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An interview with Rebecca and Fionnuala from new show The World According to Wikipedia

Can you tell me a little bit about The World According to Wikipedia and how it came about?

RON: In short, it is all Darach’s [from network podcast Motherfocloir] fault! He was convinced that a show on Wikipedia would be fun and interesting and started a quiet campaign to sell the idea to us and others. From those initial conversations we met with the wonderful Conor in HeadStuff to explore the potential of such a show.

FM: Rebecca convinced me to come on board as her partner in crime as I have very little knowledge of Wikipedia, but I am fascinated by it. We figured that I would be a good voice for others out there who know very little about the inner workings of Wikipedia.

What about your own backgrounds – how has this fed into the show?

RON: Well I’ve been a Wikipedian for almost 10 years now, so all of this is second nature to me. Talking to friends about my work with and on Wikipedia I often forget how much of the behind-the-scenes of the project people are just totally oblivious to.

It is this huge, sprawling community with all sorts of unique language, behaviours and other idiosyncrasies that seem to be fascinating to those on the “outside”. I also studied Wikipedia as part of my PhD, but that is a whole other level of nerdiness.

FM: I’ve no such background. But I have some technical skills, with a very old (more than 20 years ago now) degree in media production and a deep love of editing. So, I’m the person who pulls the show together into the final product.

What can new listeners expect? What sorts of guests or episodes have you got planned?

RON: I go out and chat to many of the Wikimedians I have gotten to know over the years, and ask them to tell me about the work they do and the projects they are passionate about. They are a mix of people from technologists to advocates and educators. I know the Wiki world quite well, so with the help of Fionnuala, we make sure to make these stories and interviews accessible and interesting to the wider world!

FM: And I will make sure we cover things like Wiki loves Cake, Wikisloths and all the other bits of Wikipedia I had no idea existed until we started this project.

Ok, you’ve got my attention. So, why should I go and listen right now? Convince me!

RON: Have you used Wikipedia today? If you haven’t read an article, have you asked Alexa or Google a question? All those answers come from Wikipedia, and we talk to the people who have dedicated their time to making sure that information you read or hear is correct!

FM: We also want to make Wikipedia accessible, so that anyone (including me) would feel comfortable having a go at editing articles.

What sort of bonus content can members expect if they sign up to support the show?

RON: We will have long form versions of all our guest interviews, as well as bonus mini-shows on some of the stranger and even more niche parts of the Wiki world. These will include things like the creation of the Wikimedia Cuteness Association, and why Wikidata loves goats so much.

Anything else you desperately need to tell potential new listeners?

RON: The world of Wikipedia is fundamentally made up of fascinating humans! Why not learn more about them?