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Wikipedia Reaches 1,000,000 Articles 257

Posted by samzenpus
from the where-were-you-when dept.
AndrewRUK writes "At 23:09 UTC, the one-millionth article was created in the English-language Wikipedia. The milestone was reached with the creation of an article about Jordanhill railway station in Scotland. Congratulations to all the Wikipedians, especially Nach0king who wrote the millionth article and Mészáros András who in November 2004 correctly predicted that it would be created today."
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Wikipedia Reaches 1,000,000 Articles

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  • by ral315 (741081) on Wednesday March 01, 2006 @09:06PM (#14831894)
    Wikipedia's been doing a lot of good work for the last five years. It's nice to see the millionth article finally reached.

    And to think that their original goal was 100,000 articles...
  • The 1,000,004th article was my article on Cellular architecture. [wikipedia.org] Damn! Oh well, at least I got to post [wikimediafoundation.org] the press release.
    • You think you feel bad, I posted the 1,000,001th article [wikipedia.org]!
      • Squidoo, where are you? Maybe you didn't miss, since we deleted the 999,999th article, which was a self-referential piece on one million articles. Hmmm.
        • Re:I missed out (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pHatidic (163975)
          Well, at one point it actually was announced in the IRC channel that it would be the millionth non speedy deleted article. However, because Squidoo is a business it was decided that we should stick with the original one millionth, so as not to encourage people to use WP to promote their businesses. Which is fine with me.

          I would note though that during the beta test all profits are being donated to charity, with over $4,000 raised so far. So if it was declared as the one millionth article it wouldn't have ac
  • Yes, but how many are stubs or redirects, and what's the average article size?
  • by Xcott Craver (615642) on Wednesday March 01, 2006 @09:12PM (#14831923)
    According to Wikipedia, the millionth article was written by Thomas Edison in 1691, after he invented the first commercially successful parachute. X
  • I find it interesting that the "official" one millionth article is one of those obscure geographical articles that help justify Wikipedia's existence. It's the sort of narrow topic that old-fashioned encylopedias would never get to, but which is actually useful to certain people.

    But it's a little strange that the counter hit 1 million on such an article. By percentages it should have been a vanity article, a topic that exists mainly in the mind of the author, or a summary of a TV episode.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday March 01, 2006 @09:19PM (#14831961)
    the one-millionth article was created in the English-language Wikipedia.

    "Deleted, article has no point."

    "Reinstated. Of course it has a point" (flame war on 1_millionth_article:Talk omitted)

    the fucking one-millionth article was created in the English-language Wikipedia.

    "Removed vandalism"

    the one-millionth article was created in Wikipedia.

    "Corrected grammatical errors."

    the one-millionth article was created in the English-language Wikipedia.

    "It was right the first time, moron."

    GOOD DAY I AM UZU UMBAMBE, I HAVE A SPECIAL OFFER FOR ALL WICIPEBA USERS. PLEASE SEND $500 TO ME AT...

    "Motion to consider the possibility of blocking this user for possible violation of the Wikipedia Organization's policy on commercial advertising."

    "Moved to subcommittee."

  • Does size matter? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Wednesday March 01, 2006 @09:26PM (#14831985) Homepage
    The real challenge isn't the number of articles, it's their quality, especially the bad writing in a lot of them. Once an article reaches a certain level of quality, it actually tends to get worse over time, because of random, uncoordinated edits.
    • It's a wiki though, so history is always there. If articles go downhill, ambitious editors can at any time revive good pieces of text that have been deleted or made significantly worse.
      • It's a wiki though, so history is always there. If articles go downhill, ambitious editors can at any time revive good pieces of text that have been deleted or made significantly worse.
        They could, but typically they don't, and I don't think there's any mystery about why they don't. Does the activity you've just described sound like fun? No, it doesn't sound like fun to me, either.
        • But the missing info doesn't disappear, so there's no hurry. And I think it's probably a little less painful than checking every day and cleaning out vandalism, which people do already. And hopefully some people can write some tools that make it a little less painful.
    • The real challenge isn't the number of articles, it's their quality, especially the bad writing in a lot of them. Once an article reaches a certain level of quality, it actually tends to get worse over time, because of random, uncoordinated edits.

