Howdy, Wikians! Michael here, from Wikia's Community Development team, checking in with an extra special edition of the Featured Wikian series. Today, I am honored to feature the contributions of none other than Jiskran!
Jiskran received several nominations from you -- the Community -- and it's easy to understand why. Everyone seems to love his amazingly positive demeanor, helpful attitude, intellect, and all round awesomeness. Speaking of awesome, since joining the Dumbledore's Army Role Play wikia, Jiskran has racked up nearly 38,000 edits -- all since July of 2012!
Jiskran has all of the qualities of a great Wikia community member, and I hope his answers below inspire you as much as they inspire me. Oh, and be sure to read all the way to the end, as I think you'll find Jiskran's unique reading style as fascinating as we do. In fact, I dare you to give this blog a second reading, utilizing Jiskran's preferred reading method (be sure to take pics and share them with me if you do)...
Please allow me the pleasure of introducing Jiskran!
Tell us a little bit about yourself...
I'm an English teacher from Britain who settled (seemingly and without intention) in Brno, Czech Republic almost two decades ago. I'm over 40, working mainly as a private teacher and translator at present, though I used to have university-level courses in English for Theatre, something I miss. I've been employed as an actor and director as well as the academic stuff, and many moons ago I worked as a male au pair in places as diverse as Sweden, Japan, Russia and Italy. If it's not obvious, I have a love of languages in general, and long ago I used to travel quite a bit.
How did you first discover Wikia?
Utterly by accident – I was prepping for a course I used to teach using Harry Potter-based materials, and needed a list of wand cores. One of the first options Google threw up was a page on DARP, so I read and was intrigued.
Which wikis do you spend the most time on -- and which is your main wiki?
Overall, there's no question that DARP is my priority. However, at any given time, there's usually another wiki, generally TV-based, that I'm putting quite a bit of time and effort into. I recently adopted the 'Pushing Daisies' wiki, so that's a major focus at present. I try, wherever I'm an Admin, to at least scan the recent activity on a site every day or so.
What do you like about Wikia? What keeps you coming back?
The lack of obligation to post, which may sound strange, given how often I do. It being from choice not a chore, however, makes a massive difference. Also, for me, it's a kind of busman's holiday from the type of intense, detail-oriented work I do with translations and such. 1. How has Wikia inspired you or supported your passion? I'm a huge Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek . . . well, let's say 'nerd' and cover all the bases. :D This has shown me the ideas of like-minded individuals who, at the risk of being ageist, see the world very differently, and who bring up all sort of concepts which would never cross my mind. As a teacher, I feel it's vital to hear other voices not shaped by my opinions and ideas, and that I often get here.
What would your top 5 tips for new folks on a wiki be?
Probably the biggest one would be “look before you leap”. I don't mean don't edit until you've read every protocol on the wiki, it's just that, in my experience, nine times out of ten, if you come across something which looks, at first glance, like a huge error, there's a reason it's that way. A classic example was a wiki I know where a new user came on and renumbered all the episodes, because their DVDs showed a different sequence. Apart from that, my feeling is “try to take everything in the best possible light”. Ninety-nine plus percent of users aren't out to get us, and those that are will get frustrated if we're not insulted, so it's win-win. I would also say “Distinguish between the person and the edit” wherever possible – just because you disagree about this doesn't suddenly make someone else wrong about everything. Also “Come up for air regularly”, because much as I love many sites here, it's easy to get to the point where you feel they matter more than they really do. Finally, unlike in real life, “Anything here can be undone – and redone”, so try not to invest too heavily in what you've written, it may well need to be changed, at least in part.
What would you like to see that isn't on Wikia already?
It's a horribly 'beauty pageant' answer, I know, but “More tolerance”. I recognise, without question, that there are malicious people out there, who destroy pages and look to offend people they've never interacted with, but I like to believe they are the vast minority. Most new visitors, I think, come with good intentions, and no, they don't read all your house rules before they first post, but then again, do you do that on every wiki you visit? It seems to me that, taken in that light, with a little less fervour to protect our corner of the wikiverse, there is limitless growth potential in an idea like this.
What makes the DARP community unique?
As I've not really participated in any other RP wikis, I find it hard to say. For me, at least, it is a place where, most of the time, we rub along great with only minor squabbles, and on the rare occasions when something serious happens in RL everyone pitches in to express their support, which I find wonderful. Obviously, the role-playing witches and wizards things is a big plus too.
Tell us about your interest in the Agents of SHIELD community - are you a big fan of the show? Who's your favourite character and why?
I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, and only slightly less so of Marvel and DC comics. The concept of one of the most fertile minds in entertainment getting his hands on the Marvel Universe was always something which promised, and so far has delivered, endless delight. I'm afraid I detest the 'favourite character' question in any context, and refuse to incriminate myself.
What would we be surprised to learn about you? Any interesting facts, talents, or interests you can tell us about?
That's one of those impossible to answer inquiries, since it depends entirely on how well they know me, or read between the lines of RPs. The one thing I can think of which is exotic, and drives the otherwise very patient population of the Czech Republic to interfere with me in public, is that I read upside down. Which is to say, I invert a book in my hands and read bottom to top and right to left. This is because it forces me to think about what I'm looking at, rather than just recognising the basic pattern, as the brain does with text in the normal manner. As I said, the otherwise very laid-back locals will often, usually silently, take the volume out of my hands and turn it right side up. :)