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English Wikipedia Gets Two Millionth Article

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the tracking-the-milestone dept.

The Internet 125

reybrujo writes to inform us of a milestone for the English-language Wikipedia: the posting of its two millionth article. At the time of this posting there is uncertainty over which article achieved the milestone. "Initial reports stated that the two millionth article written was El Hormiguero, which covers a Spanish TV comedy show. Later review of this information found that this article was most likely not two million, and instead a revised list of articles created around two million has been generated, and is believed to be correct to within 3 articles. The Wikimedia foundation, which operates the site, is expected to make an announcement with a final decision, which may require review of the official servers' logs."

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125 comments

Likely a lot more than 2 million (4, Informative)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536837)

Mediawiki doesn't count all articles in its article count. And I'm not talking about talk or image pages either. I think it has a threshold of like 72 bytes before it counts an article as an article. So they are most likely way over 2 million. For instance, Bloomingpedia actually has 2,148 articles right now but the Mediawiki count on the front page only shows 2,106. So 42 of the articles are smaller than the threshold.

However, if they (or anyone else) need a plugin for Mediawiki that will list the pages in order so that you can count them and determine which article was the Nth article, I wrote a plugin called Page Create Order [bloomingpedia.org] that will put a special page called "List Pages By Creation Date" in your wiki. We developed it for Bloomingpedia originally. Its simple, but it does the job. It could be easily modified to only count articles that are of a certain size as well, the main purpose of this plugin is to see the order in which pages where created.

Re:Likely a lot more than 2 million (1)

Hachey (809077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536863)

Well, there is also a couple of efforts by others right now in paging through the logs to double check for this kind of discrepancy.

How much is 72 bytes worth of text anyhow?

Re:Likely a lot more than 2 million (2, Informative)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536881)

That depends on the encoding - either 72 characters in ASCII or UTF-8 or 36 characters if they go for the more multi-lingual friendly UTF-16.

Either way, something about that length is likely to be a stub and not a 'real' article.

Re:Likely a lot more than 2 million (4, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537449)

That depends on the encoding - either 72 characters in ASCII or UTF-8 or 36 characters if they go for the more multi-lingual friendly UTF-16.
UTF-16 more multi-lingual friendly than UTF-8? Er... it has many disadvantages and not a single benefit over UTF-8.

For example, UTF-16 needs a lot of porting effort, while UTF-8 magically works in all 8-bit-clean programs that don't need to count codepoints or tell character properties (and hey, bytes happen to _be_ 8-bit wide so unless you do something strange, you are 8-bit-clean). Most English-speaking developers won't put this effort, so here goes your multi-lingual friendliness.

Or another, more insidious flaw of UTF-16: it gives people a false feeling that they can store an entire character in a single array position. This works... as long as you don't meet any character over U+FFFF (rare Han[1], etc) or characters which need to be written using a base char + combining characters (Indic scripts, etc). UTF-8 makes no such promises, and thus doesn't lead to such non-obvious bugs.

UTF-16 is an abomination that needs to go. Unfortunately, it's entrenched in Windows API: you need to use BlueScreenW() instead of BlueScreenA() everywhere, and this is something people who don't need internationalization don't want to do. Even as of Vista, Microsoft still doesn't allow simply setting the system's code page to UTF-8, something which the whole Unix world[2] did years ago.

[1]. And according to People's Murderous Commiepublic of China's laws, you need to support these (as GB18030) in any product sold in mainland China. Of course, they don't give a damn about that law unless they want to demand a favour from a company so they have a yet another stick of non-compliance).

[2]. All non-toy distros do this by default, and if not for few whiners, non-UTF8 locales would probably be dropped by now.

Re:Likely a lot more than 2 million (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#20538481)

That depends on the encoding - either 72 characters in ASCII or UTF-8 or 36 characters if they go for the more multi-lingual friendly UTF-16.
UTF-16 more multi-lingual friendly than UTF-8? Er... it has many disadvantages and not a single benefit over UTF-8.
The touted benefit of UTF-16 is that for those who make almost no use of the 7-bit ascii set (the only characters that are represented by a single byte in UTF-8), it can improve the speed of reading/scanning and ultimate size of many files.

In practice, this isn't really going to happen in most Web-based text, but for electronic versions of non-Web text, it can be a win. Overall, however, I agree with you that there's more benefit in using UTF-8 universally.

Re:Likely a lot more than 2 million (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537215)

less than a slashdot sig

Re:Likely a lot more than 2 million (2, Insightful)

adatepej (1154117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536883)

There's a reason for only counting pages above a certain size as "articles": a heading and a sentence do not maketh a proper wikipedia article.

That was quick (4, Funny)

micpp (818596) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536861)

And people have already tried to delete the article for not being notable.

Re:That was quick (1)

abscissa (136568) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536913)

Can you be notable for being not-notable? Or famous simply for being famous? ... Before you answer "no" think of celebrities like Paris Hilton...

Is there such a thing as very mediocre? (1)

Edie O'Teditor (805662) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537325)

If you set out to be mediocre, and you turn out to be very good at it, are you really mediocre?

But concerning your example, yes, she is.

Re:That was quick (3, Informative)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537405)

Can you be notable for being not-notable? Or famous simply for being famous? ... Before you answer "no" think of celebrities like Paris Hilton...

