There really should be award for editing one million Wikipedia articles. But when former pizza delivery guy and Indiana resident Justin Knapp became the first person to break that milestone on April 18, all he got was a tiny announcement posted on Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales discussion page.
“Today Koavf became the first wikipedian with 1 Million edits,” wikpiedian TonyTheTiger wrote.
There’s not really a comparable accomplishment in the online realm: maxwellhill, a user of social news site Reddit, snagged his one millionth karma point last year. But karma is awarded through other users’ upvotes on each of your posts—it’s limitless. Theoretically, a single post could get 1 million upvotes, and you’d have a million karma points for exactly 1 minute of effort.
Knapp’s work and time, presumably, are quite finite.
From his user page on the site, where he goes by Koavf, we can glean the following about Knapp: He’s 30 years old, Christian (a “Christian radical” according to his profile”), joined Wikipedia in March, 2005, and has degrees in political science and philosophy from Indiana University. Most of his edits are on the topics of politics, philosophy, and religion. He thinks his Wiki prose needs work, but he’s a solid editor and copyeditor. (“I am pretty clueless about how to structure several kinds of articles which are popular on Wikipedia,” he wrote.)
Knapp’s a volunteer at Wikipedia, like every other user, so what does he do for a living? “I do all kinds of odd jobs for money, but my most recent forty hours a week was pizza delivery,” he told me in an email. He added parenthetically: “which I lost two weeks ago due to a downturn in sales :/”
The hardest working editor on the sixth most popular website in the world is an under-employed former pizza delivery man. Something’s not right about that. “The search for truth is rich because of reciprocity between persons,” Knapp wrote on his user page.
Wikipedia is a non-profit and probably won’t ever hire this guy (even though that would be downright reciprocal). But, hey, maybe Britannica could use his services.
Editors note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Jimmy Wales as the person who announced Knapp’s 1 million edits milestone.
Photo by cyclingpdx