Currently celebrating its 10th anniversary is Wikipedia.org, having grown from “Hello World” into the world’s fifth largest internet commodity. Within a month of founder Jimmy Wales sounding the challenge to write a complete encyclopedia from scratch, the site reached 1,000 articles. Within a year, the site was expanding into different languages. By 2008, Wikipedia had become the largest encyclopedia on the Internet with 10.6 million articles in 250 languages and more than 2,500 visitors per second. If the site were published as a book in English, it would require at least 1,500 books to print. Today it receives 400 million visitors per month and used by 42 percent of American adults, according to a Pew Internet study.
The event has been celebrated with parties around the globe, both of the real and virtual sorts. In recognition of the 10th anniversary, users are invited to Share thoughts, wishes and ideas about the future of Wikipedia in a 10th anniversary time capsule. The page of messages will be protected till 2026– the Wikipedia 25 anniversary.
What’s in store for the future of Wikipedia? Wales has issued a call to action for users to keep visiting and particularly keep contributing through editing and fixing problems. Wales and Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees Wikipedia, say that the site will be making efforts to recruit a wider array of contributors, including more women and more older people. Currently, about 80 percent of editors are male and relatively young; which means that math and science articles tend to be emphasized over the humanities.
The site will continue to increase its volume of foreign language content and make efforts to improve the quality of articles, having undergone considerable criticism over the years for inaccuracies and bias in articles. But even so, Wikipedia has been an example of one of the most impressive user-created projects ever built.
Happy Birthday Wikipedia, thanks for defining the power of the community.