      So it's worthless. Alright. Turn it off then.

    • by Khalid (31037) on Wednesday March 01, 2006 @10:21PM (#14832191) Homepage
      This not true, It's one of the Myths surrounding Wikipedia, there is absolutly no secret a good article has a lot of people intersted in it and a lot of editors too, who are constantly looking at modifications, reversing vandalism and stupidities. In my long Wikipedia experience I have rarely witnessed what you said. This myth needs to be debunked now !

      Granted that style is not the primary asset of Wikipedia, as many contributors have different writing abilities but overall the information is generally there, and that is all what people are looking for.
      • The point wasn't about vandalism or mistakes. The point was that larger and more heavily edited articles tend to have a deteriorating quality of STYLE, as they go from the contributions of (often) a few skilled writers who built most of the original article, to a mass of correct-but-ugly "written by committee" information.

        That doesn't always happen, though, and popular articles tend to occasionally get someone who'll come through and do a major edit that restructures and rewords the article--refactoring,
        • What kind of loser cares about style? When I go to Wikipedia, I go there for one thing. Information puked at me at a very fast rate. Looking good is for normal people. Wikipedia is for the Internet.
          • It's not about looking good, it's about clarity. Good "style" in writing intended to be informative is anything that makes the information easier to read and digest, especially for people with little to no prior knowledge.

            If you think that's not useful, valuable, or necessary, well... I'm sorry for you, and suggest you might find a lucrative career in writing college textbooks.
          • "When I go to Wikipedia, I go there for one thing. Information puked at me at a very fast rate."

            If thats what you want then perhaps typing random words into google would better suit your needs. A stream of factoids without a coherent style is like a database without a schema. OTOH: I find most multi screen articles (except the highly contraversial ones), well written and easy to navigate.
        • by sbaker (47485) * on Thursday March 02, 2006 @02:57AM (#14833132) Homepage
          There is some sense in which that's true.

          My main piece of work on Wiki is the 'Mini' article (it's hard to type it without square brackets around it!) - which is inching towards 'Featured Article' status - it's currently rated 'Good' - which means it's in the top 800 or so articles on the site.

          What I've noticed is this pattern:

          * Someone writes an eloquent paragraph about something.
          * 10 people notice teeny tiny additional bits of information that could be added to it (parenthetically), between commas - with hyphens. And just dumped in on the end of other sentences.
          * The paragraph now reads like crap.
          * Sometime later, someone cleans it up and makes it nice prose again.

          This cycle often repeats itself.

          There is also a terrible tendancy for "owners" of pages to 'tweak' the wording - that happens a lot too and I think the article tends to become 'stale' after a lot of that.

          The competition to make 'Featured Article' is a huge thing for quality. The process goes through many stages and the degree of intelligent critique you get at each stage is really good - invariably polite - always for the good. I plan to push everything I write until it at least gets a shot at that honored position.

          Vandalism is almost 100% restricted to 'big name' articles such as 'Computer', 'Lego', 'George Bush', etc which each end up being de-vandalised a couple of times every day. Fortunately, these all have hundreds of sets of eyes on them - so the 'revert' typically comes within just a few minutes of the vandalism. The actual probability of someone coming along at random and seeing a vandalised page are actually quite small.

          I monitor the 'Computer' page - and looking back at the HISTORY, I'd say we see three vandalisms a day fixed within 5 minutes (on the average). This means that the page is typically trashed for a total of 15 minutes a day - so you maybe only have about a 1% chance of seeing it when it's disrupted - and typically the distruption is VERY obvious - idiotic name calling and obscenity mostly.

          • Thank you for this positif and well thought article about Wikipedia, I have put a link to in my Home Mediawiki :)

            By the way, could you send me your Wikipedia home page please ?
          • so you maybe only have about a 1% chance of seeing it when it's disrupted - and typically the distruption is VERY obvious - idiotic name calling and obscenity mostly.

            Does Wikipedia mark/color/highlight brand-new content? That would seem obvious but I haven't run across it, maybe because I haven't read articles with brand new content. As a reader, if the new content had, say, a thin solid black box around it it would be easier to recognize vandalism.

            Well-done vandilism will be more subtle and harder to spo
      • What you describe is not to Wikipedia's credit, but to its detriment. It consists of an archipelago of cliques of mutually supportive liars, who have gained control over a bit of the social neurosphere, and defend it against all comers. Wikipedia is supremely excellent, when considering only the non-controversial subset of purely factual articles, but it is insanely pernicious in its ability to propagandize the delusions of deeply invested fanatics with a modicum of organizational skill.
        • Well first of all I can assure you that again, there is no conspiration here :)

          On the other side what you describe groupthink (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink [wikipedia.org]) and it is inherent and (consubstantial sp ?) to a sociological group, its in fact what make it exist. Yes people who contribute to WP do believe in some basics assumptions, otherwise they won't do it.

          As for controversial subjects, I can assure you that Wikipedia has opened my eyes about many topics or obscure points of certain topics I was no
    • Once an article reaches a certain level of quality, it actually tends to get worse over time, because of random, uncoordinated edits.

      Hmm, I think it's the opposite. And it's not like edits are non-random and coordinated before it starts growing, so what's your point?

      Here's what I think is a natural article progress.

      The old (article from Sep 28, 2002) Darkwing Duck Disney series:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkwing_Duck [wikipedia.org]

      The new (article from Jan 3, 2006) Emperor's New School Disney series:
      http://en.wikipedia [wikipedia.org]
    • Size matters because I can go to Wikipedia for comprehensiveness.

      What other encyclopedia has an article on my favorite shopping mall [wikipedia.org], for example? I will admit it's not the best written article in the world, but at least it's there, and it tells me some things I didn't know before.

      And no, I'm not being sarcastic - I think it's great Wikipedia has so many articles on obscure topics that surely wouldn't make it in any other encyclopedia.

      D
    • ### The real challenge isn't the number of articles, it's their quality, especially the bad writing in a lot of them.

      I prefer a badly written article that has the information I need, over a good one that doesn't have the information I need, any day. In that sense, size matters, a lot, since it ensures that Wikipedia contains a *much* larger spectrum of information then a normal dead-tree encyclopedia and yet it manages to have a quality that is often superiour to other sources of information on the interne
  • And disgratulations (conpropulations?) to Everything2 [everything2.com], the practically forgotten early attempt to pull off what Wikipedia has actually done. If you want to actually learn about Everything2, you really should just look it up in the Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].
    • Re:Vogon Edition (Score:2, Interesting)

      by superm401 (828851)
      Wikipedia is not trying to accomplish what Everything2 is. A lot of our problems stem from people thinking we are, in fact. The biggest difference is that original research [wikipedia.org] is not allowed on Wikipedia but is encouraged and central to Everything2.
    • And disgratulations (conpropulations?) to Everything2, the practically forgotten early attempt to pull off what Wikipedia has actually done.

      Well the nice thing about E2 was that people were much more willing to put up weird, freaked-out, author-was-on-drugs entries, which gave E2 a much more free-wheeling air, in contrast with wikipedia's vaguely stuffy feel (though wikipedia's content [wikipedia.org] seems ... less stuffy).

      On the other hand, nobody on E2 ever seemed to write anything except weird, freaked-out, author-was-
  • by slashdotnickname (882178) on Wednesday March 01, 2006 @09:45PM (#14832066)
    While a million sounds impressive, here's a game which puts the "1 million articles" into a more realistic perspective. From the main page, click on "random article" 10 times and analyze the content.

    For example, my results...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamela_Franklin [wikipedia.org] (~1 paragraph + links)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederika_Amalia_of_D enmark [wikipedia.org] (~1 paragraph)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_The_Hague [wikipedia.org] (1 paragraph + 1 sentence)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governors_of_Tamil_Na du [wikipedia.org] (list of name links)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ja%E2%80%99afar_Abdul _El_Hakh [wikipedia.org] (1 small paragraph)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Guidestones [wikipedia.org] (decent sized article)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matte_Babel [wikipedia.org] (1+ paragraph)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Boar d_of_Education [wikipedia.org] (1 paragraph)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derbyshire_lead_minin g_history [wikipedia.org] (decent sized article)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Pelham%2C_2nd_ Earl_of_Chichester [wikipedia.org] (1 paragraph plus table)

    Note: This is not a jab at Wikipedia, which I love reading/contributing to, but rather a demonstration of how much work is still needed to flesh out its body of articles. A million articles/stubs is a fun benchmark to celebrate, but let's not let that slow down our contributions any... we still need everyone's help than can!
    • Their million page count doesn't include stubs/redirects. Short articles is another matter, but some things only merit a short entry, even in Britannica.
    • For example, my results...

      (snipped)

      I'm sorry, but I don't see your point. Even a short article is very useful if you don't know anything about the subject. Paper encyclopedia also have them. And sometimes there just isn't that much to tell, like for the `Governors of Tamil Na du' entry.

    • Actually, your result is highly encouraging!

      Look again, and you will see that that first article, Pamela Franklin [wikipedia.org] is 3 paragraphs long (has been for a month) and contains a fairlyy extensive list of this person's work. Now go flip open ANY encyclopedia and thumb over to Pamela Franklin. No really, go ahead, I'll wait. At the very most, if you are consulting a special-purpose film encyclopedia, you're going to get an entry that's about the same size, and won't have links to articles on her place of birth (Yo [wikipedia.org]
  • The govt (Score:3, Funny)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Wednesday March 01, 2006 @09:56PM (#14832110)
    In other news, our Govt representatives have successfully manipulated 10000 of
    the pages on Wikipedia.
  • I find that most of the "English" contributions are actually only US contributions. Many topics are seen quite differently in the US and UK. It is not just a matter of flavour. Now, if you go to UK Wikipedia.org [wikipedia.org] you will be surprised.
    • Har har har. What is that, Ukranian? :)

      Your joke would be more convincing if the summary didn't mention that the article concerns a rail station in Scotland.
  • by niktemadur (793971) on Wednesday March 01, 2006 @10:05PM (#14832138)
    1,000,000 articles in English.

    If you take all articles in all languages, Wikipedia surpassed the magic number a long time ago, and has by now actually gone beyond 2,000,000 articles.
  • Nach0king received a phone call soon after submitting the 1,000,000th article. At first he thought it was marketer, but it turned out that it was someone from the Wikimedia Foundation. They told him he had to write 10,000 more article as a reward.
  • by Comatose51 (687974) on Wednesday March 01, 2006 @10:13PM (#14832166) Homepage
    The headline should have been:

    Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] Reaches [wikipedia.org] 1,000,000 [wikipedia.org] Articles [wikipedia.org].

    j/k

  • I wonder if this will create any noticable amount of publicity for the rail station and surrounding area? Apparently people have been suggesting that Jimbo Wales visit the station as some sort of, I don't know, Wikipedia commemorative event?

    It'd be kind of amusing to befuddle the non-Wikipedia-using locals. I know I fully intend to stop by if I'm ever in that part of the world. :)
  • Are auto-generated demographics pages.
    Why can't the "random page" button have a "no pages from these catagories:" option?
  • A proboards discussion board about Wikipedia has just moved to its own web site - Wikipedia Review [wikipediareview.com]. It is an independent discussion board about Wikipedia, in other words not run by the "cabal" (Jimbo and his lieutenants). Wikipedia's English mailing list is moderated, and Arbitration Committee members have been [wikipedia.org] fighting [wikipedia.org] to keep mention of this board off of Wikipedia itself.

    I have been very involved with Wikipedia since 2003, and won't go into why I myself am unhappy with it that much here. Suffice to sa

    • From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:What_Wikip e dia_is_not [wikipedia.org]

      "Wikipedia is not a democracy

      Wikipedia is not an experiment in democracy. Its primary method of finding consensus is discussion, not voting. In difficult cases, straw polls may be conducted to help determine consensus, but are to be used with caution and not to be treated as binding votes. Suggestions that Wikipedia use the latest fancy transferable vote system for some election or another will likely be met with disdain, at best.

