10 Incredible Facts about Wikipedia, the World's Online Encyclopedia
Article by George Norman
On 19 Jan 2016
Wikipedia is the go-to online destination for students who must write a paper, curious people looking to learn about the about the world around them, and annoying friends who want to prove you wrong. What started as a modest project quickly grew into a huge online destination that’s visited by tens of millions of people from all over the world.

These are the most interesting and incredible facts I managed to find about Wikipedia, the world’s online encyclopedia. Or as I like to call it, the fountain of all knowledge.

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1. The Wikipedia globe is incomplete for a reason



Pictured above is Wikipedia’s logo. It’s a globe made up of several puzzle pieces, with each piece featuring the letter W, but in a different language and writing system. This is to symbolize the fact that Wikipedia encapsulates knowledge from all corners of the globe and that this knowledge is available in a multitude of languages.

As you can clearly see, the Wikipedia globe is incomplete. There’s a reason behind that. It’s meant to signify that the project is incomplete, that there are more are articles to post and more languages to add to the list of supported languages.


2. Wikipedia By the Numbers


  • More than 27 million registered users (but only some 1,300 administrators).
  • More than 5 million articles in English and more than 38 million articles in 291 languages.
  • 800 new articles are added every day (on average).
  • With 18 billion page views per month, Wikipedia is the 7th most visited website in the world.
  • About 70,000 active contributors and 115,000 active editors.
According to the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the online encyclopedia, the total size of Wikipedia is 30 terabytes.


3. The most edited Wikipedia page of all-time is...



The Wikipedia page about George W. Bush has been edited more than 45,000 times, making it the most heavily edited Wikipedia page on the entire site.

The 2nd most edited Wikipedia page of all-time is the list of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) personnel, while the 3rd is the Wikipedia page for the United States.


Source: Wikimedia blog.


4. The most visited Wikipedia page of all-time is...a list



The most visited Wikipedia page of all-time is a list. Not just any list though. A list of deaths, organized by year. A chronology of deaths.


5. The U.S. House and Senate is not allowed to make edits



Politicians will do anything to sway the public opinion in their favor, and this includes editing their own Wikipedia pages. In 2006, it was discovered that more than 1,000 edits came from IP addresses within the U.S. House and Senate offices. These addresses have since been blocked.

Furthermore, a @congressedits Twitter account has been created; it automatically publishes Wikipedia edits made by members of the US Congress or their staff.


6. Wikipedia’s co-founder tried to rewrite history



Wikipedia was created by two people: Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. Back in 2005, Wales edited his own Wikipedia bio, deleting parts which presented Larry Sanger as a co-founder of the site. When confronted, Wales said the edits were made to correct factual errors and provide a more rounded version of events.

Sanger left Wikipedia in 2007 and started Citizendium, “a wiki for providing free knowledge where authors use their real, verified names.” The Citizendium online encyclopedia has close to 17,000 articles at the time of writing this.



7. Conservatives have their own Wikipedia



Cultural conservatives say that Wikipedia is biased towards liberals. So in 2006, they started their own Wikipedia. Unimaginatively called Conservapedia, it’s described as a “Wiki encyclopaedia with articles written from a Christian fundamentalist viewpoint.”

Conservapedia’s entry on global warming says it is nothing but a liberal hoax. Expect the other articles posted on the website to follow along those lines.


8. There’s an asteroid named after Wikipedia



Ukranian astronomers from the Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory uncovered an asteroid in August 2008. In January 2013, they gave the asteroid the name 274301 Wikipedia.


9. The Wikimedia Foundation wants to raise $100 million in 10 years



It takes money to keep Wikipedia up and running. The Wikimedia Foundation has raised millions of dollars so far, but it’s not done yet. The non-profit organization aims to raise $100 million over the next 10 years.

Why don’t you lend a hand and make a contribution to protect and sustain Wikipedia.


10. Wikipedia just celebrated its 15th anniversary



Wikipedia isn’t new. It launched 15 years ago, in January 2001. To mark this important milestone, the Wikimedia Foundation created a special Wikipedia 15 webpage and announced the creation of the Wikimedia Endowment, a permanent source of funding to ensure Wikipedia will continue to live for years to come.


Honorable mention

There’s a Wikipedia page that lists all the hoaxes that went undetected and were featured on Wikipedia for at least one month.




Tags: Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, George W Bush, list of deaths, US Congress, Jimmy Wales, Conservapedia, asteroid, donation, anniversary, Wikimedia Endowment
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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