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The Internet

Wikipedia Reaches Half a Million Articles 275

Faraaz Damji (frazzydee) writes "The English Wikipedia has reached 500,000 full-length articles. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia collaboratively edited by thousands of users worldwide, and the article count has been increasing every day. Thanks to all the users who make it happen, especially the ones who put in hours every day writing to make this invaluable resource that we all love."
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Wikipedia Reaches Half a Million Articles

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  • by tabkey12 ( 851759 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:32PM (#11984857) Homepage
    quite amazing - and surely much higher than the proportion of non-english web pages on the internet as a whole:

    For instance, over 200,000 articles in German [wikipedia.org]

    • But... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:35PM (#11984874)
      192,584 of those are related to David Hasselhoff, of which 29,219 are related to Knight Rider.
      • 192,584 were related to David Hasselhoff, before Willy on Wheels "contributed".
      • The rest, of course, were related to his real career as a singer.

        His song "Hot Shot City" is particularly good.

        • Re:But... (Score:5, Funny)

          by mav[LAG] ( 31387 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:53PM (#11987165)
          If you're the creative genius behind these [amazon.com] customer reviews then thanks for much laughter over the years.

          From the Amazon page:

          * 2 people recommended Love Songs of the Tone-Deaf in addition to Looking For-Best of David Hasselhoff [IMPORT]
          * 2 people recommended Viral Diarrheas of Man and Animals instead of Looking For-Best of David Hasselhoff [IMPORT]

    • by pbranes ( 565105 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:35PM (#11984876)
      Wikipedia is a living example of how information demands to be free. This has already taken place for a long time in the scientific community, and wikipedia extends that idea to everyone on the internet.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:38PM (#11984894)
        "Wikipedia is a living example of how information demands to be free. "

        SSN#:
        LET ME OUT! I CAN'T BREATH!
      • by ozric99 ( 162412 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @01:26PM (#11985177) Journal
        I don't know about that. This post's score will stay above 0 for about 30 seconds but I've got karma to burn so whatever. I've tried on no less than 7 occasions to make changes or additions to some rather innocuous pages only to return some moments later to a message telling me to stop defacing or trolling the site. I'm not talking about crazy political trolling or anything of that nature, merely additions of relevant links, changes to dates, spelling and grammar mistakes etc..

        Wikipedia isn't an example of information wanting to be free, it's an example of groupthink spinning out of control. Has it changed dramatically in the last few months? I may return if it has, but if not it's just another example of a failed ideology.

        • I'm curious. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Grendel Drago ( 41496 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @01:47PM (#11985319) Homepage
          You know, it's shitty that you got modded down as Flamebait. Because I occasionally see posts like this and I immediately wonder how and where they happen. I've made several thousand edits, and have had someone revert them perhaps once or twice. Maybe this means I'm in line with the groupthink over there, but more likely it's that I make a lot of copyediting and nitpicking edits, not controversial ones.

          I strongly urge you to show me the diffs where you got reverted. If you don't know how to do that, tell me the date and the article name and a vague idea of what you contributed (or, better, the username you used if you were logged in), and I'll have a look.

          A lot of new editors do get reverted, because a lot of them write "GOATSE ROCKZORZ" on Ollie North's article to feel the power of "do you mean that when I hit submit, it's immediately visible to everyone?!".

          Now, I'm not saying that's what you did. And if a good edit got reverted, I want to know about it, because I believe in the project and it pisses me off when that happens. So... show me the edits, or at least the way to them.

          --grendel drago
        • That sounds pretty odd. Nothing like the Wikipedia I know. How about linking to the edits you made, and the user talk page where you were warned to quit it? Your comment is almost like an accusation, so some evidence would appropriate.
        • Wikipedia isn't an example of information wanting to be free, it's an example of groupthink spinning out of control. Has it changed dramatically in the last few months? I may return if it has, but if not it's just another example of a failed ideology.

          I think it's much more of an example of people not wanting to write a full anything anymore.

          Not that there's anything wrong with being lazy, just sayin.
        • I tracked down an example.

          Your name according to the blog on the website is Paul Smith, and searching for that in wikipedia user talk pages gives 9 hits, most of them bad (for you).

          http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=lang_en&s a fe =off&c2coff=1&client=safari&rls=en-us&q=site%3Aen. wikipedia.org+user+%22paul+smith%22&btnG=Search

          You even gained a vote for deletion! Nice going!

          What are you doing wrong, you ask? See this persons talk about you:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ta
      • Do not anthropomorphize my information!!!

        Cheers,
        Adolfo
  • by flumps ( 240328 ) <matt.corby@g m a i l .com> on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:33PM (#11984862) Homepage
    All special users link not working....

    Guess they weren't all that special eh.
  • 500,000th Article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tabkey12 ( 851759 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:35PM (#11984873) Homepage
  • is it More than... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bird603568 ( 808629 )
    Worldbook or Encarta? Those two have gone down hill fast. I rember when it was free. Now at school we can only use those two because they censor wikipedia :(
    • WTF? The censor wikipedia? Explain...
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:37PM (#11984889)
    How widely is it known? I bet a good number of people know Google or Yahoo or MSN once mentioned...question is: If one went to the street and asked the ordinary Joe Six Pack about Wikipedia I doubt there would be more than 1% who have even heard of it. In Toronto where I am now, people seem to think that the world is just made of the big players in every field. Just made a call to a university lecturer here...he's never used Wikipedia and does not even know what goes on at its site! Liking up with Google might help here.
  • by LoganAvatar ( 869001 ) <loganavatar@gmail.com> on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:38PM (#11984896) Homepage Journal
    ... about wikipedia is not necessarily the number of articles or the quality (and it can be disputed that the quality is both good and bad), is that on top of the fact that to search and read the articles is free, they will also allow you to download the entire database, which i think is impressive in our information driven economy.
  • by aftk2 ( 556992 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:40PM (#11984907) Homepage Journal
    One of the more interesting overviews of wikipedia, and wikis in general - something that you can send to someone non-tech-savvy who doesn't really understand the idea of a collaborative web page - can be found here:

    http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/gems/umlaut.html [infoworld.com]

    Basically, shows how the "Heavy Metal Umlaut" (heh) page at wikipedia has evolved over some time. Interesting stuff. Note: This is a flash movie, although when it comes up, if your browser window isn't tall enough, it'll probably just look like a web page. Scroll down for the play/stop/back controls.
    • There's no Flash player for my platform (ppc Linux), but I know IBM has done similar research:

      http://researchweb.watson.ibm.com/history/galler y. htm
    • Note: This is a flash movie...

      Yeah, and it's completely unwatchable. Not only does it not fit on my screen, but watching a movie about text is such a bad way of putting across your point. Not only that, but I have to sit here and listen to the guy talk, which means I'm constrained to do things on his timetable (which basically involves listening to him going 'um' a lot, I'm afraid).

      I'm sure the content is interesting, but the presentation is just too annoying for words... does anybody have a transcript

  • And then one day Wikipedia will go through puberty and finally become WIKIPEDIA GALACTICA, with 10^17 entries, even more stubs and peer-reviewed by not just individuals, but meta-moderated by civilizations..."We who became one", "We who survived" and, of course, "Humanity".
  • Wikipedia still has load balancing issues. The bandwidth and servers are there, they're just not being used correctly. It takes forever to get the server farm to open an HTTP session to load the main page.
    • WTF!? Have you had a look at the server stats for wiki? You try keeping a exponentialy increasing number of users happy, while your only income is donation....

    • Again it is better to sit in your mom's basement and snipe at what other people are doing wrong instead of helping.

      Do you understand Wikipedia's traffic doubles every few months? No amount of planning can allow a site to work in that scenario unless you had unlimited resources to start out with. Wikipedia is a volunteer, non profit site. The only way to make it work well is for people that know how to run it better to get invovled and contribute. So anyone that does have the know how, please pitch in.
  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:47PM (#11984947)
    As an ever-evolving, ever-accumulating storehouse of knowledge, the articles are never done and thus never "full-length." A more meaningful statistic might be the total number of words, cross-links, and articles. A nice measure of the incompleteness would be the number of red links denoting pages that have yet to have an entry.
  • WikiParadox (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:54PM (#11984985) Homepage Journal
    Wikipedia is a fascinating experiment in public education. Its quality certainly debunks the myth that centralized authority is the only way to ensure that quality. But who decides the accuracy? If two people have very different definitions of a controversial subject, like "terrorists" vs. "freedom fighters" for a single guerilla group, which becomes "definitive"? Who decides whether unproven scientific theories, like early versions of string theory, are "science", or "pseudoscience"? If I post an article, clearly linked, reporting a new scientific discovery, are the "wikipeers" qualified to process the "peer review" that filters most scientific reports? Central editorial authority is certainly no guarantee of accuracy, but is P2P editorial even less accountable, even less reliable?
    • Re:WikiParadox (Score:3, Informative)

      by grumbel ( 592662 )
      ### If two people have very different definitions of a controversial subject, like "terrorists" vs. "freedom fighters" for a single guerilla group, which becomes "definitive"?

      Neither of those becomes definitive, if there is controverisy, then simply both points of view are explained. Its called Neutral Point of View [wikipedia.org].

      ### If I post an article, clearly linked, reporting a new scientific discovery, are the "wikipeers" qualified to process the "peer review" that filters most scientific reports?