Basically, the situation is this: Notability has its thresholds - either you are notable or not (though where exactly to draw the line is, at times, difficult - but we have pretty clear picture by now). Articles about people, bands, groups, companies, websites, etc. have to have assertions of notability (i.e. "they're really big in Pakistan and have released three albums", or whatever). Notability has to be backed up by reliable sources.

This leads to the situation that 1) people who are famous for failing at something can be considered notable enough for articles of their own (provided someone noticed and documented that in a reliable source), and 2) worthless celebrities are, alas, notable enough for articles because they probably have had verifiable media appearances.

(Think of it this way: if I had not heard about Paris Hilton before, I'd go to the article, come to the conclusion that she's a worthless celebrity, and be done with it. If there was no articles about her, I'd probably ask "hey, this... thing is on TV all the time, what the heck has she done to get there, anyway, and why isn't there an article about her?" =)

Re:That was quick (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536917)

That's what the '!notable' Slashdot tag is for.

Re:That was quick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20539385)

I remember reading that something like four out of five Wikipedia articles are deleted within a day as being obviously useless. Around the time of the one millionth article I wondered what would happen if number one million were "Fred Bloggs is a tenth grader at George Washington High School in Las Vegas, Nevada."

Confusion? (2, Funny)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536873)

Can't they just check Wikipedia?

Re:Confusion? (-1, Offtopic)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537335)

Oh no! my biting satirical comment on wikipedia as a source of all knowledge has been modded down!! I AM WASTED ON YOU SLASHDOT!

Don't worry, I'm joking. Again.

Just one question (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20536887)

Who cares? I mean honestly, who does? You can't even quote Wikipedia on a college paper, so why should anyone be using it?

Re:Just one question (1)

adatepej (1154117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536927)

Who said you can't use Wiki on a college paper -- at any college? How would you know something that would require input from people from such a broad swath of colleges? What's that you say? You consulted a wiki...

Re:Just one question (1)

MiKM (752717) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537637)

You shouldn't use *any* encyclopedia on a paper for college. You can use one to get a general overview of a subject, but stick to other sources for actual citations and fact-checking.

Re:Just one question (3, Interesting)

h2g2bob (948006) | more than 6 years ago | (#20539915)

Clicking the cite this page [wikipedia.org] link on any page will tell you:

IMPORTANT NOTE: Most educators and professionals do not consider it appropriate to use tertiary sources such as encyclopedias as a sole source for any information -- citing an encyclopedia as an important reference in footnotes or bibliographies may result in censure or a failing grade. Wikipedia articles should be used for background information, as a reference for correct terminology and search terms, and as a starting point for further research.

As with any community-built reference, there is a possibility for error in Wikipedia's content -- please check your facts against multiple sources and read our disclaimers for more information.

Re:Just one question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20540537)

I often use wiki as a source of resources when I am just getting started on a paper.

Many times the wiki page will have 20+ references listed at the bottom

Re:Just one question (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536965)

Let me fix that for you:

You can't even quote an encyclopedia on a college paper, so why should anyone be using one?

So this makes encyclopedias useless? If you say so.

Re:Just one question (4, Insightful)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536979)

You can't quote a microwave in a college paper either, but it's certainly useful.

But seriously, Not every source has to be academical to be of use. For many subjects, wikipedia is an excellent starting point. You might want to take lemmata on controversial subjects like Palestine and the Evolution with a grain of salt, but for many a subject the articles on wikipedia are of excellent quality.

Re:Just one question (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537033)

You might want to take lemmata on controversial subjects like Palestine and the Evolution with a grain of salt,

Actually, giving it a quick glance, I don't see any reason for there to be significant problems with the evolution article? Thankfully, NPOV doesn't mean "let the Creationists get equal say", and I suspect attempts to work in a pro-ID viewpoint would get reverted.

Re:Just one question (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537067)

A starting point, but if the article is good, it will ist a good set of sources, and there's no reason for you to not take your information directly from those.

Wikipedia thrives on controversial subjects (3, Insightful)

tucuxi (1146347) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537217)

Because they draw people to try to reflect their points of view; and when you read the article (say, abortion [wikipedia.org] or evolution [wikipedia.org] or software patents [wikipedia.org] ) you can gain a quick overview on almost any significant point of view on the subject, and how they relate to each other. Yes, individual viewpoints may not be perfectly reflected. But you *do* gain an incredibly broad view, which no traditional encyclopedia can deliver.

Wikipedia is much more likely to be useful on a controversial subject where people feel inclined to participate (and correct or refactor partisan views) than in non-controversial subjects that doesn't scratch anybody's itches. You need to cross a certain threshold in order to contribute to an article. Articles that aren't important to you you simply will not edit. Articles that are edited by many may not gain "quality", but will become very broad, and better starting points for further research than those that are only edited by a few not-that-motivated users.

Re:Wikipedia thrives on controversial subjects (1)

paralaxcreations (981218) | more than 6 years ago | (#20540437)

This is the Internet. Any topic will scratch someone's itch, somewhere.

Sad, but true.

