Thank you Cindy

I’m emotionally crushed.  For the second time this week, I had to write an obituary about a female Wikimedian involved in addressing the movement’s gender gap.  Wikimedian Cindy Ashley-Nelson died at the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin early yesterday morning.  Her death follows that of Wikimedian activist Adrianne Wadewitz who died earlier in the week after a rock climbing accident on March 29.

Both women were inspiring in terms of their leadership, their contributions to Wikipedia while being active behind the scenes in movement governance, and their dedication.  Like myself, both believed that contributing to Wikimedia projects could change the world, and that knowledge is power.  Their individual contributions embody that.

While I did not have personal relationships with either, they served as role models in the community and brought attention to issues in the community as insiders that would not have otherwise been possible.  They participated in an environment that can at times be incredibly hostile towards women while being very successful.  I cannot easily see how the holes they left will be filled. 😦

I am thankful that in their lives, they spent time contributing.  I hope they can continue to live on forever in the collective community memory.

Vale Adrianne Wadewitz

The Wikimedia movement is both very large, and very small. I never had the pleasure of meeting Adrianne Wadewitz but I was very aware of her work and her role in promoting the inclusion of women as participants and topics of articles on Wikipedia. She was very effective at drawing attention to a problem that needs attention, at a site where people sometimes form their core base of knowledge about a topic. Thus, it was sad news to learn of her passing this morning. 😦 She did great work and appeared to do so without alienating a lot of people, something that can be very difficult to do in the Wikimedia community. Her contributions to making Wikipedia, and the world, a better place will be missed.