Happy 10th birthday Wikipedia!

Exactly 10 years ago, what started off as the spin-off of another project, exclusively in English, has grown to become an encyclopedia in every language possible (even dialects), containing millions and millions of articles on as many subjects.
What am I talking about?  Wikipedia of course, which celebrates today its 10th anniversary.

Founders Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger probably didn’t realize back then that their idea would lead to the creation of one of the most popular sites on the web, having more than 400 million visitors and 10 billion page views per month!
When the first articles were published on January 15th 2001, it didn’t take long for the site to grow and even force Microsoft’s Encarta out of the market.

The whole idea behind Wikipedia, i.e. the fact that content is maintained and contributed by the public, might give the impression that what’s to be found on the site is not always correct.  However, a study performed by Nature in 2005 shows that Wikipedia is as correct as the renowned Encyclopedia Britannica and it had the added bonus that the content was more up to date.
Sure, there is such a thing as “Wikipedia vandalism”, which is the deliberate manipulation of articles, but such acts are quickly countered by the other Wikipedia users.
An experiment by the Belgian newspaper “De Standaard” illustrated that even changes in more obscure parts of texts are quickly fixed (in the experiment, they changed the name of the chief editor of the newspaper, and found that a few hours later, the mistake was already corrected).

Today, the internet encyclopedia is managed by the Wikimedia Foundation Inc., an American non-profit organization and recently, Jimmy Wales called upon the public to donate money to insure the continuation of the site.
According to internet specialists, companies like Google and Microsoft would be quick to purchase Wikipedia if ever it would find itself in rough financial waters as a site with such high “top of mind” position would be a golden asset.

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