15 amazing things since the idea of Wikipedia was launched to the world on January 15, 2001.
January 15 is known to Wikipedians as Wikipedia day. Before 2001, an encyclopedia could cost thousands of dollars, trees, water and ink, and let’s face it, was really really hard to carry around. Today we can reach millions of referenced articles, photos, illustrations, sources, and word definitions from anywhere we can reach the internet. And the volunteers who have been creating this amazing work for 15 years don’t charge anything for it. They want to share all knowledge with every person. Many of us have this opportunity right in our pockets.
Millions of people have gathered all this knowledge by working together from everywhere around the world.
Ward Cunningham designed the wiki, the first internet platform that allowed many people to work on a document at the same time. He named it ‘wiki,’ a Hawaiian word that means ‘quick.’ (There is even a wiki-wiki shuttle in Honolulu.)
The first Wikipedia exhibition opened on March 17, 2006.
It was held at the Göttingen University Library in Germany.
Behind the scenes, bots do some of the repetitive jobs so that volunteers don’t have to.
There are almost 2,000 bots approved for use on the English Wikipedia alone, and they even have names. PhotoCatBot helps people find articles that need images.
Wikipedia became one of the top 10 websites in the world in 2007.
It’s the only non-profit anywhere near the top.
People who work on Wikipedia are called “Wikipedians”.
Building the world’s largest database of information with people from all over can be challenging. Wikipedians write rules, guidelines and essays to help other people understand being a Wikipedian. “No angry mastodons” suggests that you shouldn’t edit when you’re hungry or intoxicated.
The first photo ever uploaded to Commons was a pair of quail.
…while this scan of the world’s first photograph uploaded to Wikimedia Commons is entirely inscrutable. Speaking of birds and photos, there is such a thing as pigeon photography: “A homing pigeon was fitted with an aluminium breast harness to which a lightweight time-delayed miniature camera could be attached.” (There was even a stamp for pigeon mail. It’s adorable and shaped like a triangle.)
It simply said, “A dog by which all others are measured.” The English Wikipedia page for poodle is now more than 5,000 words, and includes the many names that people have invented for poodles crossed with other dog breeds: Labradoodle, Poochon, Cockapoo, Spoodle, Maltipoo, Goldendoodle, Schnoodle, Pekapoos, Cavapoo, and Bernedoodle.
Wikipedia helps keep the Internet open and free.
In 2012, the Wikipedia communities blacked out the site to protest SOPA.
The second-most-edited English Wikipedia article of all time is about pro wrestling.
"Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart VC, KBE, CB, CMG, DSO (5 May 1880–5 June 1963) was a British Army officer and recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy” in various Commonwealth countries. He served in the Boer War, First World War, and Second World War; was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; survived two plane crashes; tunnelled out of a prisoner-of-war camp; and bit off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them. Describing his experiences in the First World War, he wrote, ‘Frankly I had enjoyed the war.’"
One hoax claimed that Lord Byron kept a crocodile and a honey badger as pets. It would not be easy to uncover this hoax—during his lifetime, in addition to numerous cats, dogs and horses, Byron kept a fox, monkeys, an eagle, a crow, a falcon, peacocks, guinea hens, an Egyptian crane, a badger, geese, a heron, and a goat. He took a bear to college when he found that dogs were not allowed.
Researchers can predict the spread of illness from data on Wikipedia.
“Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory were able to make extremely accurate forecasts about the spread of dengue fever in Brazil and flu in the U.S., Japan, Poland and Thailand by examining three years’ worth of Wikipedia search data.”