      Not all dec
      • ... Or correct it. The bit about Jimbo was added on 23 Feb with no discussion on that talk page for that page and is not long-standing policy of the Wikipedia authors and community. Here's the real long-standing policy in that area:

        "Wikipedia is not an experiment in democracy. Its primary method of finding consensus is discussion, not voting. In difficult cases, straw polls may be conducted to help determine consensus, but are to be used with caution and not to be treated as binding votes. Suggestions that
  • No mention of "The Worst Toilet in Scotland" from Trainspotting [imdb.com] which must be near there somewhere, as the first bullet on the trivia reveals.
    I must be squeamish--I couldn't make it past that scene. Something about watching humans debase themselves like that, even fictionally, is too disquieting. Drugs are not the God you thought they'd be, no?
    • Don't know about the film location, but the *actual* intended location is in Edinburgh, just off Ferry Road. All of the book is set in Edinburgh, mostly around Leith (the title is from the chapter "Trainspotting at Leith Station").

      But then, the Embra slums have been cleaned up a bit better than the Glasgow ones since the time the book was set (mid 80s; the film put it back nearly a decade), so the only Embra location in the film is the Princes St one in the opening sequence.
  • What always struck me about the "wikipedia reaches N articles" stories is that they provide a measure of the number of concepts in the world, concepts of a certain class.

    Sometimes I look around my room or campus, look at objects and people and things happening, and think about how many of the 'things' I can name have Wikipedia articles (a high percentage). This tells me that there are fewer than a million different kinds of 'things' that I'm likely to see. A million references, movies, famous people, hous
  • by wildstoo (835450)
    ...and I'm not sure he reads Slashdot often, but I'm his brother and I do. He sent me this when he first found out he'd got the millionth post:

    [23:11:08] Nachoking: [23:11] [[Jordanhill railway station]] - 23:09, 1 March 2006 Nach0king
    [23:11:09] Nachoking: holy shit
    [23:11:11] Nachoking: if that's true
    [23:11:22] Nachoking: IT IS
    [23:11:25] Nach0king: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Village_pum p_(news)#The_millionth_article [wikipedia.org]

    I'm not sure if I could hear cheering from his room or not. ;)

    He was excited an
  • The reason Wikipedia is the leading free encylopedia is because somebody subsidized it with income from his soft-port business. It was built around republications of old encylopedias and automated reproduction of free atlases. To see where the majority of Wikipedia's geographic data came from check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Rambot [wikipedia.org] . Other content was contributed by undergrads paraphrasing class materials. What hasn't been forked or plagiarized is unreliable, though content forked from other sou
  • Wow. A million articles. That's a tenth of the songs that the iTunes Music Store has sold. Hey, wait a minute... now we're on to something. These guys need to start selling this content!!
  • the article was written by Nach0king and was about a fucking railway station. Christ, I most people don't celebrate then 1 millionth shit they've taken. Whatever.
  • We all know the style of The Register but they have many right points about Wikipedia.

    Especially why it should not use "Encyclopedia" in its name...

    Oh well, the "search" for Wikipedia on The Register:
    http://forms.theregister.co.uk/search/?q=wikipedia [theregister.co.uk]

    BTW of course, I don't know the reasons started the "fight" but there are really many valid points by the authors/coloumnists at The Register.

    As a last note: If 99.9% of people LOVES you, you are doing something wrong.
  • by callipygian-showsyst (631222) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @08:53AM (#14833830) Homepage
    Just the other day, I saw that Alan Kay's parents were Mary Kay and Danny Kaye!

    ...and there's a list of the 43,322 people responsible for the John F. Kennedy assisination ..and that Lost in Space is generally regarded as being "better" than Star Trek

    The Wikipedia is a pile of crap, pretending to be something else. It has become a game where people with agendas (or senses of humor) try to see what they can slip under the radar.

    I prefer the "Uncyclopedia" http://uncyclopedia.org/ [uncyclopedia.org] At least it doesn't pretend to be something it's not.

  • might eventually write a Shakespear play, the old joke goes.
  • Nach0king (Ewan Macdonald, 1m milestone poster) will be on BBC News 24 at around 5.50pm GMT talking about Wikipedia. Switch over if you want to watch it (and are in the UK, or receive UK channels :)

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