WLE-2015 active users – Spas from Bulgaria

Bulgarian national team continues to acquaint us with their most active users.

We asked Spas to shortly present himself in a couple of sentences, and here is what he said:

I am interested in geography and history, love travelling and taking pictures. I’ve been editing Wikipedia since the beginning of 2008, and for the last two or three years I’ve been working on the digitalization of documents and images from Bulgarian Archives State Agency, with which Wikimedians of Bulgaria work together.

Vihren, Pirin National Park| by Спасимир – CC-BY-SA-4.0

Spas, you took part in the competition with more than 250 pictures of Bulgarian nature sites. It seems you have travelled across the whole country with a backpack. Tell us more about that. Have you visited all those places with the purpose to take pictures for Wikipedia?

It seems like that, but it is not quite so. One life would not be enough to visit all those places in Bulgaria, and the world is so much bigger. During the recent years, I have combined the pleasure of travelling, experiencing and photographing. I always travel with a digital camera, but I do not think of myself as a photographer. I find it good to save what has been seen in this way. Yet, to hold these pictures only for myself is pretty egoistic. Therefore, I upload them to a safe and useful place like Wikipedia, and more exactly in the multimedia repository – Wikimedia Commons. This is the images, which are of encyclopaedic value, and which could be used for illustrating articles, of course.

You have been contributing to Wikipedia and have donated thousands of your images to Wikipedia before the contests. Why is this important for you? What motivates you to share your works under a free licence?

Yes, I have been editing Wikipedia for seven years now. People have different ways of relaxation – playing football, sewing gobelins, lazing … My way to relax is to travel and write in the encyclopaedia. Sometimes it happens that I have an image from some place and the article about this place is missing. I start searching for information and create an article, so that the image can be used. Other times there is an article, but there are no images to illustrate it. This motivates me to stroll to the place in question and take pictures. It gives a great pleasure to create and complete articles, of course with precise citations of reliable sources, as well as by uploading images to Wikipedia.

Tevno lake, Pirin National Park| by Спасимир – CC-BY-SA-4.0

This way I feel beneficial for other people – when I see that some article has been read a couple dozens of times during a day. Meanwhile it is not needed to make a big fuss about it, by signing the articles and not allowing anyone to complete them. As a matter of fact, this is one of the best qualities of Wikipedia – the writing of one article by many people. There are people, who find it bad that everyone is able to write, but I hold the view, that in this way the information in the articles is more complete. The only condition is the correct citation of the sources. And the free licence gives the possibility to have more and more diverse multimedia materials (images, videos, graphics, …) in the articles.

What is special about photographing for the encyclopaedia? What do you try to capture in your images? What advice would you give to photographers, who now start photographing for an encyclopaedia?

The specifics is that I photograph mainly the object I need in the best possible way. Without photographing askew and I photograph as few faces as possible, even if it is possible without them, except if they are for an article.

You are not only a photographer in the competition “Wiki Loves Earth”, but also the creator of around a third of the new articles for protected areas, which were created during the competition. What kind of information sources did you use the most during the writing of the articles? What advice would you give to new editors, who would like to write articles about places they visited on Wikipedia?

Frog lake, Pirin National Park| by Спасимир – CC-BY-SA-4.0

Most articles i have created during the contest are about places I have visited. National and nature parks, but during the competition I learned about many reserves, managed reserves, protected areas, nature sights, Natura 2000 protected areas. Actually it doesn’t need to be a superman or to travel days and nights in order to see them live. They are around us and we do not suspect how near to our homes they are.

Tevno lake, Pirin National Park| by Спасимир – CC-BY-SA-4.0

Clearly it is very important to respect the rules when visiting them, because nature is one of Bulgaria’s biggest treasures! The information is mainly from the Executive Environment Agency, but I have also used further information from various reliable sources, which I have cited in the articles. New editors should not be worried about the layout of their articles, because there is always someone around, who would help with the structure and would give them guidance. It is not complex at all. It is important to give sources for verification of the information. It is not important to spin yams by writing all kinds of fables, because after all Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia and not yellow press.

Would you accept to be a member of the jury for the next edition of the competition in 2016, or would you rather prefer to be a photographer and participant again?

Perhaps I will decide this later, but surely I have many images to upload until then.

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