Re:Just one question (0, Flamebait)

XchristX (839963) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537545)

<quote>
You might want to take lemmata on controversial subjects like Palestine and the Evolution with a grain of salt,
</quote>

Or Afrocentrism [wikipedia.org] , or Scientology [wikipedia.org] , or Han Chauvinism [wikipedia.org] , or Jihad [wikipedia.org] , Islamophobia [wikipedia.org] , or any article relating to politics, religion, history, personalities, art, or any humanities subject. Most of those articles were taken over by partisan propaganda groups and their admin backers a long time ago. Then again, after a few months, another partisan group takes over and changes the article to their propaganda, and the wars continue... Basically the group that can bully others out efficiently wins in these cases.

Articles relating to science and technology (and some trivia if you're into that sort of thing) are generally okay and contain good references and stuff. The rest is cruft.

Re:Just one question (3, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20540231)

Except for that Han Chauvinism and some parts of the Islamophobia article (which was a complete mess), all of the articles you quoted look like a pretty neutral starting point for someone trying to learn about them for the first time. They cited lots of sources that a reader can go to for additional research and for the most part kept a neutral point of view. I'd wager that you'd have a tough time finding a more balanced approach to some of these topics, Islamophobia and Afrocentrism especially, from any other source. The kind of people who coin terms like that are generally less interested in neutrality than Wikipedia is.

Re:Just one question (1)

XchristX (839963) | more than 6 years ago | (#20541175)

Er, virtually ALL mainstream scholars agree that Afrocentrism is hokum and nonsense, laced with ethnocentrism, nationalist pseudohistory and pseudoarchaeology. It's dangerous nonsense to boot, as it has, hidden behind it, a racist, anti-Semitic and extremist Black Supremacist agenda a-la Al Sharpton and the Nation of "Islam" (by "Black" here I'm generally referring to African-Americans; this movement is virtually unheard of in Sub-Saharan Africa or among Black communities in Latin America). It is essentially the same as extremist racist and anti-Semitic White Supremacists and/or radical Islamists really when you think about it.

It is no more than the same kind of Scientific Racism that was concocted by Europeans against Africans and other perceived "non-whites" in the 19th century, just with the "good guys" and "bad guys" flipped over. The wikipedia article is a whitewash, with fringe literature (undue weight to which is supposed to be against WP:FRINGE policy and WP:RS partiasan and extremist sites policy on wikipedia:look it up) given same credence as mainstream literature. A simple glance at the talk page of the article will show fanatical Black Nationalist nutjobs "monitoring" the article and bullying away legitimate editors. This severely crimps the credibility of wikipedia to any scholarly pair of eyes.

Same with this mythical "Islamophobia" nonsense (which is different from the real problem of anti-Muslim prejudice, a completely different thing which has no article on wikipedia, strangely)."Islamophobia" is an Orwellian propaganda term created by Islamic extremists to stifle criticism of a religion and conflate it with bigotry against a particular group of people, and no non-partisan group will say otherwise (again, when bigotry against Muslims as an identifiable people is expressed, it is termed "anti-Muslim", not this nonsensical "Islamophobia"). Also, a simple glance at the history page of that article, together with the contribs of some of the editors will show a pretty well-coordinated militant wiki-activism by radical Islamists here.

Same with the Scientology article, with brainwashed scientologists creating real problems for wikipedia editors who want to portray the matter objectively, leading to a disastrous mess of an article.

There are more such examples, virtually any one of the tens of thousands of tagged articles (and several thousand or so untagged ones as well), all relating to politics, religion, history and other such subjects.

Of course, I know that this sort of sytemic bias towards partisan gangs can exist in many other sources. It is wikipedia's lack of accountability in these matters and it's facade of stability and fairness that I have a problem with. The actual content is normal, or, rather, no better or worse than graffitti in a public toilet.

Re:Just one question (4, Insightful)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537027)

You have two exclusive statements...one which makes sense, the other which doesn't.

Who cares? I mean honestly, who does?

In the long run, this is quite a minor historical marker. We're going to see article 5 million and MAYBE that will matter a little more. Maybe.

You can't even quote Wikipedia on a college paper, so why should anyone be using it

Correct - it's rather dumb to use it on a college paper (like using a regular paper encyclopedia); however, Wikipedia is the fastest starting point and is a good medium on not only specific information on subjects and sources, but also on the opinions of people with education, expertise, and bias on their subjects. If you dig into some controversial topics' histories, there is actually some VERY good information to wade through and find sources on. The end result is not perfect, the system IS flawed, but the information that you can glean from digging and researching STARTING at Wikipedia is quite useful.

Plus, the specialized wikis that are popping up that are using wiki-style management for their small wikis (where REAL experts can actually post) may be the bigger genius behind wikipedia).

If your complaint about wikipedia is that the final articles are flawed, you're right...but look at the process behind some of those articles and the histories. Dig into that, and you find what you need.

Re:Just one question (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537109)

Who cares? I mean honestly, who does? You can't even quote Wikipedia on a college paper, so why should anyone be using it?
Just as with any good encyclopedia, you can only use Wikipedia in a scholarly paper as secondary source -- IOW, you have at least one or two corroborating primary sources, such as from a scholarly journal article or from a well-reputed scholarly book.

