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Wikipedia hits five million articles milestone

Wikipedia has hit a new milestone, having reached five million English language articles.

The free online encyclopaedia, which has been going for almost 15 years, published its five millionth article on November 1.

The ‘winning’ article was created by Cas Liber, an Australian editor responsible for some 1,500 English language submissions. The five millionth article itself is about an Australian shrub, in case you were wondering. Don’t all rush there at once.

In response to reaching the milestone, the English Wikipedia community has released a crowdsourced statement that urges editors to improve the online resource. “There are still great gaps in its coverage with millions of important topics missing from its pages,” it says.

Meanwhile, the statement claims that of the five million-odd articles currently available, “only a few tens of thousands have passed a vetting process for good or featured status, and more than half are short stubs or start-class articles.”

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Rather than acting as a downer on this important milestone, the statement reads as a call to arms to conscript new online editors.

“Anyone, regardless of background, can contribute to building the encyclopaedia,” it says, before providing guidance on how to get started with creating or editing Wikipedia content.

One contributor estimates that it would take more than 100 million Wikipedia articles to cover the entire sum of human knowledge, so there’s some way to go.

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