Wikipedia Announcements/October 2001

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October 29, 2001

A lot of news!

Wikipedia traffic: Yesterday, Wikipedia began receiving a substantially increased amount of traffic from Google.com, which will probably result in a permanent traffic increase of over 20% compared with the few weeks leading up to yesterday. We're not sure yet why this is happening. Google already was far and away the most important source of traffic for Wikipedia. If the increase is permanent, then in terms of new personnel and increased article production and editing, we can expect that this will have a long-term effect similar to that of a major news article or of a Slashdotting.

Nupedia is about to announce the results of a vote on the details of its new editorial system. Once these details are announced and agreed, then, among other things, Nupedia will be turning to the issue of how it can make use of Wikipedia articles. You're encouraged to join Nupedia-L if you'd like to see the Nupedia side of these issues; any issues directly affecting Wikipedia will be brought up on Wikipedia's mailing list, Wikipedia-L. Please do join Wikipedia-L if you are interested in Wikipedia policy!

Magnus Manske is on the verge of recommending that Wikipedia switch to his very fine Wikipedia PHP script. This is good news, but it makes some of us, no doubt Magnus included, a little nervous. (This is not to say we don't have great faith in Magnus.) But we need your help with testing. Go to [1] and do some bug-hunting. Does it work as you expected? Does it have all the functionality of the old Wikipedia software (that we want to keep)?

Recently, Wikipedians have been thinking hard about how best to make Wikipedia fully compliant with the GNU Free Documentation License. Jimbo Wales and Larry Sanger have long been of the understanding that, as in the case of Nupedia, Wikipedia would require links back to Wikipedia articles, for the purpose of further building Wikipedia's base of contributors and articles. Once this requirement was, recently, made explicit in the form of a particular HTML table (see license instructions page), some Wikipedians had objections; we hope to reach a consensus on Wikipedia-L.

October 25, 2001

Size of Wikipedia: Wikipedia has passed 15,000 articles. There were 17307 "comma" articles, of which 1600 are /Talk subpages. Of the remainder, 399 were wikipedians own pages, and 229 are pages about wikipedia, i.e contained "ikipedia" somewhere in the title. Take out 26 for the Biographical listings indexes, and that still leaves 15053 pages.

The most basic encyclopedia article topics was created.

October 19, 2001

14,000 articles announced.

October 12, 2001

Nupedia will probably be set up as, in part, an approval mechanism for Wikipedia articles.

On October 10, Larry Sanger made a proposal to Nupedia's advisory board (the Advisory-L mailing list) that would greatly simplify the Nupedia editorial process. In the last few days, over a half-dozen editors and reviewers have written in to express their support for the plan, with dissent only on relatively minor details. So it is certain that Nupedia will be adopting a new simpler system.

In brief, under Sanger's proposal, Nupedia would adopt a traditional review process and do away with nearly all of the bottlenecks--and the public review along with it--of the present system. Articles, once approved by an editor, a referee, and perhaps a copyeditor, would be posted on the Nupedia website and be available for public comment.

Part of this proposal is important to the future of Wikipedia, and reads as follows:

I think it's important that we supplement the above proposal by creating a link on Wikipedia article pages labelled: "Submit this article to Nupedia." This would link to a page that would solicit further information from the submitter and then place the Wikipedia article in the Nupedia queue for approval or rejection. Submission information would be reported on the Wikipedia Recent Changes page, as would final approvals and rejections of articles in the Nupedia system.
Now, perhaps we'd be flooded with articles that the editor would simply reject with the press of a button and thereby do a bit toward teaching Wikipedians about the standards Nupedia upholds. Having to do this might be very annoying to editors, however; we might, in that case, want to limit who can nominate Wikipedia articles to some select group of Wikipedians. Moreover, we might make only Wikipedia-approved articles...nominatable for Nupedia.

Also, in the past week or so, traffic levels have levelled off and stabilized at levels over twice what they were before September 11.

A Wikipedia article (programming language) is actually required reading for a college course (a Pakistani university, it seems, but it's hard to tell). See [2]. Other articles have been used as reference information in other courses (see [3]), and in one case previously, an article was part of the "course materials" (see [4]). But the programming language article seems to be the first Wikipedia article that is specifically labelled as part of a reading assignment.

October 7, 2001

Most of the problems due to traffic levels are now under control.

October 5, 2001

The current levels of traffic are overloading Wikipedia's software, causing intermittent problems with viewing and editing pages, but improvements are made to the server to reduce the problems. One thing Wikipedians can do to help is change, on their Preferences page, their Recent Changes "Default days to display" to 1 or 2, instead of the current default of 7.

Among the problems the traffic levels are causing is that Wikipedia does not display links to newly-created pages as working links--for example, diaspora and foundationalism. There are also still intermittent delays and failures in editing pages. To be safe, if you're making extensive edits to a page, consider saving drafts of your work to a file on your computer. (Once your final draft is saved to Wikipedia, regardless of how links are displayed, the information will be saved.)

October 4, 2001

Wikipedia now has over 13,000 articles. A count this morning of articles large enough to contain at least a comma, and excluding talk pages, Wikipedia pages, and Wikipedians pages gave 13,182 pages. (My list of Wikipedians is a little out of date, so I delayed by a day to compensate for undercounting of Wikipedians pages.)

Articles are now being added at a consistent rate of over 100 a day, or 3,000 a month. It is just six days since we passed the 12,000 article mark.

October 1, 2001

Intlwiki-L has just been created. If you are interested in the future of the Wikipedias in non-English languages, please subscribe.

Swedish programmer Lars Aronsson has installed an interesting search function on his wiki, http://susning.nu/. The search function allows someone visiting a given page to search Wikipedia for articles on that page's topic.