Wikipedia is the largest and most popular online encyclopedia in the world. Despite the fact that the website spent a considerable amount of time in the spotlight, there are still some surprising facts that many people don’t know. Here MusicSnake Magazine presents 15 surprising facts you didn’t know about Wikipedia.
Number 1: The Name Has Hawaiian Roots. In Hawaiian, “Wiki” is the word for “quick.” The website was designed for users to quickly gain access to basic information, so it makes sense.
Number 2: Vandalized Articles Are Usually Reversed Within Five Minutes. Many people have tried to alter pages as a practical joke, and amazingly, these jokes are generally reversed within a period of five minutes.
Number 3: One of Wikipedia’s Co-Founders Left the Company Because He Didn’t Find it Credible Enough. In 2002, Larry Sanger, an original co-founder of the website, left the company. He said he left because he didn’t think it was credible enough anymore and there were too many trolls overtaking the site.
Number 4: The CIA Edited Its Own Page. And they got caught. The NSA did the same thing.
Number 5: There’s a Dirty History Behind Sanitizing Reviews. The process of “sanitizing reviews” involves a company’s employees paying people to edit articles to portray clients in a favorable way. Two of Wikipedia’s employees (now likely ex-employees) reportedly used to do this.
Number 6: It Wasn’t Always Wikipedia. In fact, it started as Nupedia. Nupedia was much more formal than Wikipedia in terms of editing and no longer exists.
Number 7: Many Congressman Have Been Caught Trying to Make Themselves Look More Favorable. It’s no secret that the website is one of the largest sources of basic information, and it has many visitors every day. In 2006, some congressmen decided to try and make themselves look better than they actually were by editing their own Wikipedia pages. They were subsequently caught through IP address tracking.
Number 8: More Than 162 Million People Tried to Use It During the Blackout. The blackout on the site occurred in 2012 as a way to protest SOPA and PIPA. During the blackout, a whopping 162 million people attempted to use the site.
Number 9: Wikipedia Is the World’s Sixth Most Popular Website. More people visit the popular website than almost any other website in the world. The five websites that are more popular are Google, Facebook, YouTube, Baidu and Amazon.
Number 10: It Wasn’t Always a Dot Org. It was a “dot com” until its co-founders decided to make its status as a non-profit abundantly clear. After the Spanish version seceded after ad-related concerns, the website became a “dog org.”
Number 11: It Has Over 70,000 Editors Around the World. Approximately 73,000 people can call themselves active editors for the site. Even more impressive, Wikipedia has over 22 million accounts with individual users as well.
Number 12: At One Point, 1,800 New Articles Were Being Created Every Day. Up to 1,800 new articles were being written on Wikipedia every single day in 2006. Now there are about 800 written every day.
Number 13: Most of the Website’s Servers Are in Virginia. It might sound strange, but it’s true. This means that the website has to follow both federal laws in the United States as well as the state laws in Virginia. Suffice it to say that if the power was to go out in Virginia, Wikipedia would suffer greatly.
Number 14: Scientific Articles Are Akin to Britannica’s. Some teachers still chide students for using it as a source, but the truth is that a 2005 survey found that Wikipedia’s science articles are as accurate as Britannica’s. And that was over 10 years ago.
Number 15: It Has No Rules. Rather than rules, the website has five pillars for its readers and editors to follow. These pillars include notes about respect, distribution, and biases.