10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wikipedia

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As the internet has grown to consume much of our lives, one website which has become essential for students, researchers and anyone trying to find out the answer to a question is Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia has become the default location to visit to find out about anything in the world. The fact that it has been around for so long, is such a popular destination on the web and one of the biggest websites available means that there is plenty that you might not know about the free encyclopedia. So, if you want to find out more about the website you visit whenever you have a query, check out our list below!

As one of the leading websites in the world, Wikipedia is visited by millions of people every single day. This has led to the site being the 7th most popular in the world, beaten only by the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Yahoo. Altogether, this means that more than 500 million people use the site every single month and visit 18 billion pages in that time.

Virginia Hosts Almost All Of Its Severs

The vast majority of servers that keep Wikipedia up and running as well as storing its vast amount of information are largely located in Ashburn, Virginia. This site is known as eqiad and is the primary data center for the website, though other facilities in Amsterdam, San Francisco and Texas all help to keep the encyclopedia online.

It Is Available In More Than 300 Languages

This includes obscure languages such as Banyumasan and Zulu as well as languages that are almost never used, such as Latin. Many of these 300 versions of Wikipedia only have limited numbers of pages though, with only the top 100 having more than 10,000 individual articles.

English Wikipedia Is The Largest

Out of those 300 languages, the English version of the encyclopedia is by far the most popular, with a staggering 5 million articles. However, that only makes up around 13% of the total number of pages on all versions.

There Are 27 Million Users

While not every single one of these registered users are accurate, the vast majority of them have contributed to the site in some way through edits and changes made to particular entries. This makes it one of the biggest projects ever undertaken by mankind in terms of the sheer number of contributors.

It’s Actually Very Accurate

Despite criticism by many for having errors, thanks to the fact it is edited by non-professionals or academics, Wikipedia is actually accurate and reliable. Numerous studies have shown it performs at least as well as the likes of Encyclopaedia Britannica and other reference books, while others have shown it is remarkably good on expert subjects such as dark energy and cancer.

The Worst Vandals Are Usually Politicians

While you may have seen plenty of pages have errors planted in them on purpose or other vandalism to discredit brands and people, some of the worst offenders are politicians. Editors and administrators have traced misleading and deceitful changes made on the site back to the offices of politicians around the world, with staff generally trying to improve the image of their candidate or smear an opponent.

But Vandalism Is Usually Reversed In Just 5 Minutes

Although vandalism is a worry, most malicious edits are reverted in a matter of minutes. This is mostly due to the fact that there are around 73,000 administrators and active users who regularly check changes to ensure they are accurate. For the most part, this means such acts of vandalism are reversed in just 5 minutes.

Wikipedia Was Not The First Online Encyclopedia

While it is undoubtedly the most popular and well known online encyclopedia, the idea of such a website that could be edited by anyone actually pre-dates it. In 1999, two years before Wikipedia launched, Douglas Adams set up the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: Earth Edition (known as h2g2). This operated in much the same way, though its articles tended to have a slightly humorous slant to them in line with the guide from the novels of the same name.

George Bush Is The Most Edited Page

Controversial people and things often generate the most edits on Wikipedia, so it should come as little surprise that George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States is the most edited page in the history of the site, with changes made more than 45,000 times. The page for WWE is just behind that with a staggering 42,000 edits.