The wolf brought Bigolf123 into Wikipedia’s authors pack. Monitoring report on the COVID-19 crisis.
Updating the figures is a matter of significant domestic importance
and a considerable responsibility.
Bigolf123, like many authors on Wikipedia, wishes to remain anonymous. He is one of the volunteers constantly ensuring that the “2020 coronavirus pandemic in Switzerland” page remains up to date. Bigolf123 processes the statistical data and adjusts the values almost daily, including the total number of patients, new infections per canton, and deaths.
Between mid-March and mid-April 2020, the critical phase of the pandemic in Switzerland, the page received over 300,000 visits. The work done on this data is a matter of significant domestic importance and a considerable responsibility. This is precisely one of the things that sparked his interest in a mission that he chose to take on: “At the beginning, I had a lot of respect for the work done on this website,” says the young man, who will soon turn 18. His motivation: “The pleasure of being able to enrich the freely accessible knowledge and seeing that I can contribute too”. He adds that “the figures are clear. There isn’t much risk of doing something wrong”.
Reference to the source always mentioned
Before the cantonal websites and the website of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) were updated on a daily basis and used as sources, the figures were retrieved from the major daily newspapers. The sources are reliable, accessible to the general public and always cited when updates are made. Should there be references missing, the data on Wikipedia is quickly deleted internally. The Wikipedia community is very scrupulous on the matter of sources and makes sure that the editing rules on this page are rigorously observed, as on all the other pages of the encyclopedia.
Experience builds self-confidence
The young Wikipedian published his first article during spring 2019. Thanks to the experience gradually acquired, Bigolf123 gained self-confidence. His first contact with Wikipedia was part of a school project on the theme of the wolf. He found on the encyclopedia most of what he was looking for.
From loitering to passion
In early March 2020, while browsing Wikipedia without any specific purpose, Bigolf123 stumbled upon the pandemic article. “I first looked at the page and then noticed that the numbers were not up to date,” recalls the high school student. He started collecting, analyzing and posting information from various websites and press releases.
“The online exchanges between authors are enough for me.”
Is he a geek, someone who is passionate about computers? “Maybe a little,” he answers modestly. “It’s true that I spend part of my free time behind the screen, but social life goes on,” he laughs. However, offline events organised by Wikimedia CH or other Wikipedia community events are not on his agenda. Unlike other authors, who enjoy personal exchanges or competition between Wikipedians, he’d rather stay away. “I am happy with the online exchanges between authors on Wikipedia’s dedicated section.” And no, he does not want to be a computer scientist at all! He is more interested in linguistics or history, especially European classical antiquity and the indigenous peoples of Central America. “I still don’t dare to work on the articles on these subjects, because it is a matter of experts. But this could happen when I’m in college.” One thing is for sure, working on Wikipedia will remain a hobby for him.
Being able to give back to the community
“In the past, only a small part of society had access to information. Today, Wikipedia provides an enormous amount of knowledge that everyone can access”, enthuses Bigolf123. He has already benefited a lot from free knowledge, that is at the heart of the Wikipedia concept, and he thinks that being able to give something back through his personal work is great. “I would be incredibly happy if my contributions could help others in their research. In that sense, Wikipedia will remain a part of my life”.