|WikiGnome in its natural habitat|
A WikiGnome is a wiki user who makes useful incremental edits without clamouring for attention. WikiGnomes work behind the scenes of a wiki, tying up little loose ends and making things run more smoothly. Examples of WikiGnome-like behavior include improving punctuation, fixing typos, correcting poor grammar, creating redirects, adding categories, and repairing broken links. Typical behaviors are ticking the "This is a minor edit" box before saving any edit, and not providing an edit summary. The WikiGnome is the original example of WikiFauna, having originated in the first wiki WikiWikiWeb. WikiGnomes are also known as WikiGardeners.
Many highly active wiki contributors exhibit WikiGnome-like behavior as part of their work, while others may limit themselves to WikiGnome activity.
WikiGnomes who are feeling familial or desirous of a grander sense of purpose often adopt a typo, gaining fulfillment by raising themselves into existence on the article namespace. Of course, editors are encouraged to garner up some courage and come into the light of day as a gesture of open friendliness and make their edits in a straightforward manner without being afraid of what others think.
Further examples of WikiGnome-like work include:
- adding ISBNs of books that people mention,
- making an entry for their articles in the list of books by title,
- tracking down the authorship of "someone once said" quotations,
- organizing word pairs into tables,
- repairing links to disambiguation pages,
- adding links to text already in an article or to useful categories,
- adding redirects,
- finding sources for "citation needed" tags,
- adding examples and details to information referred to in the text (for example, adding "such as Silence and Deep River" to the line "Shūsaku Endō has written important books"),
- clarifying vague information in the text (for example, replacing "the 2009 flu pandemic was the first in 40 years" with "the 2009 flu pandemic was the first since the 1968 Hong Kong flu").
How to identify WikiGnomes
The list of Wikipedians who wish to advertise their status as WikiGnomes is at Category:Wikipedian WikiGnomes.
If they so choose, users can advertise their WikiGnome-like qualities on their pages by adding a userbox to their user page with the following code:
If editors prefer not to use userboxes, they can still list their user pages in the WikiGnomes category by putting the following on it:
Another way for someone who self-identifies as a WikiGnome to advertise this is to display a small picture of a mushroom or WikiGnome at the top of the page next to their username, which can be done by adding the following to your user page:
If editors do not wish to advertise themselves unduly, they can make a simple textual note of their interest in wikignomic activities.
Care and feeding of WikiGnomes
WikiGnomes have a humble and very unassuming nature, yet Wikipedians should know that they still need to be told that their work is valued from time to time. If WikiGnomes don't occasionally feel the love from the people whom their work has helped, they might sneak into the kitchens of such users at night and sit on their dairy products. Their needs are modest in this regard, however, and it only takes a brief word to them once in a while to avert such an unfortunate event. A collection of kind messages left for the WikiGnomes can be found at Wikipedia:WikiGnome/Kudos.
- Media related to WikiGnomes at Wikimedia Commons