If you plan to visit Slubice, Poland, you might want to read about the place on Wikipedia first. Then you might consider showing your appreciation for the info by visiting the new Wikipedia monument there. Yes, Slubice is now home to the first-ever Wikipedia monument, according to (who else?) Wikipedia.
The fiberglass and resin monument, designed by Armenian sculptor Mihran Hakobyan, depicts the iconic Wikipedia puzzle-piece-globe held aloft by four humans. As with the iconic globe seen online, missing pieces represent the ever-expanding realm of human knowledge. The sculpture, which measures 5.5 feet inches by 2 feet by 2 feet, was unveiled last week in the city's Frankfurt Square.
Krzysztof Wojciechowski, director of the academic institution Collegium Polonicum, which the artist attended, came up with the idea for a monument honoring Wikipedia's contributors.
"I'm ready to drop to my knees before Wikipedia, that's why I thought of a monument where I could do it." Wojciechowski said.
Indeed, in its inscription, the sculpture expresses great appreciation for the many volunteers who have kept Wikipedia bursting with information on virtually every subject since its founding 14 years ago.
"With this monument the citizens of Słubice would like to pay homage to thousands of anonymous editors all over the world, who have contributed voluntarily to the creation of Wikipedia, the greatest project co-created by people regardless of political, religious or cultural borders," the inscription reads. "In the year this monument is unveiled Wikipedia is available in more than 280 languages and contains about 30 million articles. The benefactors behind this monument feel certain that with Wikipedia as one of its pillars the knowledge society will be able to contribute to the sustainable development of our civilization, social justice and peace among nations."
The widely used online compendium, of course, has faced charges of spotty reliability, especially in its earlier days. Last year, Wikipedia revealed that it as part of an investigation into "suspicious edits and sockpuppetry" that promoted organizations or products. It has since that require volunteer editors to disclose whether they have been compensated for their contributions.
The town of Slubice funded the structure, which cost 67,000 zloty ($27,000, €21,263), according to the Collegium Polonicum.
Guests attending last week's unveiling ceremony included representatives of Wikimedia Poland, Wikimedia Deutschland and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia.
"We hope this will be an enduring reminder of the importance of free knowledge," Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said in a statement. "It is humbling for all of us to be a part of something so much larger than any one person."