Meet the man who's made 1 million Wikipedia editson April 23, 2012 @ 1:11 pm (Updated: 2:18 pm - 4/23/12 )
Whether it's a history of baseball or a bio of Luke Burbank, you can find out about nearly anything on Wikipedia. But who actually does all the posting and editing of the information on the open source site? Mostly volunteers, but none more dedicated than Justin Knapp.
The 30-year-old Wikipedia devotee just became the first person to complete 1,000,000 edits on the site. In an interview with Ross and Burbank, he says he does it simply out of a desire to share knowledge with others.
It's a dedication that borders on obsession for the Indiana University nursing student pursuing his third college degree.
"Some days, if I'm not busy and if I've got nothing going on, back when I was living with my parents, I would spend the whole 16 hours, the whole waking day, and I would just periodically come back to Wikipedia."
Knapp says on average, he spends about two hours a day editing others work as well as articles he created himself. Among his highlights, he says a proud achievement was building the bibliography for the Wikipedia entry on George Orwell, which he says is the most comprehensive of its kind in the world.
Knapp also has an affinity for music (especially R.E.M.), politics and religion.
Some question whether Wikipedia can survive with just donations and volunteers like Knapp and the site is said to be perilous financial condition. But Knapp isn't willing to write its obituary.
"As long as there are persons out there who are interested in sharing, and community, openness, liberty, and knowledge, then of course it will survive."
So what qualifies someone like Knapp to be a Wikipedia editor? Turns out, not much.
"The thing that qualifies me is I make quality edits, I do things that are helpful," Knapp says.
"I have a basic competence in English, I have an idea, a little bit about technically how some of these things work, but barring that, I have an Internet connection and I want to help. That's all that it really takes."
Knapp is getting plenty of media attention because of his recent accomplishment, but in a somewhat cruel twist there isn't a Wikipedia page about him or his contributions to the site (now the sixth most-visited on the Internet.) And that's just fine with him.
"I'm not the sort of person who really likes the spotlight," he tells Ross and Burbank.
-Josh Kerns/My Northwest.com editor
Bonneville Media encourages site users to express their opinions by posting comments. Our goal is to maintain a civil dialogue in which readers feel comfortable. At times, the comments can descend to personal attacks. Please do not engage in such behavior. We encourage your thoughtful comments which: have a positive and constructive tone, are on topic, are respectful toward others and their opinions. Bonneville reserves the right to remove comments which do not conform to these criteria.