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5, 10, and 15 years ago: Let's (not) delete the Main Page!

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By Adam Cuerden

Going to do this one in reverse from how we normally do it, because, frankly, there wasn't that much going on five years ago, and a whole lot to say about fifteen years ago.

Fifteen years ago: February 2008

Citizendium, Larry Sanger's first attempt at a Wikipedia rival (he would go on to make many more), was doing fairly well at the time, but mismanagement would eventually kill its momentum. Meanwhile, in the wake of various incidents that caused chaos, it was made impossible to delete the Main Page of Wikipedia. Don't test this out. Seriously, don't. Though you might get a special barnstar if you do:

The Destroyer of the Wiki Barnstar

Finally, on a more serious note, this was also the point where controversy over Wikipedia hosting images of Muhammad reignited. There had been some controversy in 2006 when the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy hit the main page, but this was the start of demands that all such cartoons be removed. In this issue's Cobwebs, we finally publish an article from 2010 about the point where we lost the moral high ground on such issues.

Ten years ago: February 2013

Lovers of regular Signpost segment the Traffic Report will find its presumptive origins in a Special Report in the 4 February 2013 issue that analysed some of the interesting trends and spikes. The film Star Trek[:] [I/i]nto Darkness caused pretty much the expected amount of controversy as to how it should be capitalised. A list of Wikipedia hoaxes provides all the fun reading one would expect.

Looking in more detail, portals were still a big deal back then; they're fairly moribund now: Featured portals would close in 2017, and there was an attempted purge in in roughly 2019. Why? It's hard to say. Perhaps as Wikipedia's search tools improved, portals ceased to be a key way to find articles; perhaps it has to do with the general decline of WikiProjects. Portal:Opera is still doing great as a way to show off content in WikiProject Opera, but there's certainly a lot fewer WikiProjects than we once had. I still remember when, if you wanted help on basically any subject, you'd just find the relevant WikiProject and ask them.

Five years ago: February 2018

We'd be remiss not to include this wonderful illustration by Jon Robson from the Humour section:

We also had a short (but pretty decent) interview with The Rambling Man, who, at least at the time, was Wikipedia's top contributor of Featured Lists. A sample:

In this issue
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For more events in enwiki history that are similar to the "don't delete the main page" shenanigans, see Wikipedia:Village stocks. I was introduced to it forever ago by someone telling me it was full of examples of what not to do. It's been around forever but it's worth a read to newer wikigenerations who maybe haven't seen it? Clovermoss🍀 (talk) 07:28, 22 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Wow. We deleted the main page fifteen years ago. Time flies. I remember being there for that one big time. Wish I still had the irc logs or whatever it was we were all goofing off in back then. Hiding T 12:48, 7 April 2023 (UTC)[reply]


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