Greek Wikipedia calls for Βοήθεια (Help)!
Geert: “Yes, you can write your Wikipedia post in your own language”
Me (not saying that aloud of course): “Finally! This is going to be a piece of cake”
Well… it wasn’t. Instead I could describe it like a nerve-breaking, patience-challenging and surprisingly disappointing experience. And think that I haven’t even published my Wikipedia entry yet. But as Konstantinos Kavafis describes in his poem “Ithaca“, it’s the journey that counts not the destination.
My journey in the Wikipedia didn’t have storms. It had brainstorms. There were no sirens. But there were distractions. And it all started with my persistence in writing about “netiquette“, the “set of social conventions that facilitate interaction over networks“.
For sure, they didn’t facilitate my life. No official definition for netiquette in greek. After consulting one of my teachers -that I hadn’t seen since my graduation- I decided to make up one of my own. I wouldn’t call it a definition, since it looks more like a descriptor. So, I’m proud to present the greek version of netiquette, “Rules of ethical behavior in the Network”, that is if my Wikipedia entry is accepted. But, lacking an official definition, there is always the danger that someone else has translated the term “netiquette” in his own words. So, I started looking for similar entries in the greek wikipedia, using any key-word that crossed my mind. And that’s where the disappointing part begins.
Judging by the results of my research, it seems like in Greece we don’t chat, we don’t spam, we don’t like discussion forums. The greek Wikipedia ignores their existence, as if we still chat only in the coffee houses and we spam by dropping water-bombs in our neighbor’s mailbox.
I felt guilty of my first thought that making an entry in the Greek Wikipedia would be a piece of cake. And more guilty that I had never participated before in its development. So is this all that I earned from my Wikipedia journey? Guilt and disappointment? No. Coming back to Kavafis, Wikipedia resembles Ithaca. Adversities will try to bend your faith and hope. But without her you wouldn’t have set out.
“Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaca won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithacas mean”
Update: 07/10/2010. My entry is published and already edited. That confirms the rule: You bring back just the good memories when the journey is over. Interested in my entry? Visit http://bit.ly/abIzNS