Ever wonder what the word “wiki” in “Wikipedia” means? Chances are you’d go directly to Wikipedia to find out.
On Saturday, the pervasive, nonprofit, user-driven online encyclopedia project celebrated its 10th anniversary. In that decade, Wikipedia has become one of the highest ranked Web pages in the world, with over 17.5 million articles in 278 different languages. According to a recent study published by Pew Research Center, 53 percent of adult Internet users in the United States use Wikipedia to look for information.
Wikipedia articles are written and edited by volunteers from over the world, anonymously or by registered users. According to its own rules, entries should be on notable subjects, neutral, and verifiable. However, its open, collaborative nature has drawn its share of criticism. Wikipedia entries are subject to vandals, propagandists, kooks, imposters, pranksters, bias, flame wars, satire, and just poor writing. All of this can be found on its own pages, including a particularly long entry on “Criticism of Wikipedia.”
Oh, wiki comes from the Hawaiian words quick, in addition to being the name of the collaborative website technology at the heart of Wikimedia Foundation projects. In addition to Wikipedia, these now include Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikimedia Commons, Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikiversity, Wikimedia Incubator and Meta-Wiki. The term wiki has also come to mean any collaborative, ongoing website project where contributors can easily add and edit content.
Some Wikipedia Facts
Visitors per month: 78 million (January 2010)
Active contributors: Over 91,000
Most articles by language: English (3,529,781), German (1,176,405), French (1,056,320), Polish (766,521), and Italian (764,307), as of Jan. 14.
Most editors per million speakers: Icelandic
Languages that have editions: 278, including Esperanto, simple English, Latin, Old Church Slavonic, Gothic, Yiddish, Anglo Saxon, and Volapük (created by a Roman Catholic priest in Germany, 1879–1880).
Curious fact: The "List of Wikipedias" page on Wikipedia is listed as outdated and in need of “references that appear in reliable third-party publications;” it lists 261 language editions.
Number of Indian languages: At least 20, including Bengali, Bhojpuri, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Pali, Punjabi, Romani, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Assamese, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.
Growth plans: Raise user base to 1 billion through expansion in India, and possibly Brazil.
Error mishap: In February 2007, renowned Turkish historian Taner Akçam was detained at the Montreal airport because his Wikipedia entry incorrectly called him a terrorist.
Language hoax: Siberian language Wikipedia created in 2006 and deleted 2007.
Language hopeful: A Klingon language edition was created June 2004 then locked in August 2005; it now lives offsite at klingon.wikia.com.
Requests pending for new Wikipedia language editions: 314 including Chinook Jargon, Jamaican, Cajun French, Mon, Mohawk, Sherpa, Nigerian Pidgin, and Rapa Nui.
Most users per article: Choctaw, a Native American language, at 12.6; Choctaw’s 10 articles have collectively been edited 3,773 times (Nov. 16, 2010).
Most edits per article (in languages with over 10 articles): English at 120.5; Uyghur is second with 108.28.