Welcome back everyone. Once again, it is time to congratulate our Wookieepedian of the Month. For the month of May, we congratulate Master Jonathan. Jonathan is one of Wookieepedia’s administrators, and primarily works on the technical side of Wookieepedia. In addition to this, Jonathan is also the controller of one of Wookieepedia’s bots, AJTD6. Jonathan was kind enough to grant us a few moments of his time to answer some questions.
Wookieepedia NewsNet: How did you react when you discovered you were nominated to be Wookieepedian of the Month again?
- Master Jonathan: A bit surprised, but honored at the same time. I do have to say that I’m not a fan of repeat winners in general, preferring to have no winner than a repeat, but I accepted it for what it was intended: an honor. Given that the vast majority of my work these days is technical and behind-the-scenes stuff that sometimes tends to go unnoticed, it’s good to know that people still appreciate you. And for that, I’m thankful.
Wookieepedia NewsNet: Tell us a bit about your time here over the years
- Master Jonathan: I started out as primarily a copy-editor, looking over any article dropped onto my talk page, but over the years as I became more interested in coding, I started drifting toward technical work. Nowadays I rarely do copy-edits, and I never was much of an article writer compared to some of the FA machines we’ve had over the years.
Wookieepedia NewsNet: How did you react when LFL decided to move all Expanded Universe material to “Legends” and start fresh with a “new” canon?
- Master Jonathan: My first reaction was one of disgust, though I can’t say I was blindsided by the announcement as I saw the possibility coming the day Episode VII was announced. My general activity levels on Wookieepedia fell sharply for a little while afterward out of frustration with the split, but they eventually came back up as I began to accept it. What eventually made me accept it was the realization that as stories accumulate, it becomes harder and harder to write the stories you want to tell without stepping on the toes of the stories that came before. Eventually you reach a point where future stories just aren’t viable without a reboot; sure, you have thousands of years with untold stories, but will the readers *buy* those stories? After all, it is a business that must make money to survive. So I think a reboot was going to happen eventually, even if Disney and Episode VII had never stepped into the picture. The Episode VII announcement just hastened the inevitable. I’ve said it in a few other places, and I’ll say it again here: I’m putting the over/under on the timing of the next reboot at the year 2040. :P
Wookieepedia NewsNet: How did you first discover Wookieepedia, and what made you decide to contribute here?
- Master Jonathan: In the summer of 2008, I was reading Labyrinth of Evil for the first time and encountering references to the various lightsaber forms. I had previously read the ROTS novel back in 2005, which also referenced the forms, but one used the form numbers and the other used the nicknames, which left me confused. So I did a Google search for Star Wars lightsaber forms, and found pages on the subject on Wikipedia and Wookieepedia. At the time, the Wikipedia page was more informative and better quality than the Wookieepedia page, so I read through it, but I remembered Wookieepedia and occasionally spent my free time over the next few months browsing through the Wook anonymously. Finally, in January of 2009, I spotted a formatting error in the TCW navbox, and decided to fix it. Not wanting to reveal my IP address, I created an account first, and the rest is history.
Wookieepedia NewsNet: Tell us a bit about what the site was like when you first started here, and how it has changed over the years.
- Master Jonathan: I think when I started here, the site was generally more laid back and more tolerant of mistakes. When a newbie made an honest mistake, the general response was a friendly message explaining what they did wrong and educating them, and people usually took the time to fix low-quality edits that were correct. Nowadays, the attitude has shifted to one where every single new user is expected to read and perfectly understand every single policy and guideline before ever making their first edit, and users who make honest mistakes and low-quality edits tend to be outright reverted and get nasty warnings that often threaten blocks. Believe it or not, this is NOT conducive to retaining editors! It’s this attitude that is the primary cause of our dearth of new users, not the Canon/Legends split. And that attitude will be the death of Wookieepedia if we don’t change it, and change it soon.
Wookieepedia NewsNet: For those who aren’t familiar with your contributions here, tell us a bit about some of the things you do here.
- Master Jonathan: As I said above, my primary service to the site used to be copy-editing. Nowadays, it’s various bot tasks and technical work. For example, four times a day, my bot clears the sandbox, works around a known MediaWiki bug regarding category links, and archives forums threads older than a certain period of time. That last task, in particular, used to be ignored for months at a time until a bored admin eventually spent multiple hours cleaning up old threads. Now they don’t have to worry about it anymore.
Wookieepedia NewsNet: What kind of impact would you like to leave on Wookieepedia?
- Master Jonathan: This is really hard to answer, because to “leave an impact” suggests that I would stop editing here. And I have no plans to do so, ever. So I honestly don’t know how to answer that.
Wookieepedia NewsNet: What is your best Wookieepedia related memory?
- Master Jonathan: Without a doubt, it was sitting at the Wookieepedia table at Celebration VI with Trak Nar, Dangerdan97, and C-3P0, chatting before the convention opened to the public on the first day, when Xd1358
deleted the Main Page. Not only did I get to see the deletion and the resulting IRC chat as it happened, but I was able to laugh at Xd with three friends that I had just met in person for the first time. I remember typing “*facepalm*” into IRC, and was asked if we all facepalmed. My response (suggested by someone else at the table): “Yes. Simultaneously.” That memory will stick with me forever.
Wookieepedia NewsNet: Has the work you do on here helped you in real life at all?
- Master Jonathan: Not directly. However, editing Wookieepedia is what led to my interest in programming, which has helped me decide what career I want to go into. Now I just need money for college. Hey George Lucas, care to give me $50,000? :P (Okay, not gonna happen. But a man can dream.)
Wookieepedia NewsNet: What role do you feel Wookieepedia plays in the greater Star Wars community?
- Master Jonathan: We are known as the most comprehensive and reliable source of Star Wars fact and minutiae in existence. We’ve been used by licensed authors, linked to by StarWars.com, mentioned on Mythbusters and used
as the answers to a clue in a New York Times crossword puzzle. All of this goes to show that… well, that we’re awesome. :D But it also shows that we are a critically important piece of the community, and I can’t imagine a modern Star Wars community without Wookieepedia. Disputes would be argued over for eternity, instead of solved in thirty seconds by looking it up on the Wook. Authors would have to pester Leland Chee for everything, instead of taking two minutes to read the Wookieepedia article. And where would fans go to read a literal novel about the entire life and times of Wedge Antilles? :P In short, we play numerous roles in the community, every one equally important.
Wookieepedia NewsNet: Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for anyone who is interested in becoming an active contributor here?
- Master Jonathan: Unfortunately, no, because of the attitude I mentioned in the previous answer. I used to have some things I’d say here, but they were along the lines of “don’t be afraid to make mistakes”, etc. The general attitude on the site, as described above, is now to basically punish anyone who makes mistakes with overly harsh warnings and blocks. So I’m afraid I really don’t know what advice to give to new users in the current environment. :(
That’s all for now folks. Be sure to tune in next month for another exciting interview. Until then, Supreme Emperor, signing off.