Re:Just one question (3, Insightful)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20540341)

Whoever said anything about quoting wikipedia itself? I would say it is of far greater use for research papers in that you can get a good overview of a subject, and then use the citations of said article to find other, lengthier papers more suitable for academia.

Wikipedia is a research tool, not the swiss army knife of research.

The millionth (2, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536903)

Which was the millionth article then? Not that it really matters, just being curious, cause I'm like, bored..

Re:The millionth (2, Informative)

Hachey (809077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537031)

The 1 millionth article was Jordanhill Railway Station [wikipedia.org] . Ironically, the 2 millionth article was almost a train station as well, this time just outside of Tokyo.

Re:The millionth (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 6 years ago | (#20538045)

Ironically, the 2 millionth article was almost a train station as well

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:The millionth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20540423)

Sounds like it's time for a celebratory game of Mornington Crescent!

Is it so important? (3, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536907)

And why, oh why, is it always so important to know exactly which articles was Nr X, which poster was the first one, which was the first child born in the new millenium, how many times did Al pacino say "fuck" on Scarface and so on?...

Do we have so few problems that we have the need to statistically know EVERYTHING? Does that matter (other than to inflate the vanity of a few?).

Re:Is it so important? (3, Funny)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536961)

Just so you know, you're the 8th person bitching about this, and the 5th since the turn of the hour's 22nd minute, with a very high probability that future posters will bitch about it too, and will bitch about it at the 2.5 million mark, too, and the 5 million.

Re:Is it so important? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537019)

Because humans have an in-built obsession with patterns. It's the same as why we often see two pairs of two objects and not one group of four, or two groups of two and a single one rather than five. The human mind makes use of patterns and finds patterns in things. By knowing the Nth whatever then we get to look for patterns.

Or something like that.

Re:Is it so important? (2, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537029)

how many times did Al pacino say "fuck" on Scarface

It's 207 in case anyone's interested.

Re:Is it so important? (0, Offtopic)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537555)

Which means that Boondock Saints narrowly beats it [moviemistakes.com] with 246.

Re:Is it so important? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537035)

OCD

Re:Is it so important? (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20538223)

Exactly what I was thinking..."who gives a shit?" Is the author of the two-millionth article going to be given a cookie? Why waste time delving into logs and figuring out what exactly was the article that just happened to come after 1,999,999? Bleh.

Re:Is it so important? (1)

Cctoide (923843) | more than 6 years ago | (#20538477)

Yes.

What I love about Wikipedia.... (4, Funny)

Demerara (256642) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536911)

...is their commitment to stating the obvious. At length...

The 2,000,000 article is actually the last article to be part of the first 2,000,000 articles and the 2,000,001 is the first of the third million.

I'm glad they cleared that up - I wondered whether the 2,000,000 article might be actually the one millionth or perhaps the 4 millionth....

Re:What I love about Wikipedia.... (1)

lhuiz (614322) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536981)

Sound a bit like that almost, but not quite, entirely irrelevant discussion about whether 1 MB equals 1000 kB or 1024 kB. Anyway, what's with this obsession with the decimal system all of a sudden? Come on /.ers! Did nobody notice when wikipedia crossed the much more interesting threshold of 10^20 articles? And please let's postpone celebrations until we reach 10^21 articles...

Re:What I love about Wikipedia.... (1)

cerskine (202611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537105)

10^20? That's a LOT!

Re:What I love about Wikipedia.... (1)

lhuiz (614322) | more than 6 years ago | (#20538221)

Ai. That must be my decimal obsession trying to block out my binary subroutines...

Re:What I love about Wikipedia.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20538313)

Don't you mean "interesting threshold of 10^10100 articles" and "celebrations until we reach 10^10101 articles ?
or are you using a bizarre base-3 system?

Re:What I love about Wikipedia.... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536983)

I guess it's needed for those people who thought the new millenium started in 2000 ;)

Re:What I love about Wikipedia.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20537409)

I, for one, can't wait to know if the 2 millionth article is about a pokemon, a TV show episode or a porn actress.

Seriously, wikipedia should not talk about this stuff, it is just too embarrassing.

Re:What I love about Wikipedia.... (2, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537563)

You're saying there isn't a zeroth article?

Oh and wow, the Firefox spell checker thinks 'zeroth' is a word. Score one for Asimov (or did he not coin it? Whoever it was then, colour me curious!)

Re:What I love about Wikipedia.... (2, Funny)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537583)

or did he not coin it? Whoever it was then, colour me curious!

maybe a c++ programmer? :)

Re:What I love about Wikipedia.... (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#20540187)

In computing, zero has always been been a valid index, and often makes more sense as the lower bound than 1. For example, if you have a multidimensional array stored contiguously, it's easier to calculate the memory location holding a given element if the array's lower bounds are 0.

So "zeroth" is perfectly good word, and Asimov (who really didn't understand computers all that well) probably didn't coin it.

I once had a CS professor who insisted that his students number the sections in their papers from 0 instead of 1!

Re:What I love about Wikipedia.... (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#20540529)

Your complaint about Wikipedia is a special case of my #1 complaint about Wikipedia. Which is that its content mostly lacks focus. I write technical documents for a living, and in my job it's important to structure content carefully and only put in the facts that your readers are likely to need. (The most difficult and most enjoyable aspect of my work.) Because nobody "owns" a given article, it's impossible to impose this kind of discipline on Wikipedia. To my mind, that's the biggest drawback to editing reference material on a Wiki, and a fatal flaw in the Wikipedia concept.

