Meet the Most Prolific of All 125K Wikipedia Editors

Justin Anthony Knapp also works 65 hours a week and volunteers
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2015 5:49 AM CDT
Meet the Most Prolific of All 125K Wikipedia Editors
   (AP Photo/Wikipedia)

Wikipedia boasts 26 million registered users, though less than 0.5% (125,000) are active editors—and only 12,000 of them have made more than 50 edits in the past six months. Who's the guy at the head of that pack? Justin Anthony Knapp, who in 10 years has made nearly 1.5 million edits, reports Priceonomics. That's about 385 edits a day, though at his busiest he says he'd make as many as 1,000 in a day. And in the meantime, he also earned bachelor's degrees in philosophy and political science and now works 65 hours a week at a restaurant and volunteers. So why invest so much time in an already packed schedule? "I believe that when you have free time, you shouldn’t spend it idling," says Knapp, whose user name is koavf.

"I’m able bodied; globally speaking (though not at all locally speaking), I’m rich. I have a lot of resources other people don’t have—an internet connection, free time, the ability to speak English—and it’s incumbent upon me to use them to make the world a better place." Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales seems to agree, having written on Quora a few years ago: "People who equate wealth in any serious way with 'amount of money that you have' are missing a lot of richness in how humans value things." Still, Knapp, for whom April 20 was declared Justin Knapp day on Wikipedia when he surpassed 1 million edits on that day in 2012, likes to keep his contributions in perspective. "A lot of the work I do is useful, but not really that critical. Besides, the reward is in the activity itself. It is a labor of love." (What would Wikipedia look like in physical book form? An artist set about finding out.)

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