Millionth article

English Wikipedia hits one million articles

The English Wikipedia reached the long-awaited milestone of one million encyclopedia articles on Wednesday, a little over five years after the launch of the community-written reference work in January, 2001. The encyclopedia passed this mark at precisely 23:09 (UTC) on 1 March, 2006. The millionth article was Jordanhill railway station, added by Wikipedian Ewan Macdonald (aka User:Nach0king) in the course of his ongoing work on Scottish railways.

The Wikimedia Foundation immediately issued a press release ("English Wikipedia Publishes Millionth Article"), and the news was reported on Slashdot within hours. (see more press coverage)

The winner of the Wikipedia:Million pool, a contest to guess the date on which the millionth article would be written, was Hungarian Wikipedian András Mészáros, who made his prediction on 28 November, 2004. With the reaching of the million milestone, the Wikipedia:Two-million pool is now closed.

Some near-contenders for the title of millionth article were:

Because of the problems in identifying the half-millionth article (see archived story), developers Tim Starling and Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason were prepared with precise monitoring tools this time.

Many competitive editors had articles queued up to submit as the big number approached. Clearly one of these was BorgHunter, who created eight different articles within the minute the milestone was reached. Not only Smith, but Cox, Ledesma, and several others were his, all baseball players with some connection to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (coincidentally, the professional team closest to Wikimedia headquarters). According to Raul654, "the article count jumped from 999,990 to 1,000,150 in one second. I've never seen anything like it."

Article grows, commemoration discussed

With the attention of the entire community focused upon it, Jordanhill railway station quickly grew from a one-line stub to a full-fledged article, receiving over 200 edits in the first four hours. ([1] [2]) It now also features a map, as well as several pictures of the station taken the next day by Erath. The article then made an appearance on the Did you know section of the Main Page. It appeared on Peer review on 2 March and became a Featured article candidate on 7 March.

As the subject of the article happens to be a physical location, it allowed people to suggest placing some kind of marker at the site to commemorate the milestone. Some were not sure whether the suggestion was serious, and indeed it made for some humorous comments about the potential for vandalism of the marker. Others did take it seriously, however, and a number of people have signed up to express support for the idea. Whether it would actually happen is uncertain, as various steps would be needed to obtain approval from the appropriate authorities, and there would also be the question of raising funds to pay for a marker. The most recent incarnation is a bench, which would serve a practical purpose to the location.

Anthere has said she hopes that the Wikimedia Foundation would not provide any funds unless they were donated specifically for that purpose. A fundraiser is in the works.

But are they "real" articles?

Deciding what qualifies as an article has long been a tricky issue to resolve. The software defines an "article" as any page that is in the article namespace, is not a redirect page, and contains at least one internal wiki link.

A recent informal survey by User:R. fiend, based on a sample of 500 random articles, estimates that roughly 80% of Wikipedia's articles are "real", informative articles: full articles (including public domain imports such as 1911 Britannica and Rambot articles), decent stubs, lists, and charts. Another 5% are disambiguation pages.

Roughly 10% are one- or two-sentence substubs, and the remaining 5% are articles that are dubious, deletable, or require substantial cleanup.

Another study was performed by User:Dantheox to study the change in the ratio of Wikipedia stubs to non-stubs over time. He filtered the database looking for {{stub}} template tags (which were introduced in late 2003), and found that roughly 35% of Wikipedia's articles are currently tagged as stubs. However, although stub articles have a great deal of room for expansion, many still provide good basic information on topics which may not be covered at all in comparable reference works.

Millionth user

The English Wikipedia also reached one million registered users on 28 February, with the milestone account belonging to Romulus32. As of the time of printing, the user had not made an edit to the English Wikipedia.

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