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Six million articles on the English language Wikipedia

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By Smallbones and Pine
Time for some fireworks.

Congratulations to all editors

Maria Elise Turner Lauder

The article count on en-Wiki surpassed 6,000,000 at about 18:59 UTC on January 23. Due to the limitations of the software and the volume of article creations at about that time, it is impossible to determine exactly when the milestone was reached. The symbolic 6,000,000th article was decided by consensus to be Maria Elise Turner Lauder written by User:Rosiestep. She told The Signpost


I woke up at about 3:30 AM the morning of January 23rd. Unable to go right back to sleep, I went into the living room. I opened up my laptop to Wikipedia and noticed we were a few hundred articles shy of the 6 millionth article. I decided to create an article about a woman writer, my preferred focus, on the chance that when I would be ready to click Save, it would miraculously be the right moment.

Why do I focus on women writers? Well, my grandmother and my mom were writers, and I've become one too – an encyclopedist. I founded WP:WikiProject Women writers. I'm a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University's Women Writers Project.

Without a particular article in mind, I reviewed this list for inspiration, and considered the redlinks. When I checked out Maria Elise Turner Lauder, I noticed that there was a substantial article about her on Wikisource, plus a photo. I googled her and found enough to create a decent article, what would become the first edit; but, I didn't Save it yet. If I had saved the article, I would have felt compelled to improve it before going back to sleep, but I was too tired. The article counter was moving up slowly, still a few hundred articles shy of 6,000,000.

I went back to sleep. When I got up, I checked the counter, and saw that we hadn't reached 6,000,000 yet. When it reached 5,999,996, I clicked Save on the Lauder article, but it didn't save, forcing me to click a second time. That was it. Then I went about my regular business of improving the article. Eventually, I knew, there would be an announcement on article #6,000,000. The Lauder article would be the lucky one, or it wouldn't. Of course, I was very happy with the news that it was the milestone article. Congratulations to you, Wikipedia, and to all the editors who contributed articles on January 23, 2020. Six million is a "drop in the bucket," there are many more articles still to write. I look forward to working with editors from everywhere as we write more, edit more, and collaborate more. Look out, article #7,000,000; we're headed in your direction.

Congratulations to Rosiestep and to all editors who contributed to the last million new articles.

Coffeeandcrumbs told The Signpost in detail how the symbolic article was chosen, saying it is impossible to exactly identify the 6,000,000th article. "We don't know if a redirect (with an old creation date) that was converted to an article or disambiguation page was what brought us over the threshold, or which of the new articles created that same minute was the one. Like in all things on Wikipedia, consensus should reign supreme and consensus determined that Rosiestep's article deserved recognition."

Fifteen articles which were created at 18:59 UTC on January were screened for quality. The entire decision process may be viewed at Wikipedia talk:Six million articles.

What does 6,000,000 articles really mean?

What can be said about six million articles? As usual, Wikipedia's editors provide the answer. A chance view of a user talk page told us:

"6 million is starting to get to be a serious figure, but only a tiny fraction of what is possible of course. A truly resourceful comprehensive encyclopedia in which every article is the highest possible quality is going to take hundreds of years without a doubt. I am certain that Wikipedia will still be around in 2100, even if this evolves into something like a 3D encyclopedia ... You never know!" –Dr. Blofeld

To which another editor responded:

"I keep marveling at how poor our coverage even of American topics is, and of course that's light-years better than our coverage of many other countries. If our American coverage is so spotty, imagine what that means for the rest of the world. We have a long way to go yet..." –Ser Amantio di Nicolao

Your answers and comments are requested in the comments section below.

CC-0 licence at Paris Musées

Fourteen heritage sites, known collectively as Paris Musées, announced that 100,000 digitized files in its collections are now licensed CC-0.

Paris Musées, which holds many masterpieces, is the first Parisian institution to so license its public domain files. They can be downloaded in High Definition via a dedicated API. Wikimedia France (in French) has a formal partnership with Paris Musées and will help import images and data to Wikimedia commons and Wikidata.

Creative Commons Global Summit

The Creative Commons annual summit will be held from May 14–16 in Lisbon, Portugal. Proposals for presentations are due February 12. The overlap of Wikipedia's goal with those of CC, which provides Wikipedia with our free content licenses, is shown by the tracks for the presentations: "Creators of the Commons; Powering the Commons" (about tools, technology and communities); "Open Education and Open Scholarship"; "Open Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums"; and "Policy and Advocacy promoting the Commons".

Citizendium may close

Citizendium, one of Larry Sanger's failed encyclopedia projects, may be officially closing. Two of its four active editors have agreed that Citizendium "is simply not going to be a viable project as an encyclopedia." They wish to "deliberately wrap up this project by exporting any useful content to Wikipedia, closing the wiki to editing, posting an archived copy to the Internet Archive and directing possible readers there, and use remaining funds to secure the domain name for a long time with some small hosting overhead for a single landing page."

The Signpost recommends care in importing Citizendium articles into Wikipedia. WikiProject Citizendium Porting may be useful in these imports, but the WikiProject has been mostly inactive since 2010.



Angus Merker McLellan was a Wikipedia administrator and long-term contributor to the project, known for his work on articles about related to Scotland, and about the Middle Ages. He passed away on November 15, 2019 after a brief battle with lymphoma.
— Wikipedia:Deceased Wikipedians

Brianboulton's obituary may be viewed here.

New administrators

The Signpost welcomes the English Wikipedia's four newest administrators who passed RfA this month:

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Reaching a whopping 6 million article milestone is a fabulous extraordinary team effort. It was achieved just eight days after 19th anniversary of the Wikipedia. Congrats to experienced editor Rosie who is also a valuable prominent member of Women in Red campaign for creating milestone article Maria Elise Turner Lauder which is surely the talk of the town. Hope Wikipedia will break more records like this in the future. Abishe (talk) 03:26, 27 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]

The note about Citizendium reminds me of Churchill's quote about democracy: "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…" for which you can substitute "wikipedia" for "democracy" and "encyclopedia" for "government". Nigej (talk) 08:56, 27 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you Rosiestep! This has warmed my encyclopedic heart. ~Kvng (talk) 16:02, 1 February 2020 (UTC)[reply]

On behalf of Toofie Lauder, thank you, one and all. --Rosiestep (talk) 18:55, 1 February 2020 (UTC)[reply]


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