5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Wikipedia

On January 15, 2001, Wikipedia debuted and became a source that countless people turn to for information. As the sixth most-visited website in the world, Wikipedia has certainly changed how people interact with the World Wide Web. Here are five 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.

It's More Accurate Than You Might Think For years, college professors and newspaper editors have been telling their students and staff not to rely on Wikipedia for sources because of its open policy that anyone can edit or write. But how worried should they be? One 2015 study looked at several articles on different topics and found Wikipedia was about as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica, whose content is all written by professionals. The study found 2.92 mistakes per article for Britannica and 3.86 for Wikipedia.


One-Third of Wikipedia Has Edits From One Person You know that you can go in and make edits to pages that haven't been locked by Wikipedia's administrators, but chances are that you don't make too many edits overall -- unless you're Steven Pruitt, a man who has contributed over 35,000 separate pages on Wikipedia and made edits to fully a third of the site's English-language entries. He's done this as a volunteer, too, which he said made people think his hobby a bit strange -- until Time magazine named him one of the most influential people on the internet.

Congress Was Once Banned From Editing Wikipedia Articles The ability to edit Wikipedia without having your work vetted by experts has also led to controversy as people have sabotaged pages or added incorrect information. One of the more bizarre episodes involved the U.S. Congress, whose members were actually banned at one point from editing Wikipedia pages. 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.

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…”