.

Today we celebrate her dedication to free knowledge and the Wikimedia movement. 

Vera at the CEE Meeting 2023. Wojciech Pędzich, CC BY-SA 4.0

The project she is most engaged in is Slovenian Wikipedia. She makes sure that this project, despite struggling with the limited pool of technical editors, stays in touch with technological advancements happening in the Wikimedia movement. She works on templates, modules and takes care of pages dedicated to guidelines and assisting users. But her main goal is achieving a better integration of Wikidata, into the Slovenian Wikipedia. 

Wikidata is a multilingual knowledge base that can be edited by both humans and machines. It helps to maintain information across Wikimedia projects. Thanks to good Wikidata integration, an information addition or update doesn’t need to be done in many Wikipedia language versions separately, but can just be done once, in Wikidata. 

Pinky sl has done a lot of Wikidata related work in Slovenian Wikipedia, including creating the first ever infobox using Wikidata – a challenging and responsible technical task, she is very proud of. 

Vera is also an author of Featured Articles and a media contributor, uploading pictures of monuments, sites, and nature. Including her favorite picture of a roman snail which made it as a candidate to the Picture of the Year in 2007. And which, as she jokingly mentions, reflects the gradual, thorough work she does as a Wikimedian.

As with everything in the Wikimedia movement, Pinky’s work benefits strongly from cooperation. She had learned through past experience that whenever she had lacked the technical knowledge needed to complete certain tasks, she could count on guidance and support from more experienced editors from different corners of the world. She enjoys being a part of the global community and connecting with her peers. As she says: “I love being part of the extended Wikimedia family, and I eagerly participate in international events whenever possible, hoping to bring back new knowledge and insights about how Wikimedia operates. And, of course, be part of each locally organized event!”

For her, Wikimedia is a constant learning experience. Whether it is from other contributors or from tutorials and help pages, she keeps finding new and better ways to contribute. “It’s a continuous learning process that takes time and I believe that with dedication and the support of the Wikimedia community, anyone can improve their technical skills and contribute effectively”, she says. 

Her motivation comes from the Wikimedia mission and the bold dream of compiling the entirety of human knowledge into a single, accessible database. “Knowledge has never been so easily accessible to so many people, and it’s this collective goal that keeps me inspired and driven to continue my contributions”. – she says. 

Pinky knows that there are challenges ahead. One of them being ensuring a healthy and respectful community environment, in which arising conflicts are well addressed and a positive atmosphere for collaboration is maintained. If she could give advice to her fellow longtime Wikimedians, it would be: “Set a positive example as a veteran contributor. Show respect for others and engage in constructive discussions, inspiring others to do the same”.

When it comes to Wikipedia’s future, she is optimistic. In her own words: “I’m excited to see how we can continue to make knowledge accessible to all. And you know what’s really tickling my curiosity? How on earth are we going to let AI join the Wikimedia party?”.

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