Don't get me wrong. I like Wikis (I manage my department TWiki) and I like the idea of "open-source" documentation. But the two just don't go together. Open Source allows its developers a maximum of freedom, but every good OSS project has a code nazi who makes sure that only code that actually enhances the product get integrated. I'm reminded of that Heinlein character who said his household was a combination of fascism and anarchy, with no trace of democracy. Wikipedia has the anarchy part down. And, despite what Colbert says, it's not at all democratic. But a Wiki is incompatible with fascism.

I often refer to Wikipedia (always with an eye to guessing what's serious content and what's some idiot's ramblings) but I never enjoy reading it. I'm enough of a dweeb to enjoy reading real encylopedia, which is what Wikipedia will never be.

It could have been worse. (1)

Glytch (4881) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536925)

It could have been image macros of "JUST AS PLANNED" with the caption text "2M GET" over and over again.

Re:It could have been worse. (1)

deftcoder (1090261) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537059)

Box Full of AIDS
I believe this is yours?

It would be interesting to know (2, Insightful)

opusman (33143) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536953)

It would be interesting to know how many "real" articles there are. That is, if you took out the individual articles for all the fictional sci-fi characters that wikipedia seems to excel at, all the articles for individual episodes of Star Trek and Dr Who, basically all the meaningless cruft that nerds deem important - then, count how many articles there are. Far, FAR less than 2 million, I would expect.

Re:It would be interesting to know (4, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537069)

It would be interesting to know how many "real" articles there are. That is, if you took out the individual articles for all the fictional sci-fi characters that wikipedia seems to excel at, all the articles for individual episodes of Star Trek and Dr Who, basically all the meaningless cruft that nerds deem important - then, count how many articles there are. Far, FAR less than 2 million, I would expect.
I would agree that there's no place for that sort of thing in a paper encyclopedia, there's just not enough room. If you want geek stuff, you have to buy those books separately. But wiki has no practical limitation, it can grow to be however big it needs to. So long as the information is well-written, what does it matter? The important matter is indexing the information. Without a good index, I could certainly see your point, the practical information could be lost amongst the impractical. But wiki has a good manual index and google automatically indexes the shit out of the site. So what's the rub?

Re:It would be interesting to know (2, Insightful)

opusman (33143) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537195)

The rub is that Wikipedia presents itself as a "real" encyclopedia, when it clearly isn't. If they didn't make such an issue out of the whole "notability" thing it wouldn't be so bad - as it is, it really looks like hypocrisy. I've got nothing against having all those articles up there - I've read a few of them myself. But wikipedia is presented to the world as a real encyclopedia, with high standards to match (e.g. the "accuracy competition" with Britannica) - and yet the vast majority of its material does not relate to anything real or important by any stretch of the (non-geek) imagination. When 50% of Britannica is composed of biographies of Captain Janeway and Buffy Summers then Wikipedia will be able to count itself as a real encylopedia, but not before.

(Just my own opinion of course, feel free to disagree)

Re:It would be interesting to know (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537461)

The rub is that Wikipedia presents itself as a "real" encyclopedia, when it clearly isn't. If they didn't make such an issue out of the whole "notability" thing it wouldn't be so bad - as it is, it really looks like hypocrisy. I've got nothing against having all those articles up there - I've read a few of them myself. But wikipedia is presented to the world as a real encyclopedia, with high standards to match (e.g. the "accuracy competition" with Britannica) - and yet the vast majority of its material does not relate to anything real or important by any stretch of the (non-geek) imagination. When 50% of Britannica is composed of biographies of Captain Janeway and Buffy Summers then Wikipedia will be able to count itself as a real encylopedia, but not before.
Fair enough. But we could put this to the test. Has anybody done a survey to find out how the wiki articles break down by topic? My guess would be that even if the cruft were the majority of the articles, wiki is so large that it would still have britannica beat in sheer volume in the serious categories.

Re:It would be interesting to know (4, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537581)

It seems to me (and apparently the GP as well) that you're criticizing Wikipedia for not having the same limitations as a paper encylopedia. Who cares what proportion of the articles fall into some niche category, as long as one can still easily find all the information one is looking for? The simple fact that a physical encyclopedia has limited storage space and thus cannot contain in-depth articles on every little special-interest detail does not appear to me to somehow constitute an advantage for physical encyclopedias.

Or were you perhaps simply protesting the direct comparison of article counts between Wikipedia and Britannica? That I could understand, since the comparison could hardly be fair. Their requirements are simply too different for any direct quantitative comparison to be meaningful.

Re:It would be interesting to know (1)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537199)

The problem is that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and it has limits on what can be written about reliably - meaning third party references, which there are little of (New York Times: zomg this new action figure is so cool). The notability policies also help guard against people writing about their bands, stores near their town with little significance, and what have you. Cutting down on crufty articles is not something overlooked in WP: it's just simply hard to keep up with tagging the hundreds of articles created PER MINUTE with so little volunteers willing to take up the job.

