Last month in this column we couldn't find a theme for February's news coverage of Wikipedia. There was a lone article on the COVID-19 outbreak, "On Wikipedia, a fight is raging over coronavirus disinformation" by Omer Benjakob in Wired on February 9. This month it's almost all COVID-19.
[Wikipedia] has developed a personality, a purpose, a soul. Now, as the new coronavirus outbreak plays out across its many pages, we can see that Wikipedia has also developed a conscience.
On March 7, before COVID-19 became the only story in the news, Alex Pasternack,, who claims to be a Wikipedia editor, quotes at least nine editors in his FastCompany article, including Jimmy Wales, Ryan Merkley, , , an arbitrator, more than one administrator, and some editors without advanced permissions. A couple of academics were also quoted. Compared to the three love letters Wikipedia received in the media last month, the article is quite realistic describing both our achievements and our challenges. It mentions vandalism, political articles, "one of the most trusted sites on the internet," debunking conspiracy theories, conflicts of interest, paid editing, thousands of small donations, the struggle to retain new editors, biting the newbies, left-wing bias, a Byzantine body of policies and guidelines, assume good faith, and ArbCom. The last several paragraphs are just as densely packed with information, until he slows down for the conclusion. There he goes into detail about his experiences with the new gamified project, WikiLoop Battlefield. He even won a prize there – something like a barnstar.
March has been a time of many articles on the theme of women's biographies and edit-a-thons. This year however, many edit-a-thons were cancelled and news coverage moved to COVID-19.