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More than five years ago I registered on Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia that anybody can edit. Since then I have created more than 500 articles there, with more than 100 being featured on the front page of the website. I frequently refer to Wikipedia, not as an expert source of information, but as a source for potentially complex perspectives regarding some of the issues that are primary to the work of engaging young people throughout society.
I became fascinated with the potential of Wikipedia when the page I created on adultism became more popular than the page I created on adultism at the Freechild Project website. After that I started gunning at Wikipedia, writing dozens of articles, eventually leading me to create more than 100 articles on Wikipedia about youth-related topics, and collaborating with many other editors to edit 100s of others. I wrote about young people and adults I admired, organizations I was familiar with, and events that made a difference in the social history of young people in the U.S. and abroad. I spent hours and days laboring away, finding the research and other citations to support some of the basic assumptions I had about the key topics I was interested in, and learned a lot of new information about things I thought I already knew a lot about.
In these hours and days of research I found a new interest within me, one focused on the translatory capacity of Wikipedia: absent any other mainstream avenue for people to learn about the particularly advanced concepts in this area, including adultism, adultcentrism, ephebiphobia, children’s rights, fear of children, evolving capacities and youth-adult partnerships, I decided to use Wikipedia as the way as the an access point. This led to a particularly pointed increase in Internet-wide traffic about these topics, as hits on the Freechild Project and SoundOut websites increased, and as the frequency and higher numbers of recent postings to blogs and other websites showed me.
This causes me, yet again, to encourage everyone to edit Wikipedia. We have to expand the knowledge base about this movement, field and culture we engender throughout our work, research, writing and activism. Wikipedia is our friend – let’s do it right.