Re:It would be interesting to know (2, Insightful)

dbolger (161340) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537097)

You are being a bit closed minded there. What gives you the right to determine what is "real" or "important"? I'm not saying I entirely disagree with your view on the value of such things, but your argument could really be turned on its head for any point of view. Replace the Slashdot POV with Entertainment Weekly and we get something that is just as valid as your argument:

'It would be interesting to know how many "real" articles there are. That is, if you took out the individual articles for all the boring scientific rubbish that wikipedia seems to excel at, all the articles for individual chemicals or compounds, basically all the meaningless cruft that nerds deem important'

I wouldn't deny a peroxide addled nitwit their juicy celebrity gossip any more than I would deny a geek his in-depth biography of Wolverine, or a nerd his scientific definitions. Just because it is unimportant to you or I does not mean that it is without merit to somebody.

Re:It would be interesting to know (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537185)

You are being a bit closed minded there. What gives you the right to determine what is "real" or "important"?

Sadly I've seen too many very useful Wikipedia articles being deleted over the years. There seem to be a number of Wikipedia people setting the bar too high for stuff like notability. Wikipedia isn't a paper encyclopedia, we don't need to restrict the content by size.

The most recent example I've seen was the CallWeaver article - now CallWeaver (which is quite a big Free software project) has no Wikipedia presence.

Also, a lot of the AFDs I've seen succeed have appeared to be started by someone with a vendetta against specific projects, organisations, etc. Very sad.

Re:It would be interesting to know (1)

emh203 (815620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20538453)

Yes, because articles about the Borg and Species 8427 provide a real contribution to human progress and knowledge.

Re:It would be interesting to know (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537111)

I think it's clear that the vast majority of 2 million articles are going to be cruft/meaningless/niche articles - that's going to be true in any encyclopedia, because I doubt you could come up with 2 million notable "meaningful" topics (although as an aside, I do sometimes find episode articles useful or vaguely interesting, I can't be the only one).

Also I'm not sure the divide is whether it's fiction or not - I would expect there to be articles on subjects such as Star Trek (not necessarily every episode) and Harry Potter - meanwhile, there's cruft in non-fiction (e.g., an article for every single Macintosh model that's been released - the article count gets boosted just like it does with episode articles).

It would be useful though to know what the ratio is in different areas: e.g., fiction, science, etc.

It's true that the article count is pretty meaningless though for these reasons. Better counts may be the number of Featured Articles, or the progress that's been made on core topics [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It would be interesting to know (1)

_14k4 (5085) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537243)

Why are articles regarding the individual episodes of Star Trek not real articles? Why are the articles regarding the characters of my recent favorite novel series, Ringworld, not real articles, not real pieces of human (english language) history?

Re:It would be interesting to know (1)

Cctoide (923843) | more than 6 years ago | (#20538561)

Because those The Internets Is Serious Business people deem it so, and you must comply or be classified as "a nerd" and "non-notable". Plus, it would not contribute "to the advancement of human progress(???) and knowledge", even though you could cram another fifty million articles in there and still contribute to human knowledge all you want.

That, and because the people who had a bad experience with Wikipedia were feeling bad today.

wiki boys determine this (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537443)

The editors of wikipedia determine this.

The current consensus says it is right to create a page about a fiction person in a sf serie, but a page about a real person needs a lot more noticeably to be not deleted on the fast track list.

If you think it is right to place a external link. Think again. wikithink will most likely remove it.

Re:It would be interesting to know (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537495)

What is unreal about an article about an episode of Star Trek? If people use it then it is "real", the fact that it would not appear in a printed encyclopaedia is irrelevant, Wikipedia is not a printed encyclopaedia!

Irrelevant articles tend to get either improved or deleted so the majority of the 2 million articles are almost certainly *used* (the count does not include tiny stub articles, redirects etc...). You have obviously never tried to create an article on Wikipedia or you would know that vanity, fan only articles get deleted very quickly!

 

Re:It would be interesting to know (1)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537509)

The great thing about Wikipedia is that it can include articles on Palestine and minor characters in Buffy. A print encyclopedia is limited by its resources and has to be relevant. Wikipedia is in a constant state of revision so it is always relevant. Or irrelevant, depending on how you look at it. It's not exactly a huge draw on resources either - the text only amounts to 5gb or so. I probably wouldn't use it as a primary source but it's a good kickoff point.

Re:It would be interesting to know (1)

Nar Matteru (1099389) | more than 6 years ago | (#20538975)

It's really not just nerd stuff, most popular tv shows have episode descriptions. While that information is useful, I don't really consider it encyclopedic, and would like to see them moved to individual wikias.

Next needed milestone (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20536967)

SlimVirgin gets banned [wikitruth.info] along with her enablers [antisocialmedia.net] . Grow some balls Jimbo.

Spanglish Wiki? (4, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#20536969)

"...a milestone for the English-language Wikipedia:" ..."Initial reports stated that the two millionth article written was El Hormiguero, which covers a Spanish TV comedy show."

Wow, that's ironical.

Oops! CSD-A7! (1)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20540047)

Looks like we're back to 1,999,999.

another pr nazi babble song & dance (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20537083)

(mynuts won, no reflection on wiki, (with the possible exception of disguised commercial ingestion).

bought for you by the whoreabull coalition of republican southern baptist book burning baby murderers (& yOUR hard earned, ever increasing tax $$$).

does george represent that? or any one of US? more like unprecedented evile's hostage style stranglehold on most of US.

you call this weather?

it's only a matter of time/space/circumstance.

previous post:
mynuts won 'off t(r)opic'???
(Score:-1, Offtopic)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30, @10:22AM (#20411119)
eye gas you could call this 'weather'?

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8004881114 646406827 [google.com] [google.com]

be careful, the whack(off)job in the next compartment may be a high RANKing nazi official.

previous post:
whoreabull corepirate felons planning trips
(Score: mynuts won, robbIE's 'secret' censorship score)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, @12:13PM (#20072457)
in orbit perhaps? we wouldn't want to be within 500 miles of the naykid furor at this power point.

better days ahead?

as in payper liesense hypenosys stock markup FraUD felons are on their way out? what a revolutionary concept.

from previous post: many demand corepirate execrable stop abusing US

we the peepoles?

how is it allowed? just like corn passing through a bird's butt eye gas.

all they (the felonious execrable) want is... everything. at what cost to US?

for many of US, the only way out is up.

don't forget, for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way) there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/US as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile will not be available after the big flash occurs.

'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

some of US may (or may not) consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi talknician greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

Not the real milestone... (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537143)

Why is there always confusion over this issue? The real milestone is when it reaches 2M articles in binary (base 2)!
That would be 2,097,152 decimal, for those too lazy to break out their calculators, or 2*(2^20) according to Wikipedia.

So what (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20537191)

More shit in that giant septic tank that's Wikipedia. Do we feel the need to commemorate when we reach the 200 gallons mark? Like "Hey, that's a fucking lot of shit" Or "Man, never seen so much shit"? Because that's what Wikipedia is, a tankful of shit. Wiki submitters are shitters, and wikipedia fanboys eat shit by the truckload. Man, you must smell like sewers. Do flies stick on you?

*yawn* (1)

TimeElf1 (781120) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537231)

Someone wake me up when they do something truly monumental like 10 million articles or some such. Although it only took 7 months to get from the one millionth to the two millionth so I suppose 10 million won't be that long in coming.

How many articles do other encyclopedias have? (2, Interesting)

Refried Beans (70083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537323)

Two million does sound impressive. Congratulations, Wikipedia. But how does this compare to other encyclopedias? Does anyone have numbers for Britannica or World Book?

Re:How many articles do other encyclopedias have? (3, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537483)

Actually, wikipedia can answer that (though I don't know how accurate it is):

The size of the Britannica has remained roughly constant over the past 70 years, with about 40 million words on half a million topics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Bri tannica [wikipedia.org]

Re:How many articles do other encyclopedias have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20539437)

Two million does sound impressive. Congratulations, Wikipedia. But how does this compare to other encyclopedias? Does anyone have numbers for Britannica or World Book?

Half a million accurate ones that don't change every day at random.

Re:How many articles do other encyclopedias have? (1)

Taxman415a (863020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20540833)

Two million does sound impressive. Congratulations, Wikipedia. But how does this compare to other encyclopedias? Does anyone have numbers for Britannica or World Book?

Wikipedia does [wikipedia.org] , of course. It turns out some of the largest encyclopedia's written were in Chinese, and that brings in a number of complexities in determining which is larger/est. Of course if you look at all languages of Wikipedia, it's over 8 million now [wikimedia.org] , but that is mostly repeats.

Of course, the results will be edited... (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537337)

Of course, the results will be edited to show that the 2,000,000th article is on Steven Colber's continuing humanitarian work to deal with the perpetual threat of BEARS!

and then of course (2, Interesting)

sdedeo (683762) | more than 6 years ago | (#20537349)

Nominated for deletion [wikipedia.org] , amusingly enough.

It was "speedy kept", but amusing that a stratified sample [wikipedia.org] shows not only that wikipedia is filling these days with trivia, but also bureaucracy.

(Yes, I have a bee in my bonnet about wikipedia even though I love it -- see my sig.)

Re:and then of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20538165)

This is a bad example of the horrible bureaucracy of Wikipedia. In this case it was obvious that the nominator was wrong. Just because he was too lazy to check Spanish language sources he ruled it as non-notable.

Re:and then of course (1)

Xeth (614132) | more than 6 years ago | (#20539933)

How is it an example of horrible bureaucracy? It was speedily kept, and left alone. Is it a horrible bureaucracy simply because a user's opinions got a fair hearing before being dismissed?

Re:and then of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20541969)

Damn natural languages!

I meant that while there are examples of horrible bureaucracy on Wikipedia this is not one of them. Here the bureaucracy worked.

You can help review new articles (2, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#20538927)

If you would like to help review newly created articles, just follow this URL:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Newpages [wikipedia.org]

This will take you to the list of the most recently created articles. If you find that you have trouble keeping up with other editors who are reviewing the same articles, you might find this link useful:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Newpages&limit=250&offset=250&namespace=0 [wikipedia.org]

Which will take you to the same list, but starting from the 250th most recent article.

