Hello Wikipedians, Wikimedians, Wikians and fellow Earthlings,
(This ended up as an E-mail with a long introduction, so feel free to skim it.
It may still be somewhat entertaining.)
first of all, I should note that I'm a guy, so I hope you don't think I'm
being too bold here (or "Chutzpah" as they say in Yiddish/American-English),
but this story was inspired by my interactions with a female.
The female in question is a young Pakistani student of Computer Science, whom
I met on the Freenode IRC network (where some of the Wikimedia projects' are
hosted). Now, she's interested in programming, and also decided to be
interested in white hat hacking in the sense of exploiting programs and remote
system (after her Windows XP-using friend was the target of a nasty targetted
attack.), and many other computer or non-computer related things. She seems
Now, since she has very good English and also speaks, reads and writes Urdu
natively, I told her that the Urdu wikipedia or similar wikimedia projects in
Urdu and English could use help, and she said something that seemed innocent
at the time, but now seems like a problem: that she was far too busy with her
studies during the semester, but would keep it in mind for the vacation.
On the other hand, when I studied in the Technion (I graduated in 2003/2004
well before the wikipedia really matured and became the "it" site that it is
today), I spent hours of my free time on end, communicating by E-mail with
other people, working on my homepage (now on http://www.shlomifish.org/
though back then, it was far less impressive), working on
(Freecell Solver - an open-source project - very
niche, but successful, that proved to be a huge time-sink but naturally very
fun and enlightening[fc-solve].), and being active in the Haifa Linux Club (
) and some other extra-corricular stuff like that. I am
kinda a computer dork naturally, and most females are more into non-computer
stuff than I am, but I still think that the young women in question can spend
some time translating a few paragraphs from the English wikipedia to the
localised wikipedia at a time (and thus slowly but surely create some very
quality articles in Urdu/etc. about insert-your-favourite-topic-here).
So I think we should brainstorm ways to make people like that young Pakistani
(both men, but especially many women from my impression) try to contribute to
Wikimedia projects, Wikia wikis, etc. and other such projects as extra-
corricular activities. What kind of arguments can we use?
P.S: naturally, all those extracorricular activities that I mentioned may have
had a negative influence on my grade, but, naturally, I kinda felt that
dedicating 100% of my time for studies was not something I could honestly get
myself to do, because it contradicted my character and interests. I did
eventually graduate cum-laude, but with a great spread of grades down to close
to 55% which is the passing grade in the Technion. Of course, the Technion
lecturers are reportedly kinda obsessed with getting enough students to fail
the tests so people won't think their tests were too "easy", which often
many tests to be excessively long, unfair, cover unseen material or one that
is out of the scope of the syllabus, or otherwise too hard.
[fc-solve] - it also proved to spark interest among people I've talked with
who were familiar with Freecell, due to its immense popularity in Israel out
of being the only long-term interesting computer game in pre-XP MS Windows.
Some of the people who were impressed by it were also attractive members-of-
the-opposite-sex , and not incredibly "nerdy" ones. But I digress.
In any case, I spent much more time on Freecell Solver than I ever did
contributing to the wikpedias, but that is expected due to the inherent
complexity of writing such a program and in the C programming language. It
proved of utility in providing citations for statistics in a wikipedia page
about the Simple Simon variant of Patience, that it can also solve:
There's also http://cards.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page
, which I've contributed
some stuff to inspired by my interest in some card solitaire games and
automatically solving them.
Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
Chuck Norris/etc. Facts - http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/bits/facts/
Larry Wall *does* know all of Perl. However, he pretends to be wrong
or misinformed, so people will underestimate him.
Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply