History of Wikipedia

History of Wikipedia
The English edition of Wikipedia has grown to 3,804,799 articles.

The earliest known proposal for an online encyclopedia was made by Rick Gates in 1993,[1] but the concept of an open source web-based online encyclopedia was proposed by Richard Stallman around 1999. Wikipedia was formally launched on 15 January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, using the concept and technology of a wiki pioneered by Ward Cunningham. Initially, Wikipedia was created to complement Nupedia, an online encyclopedia project edited solely by experts, by providing additional draft articles and ideas for it. Wikipedia quickly overtook Nupedia, becoming a global project in multiple languages and inspiring a wide range of additional reference projects. As of November 2011, Wikipedia includes over 20 million freely usable articles in 282 languages,[2] written by over 31 million registered users and countless anonymous contributors worldwide.[3][4][5]


History overview


The thought of gathering all of the world's knowledge in a single place goes back to the ancient Library of Alexandria and Pergamon, but the modern concept of a general purpose, widely distributed, printed encyclopedia dates from shortly before Denis Diderot and the 18th century encyclopedists. The idea of using automated machinery beyond the printing press to build a more useful encyclopedia can be traced to Paul Otlet's book Traité de documentation (1934; Otlet also founded the Mundaneum institution, 1910), H. G. Wells' book of essays World Brain (1938) and Vannevar Bush's future vision of the microfilm based Memex in As We May Think (1945).[6] Another milestone was Ted Nelson's hypertext design Project Xanadu, begun in 1960.[6]

While previous encyclopedias, notably the Encyclopedia Britannica were book-based, Microsoft's Encarta published in 1993, was available on CD-ROM, and hyperlinked.

With the development of the web, many people attempted to develop Internet encyclopedia projects. An early proposal was Interpedia in 1993 by Rick Gates;[1] but this project died before generating any encyclopedic content. Free software exponent Richard Stallman described the usefulness of a "Free Universal Encyclopedia and Learning Resource" in 1999.[7] His published document "aims to lay out what the free encyclopedia needs to do, what sort of freedoms it needs to give the public, and how we can get started on developing it." On 17 January 2001, two days after the start of Wikipedia, the Free Software Foundation's GNUPedia project went online, competing with Nupedia,[8] but today the FSF encourages people "to visit and contribute to [Wikipedia]".[9]

Formulation of the concept

Wikipedia was initially conceived as a feeder project for Nupedia, an earlier project to produce a free online encyclopedia, volunteered by Bomis, a web-advertising-selling firm owned by Jimmy Wales, Tim Shell and Michael E. Davis.[10][11][12] Nupedia was founded upon the use of highly qualified volunteer contributors and an elaborate multi-step peer review process. Despite its mailing-list of interested editors, and the presence of a full-time editor-in-chief, Larry Sanger, a graduate philosophy student hired by Wales,[13] the writing of content was extremely slow with only 12 articles written during the first year.[12]

Wales and Sanger discussed various ways to create content more rapidly.[11] The idea of a wiki-based complement originated from a conversation between Larry Sanger and Ben Kovitz.[14][15][16] Ben Kovitz was a computer programmer and regular on Ward Cunningham's revolutionary wiki "the WikiWikiWeb". He explained to Sanger what wikis were, at that time a difficult concept to understand, over a dinner on 2 January 2001.[14][15][16][17] Wales first stated, in October 2001, that "Larry had the idea to use Wiki software",[18] though he later claimed in December 2005 that Jeremy Rosenfeld, a Bomis employee, introduced him to the concept.[19][20][21][22] Sanger thought a wiki would be a good platform to use, and proposed on the Nupedia mailing list that a wiki based upon UseModWiki (then v. 0.90) be set up as a "feeder" project for Nupedia. Under the subject "Let's make a wiki", he wrote:

No, this is not an indecent proposal. It's an idea to add a little feature to Nupedia. Jimmy Wales thinks that many people might find the idea objectionable, but I think not. (…) As to Nupedia's use of a wiki, this is the ULTIMATE "open" and simple format for developing content. We have occasionally bandied about ideas for simpler, more open projects to either replace or supplement Nupedia. It seems to me wikis can be implemented practically instantly, need very little maintenance, and in general are very low-risk. They're also a potentially great source for content. So there's little downside, as far as I can determine.

Wales set one up and put it online on 10 January 2001.[23]

Founding of Wikipedia

There was considerable resistance on the part of Nupedia's editors and reviewers to the idea of associating Nupedia with a wiki-style website. Sanger suggested giving the new project its own name, Wikipedia, and Wikipedia was soon launched on its own domain, wikipedia.com, on 15 January 2001.

The bandwidth and server (located in San Diego) used for these projects were donated by Bomis. Many current and past Bomis employees have contributed some content to the encyclopedia: notably Tim Shell, co-founder and current CEO of Bomis, and programmer Jason Richey.

In December 2008, Wales stated that he made Wikipedia's first edit, a test edit with the text "Hello, World!".[24] The oldest article still preserved is the article UuU, created on 16 January 2001, at 21:08 UTC.[25][26]

The UuU edit, the first edit that is still preserved on Wikipedia to this day, as it appears using the Nostalgia skin.

The project received many new participants after being mentioned on the Slashdot website in July 2001,[27] with two minor mentions in March 2001.[28][29] It then received a prominent pointer to a story on the community-edited technologies and culture website Kuro5hin on 25 July.[30] Between these relatively rapid influxes of traffic, there had been a steady stream of traffic from other sources, especially Google, which alone sent hundreds of new visitors to the site every day. Its first major mainstream media coverage was in the New York Times on 20 September 2001.[31]

The project passed 1,000 articles around 12 February 2001, and 10,000 articles around 7 September. In the first year of its existence, over 20,000 encyclopedia entries were created—a rate of over 1,500 articles per month. On 30 August 2002, the article count reached 40,000.

Wikipedia's earliest edits were long believed lost, since the original UseModWiki software deleted old data after about a month. On the eve of Wikipedia's 10th anniversary, December 14, 2010, developer Tim Starling found backups on SourceForge containing every change made to Wikipedia from its creation in January 2001 to August 17, 2001.[32]

Namespaces, subdomains, and internationalization

Early in Wikipedia's development, it began to expand internationally, with the creation of new namespaces, each with a distinct set of usernames. The first subdomain created for a non-English Wikipedia was deutsche.wikipedia.com (created on 16 March 2001, 01:38 UTC),[33] followed after a few hours by Catalan.wikipedia.com (at 13:07 UTC).[34] The Japanese Wikipedia, started as nihongo.wikipedia.com, was created around that period,[35][36] and initially used only Romanized Japanese. For about two months Catalan was the one with the most articles in a non-English language,[37][38] although statistics of that early period are imprecise.[39] The French Wikipedia was created on or around 11 May 2001,[40] in a wave of new language versions that also included Chinese, Dutch, Esperanto, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.[41] These languages were soon joined by Arabic[42] and Hungarian.[43][44] In September 2001, an announcement pledged commitment to the multilingual provision of Wikipedia,[45] notifying users of an upcoming roll-out of Wikipedias for all major languages, the establishment of core standards, and a push for the translation of core pages for the new wikis. At the end of that year, when international statistics first began to be logged, Afrikaans, Norwegian, and Serbian versions were announced.[46]

In January 2002, 90% of all Wikipedia articles were in English. By January 2004, less than 50% were English, and this internationalization has continued to increase. As of 2007, around 75% of all Wikipedia articles are contained within non-English Wikipedia versions.


A Screenshot from the main page, 28 September 2002.

In March 2002, following the withdrawal of funding by Bomis during the dot-com bust, Larry Sanger left both Nupedia and Wikipedia.[47] By 2004 Sanger and Wales had differences in their views on how best to manage open encyclopedias. Both still supported the open-collaboration concept, but the two differed on how best to handle disruptive editors, specific roles for experts, and the best way to guide the project to success.

Wales, a believer in communal governance and "hands off" executive management,[citation needed] went on to establish self-governance and bottom-up self-direction by editors on Wikipedia. He made it clear that he would not be involved in the community's day-to-day management, but would encourage it to learn to self-manage and find its own best approaches. As of 2007, Wales mostly restricts his own role to occasional input on serious matters, executive activity, advocacy of knowledge, and encouragement of similar reference projects.

Sanger says he is an "inclusionist" and is open to almost anything.[48] He proposed that experts still have a place in the Web 2.0 world. He returned briefly to academia, then after joining the Digital Universe Foundation, went on in 2006 to found Citizendium, an open encyclopedia which used real names for contributors intended to reduce disruptive editing, and hoped to facilitate "gentle expert guidance" to increase the accuracy of its content. Decisions about article content were to be up to the community, but the site was to include a statement[49] about "family-friendly content." He stated early on that he intended to leave in a few years, by which time the project and its management should be established.[50]


The Wikipedia project has grown rapidly in the course of its life, at several levels. Individual wikis have grown organically through the addition of new articles, new wikis have been added in English and non-English languages, and entire new projects replicating these growth methods in other related areas (news, quotations, reference books and so on) have been founded as well.

Respectively, Wikipedia itself has grown, with the creation of the Wikimedia Foundation to act as an umbrella body and the growth of software and policies to address the needs of the editorial community. These are documented below:

Foundation–late 2001
Foundation–late 2001  
December 6, 2001 –October 12, 2003
December 6, 2001 –October 12, 2003  
October 13, 2003–May 13, 2010
October 13, 2003–May 13, 2010  
May 13, 2010–present
May 13, 2010–present  

Historical overview by year

Articles summarizing each year are held within the Wikipedia project namespace and are linked to below. Additional resources for research are available within the Wikipedia records and archives, and are listed at the end of this article.


The Bomis staff, summer 2000
The Bomis staff in the summer of 2000.

In March 2000, the Nupedia project was started. Its intention was to have articles written by experts which would be licensed as free content. Nupedia was founded by Jimmy Wales, with Larry Sanger as editor-in-chief, and funded by Bomis.[51]


In January 2001, Wikipedia began as a side-project of Nupedia, to allow collaboration on articles prior to entering the peer-review process.[52] The wikipedia.com and wikipedia.org domain names were registered on 12 January 2001[53] and 13 January 2001,[54] respectively, with wikipedia.org being brought online on the same day.[55] The project formally opened on 15 January ("Wikipedia Day"), with the first international Wikipedias – the French, German, Catalan, Swedish, and Italian editions – being created between March and May. The "neutral point of view" (NPOV) policy was officially formulated at this time, and Wikipedia's first slashdotter wave arrived on 26 July.[27] The first media report about Wikipedia appeared in August 2001 in the newspaper Wales on Sunday.[56] The 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks spurred the appearance of breaking news stories on the homepage, as well as information boxes linking related articles.[57]


2002 saw the end of funding from Bomis and the departure of Larry Sanger. The forking of the Spanish Wikipedia also took place with the establishment of the Enciclopedia Libre. The first portable Mediawiki software went live on 25 January.[dubious ] Bots were introduced, Jimmy Wales confirmed that Wikipedia would never run commercial advertising, and the first sister project (Wiktionary) and first formal Manual of Style were launched. A separate board of directors to supervise the project was proposed and initially discussed at Meta-Wikipedia.


The English Wikipedia passed 100,000 articles in 2003, while the next largest edition, the German Wikipedia, passed 10,000. The Wikimedia Foundation was established, and Wikipedia adopted its jigsaw world logo. Mathematical formulae using TeX were reintroduced to the website. The first Wikipedian social meeting took place in Munich, Germany, in October. The basic principles of Wikipedia's Arbitration system and committee (known colloquially as "Arbcom") were developed, mostly by Florence Devouard, Fred Bauder and other early Wikipedians.


The worldwide Wikipedia article pool continued to grow rapidly in 2004, doubling in size in 12 months, from under 500,000 articles in late 2003 to over 1 million in over 100 languages by the end of 2004. The English Wikipedia accounted for just under than half of these articles. The website's server farms were moved from California to Florida, Categories and CSS style configuration sheets were introduced, and the first attempt to block Wikipedia occurred, with the website being blocked in China for two weeks in June. The formal election of a board and Arbitration Committee began. The first formal projects were proposed to deliberately balance content and seek out systemic bias arising from Wikipedia's community structure.

Bourgeois v. Peters,[58] (11th Cir. 2004), a court case decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit was one of the earliest court opinions to cite and quote Wikipedia.[citation needed] It stated: "We also reject the notion that the Department of Homeland Security's threat advisory level somehow justifies these searches. Although the threat level was "elevated" at the time of the protest, "to date, the threat level has stood at yellow (elevated) for the majority of its time in existence. It has been raised to orange (high) six times."[58]


In 2005, Wikipedia became the most popular reference website on the Internet, according to Hitwise, with the English Wikipedia alone exceeding 750,000 articles. Wikipedia's first multilingual and subject portals were established in 2005. A formal fundraiser held in the first quarter of the year raised almost US$100,000 for system upgrades to handle growing demand. China again blocked Wikipedia in October 2005.

The first major Wikipedia scandal occurred in 2005, when a well-known figure was found to have a vandalized biography which had gone unnoticed for months. In the wake of this and other concerns,[59] the first policy and system changes specifically designed to counter this form of abuse were established. These included a new Checkuser privilege policy update to assist in sock puppetry investigations, a new feature called semi-protection, a more strict policy on biographies of living people and the tagging of such articles for stricter review. A restriction of new article creation to registered users only was put in place in December 2005.[60]


The English Wikipedia gained its 1 millionth article, Jordanhill railway station, on 1 March 2006. The first approved Wikipedia article selection was made freely available to download, and "Wikipedia" became registered as a trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation. The congressional aides biography scandals – multiple incidents in which congressional staffers and a campaign manager were caught trying to covertly alter Wikipedia biographies – came to public attention, leading to the resignation of the campaign manager. Nonetheless, Wikipedia was rated as one of the top 2006 global brands.[61]

Jimmy Wales indicated at Wikimania 2006 that Wikipedia had achieved sufficient volume and calls for an emphasis on quality, perhaps best expressed in the call for 100,000 feature-quality articles. A new privilege, "oversight", was created, allowing specific versions of archived pages with unacceptable content to be marked as non-viewable. Semi-protection against anonymous vandalism, introduced in 2005, proved more popular than expected, with over 1,000 pages being semi-protected at any given time in 2006.


Wikipedia continued to grow rapidly in 2007, possessing over 5 million registered editor accounts by August 2011.[62] The 250 language editions of Wikipedia contained a combined total of 7.5 million articles, totalling 1.74 billion words in approximately 250 languages, by 13 August.[63] The English Wikipedia gained articles at a steady rate of 1,700 a day,[64] with the wikipedia.org domain name ranked the 10th-busiest on the Internet (See Wikipedia:Statistics). Wikipedia continued to garner visibility in the press – the Essjay controversy broke when a prominent member of Wikipedia was found to have lied about his credentials. Citizendium, a competing online encyclopedia, launched publicly. A new trend developed in Wikipedia, with the encyclopedia addressing people whose notability stemmed from being a participant in a news story by adding a redirect from their name to the larger story, rather creating a distinct biographical article.[65]


Various WikiProjects in many areas continued to expand and refine article contents within their scope. In April 2008, the 10-millionth overall Wikipedia article was created, and by the end of the year the English Wikipedia exceeded 2.5 million articles.


One of many cakes made to celebrate Wikipedia's 10th anniversary in 2011.

In August 2009, the number of articles in all Wikipedia editions totalled 14 million.[3] The three-millionth article on the English Wikipedia was created on 17 August 2009 at 04:05 UTC.[66] On 27 December 2009, the German Wikipedia exceeded one million articles, becoming the second edition after the English Wikipedia to do so.

The Arbitration Committee of the English Wikipedia decided in May 2009 to restrict access to its site from Church of Scientology IP addresses, to prevent self-serving edits by Scientologists.[67][68][69] A "host of anti-Scientologist editors" were also topic-banned.[68][69] The committee concluded that both sides had "gamed policy" and resorted to "battlefield tactics", with articles on living persons being the "worst casualties".[68] Wikipedia content became licensed under Creative Commons in 2009.


On March 24, the European Wikipedia servers went offline due to an overheating problem. Failover to servers in Florida turned out to be broken, causing DNS resolution for Wikipedia to fail across the world. The problem was resolved quickly, but due to DNS caching effects, some areas were slower to regain access to Wikipedia than others.[70][71]

On May 13, the site released a new interface. New features included an updated logo, new navigation tools, and a link wizard.[72] However, the classic interface remained available for those who wished to use it. On December 12, the English Wikipedia passed the 3.5-million-article mark, while the French Wikipedia's millionth article was created on 21 September. The 1,000,000,000th Wikimedia project edit was performed on April 16.[73]


Wikipedia and its users held hundreds of celebrations worldwide to commemorate the site's 10th anniversary on 15 January.[74] The site began efforts to expand its growth in India, holding its first Indian conference in Mumbai in November 2011.[75][76] The English Wikipedia passed the 3.6-million-article mark on 2 April, and reached 3.8 million articles on 18 November. On 7 November 2011, the German Wikipedia exceeded 100 million page edits, becoming the second language edition to do so after the English edition, which attained 500 million page edits in November 2011.

As of 18 November 2011, Wikipedia is the world's sixth-most-popular website according to Alexa Internet,[77] with a combined total of over 20 million articles across all language editions.[2] It is estimated that Wikipedia receives more than 10 billion global pageviews every month,[78] of which 2.7 billion are from the United States alone.[79]

Between 4 October and 6 October 2011, the Italian Wikipedia became intentionally inaccessible in protest against the Italian Parliament's proposed DDL intercettazioni law, which, if approved, would allow any person to force websites to remove information that is perceived as untrue or offensive, without the need to provide evidence.[80]

History by subject area

Hardware and software

The software that runs Wikipedia, and the hardware, server farms and other systems upon which Wikipedia relies.
  • In January 2001, Wikipedia ran on UseModWiki, written in Perl by Clifford Adams. The server has run on Linux to this day, although the original text was stored in files rather than in a database. Articles were named with the CamelCase convention.
  • In January 2002, "Phase II" of the wiki software powering Wikipedia was introduced, replacing the older UseModWiki. Written specifically for the project by Magnus Manske, it included a PHP wiki engine.
  • In July 2002, a major rewrite of the software powering Wikipedia went live; dubbed "Phase III", it replaced the older "Phase II" version, and became MediaWiki. It was written by Lee Daniel Crocker in response to the increasing demands of the growing project.
  • In October 2002, Derek Ramsey started to use a "bot", or program, to add a large number of articles about United States towns; these articles were automatically generated from U.S. census data. Occasionally, similar bots had been used before for other topics. These articles were generally well received, but some users criticized them for their initial uniformity and writing style (for example, see this version of an original bot-generated town article, and compare to current version).
  • In January 2003, support for mathematical formulas in TeX was added. The code was contributed by Tomasz Wegrzanowski.
  • 9 June 2003 – ISBNs in articles now link to Special:Booksources, which fetches its contents from the user-editable page Wikipedia:Book sources. Before this, ISBN link targets were coded into the software and new ones were suggested on the Wikipedia:ISBN page. See the edit that changed this.
  • After 6 December 2003, various system messages shown to Wikipedia users were no longer hard coded, allowing Wikipedia administrators to modify certain parts of MediaWiki's interface, such as the message shown to blocked users.
  • On 12 February 2004, server operations were moved from San Diego, California to Tampa, Florida.[81]
  • On 29 May 2004, all the various websites were updated to a new version of the MediaWiki software.
  • On 30 May 2004, the first instances of "categorization" entries appeared. Category schemes, like Recent Changes and Edit This Page, had existed from the founding of Wikipedia. However, Larry Sanger had viewed the schemes as lists, and even hand-entered articles, whereas the categorization effort centered on individual categorization entries in each article of the encyclopedia, as part of a larger automatic categorization of the articles of the encyclopedia.[82]
  • After 3 June 2004, administrators could edit the style of the interface by changing the CSS in the monobook stylesheet at MediaWiki:Monobook.css.
  • Also on 30 May 2004, with MediaWiki 1.3, the Template namespace was created, allowing transclusion of standard texts.[83]
  • On 7 June 2005 at 3:00AM Eastern Standard Time the bulk of the Wikimedia servers were moved to a new facility across the street. All Wikimedia projects were down during this time.

Look and feel

The external face of Wikipedia, its look and feel, and the Wikipedia branding, as presented to users
  • On 4 April 2002, BrilliantProse, since renamed to Featured Articles,[84] was moved to the Wikipedia Namespace from the article namespace.
  • Around 15 October 2003, the current Wikipedia logo was installed. The logo concept was selected by a voting process,[85] which was followed by a revision process to select the best variant. The final selection was created by David Friedland (who edits Wikipedia under the username "nohat") based on a logo design and concept created by Paul Stansifer.
  • On 22 February 2004, Did You Know (DYK) made its first Main Page appearance.
  • On 23 February 2004, a coordinated new look for the Main Page appeared at 19:46 UTC. Hand-chosen entries for the Daily Featured Article, Anniversaries, In the News, and Did You Know rounded out the new look.
  • On 10 January 2005, the multilingual portal at www.wikipedia.org was set up, replacing a redirect to the English-language Wikipedia.
  • On 5 February 2005, the Portal:Biology was created, first "portal" on the English Wikipedia.[86] However, the concept was pioneered on the German Wikipedia where Portal:Recht (law studies) was set up in October 2003.[87]
  • On 16 July 2005, the English Wikipedia began the practice of including the day's "featured pictures" on the Main Page.
  • On 19 March 2006, following a vote, the Main Page of the English-language Wikipedia featured its first redesign in nearly two years.
  • On 13 May 2010, the site released a new interface. New features included an updated logo, new navigation tools, and a link wizard.[72] The "classic" Wikipedia interface remained available as an option.

Internal structures

Landmarks in the Wikipedia community, and the development of its organization, internal structures, and policies.
  • April 2001, Wales formally defines the "neutral point of view",[88] Wikipedia's core non-negotiable editorial policy,[89] a reformulation of the "Lack of Bias" policy outlined by Sanger for Nupedia[90] in spring or summer 2000, which covered many of the same core principles.[91]
  • In September 2001, collaboration by subject matter in WikiProjects is introduced.[92]
  • In February 2002, concerns over the risk of future censorship and commercialization by Bomis Inc (Wikipedia's original host) combined with a lack of guarantee this would not happen, led most participants of the Spanish Wikipedia to break away and establish it independently as the Enciclopedia Libre.[93] Following clarification of Wikipedia's status and non-commercial nature later that year, re-merger talks between Enciclopedia Libre and the re-founded Spanish Wikipedia occasionally took place in 2002 and 2003, but no conclusion was reached. As of October 2009, the two continue to coexist as substantial Spanish language reference sources, with around 43,000 articles (EL) and 520,000 articles (Sp.W)[94] respectively.
  • Also in 2002, policy and style issues were clarified with the creation of the Manual of Style, along with a number of other policies and guidelines.[95]
  • November 2002 – new mailing lists for WikiEN and Announce are set up, as well as other language mailing lists (e.g. Polish), to reduce the volume of traffic on mailing lists.[96]
  • In July 2003, the rule against editing one's autobiography is introduced.[97]
  • On 28 October 2003, the first "real" meeting of Wikipedians happened in Munich. Many cities followed suit, and soon a number of regular Wikipedian get-togethers were established around the world. Several Internet communities, including one on the popular blog website LiveJournal, have also sprung up since.
  • From 10 July to 30 August 2004 the Wikipedia:Browse and Wikipedia:Browse by overview formerly on the Main Page were replaced by links to overviews. On 27 August 2004 the Community Portal was started,[98] to serve as a focus for community efforts. These were previously accomplished on an informal basis, by individual queries of the Recent Changes, in wiki style, as ad-hoc collaborations between like-minded editors.
  • During September to December 2005 following the Seigenthaler controversy and other similar concerns,[59] several anti-abuse features and policies were added to Wikipedia. These were:
  • The policy for "Checkuser" (a MediaWiki extension to assist detection of abuse via internet sock-puppetry) was established in November 2005.[99] Checkuser function had previously existed, but was viewed more as a system tool at the time, so there had been no need for a policy covering use on a more routine basis.[100]
  • Creation of new pages on the English Wikipedia was restricted to editors who had created a user account.[101]
  • The introduction and rapid adoption of the policy Wikipedia:Biographies of living people, giving a far tighter quality control and fact-check system to biographical articles related to living people.
  • The "semi-protection" function and policy,[102] allowing pages to be protected so that only those with an account could edit.
  • In May 2006, a new "oversight" feature was introduced on the English Wikipedia, allowing a handful of highly trusted users to permanently erase page revisions containing copyright infringements or libelous or personal information from a page's history. Previous to this, page version deletion was laborious, and also deleted versions remained visible to other administrators and could be un-deleted by them.
  • On 1 January 2007, the subcommunity named Esperanza was disbanded by communal consent. Esperanza had begun as an effort to promote "wikilove" and a social support network, but had developed its own subculture and private structures.[103][104] Its disbanding was described as the painful but necessary remedy for a project that had allowed editors to "see themselves as Esperanzans first and foremost".[104] A number of Esperanza's subprojects were integrated back into Wikipedia as free-standing projects, but most of them are now inactive. When the group was founded in September 2005, there had been concerns expressed that it would eventually be condemned as such.[105]
  • In April 2007 the results of 4 months policy review by a working group of several hundred editors seeking to merge the core Wikipedia policies into one core policy (See: Wikipedia:Attribution) was polled for community support. The proposal did not gain consensus; a significant view became evident that the existing structure of three strong focused policies covering the respective areas of policy, was frequently seen as more helpful to quality control than one more general merged proposal.

The Wikimedia Foundation and legal structures

Legal and organizational structure of the Wikimedia Foundation, its executive, and its activities as a foundation.
  • In August 2002, shortly after Jimmy Wales announced that he would never run commercial advertisements on Wikipedia, the URL of Wikipedia was changed from wikipedia.com to wikipedia.org (see: .com and .org).
  • On 20 June 2003, the Wikimedia Foundation was founded.
  • Communications committee was formed in January 2006 to handle media inquiries and emails received for the foundation and Wikipedia via the newly implemented OTRS (a ticket handling system).
  • Angela Beesley and Florence Nibart-Devouard were elected to the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation. During this time, Angela was active in editing content and setting policy, such as privacy policy, within the Foundation.[106]
  • On 10 January 2006, Wikipedia became a registered trademark of Wikimedia Foundation.[107]
  • In July 2006, Angela Beesley resigned from the board of the Wikimedia Foundation.[108]
  • In June 2006, Brad Patrick was hired to be the first executive director of the Foundation. He resigned in January 2007, and was later replaced by Sue Gardner (June 2007).
  • In October 2006, Florence Nibart-Devouard became chair of the board of Wikimedia Foundation.

Projects and milestones

Sister projects and milestones related to articles, user base, and other statistics.
  • 15 January 2001, the first recorded edit of Wikipedia.
  • In December 2002, the first sister project, Wiktionary, was created; aiming to produce a dictionary and thesaurus of the words in all languages. It uses the same software as Wikipedia.
  • On 22 January 2003, the English Wikipedia was again slashdotted after having reached the 100,000 article milestone with the Hastings, New Zealand article. Two days later, the German language Wikipedia, the largest non-English language version, passed the 10,000 article mark.
  • On 20 June 2003, the same day that the Wikimedia Foundation was founded, "Wikiquote" was created. A month later, "Wikibooks" was launched. "Wikisource" was set up towards the end of the year.
  • In January 2004, Wikipedia reached the 200,000-article milestone in English with the article on Neil Warnock, and reached 450,000 articles for both English and non-English Wikipedias. The next month, the combined article count of the English and non-English reached 500,000.
  • On 20 April 2004, the article count of the English Wikipedia reached 250,000.
  • On 7 July 2004, the article count of the English Wikipedia reached 300,000.
  • On 20 September 2004, Wikipedia reached one million articles in over 105 languages, and received a flurry of related attention in the press.[109] The one millionth article was published in the Hebrew Wikipedia, and discusses the flag of Kazakhstan.
  • On 20 November 2004, the article count of the English Wikipedia reached 400,000.
  • On 18 March 2005, Wikipedia passed the 500,000 article milestone in English, with Involuntary settlements in the Soviet Union being announced in a press release as the landmark article.[110]
  • In May 2005, Wikipedia became the most popular reference website on the Internet according to traffic monitoring company Hitwise, relegating Dictionary.com to second place.
  • On 29 September 2005, the English Wikipedia passed the 750,000 article mark.
  • On 1 March 2006, the English language Wikipedia passed the 1,000,000 article mark, with Jordanhill railway station being announced on the Main Page as the milestone article[111]
  • On 8 June 2006, the English language Wikipedia passed the 1,000 featured article mark, with Iranian peoples.[112]
  • On 15 August 2006 the Wikimedia Foundation launches Wikiversity.[113]
  • On 24 November 2006, the English language Wikipedia passed the 1,500,000 article mark, with Kanab ambersnail being announced on the Main Page as the milestone article.[111]
  • On 4 April 2007, the first CD selection in English was published as a free download (see 2006 Wikipedia CD Selection).[114]
  • On 9 September 2007, the English language Wikipedia passed the 2,000,000 article mark. El Hormiguero, an article which covers a Spanish TV comedy show, is accepted by consensus as the 2,000,000th article.
  • On 17 August 2009, the English language Wikipedia passed the 3,000,000 article mark, with Beate Eriksen being announced on the Main Page as the milestone article.
  • On 12 December 2010, the English language Wikipedia passed the 3,500,000 article mark.


Every year, Wikipedia runs a fundraising campaign to support its operations.

  • One of the first fundraisers was held from 18 February 2005 to 1 March 2005, raising US$94,000, which was US$21,000 more than expected.[115]
  • On 6 January 2006, the Q4 2005 fundraiser concluded, raising a total of just over US$390,000.[116]
  • In 2009, the fundraising campaign gained Wikipedia more than US$6 million.[117][118]
  • The 2010 campaign was launched on November 13, 2010.[119] Notably, the campaign's banner advertisements, featuring Jimmy Wales, became the subject of an internet meme.[citation needed]
  • In 2011, the campaign raised US$16 million.[120]

External impact

Effect of biographical articles

Because Wikipedia biographies are often updated as soon as new information comes to light, they are often used as a reference source on the lives of notable people. This has led to attempts to manipulate and falsify Wikipedia articles for promotional or defamatory purposes (see Controversies). It has also led to novel uses of the biographical material provided. Some notable people's lives are being affected by their Wikipedia biography.

  • November 2005: The Seigenthaler controversy. Someone, who later admitted that he wanted to make a joke, wrote into the article that journalist John Seigenthaler had been involved in the Kennedy murder of 1963.
  • December 2006: German comedian "Atze Schröder", who does not want his real name published, sued Arne Klempert, secretary of Wikimedia Deutschland, because of the Wikipedia article. Then the artist drew back his complaint, but wanted his attorney's costs to be paid by Klempert. Trial decided that the artist had to cover those costs by himself.[125]
  • 16 February 2007: Turkish historian Taner Akçam was briefly detained upon arrival at Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport because of false information on his biography that he was a terrorist.[126][127]
  • September 2008: Changes or "manipulations" at the Sarah Palin article in English Wikipedia have been noticed by the media.
  • November 2008: Germany's Left Party politician Lutz Heilmann believed that some remarks in "his" article caused damage to his reputation. He succeeded in getting a court order to make Wikimedia Deutschland stop linking from its page www.wikipedia.de to German Wikipedia de.wikipedia.org. The result was a huge national support for Wikipedia, more donations to Wikimedia Deutschland, a rise from several dozen page views of "Lutz Heilmann" daily to half a million the two days after, and after a couple of days Heilmann asked the court to withdraw the court order.
  • December 2008: Wikimedia Nederland, the Dutch chapter, won a preliminary injunction. An entrepreneur was linked in "his" article with the criminal Willem Holleeder and wanted the article deleted. The judge in Utrecht did not follow him but believed the chapter that it has no influence on the content of Dutch Wikipedia.[128]
  • February 2009: When Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jakob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg became federal minister on February 10, 2009, an unregistered user added an eleventh given name in the article on German Wikipedia: Wilhelm. Numerous newspapers took it over. When wary Wikipedians wanted to erase Wilhelm, the revert has been reverted with regard to those newspapers. This case about Wikipedia reliability and journalists copying from Wikipedia became known as Falscher Wilhelm (wrong Wilhelm).[129]
  • May 2009: Richard Herzinger, a German journalist writing for Die Welt, has an article in German Wikipedia which was vandalized. The IP user added that Herzinger was Jewish; the sighter marked this as "sighted" (meaning that there is no vandalism in the article). Herzinger complained about that to Wikipedians who immediately deleted the assertion. According to Herzinger who wrote about the incident in a newspaper article[130] it happens frequently that right wing extremists call him a Jew due to his articles considered being pro Israel.
  • October 2009: In 1990, the German actor Walter Sedlmayr was murdered. Years later, when the two murderers were released from prison, they wanted to begin a new life and not be connected in public to the murder. According to German law they prohibited the media from mentioning their names. The men's lawyer also sent the Wikimedia Foundation a cease and desist letter requesting the men's names be removed from the English language Wikipedia.[131][132] The case is an example of differing law in Germany (which strongly considers privacy) and the US (which favors freedom of speech).


  • January 2005: The fake charity QuakeAID, in the month following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, attempted to promote itself on its Wikipedia page.
  • October 2005: Alan Mcilwraith was exposed as a fake war hero with a Wikipedia page.
  • November 2005: The Seigenthaler controversy caused Brian Chase to resign from his employment, after his identity was ascertained by Daniel Brandt of Wikipedia Watch. Following this, the scientific journal Nature undertook a peer reviewed study to test articles in Wikipedia against their equivalents in Encyclopædia Britannica, and concluded they are comparable in terms of accuracy.[133][134] Britannica rejected their methodology and their conclusion.[135] Nature refused to make any apologies, asserting instead the reliability of its study and a rejection of the criticisms.[136] (For studies like this, see Reliability of Wikipedia.)
  • Early-to-mid 2006: The congressional aides biography scandals came to public attention, in which several political aides were caught trying to influence the Wikipedia biographies of several politicians to remove undesirable information (including pejorative statements quoted, or broken campaign promises), add favorable information or "glowing" tributes, or replace the article in part or whole by staff authored biographies. The staff of at least five politicians were implicated: Marty Meehan, Norm Coleman, Conrad Burns, Joe Biden, Gil Gutknecht.[137] In a separate but similar incident the campaign manager for Cathy Cox, Morton Brilliant, resigned after being found to have added negative information to the Wikipedia entries of political opponents.[138] Following media publicity, the incidents tapered off around August 2006.
  • July 2006: Joshua Gardner was exposed as a fake Duke of Cleveland with a Wikipedia page.
  • January 2007: English-language Wikipedians in Qatar were briefly blocked from editing, following a spate of vandalism, by an administrator who did not realize that the country's internet traffic is routed through a single IP address. Multiple media sources promptly declared that Wikipedia was banning Qatar from the site.[139]
  • On 23 January 2007, a Microsoft employee offered to pay Rick Jelliffe to review and change certain Wikipedia articles regarding an open-source document standard which was rival to a Microsoft format.[140]
  • In February 2007, The New Yorker magazine issued a rare editorial correction that a prominent English Wikipedia editor and administrator known as "Essjay", had invented a persona using fictitious credentials.[141][142] The editor, Ryan Jordan, became a Wikia employee in January 2007 and divulged his real name; this was noticed by Daniel Brandt of Wikipedia Watch, and communicated to the original article author. (See: Essjay controversy)
  • February 2007: Fuzzy Zoeller sued a Miami firm because defamatory information was added to his Wikipedia biography in an anonymous edit that came from their network.
  • 16 February 2007: Turkish historian Taner Akçam was briefly detained upon arrival at a Canadian airport because of false information on his biography indicating that he was a terrorist.
  • In June 2007, an anonymous user posted hoax information that, by coincidence, foreshadowed the Chris Benoit murder-suicide, hours before the bodies were found by investigators. The discovery of the edit attracted widespread media attention and was first covered in sister site Wikinews.
  • In October 2007, in their obituaries of recently-deceased TV theme composer Ronnie Hazlehurst, many British media organisations reported that he had co-written the S Club 7 song "Reach". In fact, he hadn't, and it was discovered that this information had been sourced from a hoax edit to Hazlehurst's Wikipedia article.[143]
  • In February 2007, Barbara Bauer, a literary agent, sued Wikimedia for defamation and causing harm to her business, the Barbara Bauer Literary Agency.[144] In Bauer v. Glatzer, Bauer claimed that information on Wikipedia critical of her abilities as a literary agent caused this harm. The Electronic Frontier Foundation defended Wikipedia[145] and moved to dismiss the case on 2 May 2008.[146] The case against the Wikimedia Foundation was dismissed on 1 July 2008.[147]
  • On 14 July 2009, the National Portrait Gallery issued a cease and desist letter for alleged breach of copyright, against a Wikipedia editor who downloaded more than 3,000 high-resolution images from the NPG website, and placed them on Wikimedia Commons.[148][149][150][151][152] See National Portrait Gallery copyright conflicts for more.
  • In April and May 2010, there was controversy over the hosting and display of sexual drawing and pornographic images including images of children on Wikipedia.[153][154][155] It led to the mass removal of pornographic content from Wikimedia Foundation sites.[156][157]

Notable forks and derivatives

See this page for a partial list of Wikipedia mirrors and forks. No list of sites utilizing the software is maintained. A significant number of sites use the MediaWiki software and concept, popularized by Wikipedia.

Specialized foreign language forks using the Wikipedia concept include Enciclopedia Libre (Spanish), Wikiweise (German), WikiZnanie (Russian), Susning.nu (Swedish), and Baidu Baike (Chinese). Some of these (such as Enciclopedia Libre) use GFDL or compatible licenses as used by Wikipedia, leading to exchange of material with their respective language Wikipedias.

In 2006, Larry Sanger founded Citizendium, based upon a modified version of MediaWiki.[158] The site cited its aims were 'to improve on the Wikipedia model with "gentle expert oversight", among other things'.[50][159] (see also Nupedia).

Publication on other media

The German Wikipedia was the first to be partly published also using other media (rather than online on the internet), including releases on CD in November 2004[160] and more extended versions on CDs or DVD in April 2005 and December 2006. In December 2005, the publisher Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, a sister company of Directmedia, published a 139 page book explaining Wikipedia, its history and policies, which was accompanied by a 7.5 GB DVD containing 300,000 articles and 100,000 images from the German Wikipedia.[161] Originally, Directmedia also announced plans to print the German Wikipedia in its entirety, in 100 volumes of 800 pages each. Publication was due to begin in October 2006, and finish in 2010. In March 2006, however, this project was called off.[162]

In September 2008, Bertelsmann published a 1000 pages volume with a selection of popular German Wikipedia articles. Bertelsmann paid voluntarily 1 Euro per sold copy to Wikimedia Deutschland.[163]

The first CD version containing a selection of articles from the English Wikipedia was published in April 2006 by SOS Children as the 2006 Wikipedia CD Selection.[164] In April 2007, "Wikipedia Version 0.5", a CD containing around 2000 articles selected from the online encyclopedia was published by the Wikimedia Foundation and Linterweb. The selection of articles included was based on both the quality of the online version and the importance of the topic to be included. This CD version was created as a test-case in preparation for a DVD version including far more articles.[165][166] The CD version can be purchased online, downloaded as a DVD image file or Torrent file, or accessed online at the project's website.

A free software project has also been launched to make a static version of Wikipedia available for use on iPods. The "Encyclopodia" project was started around March 2006 and can currently be used on 1st to 4th generation iPods.[167]


In limited ways, the Wikimedia Foundation is protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. In the defamation action Bauer et al. v. Glatzer et al., it was held that Wikimedia had no case to answer due to the provisions of this section.[168] A similar law in France caused a lawsuit to be dismissed in October 2007.[169]

Other notable occurrences

Early roles of Wales and Sanger

Both Wales and Sanger played important roles in the early stages of Wikipedia. Sanger initially brought the wiki concept to Wales and suggested it be applied to Nupedia and then, after some initial skepticism, Wales agreed to try it.[15] To Wales is ascribed the broader idea of an encyclopedia to which non-experts could contribute, i.e. Wikipedia; Sanger wrote, "To be clear, the idea of an open source, collaborative encyclopedia, open to contribution by ordinary people, was entirely Jimmy's, not mine" (emphasis in original text). He also wrote, "Jimmy, of course, deserves enormous credit for investing in and guiding Wikipedia."[12] Wales stated in October 2001 that "Larry had the idea to use Wiki software."[18] Sanger coined the portmanteau "Wikipedia" as the project name.[12] In review, Larry Sanger conceived of a wiki-based encyclopedia as a strategic solution to Nupedia's inefficiency problems.[170] In terms of project roles, Sanger spearheaded and pursued the project as its leader in its first year, and did most of the early work in formulating policies (including "Ignore all rules"[171] and "Neutral point of view"[47]) and building up the community.[170] Upon departure in March 2002, Sanger emphasized the main issue was purely the cessation of Bomis' funding for his role, which was not viable part-time, and his changing personal priorities;[13] however, by 2004, the two had drifted apart and Sanger became more critical. Two weeks after the launch of Citizendium, Sanger criticized Wikipedia, describing the latter as "broken beyond repair."[172] In 2002 Sanger parted ways with Wikipedia; by 2005 Wales began to dispute Sanger's role in the project, three years after Sanger left.[173][174][175]

In 2005, Wales described himself simply as the founder of Wikipedia;[173] however, according to Brian Bergstein of the Associated Press, "Sanger has long been cited as a co-founder."[170] There is evidence that Sanger was called co-founder, along with Wales, as early as 2001, and he is referred to as such in early Wikipedia press releases and Wikipedia articles and in a September 2001 New York Times article for which both were interviewed.[176] In 2006, Wales said, "He used to work for me [...] I don't agree with calling him a co-founder, but he likes the title";[177] nonetheless, before January 2004, Wales did not dispute Sanger's status as co-founder[178] and, indeed, identified himself as "co-founder" as late as August 2002.[179]

As of March 2007: Wales emphasized this employer–employee relationship and his ultimate authority, terming himself Wikipedia's sole founder; and Sanger emphasized their statuses as co-founders, referencing earlier versions of Wikipedia pages (2004, 2006), press releases (2002–2004), and media coverage from the time of his involvement routinely terming them in this manner.[170][176][180][181]

Blocking of Wikipedia

Wikipedia has been blocked on some occasions by national authorities, most notably in the People's Republic of China, Iran, Syria, Pakistan,[182][183] Thailand, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and Uzbekistan.

People's Republic of China

The People's Republic of China and internet service providers in mainland China have adopted a practice of blocking contentious Web sites and Wikimedia sites have been blocked multiple times in its history, sometimes all articles, and sometimes selectively by topic, region, language version, or ISP. Notable blocks include:

  1. June 2004: Access to the Chinese Wikipedia from Beijing blocked on the fifteenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Possibly related to this, on 31 May an article from the IDG News Service was published, discussing the Chinese Wikipedia's treatment of the protests.[184]
  2. September 2004: A second and less serious outage. Access to Wikipedia was erratic or unavailable to some users in mainland China — this block was not comprehensive and some users in mainland China were never affected. The exact reason for the block is unknown, but it may have been linked with the closing down of YTHT BBS, a popular Peking University-based BBS that was shut down a few weeks earlier for hosting overtly radical political discussions.[citation needed]
  3. October 2005 to around mid October 2006: For the first few days the English Wikipedia seems to have been unblocked in most provinces in China, while users were still unable to access the Chinese version in certain provinces, varying by ISP. By November, both versions seemed to be accessible in all provinces and by all ISPs. The end of the block coincided with the Chinese Wikipedia's 100,000th article milestone.[185][186][187]

The first block had an effect on the vitality of Chinese Wikipedia, which suffered sharp dips in various indicators[188] such as the number of new users, the number of new articles, and the number of edits. In some cases, it took anywhere from six to twelve months in order to recover to the levels of May 2004.

On 31 July 2008, the BBC reported that the Chinese Wikipedia had been unblocked that day in China; it had still been blocked the previous day. This came within the context of foreign journalists arriving in Beijing to report on the upcoming Olympic Games, and websites such as the Chinese edition of the BBC were being unblocked following talks between the International Olympic Committee and the Games' Chinese organisers.[189]


Access to the Arabic Wikipedia was blocked in Syria between 30 April 2008 and 13 February 2009, although other language editions remained accessible.


Wikipedia's article on Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been blocked by most Thai ISPs since October 2008, due to lèse majesté concerns.


The Wikimedia website was blocked in Tunisia between 23 November and 27 November 2006.


According to local bloggers and the Internet community in Pakistan, access to Wikipedia was restricted for several hours in March 2006.[citation needed]

United Kingdom

On 5 December 2008, users in the United Kingdom were affected by a block of the Virgin Killer article and the associated picture File:Virgin Killer.jpg, following a claim that the image was "potentially illegal" under the Protection of Children Act 1978. An estimated 95% of British users were affected by the block, which was put in place on the recommendation of the Internet Watch Foundation.[190] The IWF's recommendation was rescinded on 9 December 2008.[191]


Access to the Uzbek Wikipedia was blocked in Uzbekistan on 10 January 2008;[citation needed] the block was lifted 5 March 2008. This was reportedly the second time Wikipedia had been blocked in Uzbekistan; the first case was in 2007.

See also


  1. ^ a b "PACS-L Listserv message "The Internet Encyclopedia", Oct 25, 1993". Listserv.uh.edu. 25 October 1993. http://listserv.uh.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9310d&L=pacs-l&T=0&P=1418. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Wikimedia List of Wikipedias - Grand Total. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Wikipedia Statistics, Article count (official)", Wikimedia.org. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  4. ^ "Wikipedia Statistics, Site Map", Wikimedia.org. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
  5. ^ "Wikipedia Statistics, All Languages", Wikimedia.org. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
  6. ^ a b Reagle, Joseph: Good Faith Collaboration. The Culture of Wikipedia. MIT Press 2010, ISBN 978-0-262-01447-2. Chapter 2: "The Pursuit of the Universal Encyclopedia"
  7. ^ "The Free Universal Encyclopedia and Learning Resource". http://www.gnu.org/encyclopedia/free-encyclopedia.html. 
  8. ^ "Slashdot Comments | GNUPedia Project Starting". Slashdot.org. 17 January 2001. http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=9990&threshold=1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=502603. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  9. ^ "The Free Encyclopedia Project". http://www.gnu.org/encyclopedia/. 
  10. ^ Poe, Marshall (September 2006). "The Hive". The Atlantic Monthly. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200609/wikipedia/. Retrieved 25 March 2007. "Wales and Sanger created the first Nupedia wiki on 10 January 2001. The initial purpose was to get the public to add entries that would then be “fed into the Nupedia process” of authorization. Most of Nupedia’s expert volunteers, however, wanted nothing to do with this, so Sanger decided to launch a separate site called “Wikipedia.” Neither Sanger nor Wales looked on Wikipedia as anything more than a lark. This is evident in Sanger’s flip announcement of Wikipedia to the Nupedia discussion list. “Humor me,” he wrote. “Go there and add a little article. It will take all of five or ten minutes.” And, to Sanger’s surprise, go they did. Within a few days, Wikipedia outstripped Nupedia in terms of quantity, if not quality, and a small community developed. In late January, Sanger created a Wikipedia discussion list (Wikipedia-L) to facilitate discussion of the project." 
  11. ^ a b Sidener, Jonathan (6 December 2004). "Everyone's Encyclopedia". The San Diego Union-Tribune. http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20041206/news_mz1b6encyclo.html. Retrieved 25 March 2007. 
  12. ^ a b c d "The Early History of Nupedia and Wikipedia: A Memoir – Part I" and "Part II", Slashdot, April 2005. Retrieved on 25 March 2007. "The actual development of this encyclopedia was the task he gave me to work on. So I arrived in San Diego in early February, 2000, to get to work. One of the first things I asked Jimmy is how free a rein I had in designing the project. What were my constraints, and in what areas was I free to exercise my own creativity? He replied, as I clearly recall, that most of the decisions should be mine; and in most respects, as a manager, Jimmy was indeed very hands-off. Nevertheless, I always did consult with him about important decisions, and moreover, I wanted his advice. Now, Jimmy was quite clear that he wanted the project to be in principle open to everyone to develop, just as open source software is (to an extent). Beyond this, however, I believe I was given a pretty free rein. So I spent the first month or so thinking very broadly about different possibilities." —Larry Sanger.
  13. ^ a b My resignation: Larry Sanger (meta.wikimedia.com) – "I was more or less offered the job of editing Nupedia when I was, as an ABD philosophy graduate student, soliciting Jimbo's (and other friends') advice on a website I was thinking of starting. It was the first I had heard of Jimbo's idea of an open content encyclopedia, and I was delighted to take the job."
  14. ^ a b "Ben Kovitz". WikiWikiWeb. http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?BenKovitz. Retrieved 25 March 2007.  - see also Ben Kovitz' fuller account which he links from there.
  15. ^ a b c Moody, Glyn (13 July 2006). "This time, it'll be a Wikipedia written by experts". The Guardian. http://technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,,1818630,00.html. Retrieved 25 March 2007. -- While casting around for a way to speed up article production, Sanger met with Ben Kovitz, an old friend, in January 2001. Kovitz introduced Sanger to the idea of the wiki, invented in 1995 by Ward Cunningham: web pages that anyone could write and edit. "My first reaction was that this really could be what would solve the problem," Sanger explains, "because the software was already written, and this community of people on WikiWikiWeb" – the first wiki – "had created something like 14,000 pages". Nupedia, by contrast, had produced barely two dozen articles. Sanger took up the idea immediately: "I wrote up a proposal and sent it [to Wales] that evening, and the wiki was then set up for me to work on." But this was not Wikipedia as we know it. "Originally it was the Nupedia Wiki – our idea was to use it as an article incubator for Nupedia. Articles could begin life on this wiki, be developed collaboratively and, when they got to a certain stage of development, be put it into the Nupedia system."
  16. ^ a b Sidener, Jonathan (23 September 2006). "Wikipedia co-founder looks to add accountability, end anarchy". The San Diego Union-Tribune. http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060923/news_lz1n23wiki.html. Retrieved 25 March 2007. "The origins of Wikipedia date to 2000, when Sanger was finishing his doctoral thesis in philosophy and had an idea for a Web site." 
  17. ^ Poe, Marshall (September 2006). "The Hive". The Atlantic Monthly. p. 3. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200609/wikipedia/3. Retrieved 25 March 2007. -- Over tacos that night, Sanger explained his concerns about Nupedia’s lack of progress, the root cause of which was its serial editorial system. As Nupedia was then structured, no stage of the editorial process could proceed before the previous stage was completed. Kovitz brought up the wiki and sketched out “wiki magic,” the mysterious process by which communities with common interests work to improve wiki pages by incremental contributions. If it worked for the rambunctious hacker culture of programming, Kovitz said, it could work for any online collaborative project. The wiki could break the Nupedia bottleneck by permitting volunteers to work simultaneously all over the project. With Kovitz in tow, Sanger rushed back to his apartment and called Wales to share the idea. Over the next few days he wrote a formal proposal for Wales and started a page on Cunningham’s wiki called “WikiPedia.”
  18. ^ a b Wales, Jimmy (30 October 2001). "LinkBacks?" (Email). wikipedia-l archives (Bomis). http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2001-October/000671.html. Retrieved 25 March 2007. 
  19. ^ "Assignment Zero First Take: Wiki Innovators Rethink Openness". Wired News. 3 May 2007. http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2007/05/assignment_zero_citizendium. Retrieved 1 November 2007. Wired.com states: "Wales offered the following on-the-record comment in an e-mail to NewAssignment.net editor [and NYU Professor] Jay Rosen ...'Larry Sanger was my employee working under my direct supervision during the entire process of launching Wikipedia. He was not the originator of the proposal to use a wiki for the encyclopedia project – that was Jeremy Rosenfeld'."
  20. ^ Rogers Cadenhead. "Wikipedia Founder Looks Out for Number 1". http://www.cadenhead.org/workbench/news/2828/wikipedia-founder-looks-out-number-1. Retrieved 15 October 2006. 
  21. ^ Also stated on Wikipedia, on 2 December 2005 permanent reference
  22. ^ Stated on Wikipedia on 14 March 2005: reference
  23. ^ Larry Sanger (10 January 2001). "Let's make a wiki". Nupedia mailing list. Archived from the original on 14 April 2003. http://web.archive.org/web/20030414014355/http://www.nupedia.com/pipermail/nupedia-l/2001-January/000676.html. 
  24. ^ Message by Jimmy Wales, 17 December 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  25. ^ "Wikipedia:Wikipedia's oldest articles", Wikipedia. Retrieved on 30 January 2007.
  26. ^ The Wikipedia Revolution, by Andrew Lih
  27. ^ a b "Britannica and Free Content". Slashdot. 26 July 2001. http://slashdot.org/articles/01/07/26/0312258.shtml. 
  28. ^ "Nupedia and Project Gutenberg Directors Answer". Slashdot. 5 March 2001. http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/03/02/1422244&tid=99. 
  29. ^ "Everything2 Hits One Million Nodes". Slashdot. 29 March 2001. http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/03/29/2035230&tid=95. 
  30. ^ Britannica or Nupedia? The Future of Free Encyclopedias 25 July 2001
  31. ^ "Fact driven? Collegial? This site wants you", New York Times, 20 September 2001
  32. ^ Announcement of finding of Wikipedia's earliest history
  33. ^ "Alternative language Wikipedias". Lists.wikimedia.org. 15 March 2001. http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2001-March/000049.html. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  34. ^ "History of the Catalan Homepage". Wikipedia.com. Archived from the original on 13 April 2001. http://web.archive.org/web/20010413083954/catalan.wikipedia.com/wiki.cgi?action=history&id=HomePage. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  35. ^ The Wayback Machine: An early Japanese Wikipedia HomePage (revision #3), dated 20 March 2001 23:00. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  36. ^ An Internet Archive's snapshot of English Wikipedia HomePage, dated 30 March 2001, showing links to the three first sister projects, "Deutsch (German)", "Catalan", and "Nihongo (Japanese)".
  37. ^ Multilingual monthly statistics
  38. ^ "First edition in the Catalan Wikipedia" (in (Catalan)). Ca.wikipedia.org. http://ca.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=%C3%80bac&oldid=1. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  39. ^ This table, for instance, misses Japanese and German articles such as this one and this one, both dated 6 April 2001.
  40. ^ The Documentation on the French Wikipedia mentions the date of 23 March 2001, but this date is not supported by Wikipedia snapshots on the Internet Archive, nor by Jason Richney's letter, which was dated 11 May 2001 (see below).
  41. ^ Letter of Jason Richey to wikipedia-l mailing list 11 May 2001
  42. ^ "HomePage from the Internet Archive". Wikipedia.com. Archived from the original on 18 November 2001. http://web.archive.org/web/20011118054300/ar.wikipedia.com/wiki.cgi?HomePage. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  43. ^ Wikipedia:Announcements May 2001
  44. ^ "International_Wikipedia". Wikipedia.org. http://www.wikipedia.org/w/wiki.phtml?title=International_Wikipedia&action=history. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  45. ^ Wikipedia: Announcements 2001
  46. ^ "International Wikipedias statistics". Wikipedia.org. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:International_wikipedias_statistics. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  47. ^ a b Schiff, Stacy (31 July 2006). "Know It All". The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060731fa_fact. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  48. ^ Anderson, Nate (2007-02-25). "Citizendium: building a better Wikipedia". Ars Technica. http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/citizendium.ars/3. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  49. ^ This statement may be found at en.citizendium.org
  50. ^ a b Anderson, Nate (25 February 2007). "Citizendium: building a better Wikipedia". Ars Technica. http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/citizendium.ars. Retrieved 25 March 2007. 
  51. ^ Poe, Marshall (September 2006). "The Hive". The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200609/wikipedia/. Retrieved January 1, 2007. 
  52. ^ Larry Sanger (January 10, 2001). "Let's make a wiki". Nupedia-l mailing list (Internet Archive). Archived from the original on 14 April 2003. http://web.archive.org/web/20030414014355/http://www.nupedia.com/pipermail/nupedia-l/2001-January/000676.html. 
  53. ^ Network Solutions (2007) WHOIS domain registration information results for wikipedia.com from Network Solutions'.' Retrieved 27 July 2007.
  54. ^ Network Solutions (2007) WHOIS domain registration information results for wikipedia.org from Network Solutions'.' Retrieved 27 July 2007.
  55. ^ "Wikipedia.org Site Info". Alexa Internet. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page. Retrieved 2010-09-06. 
  56. ^ Wales on Sunday (26 August 2001) Knowledge at your fingertips. Game On : Internet Chat.(writing, "Both Encarta and Britannica are official publications with well-deserved reputations. But there are other options, such as the homemade encyclopaedias. One is Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.com) which uses clever software to build an encyclopaedia from scratch. Wiki is software installed on a web server that allows anyone to edit any of the pages. At the Wikipedia, anyone can write about any subject they know about. The idea is that over time, enough experts will offer their knowledge for free and build up the world's ultimate hand-built database of knowledge. The disadvantage is that it's still an ongoing project. So far about 8,000 articles have been written and the editors are aiming for 100,000.")
  57. ^ October, 2001 snapshot of the homepage shows the "Breaking News" header up top as well as the 11 September 2001 block of articles under "Current events"; the 9/11 page shows the activist nature of the page, as well as the large number of subtopics created to cover the event.
  58. ^ a b 387 F.3d 1303
  59. ^ a b WP:BLP was started on 17 December 2005, with the narrative "I started this due to the Daniel Brandt situation". Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons
  60. ^ "Growing pains for Wikipedia". CNET. Retrieved July 16, 2010.
  61. ^ Similar Search Results: Google Wins 29 January 2007
  62. ^ See the special page: Special:Statistics: 5,078,036 registered user accounts as at 13 August 2007, excluding anonymous editors who have not created accounts.
  63. ^ Source: Wikipedia:Size comparisons as of 13 August 2007
  64. ^ From around Q3 2006 Wikipedia's growth rate has been approximately linear, source: Wikipedia:Statistics – new article count by month 2006–2007.
  65. ^ E.g., cases such as Crystal Gail Mangum and Daniel Brandt.
  66. ^ million articles "Three million articles", Wikipedia Signpost
  67. ^ Telegraph 30 May 2009 20:30: Church of Scientology members banned from editing Wikipedia
  68. ^ a b c Shea, Danny (29 May 2009). "Wikipedia Bans Scientology From Site". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/29/wikipedia-bans-scientolog_n_208967.html. Retrieved 29 May 2009. 
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    Politician Editing undertaken Sources
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    Norm Coleman Rewrite to make more favorable, claimed to be "correcting errors") "Web site's entry on Coleman revised Aide confirms his staff edited biography, questions Wikipedia's accuracy". St. Paul Pioneer Press(Associated Press). http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/news/local/13750990.htm. 
    Conrad Burns
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    Joe Biden Removal of unfavorable information Congressional staffers edit boss's bio on Wikipedia
    Gil Gutknecht Staff rewrite and removal of information evidencing broken campaign promise.

    (Multiple attempts)

    On 16 August 2006, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reported that the office of Representative Gil Gutknecht tried twice — on 24 July 2006 and 14 August 2006 — to remove a 128-word section in the Wikipedia article on him, replacing it with a more flattering 315-word entry taken from his official congressional biography. Most of the removed text was about the 12-year term-limit Gutknecht imposed on himself in 1995 (Gutknecht ran for re-election in 2006, breaking his promise). A spokesman for Gutknecht did not dispute that his office tried to change his Wikipedia entry, but questioned the reliability of the encyclopedia. ("Gutknecht joins Wikipedia tweakers", Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, 16 August 2006, accessed 17 August 2006).[not in citation given]

    Multiple attempts, first using a named account, then an anonymous IP account.

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