Typically, it's most useful to

Anyone can do these things, and you can also just improve on any article by adding additional sources, or expanding on the article.

Yeah, but hasn't Wikipedia jumped the shark? (5, Insightful)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20540087)

I know a few retired rocket scientists. I'd love it if their unique knowledge didn't go to the grave with them. I'd rather be able to look up the definition of a "yardley" as a unit of pressure than a list of characters from Harry Potter. Unfortunately, wikipedia doesn't seem to be interested in anything that's "from personal knowledge or experience" these days. [wikipedia.org]

If wikipedia is only going to allowed references to things already published elsewhere, and all written culture is inevitably moving online, how will wikipedia differentiate from Google? I mean, if there's no unique information in wikipedia, there's very little unique value in it. It's just a really labor-intensive presentation layer at that point, isn't it?

Re:Yeah, but hasn't Wikipedia jumped the shark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20540407)

wikisource is the MediaWiki project for original research.

Re:Yeah, but hasn't Wikipedia jumped the shark? (1)

stopbit (444789) | more than 6 years ago | (#20540931)

Wikipedia...the walmart of online information.

Re:Yeah, but hasn't Wikipedia jumped the shark? (5, Informative)

Taxman415a (863020) | more than 6 years ago | (#20541029)

Wikipedia has never been interested in unique information. One of the first policies was the one against original research [wikipedia.org] . That certainly doesn't mean there isn't a place for original research, (those are plentiful), nor does it mean Wikipedia isn't valuable. By collating and linking vast amounts of information, Wikipedia does something google can't. It creates the presentation of the information manually. Google can only index content that is already there through an algorithm. And for a long time if not forever, there will be information that is not online. Further, Wikipedia summarizes information like Google will likely never be able to. Even if a Wikipedia article is not all right, it can give you an idea of where to go look and what to look for, which is perhaps it's only truly valuable contribution until there is a way to formally peer review and freeze content so that the reader can see a version that is stabilized.

Research isn't what I'm talking about. (1)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20541621)

I understand that wikipedia is an inappropriate place for publishing research. I never mentioned research. Knowledge is not research.

By collating and linking vast amounts of information, Wikipedia does something google can't. It creates the presentation of the information manually.
So... like dmoz. A manual presentation layer. I'm content-driven, personally, a slick presentation does not increase my perception of the value of information.

Google can only index content that is already there through an algorithm.
Right, so it's an automatic (and thus more up-to-date) presentation layer, which carries quantifiable and repeatable bias by virtue of being algorithmic.

And for a long time if not forever, there will be information that is not online.
And increasingly, if your information source is not on-line, you have little chance of your sources being unchallenged on wikipedia.

Further, Wikipedia summarizes information like Google will likely never be able to. Even if a Wikipedia article is not all right, it can give you an idea of where to go look and what to look for,
The content I find most useful on Wikipedia tends to be articles that were originally "drive by shootings" by experts, who put in their personal knowledge from memory; these articles subsequently being polished up by successive editing. I wouldn't count too heavily on Google (or somebody else) never being unable to create a better summarization technique than human squabbling, either.

...which is perhaps it's only truly valuable contribution until there is a way to formally peer review and freeze content so that the reader can see a version that is stabilized.
I already have a Britannica. Why should a wiki be "stabilized"? Why is "formality" a virtue when wikipedia was created and gained value from non-conformance to traditional models?

Re:Yeah, but hasn't Wikipedia jumped the shark? (1)

Eponymous Bastard (1143615) | more than 6 years ago | (#20542049)

I know a few retired rocket scientists. I'd love it if their unique knowledge didn't go to the grave with them. I'd rather be able to look up the definition of a "yardley" as a unit of pressure than a list of characters from Harry Potter. Unfortunately, wikipedia doesn't seem to be interested in anything that's "from personal knowledge or experience" these days. [wikipedia.org]
Because Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not an original publication. I agree that this kind of knowledge should be archived and documented, but there are better places for it.

For example, there's a wikibooks page. You could try building an open textbook on rocket science. There's wikia [wikia.com] where you could build a rocket science Wiki. These are mostly pop-culture or community based wikis, but you could make a serious special interest wiki, with original content, if you wish.

Then you could link to it from wikipedia pages, but you'd probably be asked to point out it contains unverified claims or some such.

2M, give or take 1M (1)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20540509)

Given the number, speed, and voracity of deletions on WP, this is probably more like the 3 millionth article, if you include all articles ever created.

By some time next month I expect the 2Mth article will be more like the 1,990Kth.

and in other news... (1)

v3xt0r (799856) | more than 6 years ago | (#20540919)

Slashdot gets Two Millionth *Pointless* Article... ...more to come.

More profit and conflict of interest for Wikia? (1, Flamebait)

joeszilagyi (635484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20540953)

Good for them. That means that more profit and web traffic for Wikia, Jimbo Wale's for-profit spin-off of Wikipedia. Did you know that Wikipedia blocks *ALL* search engine spider follow-through for all outbound links from Wikipedia...

...but allows them through for Wikia, the for-profit firm that Wales owns?

More details of this fiscal conflict of interest, that pads Wikia's pockets with each public relations brouhaha like this:

http://wikipediareview.com/blog/category/wikia/ [wikipediareview.com]

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