RuWiki History (Doronina and Pinchuk)/English/Interview with Edward Chernenko
1. Your handle on Wikipedia?
а) Edward_Chernenko, b) Media
2. What is your educational background and where do you work?
My specialization is applied mathematics (system programmer).
I work as a system administrator. I work part-time for the Uncyclomedia Foundation - the organization that coordinates the language chapters of Absurdopedia. Concretely, I am responsible for the servers that operate the Russian Absurdopedia.
3. Where do you live (Moscow, St. Petersburg, a city with a million inhabitants, a small town, etc)?
the city of Obninsk, a research and science city, ~100 km from Moscow. About 100 thousand residents.
4. How old are you?
Now 21, but when I participated in ru.wiki, I was 16-17.
5. When and how did you first hear about the Russian Wikipedia, and why did you start editing?
I read in the Linux.org.ru news that the [Wikipedia] article about the site had been kept. I was immediately interested in the idea of gathering information under a free license.
6. How many years have you participated? If you ever took an extended wiki-vacation, please provide the reason (i.e., too much work offwiki, unpleasant atmosphere/events in the project itself, or something else).
I participated for three years (2006-2008). I left the project in connection with the intensive harassment from administrators of the “Union for Wikipedia Free from Censorship” party and affiliated administrators (in part, Wulfson).
7. What do you like most about participating in the project? Why do you think you and other users participate in this work?
I was mostly motivated by the desire to become famous. "I am not the least among the authors who are writing a useful source of knowledge" - so I thought to myself in 2006. That's why I raced to get a large number of edits, etc. That's why I was involved in fairly serious bot activity (even now in ru.wiki there are probably only two or three experts in the field who are on my level).
And that's why I left the project, when people started creating some incomprehensible rules especially for me, like "you can register a new account, but you can't edit under the old one," applying it to me again and again.
I don't think that this is all that noble of a goal -- to be famous because of a large contribution, but at least my intentions were a good deal more pure than that _majority of ru.wiki users_ who came only to push their point of view in articles. Yes, I propose that they are the majority. As for administrators, who don't write articles, I won't even comment, because their motivation is self-evident and even worse.
The motivation of "it's my project and I'm working for my future" was something I didn't have with regard to Wikipedia. Absurdopedia, on the other hand -- yes.
8. Which events do you consider to be the most important in the history of ru.wiki?
Take a look at the voting on the page ru:Википедия:Заявки_на_статус_администратора/VanHelsing.16 (August 2006). This was a critical moment in the history of ru.wiki, when the friendly atmosphere became "friendly only for our own." Other especially "key dates" I can't name.
9. Do your professional interests overlap with the areas in which you edit on ru.wiki? If not, how do you decide which articles to edit?
In 2006 I wrote articles on the topic of UNIX systems. This is my professional interest, (now) my specialty, and (now) my work.
Though, of course, I was met with misunderstandings. Sometime after a month I wrote the large article /etc/passwd and moved it toward Featured Articles (at first too soon, but then I seriously worked on it until it was finished). I was shocked by the number of comments like "who could possibly find this interesting, some random file" and "only Linuxoids have any use for this article" (i.e., because of the topic). (I'll point out that the notability of this file is a good deal greater than the notability of Wikipedia itself, e.g. going by the number of publications about it).
In 2007 I wrote articles on a topic completely unrelated to my interests: computer games. I just decided to switch to a "topic for the masses." Well, and it's a lot easier to find sources for it (in WP:IRS it says that you don't need to provide sources for something that "is contained in the very object of the article"). There are two Featured lists (deleted by Victoria [Mstislavl], ask her why, because I never did understand) and one Featured Article (slashed to pieces and lost its status), see: Wikireality.
10. Do you participate in "metapedian" work, i.e., patrolling, discussions of nomination for deletion or renaming, templates? Do you follow the discussions that take place on the Forum, discussion pages of the ArbCom, etc.? Why/why not?
I did. Not patrolling, since back then there wasn't any. But, as I already said, during the time of my participation I was the main bot-master in ru.wiki. With my help the Articles for Deletion was divided up by days (I remember this perfectly, because I was still making a bot for the watchlist on all these pages, since there wasn't Special:Recentchangeslinked yet).
I was the plaintiff in many [ArbCom] cases. When I participated, I followed everything. Now I only sometimes read the Soviet newspapers.
11. How do you feel about the administration of ru.wiki? (About the system in general, about certain admins, about the ArbCom?)
I, thankfully, don't belong to the administration of ru.wiki. I don't have enough spite for that kind of work.
12. How do you feel about the rules? Which rule (which "pillar") do you consider to be most important? Do you think that the atmosphere of the project is too strict?
I like the approach of Absurdopedia to the rules. We have no rules whatsoever. And so, to answer the question, the best rule is "ignore all rules."
Yes, the atmosphere of Wikipedia is unusually vicious and unenlightened. Including now.
13. Do you communicate with other users outside of Wikipedia? If yes, how: at wiki-meetups, by chat, or through other Internet communities (LiveJournal)?
Once I participated in the cocktail hour of the ru_wikipedia community (I answered questions about Absurdopedia). I registered an account on Wikireality.
Speaking of external resources. I was the moderator of this community in 2006-2008. It was I who established the current makeup of moderators of ru_wikipedia. I consider this to be my most important and useful contribution in the development of ru.wiki.
14. How has working on Wikipedia helped/hindered you in real life?
Type "Edward Chernenko" into Google or Yandex and you'll get a ton of results with filth, insults, and dirty lies - results from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (all those pages from the ArbCom, etc.). More than anything (after the misunderstanding that made me actually participate in ru.wiki), I regret that I didn't register under a pseudonym. It's good that I don't depend on any employers who might search for something about me on the Internet. Otherwise the desire to "contribute to the bank of human understanding" could have been damaging to me.
15. Has participating in the project affected you personally? How so?
Though I'm probably unique in this answer. It's affected all the Wikipedians I know.
16. Do you participate actively in other projects of the Wikimedia Foundation? If so, what are the main differences (positive or negative) from ru.wiki?
Actively - no.
I'm registered on mediawiki.org under the name Media, since I was interested in the engine and delved into some of the extensions, but I don't write much there and don't plan to. Maybe I'll put the extension code AbsurdopediaShared there (look at the page Absurdopedia:Extension engine in our wiki).
17. What other web projects do you participate in?
I used to have a LiveJournal, and I was even on the Russian team of LJ translators (even before registering in Wikipedia, at the beginning of 2006). Then I got lazy and closed it. I have a page on vkontakte (http://vkontakte.ru/edwardspec).
18. What other hobbies do you have?
I'm a writer-humorist. I created about fifty humorous articles on Absurdopedia.
19. Do you consider yourself an "oppositionary" or "wiki-dissident"?
No, I'm just an observer. I don't have any interest in any changes within Wikipedia.
Just as the average Russian person reads in the newspapers about the activities of "United Russia," that's pretty much how I read ru_wikipedia. With the attitude that "I can't change anything anyway, and anyway it's not really necessary, but what is it they're up to now, let's have a look."
Possibly, if the situation in the project becomes better - I'll return, but I won't actively participate. Maybe, I'll fix a few mistakes. We'll see.
Overall, I much prefer to work in Absurdopedia.