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- Wikipedia co-founder and American Internet entrepreneur
This article is part of Yahoo's 'On This Day' series
The free-to-edit encyclopedia Wikipedia is among the most popular websites on Earth, consistently ranked in the top 15 websites by Alexa.
The encyclopedia, which was launched on this day in 2001, is mind-boggling in scale, with an average of 590 new articles added every day.
Wikipedia averages 1.9 edits per second, and has grown in the past 21 years to be an invaluable resource used across the world (except in China, where it has been banned since 2019).
Here are 10 facts you probably didn’t know about Wikipedia.
There’s an official theme song
There’s an official theme song (sort of) called Hotel Wikipedia, to the tune of Hotel California, with lyrics such as, ‘’Welcome to the Hotel Wikipedia/Such a lovely place/So much empty space.’
Its maker panicked that the idea was ‘too obvious’
Jimmy Wales had previously worked in open-source, free software, and thought the idea would work for an encyclopedia. He said, ‘ I was in a real kind of panic because I thought this is such an obvious idea that other people will do it.’
There’s a Wikipedia Monument in Poland
The Wikipedia Monument is located in Slubice and was designed by Armenian sculptor Mihran Hakobyan.
It’s almost as accurate as a real encyclopedia
A major study in science journal Nature found that Encyclopedia Britannica averaged three minor mistakes every entry in science articles, compared to four in Wikipedia.
Founder Jimmy Wales first launched a browser known as the ‘Playboy of the internet’
Before laucnching Wikipedia, founder Jimmy Wales launched Bomis, a browser and web directory which some described as the ‘Playboy of the internet’ as users devoted a lot of time to collecting images of attractive women.
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There’s a ‘No Angry Mastodons’ policy
Wikipedia often has jokey titles for serious policies, such as, ‘No Angry Mastodons’, which refers to measures to stop editors working while angry.
Someone edited Wikipedia from space
Astronaut Paulo Nespoli recorded audio for use on his Wikipedia page from the International Space Station in 2017.
Jimmy Wales says he doesn’t regret not making a profit
Unlike Google or Facebook, Wikipedia does not make money: but Wales says he is not bothered by missing out on the vast wealth of other Silicon Valley founders. He said, ‘I don’t regret it at all. My life is very interesting. I’m not a very money motivated person.’
Jimmy Wales was caught editing his own Wiki page
Jimmy Wales was caught editing his own Wikipedia biography, to remove mentions of Larry Sanger, who also worked on Wikipedia, and to references to ‘soft porn’ on Bomis.
Every January 15, fans celebrate Wikipedia Day
Every year, Wiki editors and fans celebrate the site’s ‘birthday’ on January 15.