Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Wikipedia

As of today - January 15, 2011, Wikipedia is ten years old. That's incredibly impressive. It is the seventh-post popular site in the world, and the only noncommercial site in the top ten. It's goal is nothing short of staggering - to be a guide to all the important information of the world - and they're succeeding. Projections indicate that it'll top out at around 4.4 million articles - and as of the moment I write this there's 3,528,966.

The other statistics are staggering as well. Almost 850,000 image files have been uploaded, and on those 3.5 million articles (and 19.4 million other pages) there have been over 438 MILLION edits. There have been over 13 million user accounts registered - most for one-off edits, long forgotten, but there are still 90,000 active users who contribute frequently.

There are articles in over 250 languages. Almost everything on the site is licensed for free reuse, so that everyone may share in the wealth of knowledge. It's slowly but surely becoming incredibly well-written and well-referenced. If not a good source, it is absolutely a good way to start research and find sources.

It's not just people who edit it, either. There are hundreds of bots - automated programs, built into special user accounts, that perform repetitive tasks. Some fix units, date templates like [Citation needed], or tag articles as needing geocoordinates. One bot is incredibly powerful - it is intelligent, it learns, and it is capable of destroying vandalism. It kills 60% of vandalism within seconds, with only one of every 400 a false positive.

Wikipedia is incredible. Congratulations for ten great year to Jimmy Wales, Larry Sanger, and the millions who have contributed. Here's to many decades more.

No comments: