What Is Wikipedia’s History? How Jimmy Wales Started The Biggest Free Encyclopedia

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Wikipedia.org is the biggest, the greatest and the most popular free online encyclopedia today. Its knowledge database has been created by millions of people from all over the world. Currently (2015) the site has more than 37 million articles in more than 280 different languages and their number has been constantly increasing. They were created by the 27 million registered users and are available for free use, under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Monthly, more than 14% of all people, who use Internet visit the site. On Wikipedia, you can find information about almost any existing topic you could imagine – from how to bake cookies to how to build a nuclear weapon and launch in it space 🙂 … It has become the 6th most popular site on Earth, according to alexa.com

History Of The Word’s Online Encyclopedia

Once, there was a site called Nupedia – a free encyclopedia, written exclusively by professionals and specialists. It was run by a small company called “Bomis”, one of its founders was Jimmy Wales. It was intended to become one of the biggest places of knowledge on the Internet. Although there were many volunteers who wanted to become editors of the site, it was advancing really slow. All articles had to pass a complicated approval process, which resulted in only a few of them approved. After the first years of existence of Nupedia, it had the unimaginable 12 articles… That was a craze… So many smart guys in one place and just 12 writings?!? The project’s chief editor was Larry Sander and he and Wales started looking for some ways to speed the things up. By that time, the wiki structured sites were gaining momentum. Sander thought that using a wiki platform for the site might be a nice choice and he introduced the idea to Wales. This was how the concept of Wikipedia was born back in 2001. The plans were the UseModWiki platform to be installed, where everybody would be able to publish content freely and the best of it would be used for Nupedia. So, Jimmy Wales installed a copy of the platform and put it online on the 10th of January 2001. Most of the editors of Nupedia didn’t want everyone to be able to mess with their work, that’s why they insisted on a different name to be given to the project. This is how the domain name Wikipedia.org was registered and launched five days later – on the 15th of January. This was the official birth of the site.


Pic: Wikipedia.org (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_logos)

Wikipedia Starts Growing Fast

The small site launched as a sub-project of Nupedia started growing extremely fast. Anyone could publish there and the uploaded articles didn’t require editorial review. It was no surprise that the site soon surpassed its older sister Nupedia. With more than 20 000 articles in more than 18 languages just after a year of existence, Wikipedia quickly became the main project. Initially, most of the traffic to the site was coming from the major search engines, but soon some of the biggest media spotted its growth and began writing about the online encyclopedia. It also appeared on the TV and other media channels. This boosted its popularity and in August 2002, the number of published articles reached the mind-blowing number of 40 thousand (a little humor here, today the site has 37 million pages).

The start of the project was not a problem free one. The quick growth of Wikipedia attracted hackers and some other people who started abusing the site. Also, there were no clear principles about what content should be kept online and what not. This was how The Rules of Wikipedia were created. But these were not that big issues as these that would come later. The biggest efforts of Wikipedia’s team was to keep the articles neutral, quality and accurate. Because of that, anybody could change them, this was a really tough task. Many believed that the content there was in some way biased and chunky. For example, there was a published article there, saying that Robby Williams was eating pet hamsters for a living in pubs in and around Stoke… In another one was written that David Beckham was a Chinese goalkeeper in the 18th century… Such problems are still present today, although the most common issues of this type have been addressed.

Running a big site like Wikipedia is an expensive action. The site receives huge amounts of traffic. By the beginning of 2012, the site had 10 billion views each month and currently has more than 4 million articles. Such a beast eats several millions of dollars every year in expenses… Although a single advertising banner would generate millions of dollars in revenue every month, Wales is determined no to do this and the encyclopedia remains free of ads. Wikipedia has remained totally free for use by everyone in the world. Its revenue comes exclusively from donations. Everybody who likes the project and wants to support it can do this on their donations page.

More About The Free Encyclopedia

More about the history of this great encyclopedia you can see (and even edit) here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Wikipedia

Wikipedia On:
Twitterr: https://twitter.com/#!/wikipedia
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wikipedia

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