Wikipedia

15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

Today, there are more than 32.5 million Wikipedians in the world.
15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia
Image credit: JOHN MACDOUGALL | AFP | Getty Images
6 min read

While bosses and teachers might dub it as an unreliable website, Wikipedia’s popularity is undeniable. Today, Wikipedia has 299 different language versions, more than 32.5 million active editors and an average 600 new articles a day just on the English Wikipedia site. It’s safe to say, since its launch in January 2001 by tech entrepreneurs Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, Wikipedia has shaken up the internet.

Related: What I Learned When a Wikipedia Troll Deleted My Page

Quickly rising to prominence, Wikipedia was one of the first user-generated online encyclopedias where people from the general public could become editors and contribute content.

From Wikipedia theme songs to celebrations, here are 15 facts about Wikipedia that you probably didn’t know.

15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

Wikipedia’s official theme song is “Hotel Wikipedia.”

As a spinoff from the famous “Hotel California” by The Eagles, Wikipedia’s official theme song is “Hotel Wikipedia.” Released in 2004, the song is made specifically for “wikipediaholics” and features lines like “There were pages begging for clean-up…” and “Edit page; you’ll do well…”
15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

It receives around 600 new articles every day.

Wikipedia, along with its sister projects under the Wikimedia Foundation, which include Wiktionary, Wikibook, Wikimedia Commons and more, receive 10 edits per second. At the time of writing this article, English Wikipedia has more than 5.5 million articles and an average of 600 new articles daily.
15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

Tens of millions of people use Wikipedia.

There are currently more than 32.5 million people on Wikipedia who have registered usernames. They're call “Wikipedians” and have the ability to edit Wikipedia pages.
15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

People vote on what the last Wikipedia topic ever will be.

If for some reason Wikipedia were to ever go under, it has a “last topic pool” where people can guess what the topic will be of the last-ever Wikipedia article. Each user has up to three votes and the directions are simple: “Add the article name to the appropriate section and sign it with four tildes. If the section doesn't exist yet, make it.” The last Wikipedia edit ever will be on that same page and it will be the announcement of the winner.

Related: 13 Fun Facts That Will Make Your 'About Me' A Lot Less Boring

15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

It saves some of the weirdest articles.

Wikipedia makes sure to save some of the weirdest articles that it receives and catalogs them as “DAFTs,” or “deleted articles with freaky titles.” Some of these DAFTs include “The role of clowns in modern society,” “Angry donkey” and “Beer for dogs.”
15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

It banned congresspeople for a week.

After noticing some zealous editing among congresspeople, Wikipedia created a bot called “Congress Edits” to help monitor and act as a “watch dog.” The bot would tweet out anonymous edits made by people with Congress IP addresses. However, this didn’t seem to completely fix the issue. So in July 2014, Wikipedia implemented a 10-day ban on anyone with a U.S. Congress IP address after it found many aggressively editing a variety of articles including conspiracy theories and the first moon landing.
15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

Its birthday is called “Wikipedia Day.”

Jan. 15 is an important day for Wikipedia: its birthday. And since it went public on that day in 2001, Wikipedia recognizes it as “Wikipedia Day” and people celebrate both online and offline. In 2011, when Wikipedia turned 10, it created a page that listed meetups and celebrations that people could partake in all around the world to commemorate the special day.
15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

It supports 299 different languages.

As of December 2017, there are 299 different language editions of Wikipedia. However, 11 are not active. Of the 288 active, some of the most obscure include Kanuri, Anglo Saxon, Old Church Slavonic and Cheyenne -- to name a few.
15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

It has strange policies such as “No angry Mastodons.”

While most websites might have simple and straightforward policies such as “No harmful language” or “No disclosing personal information,” that’s not the case for Wikipedia. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Wikipedia conveys many of its out-there policies through silly titles like “No climbing Reichstag dressed as Spiderman,” which intends to stop people from escalating content “to the extent of scaling public buildings dressed as popular comic book characters.” It also has “Jimbo’s prayer” and “No curses,” which seek to prevent people from casting any malicious hexes, spells or enchantments on the Wiki community.

Related: 21 Weird Things You Didn't Know About Mark Zuckerberg

15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

It was originally supposed to be written by only experts.

Wikipedia was originally supposed to complement Nupedia, an online encyclopedia founded by tech entrepreneurs Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. However, Nupedia was only written by experts, which meant content became very limited and slow to publish. "My initial idea was that the wiki would be set up as part of Nupedia; it was to be a way for the public to develop a stream of content that could be fed into the Nupedia process," Sanger wrote in a memoir published on Slashdot.

As a result, Wales and Sanger launched Wikipedia, which overtook Nupedia and allowed the general public to add and edit articles.

15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

The most viewed page is always the Main Page.

Wikipedia’s Main Page has always been its most viewed, followed by Special: Search and Special: Random. The articles with the top views, other than the Main Page, are Facebook and YouTube. The most viewed articles that are not websites are the United States, followed by Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

The user with the most edits is called Ser Amantio di Nicolao.

As of March 2016, Wikipedian Ser Amantio di Nicolao is the non-bot Wiki user with the most edits ever, at approximately 1.6 million. However, his score can’t really compare with that of bot user, Cydebot, which has more than 5.1 million since March 2016.
15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

Steve Job’s page has the most views for a single day.

Other than the Main Page, the most visited article on a single day is on Steve Jobs the day after the Apple co-founder died, Oct. 6, 2011, with 7.4 million views. Following Jobs's article is the page on Donald Trump. After he won the presidential election on Nov. 9, 2016, his page received 6.1 million views.

Related: 15 Weird Things We've Learned About Jeff Bezos

15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

Most Wikipedia editors are male.

According to 2013 research, approximately 90 percent of Wikipedia’s most-active editors are male. The site is aware of the issue too. In response to the numbers, co-founder Jimmy Wales admitted: “The biggest issue is editor diversity.”
15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia

It’s one of the top 10 websites in the world.

While it’s ranked as one of the top 10 websites in the world for many years, most recently, in Oct. 2017, TIME listed it as the third most influential websites of all time, following Google and Amazon. TIME called it “the de facto Internet encyclopedia.”
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  • 15 Surprising Facts About Wikipedia
  • 1. Wikipedia’s official theme song is “Hotel Wikipedia.”
  • 2. It receives around 600 new articles every day.
  • 3. Tens of millions of people use Wikipedia.
  • 4. People vote on what the last Wikipedia topic ever will be.
  • 5. It saves some of the weirdest articles.
  • 6. It banned congresspeople for a week.
  • 7. Its birthday is called “Wikipedia Day.”
  • 8. It supports 299 different languages.
  • 9. It has strange policies such as “No angry Mastodons.”
  • 10. It was originally supposed to be written by only experts.
  • 11. The most viewed page is always the Main Page.
  • 12. The user with the most edits is called Ser Amantio di Nicolao.
  • 13. Steve Job’s page has the most views for a single day.
  • 14. Most Wikipedia editors are male.
  • 15. It’s one of the top 10 websites in the world.
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