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20 things you did not know about Wikipedia

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

When it comes to gathering trustworthy and reliable information for research on a project or looking for details of different brands before buying any products or just knowing about a topic like a celebrity, any historical incident, a machine or biological process, Wikipedia is the most used and the most trusted website on the internet. Though it has some loopholes which gather attention in news every year and people question its reliability and its content, this website is still the largest and the sixth most visited website on the internet. The audience trusts its information and it is the go-to website for confirmation of any rumor. We all know that it is an online free encyclopedia that provides factual content about nearly everything but here are 20 lesser-known facts about Wikipedia:

1. It was meant to be written only by experts: On today's date, everyone can edit, volunteer, or create their article which has both a good positive and a negative side. Many people misuse this and try to spread false information and Wikipedia‘s reliability has been questioned due to this facility but did you know initially Wikipedia was a branch of Nupedia. Nupedia was the original free encyclopedia, founded by Jimmy Wales and underwritten by Bomis with Larry Sanger, it was designed to be written only by experts and it had a seven-step approval process for its content before being posted, unlike Wikipedia. Nupedia approved only 21 articles in its first month while Wikipedia approved 18,000 articles in its first year with 200 articles in the first month itself.

2. Wiki loves monuments: Every year in September an international photographic competition is held all over the world it is organized by the Wikipedia community. This is the world's largest photo competition and over a million photos of cultural heritage have been contributed.

Monument or Sculpture by Mihran Hakobyan - Wikioo
Monument or Sculpture by Mihran Hakobyan, Credit - Mihran Hakobyan

3. The Wikipedia monument: There is a Wikipedia monument located in Slubice, Poland. This monument is a fiber and resin statue that was created to honor the Wikipedia contributors by an Armenian sculptor Mihran Hakobyan. It depicts four nude figures holding a globe that is the Wikipedia logo. It reaches over 6ft and 7 inches or 2 meters up. The idea behind the monument was to show that with Wikipedia as a pillar, the knowledge society can contribute to the development of our peace, justice, and civilization.

Wiki Loved Monuments - Wikioo
Wiki Loved Monuments, Credit - Wikimedia Foundation

4. The site has some really weird articles: Wikipedia has some of the weirdest articles saved on its site. They are cataloged as DAFTs or "Deleted Articles with Freaky Titles". Though strange and weird titles are rarely added to Wikipedia, sometimes when articles are creative and written on a good topic for a good reason with good humor and not just bad nonsense jokes, they are accepted. Some of the freaky titles are "474 things to do when you are bored" which includes 473 things to do when you are bored, "a better Wikipedia", "Aidepikiw" which is basically Wikipedia spelled backward.

5. Wikipedia's theme song is "Hotel Wikipedia": "Hotel Wikipedia" is the official theme song for all the "Wikipediholics" regardless of their choice in music. The song was officially launched in the spring of 2004. It was based on the Eagles song "Hotel California" released in 1976.

6. One of the co-founders left Wikipedia: In 2002, Larry Sanger, an American philosopher and the co-founder of Wikipedia left the website. He said that initially it was created as a branch of Nupedia but now it has taken over it and it does not provide an unbiased or neutral point of view nor its information can be trusted

7. Wikipedia does not have hard rules: Though Wikipedia has countless guidelines and policies. There are 5 pillars of Wikipedia that guide the acceptable content and notable topics but these policies are not hard and fast rules. These guidelines and the five pillars are themselves wikis and these can also be edited by editors.

8. It is more reliable than you think: Since its launch, Wikipedia is questioned on its open nature. The fact that anyone can edit the content on-site makes it very vulnerable to vandalism and makes the audience question its reliability. Anyone can edit an article and spread false information for their agenda or to promote their business and sometimes people may use this to spread wrong things about the other country or religion which can take ugly turns. But this vandalism is hype, if a person tries to do this; the edits he made won't last on the site for even 30 minutes. There are so many volunteers working on the site and they mostly remove it as soon as an edit is made.

9. January 15 is called “Wikipedia Day”: Wikipedia was created on January 15, 2001. It is celebrated every year online as well as offline. On January 15, 2011, when Wikipedia completed 10 years, a page was created that had all the meetups and celebrations in which people from all over the world could participate.

10. It is a multilingual platform: The website was initially created in English is now available in more than 300, around 323, languages. The most popular language is English and the least popular is Cheyenne with only around 55 articles on the site.

11. Wikipedia has crazy names for its policies: Wikipedia has a policy called “No climbing the Reichstag dressed as Spider-man" which asks editors not to get into a content dispute because the site strongly discourages this. Another policy is named "No Angry Mastodons" which says that the fight or flight response of an angry mastodons s not encouraged on Wikipedia. It asks editors to stay calm and considerate of other editors in the Wikipedia community.

12. Readers vote on what the last Wikipedia topic ever will be: Wikipedia has a "Last topic pool where readers can go and guess the topic of the last Wikipedia article ever. Each person has three chances.

13. 274301 Wikipedia: This is a Vestian asteroid orbiting in the inner region of asteroid best discovered on August 25, 2008; it was named after Wikipedia in January 2013.

14. Most contributors are males: In the regularly conducted surveys, it was found that nine out of ten Wikipedia editors are males. This gender gap has been an issue for the website. Surveys also show that only around 15 percent of biographies are about females.

15. The site does not cover every topic: Most of us think there is a Wikipedia page on every topic but that is far from the truth, there are many topics that Wikipedia does not consider as notable. There are Notability guidelines for the subjects that are accepted by the encyclopedia.

16. It banned Congress from editing for around 10 days: There was a point when Wikipedia imposed a 10-day ban on the IP address that belonged to Congresspeople. There was some zealous editing noticed among the congresspeople, to monitor this Wikipedia created a bot called " Congress edits" but this did not help. Hence in July of 2014, Wikipedia imposed this ban to fix the issue.

17. The most viewed page: Wikipedia’s main page has always been the most visited page with over 40 billion views followed by Special: Search and Special: Random with around 14 billion and around 7.9 billion views respectively. It is Steve job’s page that has the most views in a single day. On October 16, 2011when the Apple co-founder died his Wikipedia page had more than 7 million views.

18. Paolo Nespoli: In July 2017, Paolo Nespoli who is an Italian astronaut in European Space Agency (ESA) recorded himself while orbiting the earth aboard an International space station only for his Wikipedia page. Astronauts have a busy schedule but Marco managed to make all the agreements while working with his ESA colleagues and got the recordings transferred back to earth in two languages, English and the native language of Paolo, Italian, and uploaded those on Wikimedia. This was a huge leap for Wikipedia.

From Space - Paolo Nespoli - Wikioo
From Space - Paolo Nespoli. Credit: Nasa

19. It is run by a non-profit organization- Wikipedia is one of the most visited websites on the internet but it is the only top website that is run by a non-profit organization among the billion-dollar brand websites.

20. The statistics of the website are more jaw-dropping than what you think: The site has over 13 million registered users and it currently has more than 55 million articles in around 323 languages all over the globe. It is the sixth most visited website on the internet and has more than 250,000 editors working and editing the articles on site.

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