May 10, 2007|
HK Magazine: When did you start Wikipedia-ing?
Stewart Cheung: I started in November of 2005. I was the 40,545th user to register on the Chinese version of Wikipedia, and since then, I’ve been crazy about it.
HK: How often do you log on to Wikipedia?
SC: Every day. I'm not sure how many hours, but I type on Wiki while having dinner. For an information maniac, there is so much to discover in this world! I search through Wisenews [a news database] and add clippings to Wiki every day. I want to contribute!
HK: Are you actually addicted?
SC: I did the Wikipediholism test. It asks questions like how often you edit or create articles, or if you think quality of contributions to Wiki is important in choosing a partner… I got 80/150. Thank God, I am still fine!
HK: How many articles have you contributed?
SC: Maybe around 50? I usually talk about Hong Kong culture, like the history of streets and local festivals. Sometimes I research for days before finishing up a topic. But I am more like an editor. Every day I need to edit out some hoax entry filled with stupid symbols… People will actually submit whole pages filled with x’s.
HK: Have you ever met anyone through Wikipedia?
SC: Yes, lots through the weekly Wiki meeting on Saturdays. I doubt if I've ever missed one, but I missed the annual Wikimania Conference this year.
HK: What happens during the meetings?
SC: We are trying to establish a Hong Kong Wikimedia Foundation to organize more activities, like museum visits. We usually discuss topics that need to be upgraded or added. We vote to decide on all these.
HK: Who attends these meetings? No offense, but are they all nerds?
SC: Not really; do I look like a nerd to you? (No, of course not…) Most of them are uni students who have lots of time on their hands. Don’t expect any hook-ups through the gatherings because most of us are guys.
HK: Will Wikipedia replace formal encyclopedias?
SC: That’s hard to say. They each have their strengths. Britannica editors are experts and they get paid, while Wikipedia depends on public collaboration. An average Joe can edit it, so the quality is questionable. And many people will start a topic and suddenly quit. But Wikipedia contains a category listing unusual information no formal encyclopedia could possibly include.
HK: Like what?
SC: I found out there is a local band called Ketchup, who called themselves that because there was a ketchup bottle on the table while they were picking a name. It soon turned into a one-man band, and the man is an architect who produces high-quality music nobody knows about. Also, the code at the side of McDonald’s ketchup packet tells you how sweet or sour the ketchup is…
HK: Create a tag word for yourself.
SC: Wikipedian, definitely.