The morning after the month before

Inside Abbey Mills Pumping Station. Before WLM Commons didn’t have any images of the interior, and this picture by User:Msemmett really captures the state of the building.

This post was written by Richard Nevell

September 2013 will always be the month the UK took part in Wiki Loves Monuments for the first time. We missed out in 2012, and planning began in January this year because we didn’t want the same to happen again. It has been a long process, but now the dust is settling and we can look back at WLM in the UK.

The first few minutes of 1 September were nervous. Would everything work? Would we have long to wait for our first upload? What did the month ahead hold? I nearly wore out the F5 looking for that first image, but only had to wait a few minutes.  Thirty days later we had 11,995 photos from 573 people.

Both of those numbers are encouraging. The sheer number of photos meant the UK was the eighth biggest contributor to the global competition, but if anything those 573 people are more encouraging. Looking at the names of people who took part, there is a mix of old and new faces, and lots of people who have never edited before.

Buildings are the stage on which history happens, and WLM was a chance for people to engage with history as well as Wikimedia. And it worked. The fact nearly 600 people got involved speaks for itself, and several people have been in touch with the office saying how much they enjoyed the competition and adding something to Wikipedia. Some people wanted to know more about how it all works. It got people interested.

The competition is over as far as submissions is concerned, but now the judging stage starts. Volunteers have been integral to getting the infrastructure in place for WLM to work, and now they are helping by whittling down 11,995 photographs to around 1,000 for the final judging panel. The volunteer community have been outstanding. There are too many names to list here, but their efforts were invaluable and I owe them thanks.

As October wears on, keep an eye out for those listed buildings. Commons always needs good pictures, so don’t put away the camera just yet. The winners will be announced in early November, so watch this space.