My Experience With Wikipedia

TLDR; The platform treats newbies like shit. 🚪

Three years ago, I was blocked completely from editing any articles on Wikipedia due to choosing a bad username (“FVCproductions” sounded like an organization – which I totally understood) and coming off as promotional in my first edit since I was trying to create a page for Fullstack Academy (this irked me because I used the same existing language for another coding bootcamp that was on Wikipedia at the time).

Now last spring in a Connective Media class at Cornell Tech, the professor actually invited a member of the Wikimedia foundation which is basically a nonprofit dedicated to maintaining Wikipedia and all related entities. Now this guy literally told us that Wikipedia has one of the poorest on-boarding processes ever and that a lot more people could probably be contributing if it was dramatically improved.

I think to myself hell yeah it could be improved! In my first interaction with Wikipedia, I wasn’t given any warning or feedback – I was just blocked. There could have been an on-boarding process forced on me as it should have with me being a first time contributor.

So now, after three whole years of not caring enough whether I was banned, I finally decided to change my username and make the plea for why I deserve to get unblocked.

And I still get some strongly worded BS.

The overall process made me feel ashamed, misinformed and overall not welcome at all and unfortuntaely or not, I don’t see myself ever contributing to the platform for these reasons.

Needless to say, I have strongly disliked Wikipedia ever since that experience and now have this terribly misguided image of it in my head being run by a bunch of male jerks.


By Frances Coronel

Frances Coronel is a software engineer specializing in UI development on the Customer Acquisition Team at Slack where her mission is to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

She has been working professionally as a developer since 2015 and holds a Bachelors in Computer Science from Hampton University and a Masters in Computer Science from Cornell Tech.

Outside of Slack, Frances is an Executive Director of Techqueria, a 501c3 nonprofit that serves the largest community of Latinx in Tech in the US.

She also supports Code Nation as a member of their Bay Area Leadership Council and the Latino Community Foundation as a member of their Latinos in Tech Giving Circle.