Wikimedia news/numero 88/en

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WikimediaNews - no. 88 - October 22, 2014
Official bulletin from Wikimedia Italia Association.

Wikimedia News - no. 88, October 22, 2014

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Alessio Guidetti, known within Wikipedia as Cotton. He was treasurer of the association for about five years, from 2009 until last April. His death leaves an unfillable void in Wikimedia Italia.

We think that the best way to tell you who was Alessio Guidetti is to share the beautiful message that friends and volunteers of the Wikimedia movement wrote in his memory.


Alessio Guidetti

Alessio Guidetti was the person running the newspapers' kiosk in front of the church of Chiesanuova in Padua, and he was a Wikipedian: a volunteer who participated in the construction of the online encyclopedia called Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is a web site used by millions of people. It is often said that the encyclopedia is written by everyone, but those who actually write it are not "everyone". Alessio is the exceptional person who produced the immense number of 60 000 contributions, created nearly 500 new articles, improved a thousand ones; every day, for eight years, he donated his time to build a free encyclopedia for everyone.

A high school diploma from "liceo classico" and the beginning of the law studies at the University of Padua, with the username "Cotton", he has been a sysop of Italian Wikipedia since 2006. He was one of those people who assiduously eliminate vandalisms, checked contributions, discuss with the community. He translated texts and written new articles on art, cinema, music, literature, theater, mythology, geography, sport and about Hellas Verona, his beloved football team; the articles Alessio contributed to have been seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

In 2009 he was elected to the Board of Wikimedia Italia, the association that supports Wikipedia in our country. As a national representative he took part in the gatherings of the world community and in the international meetings of all Wikimedia association; he talked about Wikipedia at many conferences, he contributed to the formation of new volunteers and has held the office of treasurer of the association. Even after his decision of leaving the Board, he kept helping the newly-appointed treauser long after the formal handling of the responsibility. He was one of the most active supporters of Wikimedia Italia scholarships, a commitment that has brought thirty people to participate in events of the movement in the world, acquiring new skills and increasing their voluntary contribution not only for the Italian Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is a strange place. You read an article, and it's hard to imagine who wrote it; maybe you do not think that it is thanks to the person running the newspapers' kiosk in front of the church that the article exists. Anonymity is part of this world, but many people in Italy and abroad have experienced the great value of the contribution of Alessio even if the was "anonymous".

Always available, pragmatic, loyal, modest, with a biting and brilliant humor: Cotton was a friend and he deserves honor and gratitude for the contribution he has made to the knowledge on the Internet; he and his work will never be forgotten and will always be part of Wikipedia.

Iolanda Pensa -- iopensa

A message from the President of Wikimedia Italia

Each of us has a unique memory of Alessio, and each of us will keep it in his heart.

I think Wikipedia is an ideal (free access to free knowledge) with a project all around it. Over the time a community of people has been formed by gravity, by concretion: a community of people equally and differently passionate.
Cotton (I did not call him Alessio a single day of my life) was one of these people.
I do not think I ever heard him talk about philosophy, or explaining why Wikipedia was important to him. I just know it was.
Even more, he believed in Wikimedia as a movement, national and international.
He was the most proud supporter of scholarships for attending Wikimania: he knew that face-to-face meetings are important, that Wikimedia - with the M - is that place, that group of projects, that set of events, where you can see the people behind Wikipedia; that place in which we discuss, we understand one another, we argue and we drink together. Not necessarily in that order.

This is why Wikimedia Italia will dedicate those scolarships to him. A simple way to remind (and to remind ourselves) that relationships are really built face-to-face, between people and not just online users. We worked together (with many other people) to go forward, to grow that thing we call Wikimedia Italia and which for me is nothing else than to bring the values ​​of Wikipedia out of the computers, to make people understand that we can work together to do wonderful things, which do not always need money to build something beautiful, that we can do good things that are also useful, that open is better than closed, transparent is better than opaque, together is better than alone. [...] I'm sure that what he was for the people who met him will not be lost, and that his work (the 466 articles the started on Wikipedia, the 60,000 edits, everything he has done for Wikimedia Italia) will remain forever. A lot of people will enjoy what he has done, and others will build on it. Few people may aspire to such a legacy.

I hope (for us) that many other people will see Wikimedia Italia as a place where you feel at ease in doing things that you like. It would be nice that we will go together in this direction.

Andrea Zanni - Aubrey

A message from the Executive Director of Wikimedia Foundation

Dear friends,

I did not know Alessio personally, but I can hear through all of the words said about him how loved he was in our community and how important he was to our project. His contribution to free knowledge is unending. He began editing on January 12, 2007. He logged 65,000 edits on Italian Wikipedia, which is an incredibly prolific number. He was a sysop for 7 years, from July 2007 to September 2014, and an active patroller.

He was passionate about a number of topics, including sports, where his favorite team was Hellas Verona. He was well known by Wikipedians outside of Italian Wikipedia, as he attended a number of events and he kept a list of people he knew at Wikincontri. He served as the treasurer of WM IT from 2009-2010.

He was known for being frank and direct. He will be incredibly missed.

Please accept our sincerest condolences and please know that we are with you in this sad moment. We are here to support and help,

Lila Tretikov Executive Director, the WMF

Who would like to know Cotton better through the words from who loved him may read the message that his friends left on these pages: