Christian music is truly unique in the world of music. Sonically, its characteristics encompass the entire spectrum of music, with only the faith-based nature of the genre connecting the disparate array of styles. Even the faith-based aspect proves difficult to pin down, with artists ranging from the rock bands U2 and Switchfoot, to singer-songwriter Derek Webb, to the rapper Lecrae refusing to be pigeon-holed by the "Christian" label, arguing that Christianity is a faith, not a genre. Regardless of these debates as to exactly who is and who is not included among its ranks, Christian music continues to thrive. And as the genre embodies all sonic variations of music as a whole, it allows for each and all tastes, whether classical or jazz, hip hop or heavy metal.
WikiProject Christian music began around 2008. Its stated goal is to "help assemble editors interested in Christian music" and "standardize and improve articles related to Christian music and its sub-genres, as well as to create missing articles." Some 3,460 articles are listed as falling under the WikiProject, though many more articles fall under its child projects and task forces and many others could potentially fall under the WikiProject banner but are uncategorized. WikiProject Christian music itself falls under several parent projects, specifically WikiProject Christianity and its parent, WikiProject Religion; WikiProject Music genres and its parent WikiProject Music; WikiProject Arts, and WikiProject Culture.
When I started editing Wikipedia in the latter half of 2010, I cut my teeth on Christian music-related articles, beginning mainly with Christian metal but branching out from there. Over the course of five and a half years, I’ve had the privilege of working with many different editors at improving the coverage of Christian music on Wikipedia. Desiring to highlight their contributions, I approached four of these editors and asked if they would consent to an interview, and they each agreed. Allow me to introduce them:
The Cross Bearer began editing Wikipedia in early January 2015 under two different consecutive user names, which they soon abandoned. They adopted their current user name in late January of that year. An extremely prolific editor, in the year and a quarter since they joined, they have created almost 1,000 articles! Ilovechristianmusic started editing Wikipedia in April 2014. Since then they have created 16 articles and helped develop numerous others, logging over 1,800 edits. Royalbroil is an administrator on Wikipedia, and first contributed in June 2005. They have logged over 52,000 edits. They were promoted to administrator in November 26, 2007. Walter Görlitz has been active as an editor on the English Wikipedia since October 2004 and has made over 138,000 contributions in that time.
Thank you all four of you for taking the time to do this.
- What prompted you to become a Wikipedia editor?
- RB: I thought that building an online encyclopedia was a worthwhile endeavor. Wikipedia was pretty new in 2005 and there was a lot that I could do to help build and organize it. I keep contributing because I want to make the world a better place.
- ILCM: The amount of incorrect information on Wikipedia. One day I pulled up Wiki to look up some information on a song, and the information supplied was unreliable, so I thought I would create an account to help better music articles.
- TCB: The lack of coverage about many musicians and bands that are Christian music or even Christian music leaning on this encyclopedia. I went through a whole encyclopedia [Uncloudy Days by Bil Carpenter] on mainly black gospel musicians and found well over 60 articles that were not done [on Wikipedia].
- WG: I saw a segment on The Colbert Report and began to investigate. I realized that Wikipedia allowed people to disseminate information and that has been a goal of mine since I graduated high school and so I started digging in. I edited articles on topics I understood a bit about, and then I became hooked on the process.
- Royalbroil, you are an administrator on Wikipedia. How did that come about? Do the extra tools help you contribute to this project specifically?
- RB: I wasn't aiming to become an admin. After I was here for several years, I was asked if I'd like to become an admin and I agreed to try. My biggest use of the tools is to delete images that I move over to Commons. I rarely use them on Christian music articles.
- What motivated you to become a member of WikiProject Christian music? What kind of Christian music-related articles do you like to work on?