20 years of Wikipedia: bulwark against fake news

From today’s perspective, Wikipedia seems to have always belonged to the Internet. It goes without saying, especially for younger people, to get all possible information about Goethe, hypotenuses and the Basic Law for homework there. And yet – Wikipedia is actually a late development of the first dotcom boom.

The concept of the “wiki” was already six years old when Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger started Wikipedia on January 15, 2001; with everything that was needed: a web server, a database and some PHP.

Nobody knows exactly which articles were the first in the new encyclopedia or who the first authors were – only a few screenshots have survived. At least it can in a nostalgic issue Scroll through the contents of Wikipedia from 2001. In the early days, the project received relatively little public attention: The first dotcom crash had weakened the feverish curiosity of the first few online years.

The first news ticker articles followed: on the 100,000th Wikipedia article in the English edition, the 20,000th article in German Wikipedia, the first cooperation with a search engine provider and the first appeal for donations. Wikipedia had not only established itself as a serious project, but also set the course for the first time, which justified the later rise. A series of articles appeared on Telepolis on the dance of the brains in the young Wiki scene, penned by Erik Möller, who later became one of the leading collaborators of the Wikimedia Foundation. Concepts such as the “neutral user point of view” of the Wikipedia articles became known to a wider public.

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