William Beutler on Wikipedia


Welcome to The Wikipedian!

If you’re reading this (and I suspect that you are) then you have found The Wikipedian, a blog by William Beutler written specifically for the non-insider—that is to say, the non-Wikipedian. In conjunction with this blog I maintain the Twitter account, @thewikipedian, hand-tweeted highlights of Wikipedia news and commentary, which is honestly updated far more often than this site.

I have written this blog, on and off, since early 2009. Over the years I’ve chronicled the death of Microsoft Encarta, the end of Britannica’s print edition, record-setting traffic the day Michael Jackson died, Wikipedia’s three millionth article, why Conservapedia is a joke, problematic Wikipedia infographics, Wikipedia’s non-relationship to Wikileaks, XKCD’s twisted takes on Wikipedia, the emergence of the GLAM-Wiki movement, the error that used to be in Wikipedia’s logo, what happens when big PR firms try editing Wikipedia, what happens when shady PR operatives edit Wikipedia, what happens when congressional staffers try editing Wikipedia, my own efforts at helping Wikipedia and PR understand each other better, the split between Wikipedia’s co-founders, how Jimmy Wales may be famous but still can’t get no respect, why in fact maybe he shouldn’t, the founding of Wikidata, Wikimania 2013, Wikimania 2014, Wikimania 2015, how Wikipedia dealt with Gamergate, the nervous-making departure of Sue Gardner, the rocky beginning of the Lila Tretikov era, and its even rockier end.

Since 2010, I have written a year-in-review series called “The Top 10 Wikipedia Stories” as follows: 2010, 2011, 2012a, 2012b, 2013a, 2013b, 2014, and 2015.

This blog is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, or CC-BY-4.0. This means you are free to reuse any content found here so long as you credit me, provide a link, and declare how it has been changed from the original.

Wikipedia contributions

User:WWB at WikipediaAs the title suggests, I am an active editor on the English Wikipedia, where I contribute primarily as User:WWB and have been editing in some way, shape or form since the middle of 2006.

Like many, I began with simple changes to existing articles. Beyond that I continued with simple spelling, grammar and formatting corrections, which led to more substantial contributions to existing articles and, eventually, creating new ones. (Of course, I still like to fix spelling and formatting.) Although edit counts alone present an incomplete picture of ones’ contribution, as of the third quarter of 2010 I have made nearly 1,700 edits across more than 600 articles.

I am also the founder of Beutler Ink, a digital agency which, among other things, provides “wiki engagement” as a service. We’re proud to say we help some of the world’s biggest companies work constructively and collaboratively with Wikipedia volunteers. But it didn’t come easily: since 2008 I have worked hard to develop best practices for helping brands, institutions, and individuals contribute to Wikipedia articles about them. My goal has been and will always be to improve such articles while working within consensus. As a major step in these efforts, in 2014 I led the adoption of a joint statement of PR firms, working in cooperation with Wikipedia volunteers, officially called “Statement on Wikipedia from participating communications firms” but also known as the “Donovan House agreement”.

I am the author of an ebook aimed at marketing and PR: Wikipedia and the Communications Professional: A Primer, and I am the creator of a weekly newsletter demystifying Wikipedia’s complex rules, Wikipedia in 60 Seconds.

Contact me

I am open to media inquiries. My Wikipedia expertise pertains to site culture, editing disputes and political activity on Wikipedia. If you have any questions about Wikipedia, please feel free to inquire at thewikipedianblog [@] gmail.com.

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Boilerplate in third person

beutler-ink-018 copy 2William Beutler is the founder and president of Beutler Ink, a digital agency specializing in visual storytelling and content marketing. The firm’s clients include Google, Verizon, and the NBA, and its work has been featured in Popular Science, Fast Company, and Wired.

An active editor on the English-language Wikipedia since June 2006, he has played a leading role in fostering dialogue between the Wikipedia community and communications industry through initiatives such as a February 2014 roundtable at Donovan House in Washington, DC, and leading the multi-agency “Statement on Wikipedia from participating communications firms”, with signatories (as of September 2014) counting 8 of the top 10 global firms.

As an artist and tinkerer, he is the creator of The Infinite Atlas Project, a multimedia work mapping the locations of David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest”; co-host of KubrickCast, a podcast exploring the filmography of Stanley Kubrick; and an occasional producer of documentary films, including “Our Nixon” and “The Uber Wars”. As an amateur talking head, he appears on Bloggingheads.tv and Wikipedia Weekly, and writes a blog, this one.

This page last updated April 2016. Previously, it looked like this.

  1. I didn’t know you were on Wait, Wait!

  2. Hello and thank you for your work! Is there a way to read your updates at Facebook? I couldn’f find that, I found Twitter, but I don’t read Twitter generally.

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