      No, such an

      • Original Research policy [wikipedia.org]:
        "[...] Original research refers to original research by editors of Wikipedia. It does not refer to original research that is published or available elsewhere (although such research may be excluded if editors consider the source to be disreputable or inappropriate). [...]"

        What about divine creation research vs. evolution research? Each version of the "human origin" derives from sources deemed disreputable or inappropriate by the other. Society as a whole is currently far from conse
        • ### Wikipedia would have a revolutionary social technique on its hands if it could resolve such conflicts

          Wikipedia doesn't have a magical way to solve these conflicts, but its neutral point of view simply prevents those conflicts to arise in the first place, well, at least most of the time. So instead of writing "God created the earth in seven days", a Wikipedia article reads more like "There are people who believe that God created the earth in seven days, they call themself creationist..." and "Evolution
      • Neither of those becomes definitive, if there is controverisy, then simply both points of view are explained. Its called Neutral Point of View.

        That is about as NPOV as Crossfire is. It's two points of view, with no neutrality between them. There is no dialectic synthesis going on here, just a lot of noise drowning out any signal. Certainly we need debate, and need to have fora for all points of view. It's just the height of pretension to call such a collection an encyclopedia of facts.
        • It's just the height of pretension to call such a collection an encyclopedia of facts.

          It's the height of pretension to imply that there can even be an encyclopedia of pure facts. "Point of view" is inherent in any encyclopedia. The best that can be said is that the presenter made an effort to stay neutral. In cases where there are multiple competing opinions and no amount of arguing is going to make either side give up, the best you can do is factually represent both opinions. If one side is supported by

    • Re:WikiParadox (Score:3, Interesting)

      by at_18 ( 224304 )
      If two people have very different definitions of a controversial subject, like "terrorists" vs. "freedom fighters" for a single guerilla group, which becomes "definitive"? Who decides whether unproven scientific theories, like early versions of string theory, are "science", or "pseudoscience"

      Wikipedia has the Neutral point of view rule. Here's how those topics would be dealt with:

      terrorist vs. freedom fighter: those are definition. The Wikipedia article should first list the facts, what those people ar
    • Well, all the articles I've edited have to do with geographic areas around me, music bands, and some financial topics, areas of my "expertise" -- I'm not going to edit an article about marsupials or 20th century France because I don't know anything about it. So, in a way, the less controversial topics won't have this problem. A proper Wiki entry would probably talk about the pros and cons for the IRA, for example.
      • There are lots of experts on "Iraq", for example, with completely contradictory views, and little sense of "fairness". What's to stop them from "correcting" entries to suit their own purposes?
        • Nothing is stopping them, but then nothing is stopping somebody else from correcting their doings. Such a thing is called Edit War [wikipedia.org] and if it happens frequenctly on a article that article is either locked for a period of time to give the parties time to cool down or one of the parties banned if their doing is clearly abusive.
    • Wikipedia is a fascinating experiment in public education. Its quality certainly debunks the myth that centralized authority is the only way to ensure that quality.
      Given the extreme breadth of quality across 'pedia articles, your statement is one of faith, not of fact.
    • I think that Wikipedia needs a review complement to it. There should be a group that takes a snapshot of Wikipedia at a particular time, and has various experts review pages in their particular field, and make any necessary changes (which would subsequently be merged back into the regular Wikipedia). This snapshot could then be print published.

      That would, at least, bring more credibility and notoriety.
  • Press Release (Score:4, Informative)

    by teslatug ( 543527 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @12:55PM (#11984986)
    Read the Press Release [wikipedia.org]
  • by mrm677 ( 456727 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @01:19PM (#11985131)
    Search for "cow" on wikipedia. Of course you will find a blurb that a cow is a female of the bovine family. It also says:

    COW is also an acronym for copy-on-write, a technique in computer science
    I mean come on! There are a zillion acronyms for the word cow.

    Wikipedia is edited by too many techy people and this could hurt its reputation.

    • Search for "cow" on wikipedia. Of course you will find a blurb that a cow is a female of the bovine family. It also says:

      COW is also an acronym for copy-on-write, a technique in computer science

      I mean come on! There are a zillion acronyms for the word cow.


      Feel free to add the other
      27 [acronymfinder.com].
    • A cow is of the bovine ilk.

      One end is moo, the other milk.
      -- Ogden Nash


      I'm wondering why "cow" is even in Wikipedia at all when it's clearly a dictionary article.
      • Because there are all sorts of encyclopaedic things about them. I would be dissapointed by any encyclopaedia which didn't have an entry on cow.
    • So what you're saying is:

      "Too much information is a bad thing."

      essentially.

      The primary users of the site (at the moment) are techy people, so it slants that way. However, since it's a WIKIpedia, as more people learn to use it, that will be corrected.

  • recursive (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @01:19PM (#11985134) Homepage Journal
    Here's a wikipedia article involving slashdot. Karma_Whore [wikipedia.org]
    Some info on what Karma Whore's goals are. Karma Whore has three stated purposes: to post information about a topic that everyone already knows; to link to wikipedia, because wikipedia pwns

    Oh damn, now I'm in a loop
  • Britannica (Score:5, Funny)

    by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @01:21PM (#11985144)
    But how can this Wikipedia thing exist if it is not listed in Encyclopedia Britannica [britannica.com], which, since its authors say is better, must surely be the authoritative guide to everything?
  • I love Wikipedia because it is a free alternative to the traditional profit driven, elitist, and biased encyclopedia publishers. All information publishing is biased. I'd rather, as a reader, take my chances with a self policed large community than an annointed elite set of encyclopedia writers.

    The web, in general, is great for breaking up monopolistic control of information. This is why the web has been so successful at tearing down the old travel industry system of information brokers. The next to go
  • Self-promotion...

    My partner and I do a site about sharing creativity, and we've just finished converting all the stuff we've written into a Wiki (using MediaWiki). We can't write about everything ourselves, so we're hoping that making it a Wiki will get us a bit of help from other people. If anyone's interested, it's here...
    http://pigpog.com/wiki/ [pigpog.com]

    So far, it's got a bit about playing guitar, a few articles on productivity and GTD, and a couple of reviews of things, but we'd love to see it grow to cover
  • by Taxman415a ( 863020 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @01:32PM (#11985211) Homepage Journal
    Many of you were probably already aware Wikipedia had reached 500,000 articles. What may be of even more interest to many Slashdot readers though is that the Wikimedia project that runs Wikipedia and other sites desperately needs more people to help [spymac.com] run the site. Both to develop the software and administer the servers [wikimedia.org]. The growth of Wikipedia [alexa.com] is phenomenal and traffic is increasing at a rapid pace. However, without proper planning, the system will not be able to keep up with demand. The site gets over 80 million hits a day, so it would certainly be an interesting project to work on from a technical standpoint. Oh, and did I forget to say it runs on Linux?

    The other thing Wikipedia needs most is better referencing of facts. The only criticism left of Wikipedia is the percieved lack of reliability. The best (only?) way to combat this is to cite individual facts to the most authoritative source available. With that Wikipedia can be more reliable than any other single source available. Not perfect, because someone can dispute any fact, but Wikipedia might be able to be the best out there at it. There is certainly a lot of work going on in this area, but also many who write on Wikipedia fail to see the writing on the wall and reallize this really is the only valid criticism left. I for one am promoting work on a list [wikipedia.org] of Wikipedia's otherwise best articles that do not cite their sources properly. If you want to contribute to something, researching and citing facts in these articles could be one of the most valuable things you could do.
    • ...is love, sweet love, no not just for one, but for eeeeeveryoooooone!!
    • About the servers and bandwith, I think that for the long-term stability of a project the size of Wikipedia, some sort of p2p solution must be devised. The alternative is a strong company footing the bill (with no strings attached, yeah right). Otherwise it might go under due to its success.

      However, there's plenty of bandwidth in the world, and there's plenty of people that will be willing to donate some of their bandwith to a project like wikipedia. I personally would have no problem serving 20% of my up

  • The techniques WPdians subvert neutrality on the most vital subjects, while all the while proclaiming they are advancing "neutral point of view" is to:
    1. Make sure every conceivable reference to POVs aligned with their own POV are included in every article -- referring to them of course as simply yet another POV (which takes up 90% of the article).
    2. Encumber, with the entire history of mankind's fallacies, those subjects they'd like to see suppressed while relegating the best current knowledge to minor subsec
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @01:48PM (#11985325)
    Go to wikipedia everyday and add ONE fact, correct ONE misspelling, or add ONE reference. Don't make more than one change per article per day. Don't make any change you can't back up with a quote (in other words, no opinions, no original research). Provide the reference with your fact. Use EDIT to see how things are done, like the use of brackets for linking.
    You will get hooked. You will love making a difference.
    Once you learn your way around the place, throw away anything I just said you you don't like.
    If you are afraid of making a mistake, do everything anonomously.
  • On Behalf... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThisIsFred ( 705426 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @01:53PM (#11985352) Journal
    On behalf of compulsive readers of information on the Internet, I'd like to say: Thanks a lot, I waste more time on your site than anywhere else! I sit down and read some article, and before I know it, I've got another 8 tabs open with crosslinks to other Wikipedia articles, and another hour has come and gone.
  • by Jameth ( 664111 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @03:26PM (#11985844)
    For anyone who doesn't know about wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]
  • There's a News@Nature.com [nature.com] about Wikipedia, which includes an interview with Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales. For those who aren't familiar with it, Nature is pretty much the most widely-read scholarly research journal out there.

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