Wiki Serves the Community

When I think of community service, I think of feeding the homeless, volunteering at community centers, cleaning up the community, and so much more. I automatically associate community service with someone actively doing things in the “field” to improve the community. I would have never thought that improving resources on the internet could be considered community service. That just goes to show how the traditional definition of community service is evolving, along with the multitude of other traditions.

As we all know, Wikipedia has a bad reputation because of its permission of editing or submission from the public. In fact, when I had to do projects as a younger student, I would use Wikipedia, until my teachers began telling me that it was prohibited to do so. From then on, my perception of Wikipedia has been tainted so much so that it has been difficult to remove the stigma all together.Surprisingly, this article allowed me to look at Wikipedia from a completely different lens. This does not mean that I do not have any concerns though.

The writer notes, “Closer to home, in Mexico, where a quality education is scarce and one of the few tools we have to grow as a country, it is imperative that knowledge reaches all of the population.” She then continues to tell how she translates information on Wikipedia so that it may be more accessible for those apart of the Spanish-Speaking community. I though this was pretty amazing because often times, information is translated in a watered down form, and she makes it her mission to have the translated material be as complex as it is in the language that it is being translated from. Not only is she helping the community by making this knowledge accessible in writing, but her position in editing for Wikipedia pushed her to provide pictures around the country to further educate the people of Mexico, and the people around the world on all kinds of information. I like what the student is doing because she is able to find the balance between working in the field and off the field, and educating people efficiently. That takes major dedication and a big heart for the community.

The only thing that worries me is that people will become to comfortable with just doing the “off the field” community service. Though this type of work is great simply because society has become more tech savvy, but I do not want people to forget the importance of the “in the field” community service. The harsh reality is that there are still many people who do not have access to advanced technology and the internet. That being said, people should still try to help improve the education system in countries such as Mexico, until everyone has the ability to have their desired knowledge at the tip of their fingers.

Other than that, I think Maria is on to something great. What I also found intriguing was that she was able to find improvement in her own writing and speaking skills, while helping others. Successful projects such as this one are vital to the total community building and servicing. What makes it even better is that is was “non-traditional” form of community service, and it had as great effects, if not better, as other traditional methods of service. I think she’s on to something great, rather evolutionary!

By Victoria Robbins

Wiki Serves the Community

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