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Právo: More and more Czech seniors writing Wikipedia

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Prague, Feb 16 (CTK) – More and more Czech elderly are contributing to the Wikipedia online encyclopedia in their free time and they can also attend courses in these skills within the Seniors Write Wikipedia unique project, established five years ago, daily Pravo wrote on Friday.

The elderly often want to pass on their experience to young generations and if their grand-children are not willing to listen to them, they seek other paths, such as writing on Wikipedia.

“I like it that everyone can write on Wikipedia regardless of their opinions. More people have been coming to Europe from the Middle East in the past few years and I mind war conflicts raging in this region constantly. This is why I became interested in this topic and then started writing on it,” pensioner Frantiska Mareckova, a lawyer by profession and one of the Wiki authors, told Pravo.

She spent six months writing an article on the Middle East situation and now she is mapping the current events in Africa.

Some elderly Wikipedia writers focus on the spheres of their profession, while others are writing biographies, for instance.

Now they can also learn how to create, complete and correct texts on the never-ending Internet encyclopedia in the courses within the Seniors Write Wikipedia project.

So far 320 seniors have passed the courses. They have participated in some 4,000 articles in the past four years.

The courses’ manager Gabriela Bokova, from the Wikimedia Czech Republic association, says the interest in the courses increased the most two years ago. In reaction to this, the courses, held in the capital of Prague until then, were organised in other large Czech towns as well.

The elderly who want to attend the courses must command basic computer skills and be able to work with the Internet.

Though anyone can contribute to Wikipedia, the authors must follow certain rules. Every piece of information posted on Wikipedia must be verified in reliable sources, such as scientific studies, Matin Strachon, one of the lecturers in the courses, told Pravo.

Though the number of the elderly writing Wikipedia is rising, the most frequent authors of its articles are still young single men under 30.

The share of women contributing to the online encyclopedia is still quite low. One of the reasons might be that Wikipedia is in the IT sphere, in which men still dominate, Strachon says.

The Czech Wikipedia is one of the many language versions of the worldwide online encyclopedia that is being created by volunteers from all over the world.

The Czech Wikipedia offers more than 400,000 articles so far, while the most voluminous English version includes five million articles, Pravo writes.

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