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Feb 2, 2012
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How Big Is Wikipedia?

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, has had a phenomenal few years. It is by far the world’s most popular online encyclopedia. Protecting an online profile is vital to any website such as Wikipedia, because its loyal fan base may abandon it in droves if it is seen to make any major mistakes, either with its content or its technology.

Most of the bad press Wikipedia has received has been on account of the negative perception of its ‘freely sourced’ content, and the fact that anybody can add or edit articles, with only the most basic monitoring of uploaded content in operation. Editing poor content on Wikipedia is largely the job of its large online community, many members of which spend their days trawling its content to find errors, and correcting them. The bias of some articles has led to some negative media coverage and criticism of Wikipedia, with some claiming the structure of Wikipedia allows some subjects to be biased to the extent of being inaccurate, or not accurately or comprehensively sourcing information and images. In light of this, many colleges and universities have banned the use of Wikipedia in any academic function except casual reading.

Freedom of Knowledge

Nonetheless, Wikipedia generally has good press at is is seen as being part of a movement to ‘democratize’ information, making it free and available to all. Wikipedia recently came out in ardent opposition to recent American anti – piracy laws, and effected a ‘blackout’ of its English pages for a 24 hour period. Many came out in support of Wikipedia’s ‘blackout’ strategy. Wikipedia’s growth over the years can be best shown in the form of statistics and graphs:

Current article count (English): 3,860,798+
Estimated number of words (English): 2,100,000,000+

This graph shows the general increase in the number of articles on the English Wikipedia over the years 2001 – ’12.

This is a visual representation of Wikipedia’s size, if its english articles were compiled into a physical collection. The size of this collection would, by now, be far too big for anybody to read in a lifetime.

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