Wikipedia:Millionth article FAQ
Welcome to the English Wikipedia Millionth Article FAQ.
What is this FAQ about?
On March 1, 2006, the English Wikipedia celebrated the creation of its millionth article, about the Jordanhill railway station.
What does all this mean?
The MediaWiki software has an internal counting function, which tracks how many pages are in the article namespace (all pages that don't begin with "Talk:" or "Wikipedia:" or other keywords, and which should therefore contain encyclopedic content). All pages with at least one internal link to another Wikipedia page count for these purposes, regardless of length; articles with paragraphs of text but no links do not.
Is Jordanhill railway station really the millionth title ever written in Wikipedia?
No. Wikipedia articles are constantly being added, deleted, and merged. Many article titles have been created that are no longer associated with their own article. This was the first article to be created at a time when there were already 999,999 articles in the encyclopedia.
The counting method used does not count articles which were created and later merged with another article; nor redirects from misspelled names (there are almost another 1 million such redirects); nor articles which were deleted for any reason. However, one can reasonably say that, after this milestone, there are now 1 million distinct articles in the English Wikipedia.
Please also note that this is only counting articles in the English language Wikipedia. There are over 29 million articles in the 286 other languages in which Wikipedia is being edited and written.
Are all pages in the article namespace encyclopedia articles?
No. The most popular example is the Main Page, which is a portal. All other portals are in the Portal namespace; however there are a few other types of pages in the article namespace which are not traditional encyclopedia articles. These include redirects and disambiguation pages. As of September 2019, 304,088 pages (about 5.1% of all the articles) have been identified as disambiguation pages. The largest categories include:
- 187,577 pages have been tagged as general disambiguation pages (61.7% of all disambiguation pages)
- 60,047 pages have been tagged as disambiguation pages for human names (19.7% of all disambiguation pages)
- 38,427 pages have been tagged as disambiguation pages for place names. (12.6% of all disambiguation pages)
- 3,029 pages have been tagged as disambiguation pages for schools (1.0% of all disambiguation pages)
Redirects are not included in the article count.
In addition, newer articles, which have not yet been reviewed for notability or appropriateness, may not be encyclopedic. A high percentage of new articles written by non-registered users have been found to be non-encyclopedic. It was therefore decided in December 2005 to prohibit non-registered users from starting new articles. Additional restrictions on article creation were imposed in September of 2017 on a six month trial basis. The additional restrictions, which are now permanent, require users to have been registered for a minimum of four days and have made 10 edits prior to creating a new article.
So are there really 1 million English-language articles in the English Wikipedia?
By the above method of counting, yes.
Given that some of the earlier articles have since been merged or deleted, has a new article been designated as the 1 millionth article?
No. The point is to celebrate a milestone, not to keep track of what is the millionth article.
Although it is true that some articles that were written prior to March 1, 2006 have been deleted or merged into other articles (and became redirect pages), the opposite could also be true. Pages that were redirect pages on March 1, 2006 could have been developed to be independent articles (redirect pages do not count as articles). So although which article gets the title of being "the 1 millionth article" varies with time, it is not very important to know precisely which article is the 1 millionth article at any moment in time. What is important is that the milestone of the millionth article was achieved.
Who hosted the celebrations?
There were many celebrations of the millionth article. As many Wikipedians hang out on IRC, some celebrations were hosted on the Freenode IRC server, by ems. The celebration was advertised beforehand by lilo. It attracted 733 people before a script called countdownbot (hosted and coded by ems), which was roughly tracking the total # of Wikipedia articles, reached one million. (This was not involved in the official designation of the millionth article; that was done with a different script.)
The channel was moderated for most of the countdown, so that the observers could not chat in the room; when the countdown was concluded, the channel was unmoderated for 40 seconds; in that time over 3000 messages were posted, and it was quickly remoderated again until the celebration had dissipated a bit. Official logs will be posted soon.
Is Jordanhill railway station a representative article?
In many ways, it is not. Thanks to the attention it has received by virtue of being the millionth article, it has been subjected to all manner of relevant style guidelines. Over the course of a single day, Jordanhill railway station has grown from a one-sentence stub into a well-referenced and well-formatted article. It has been edited over 250 times; the average number of edits per article is 25. It is of representative length, however; the average article length is 2800 characters, including whitespace.
Although the article about Jordanhill railway station is not a representative article, the process that the article has gone through to reach its current state is representative of the Wikipedia process. Wikipedia is a collaborative process in which many editors contribute to articles and improve them over the course of time. It is rare that a single contributor writes a long in-depth article. The vast majority of articles in Wikipedia reach maturity via a very long collaboration between many contributors who have to reach consensus. The process can at time get quite stressful.
Because the Jordanhill railway station was the 1 millionth article, it received much more attention than had it been the 999,999th article. This additional attention created the environment that allowed the article which would have most likely remained a short stub for a long time to quickly become a well written and detailed article.
How many articles have been completely finished?
None. The hope is that all articles can be continually updated and improved. Some articles and categories are naturally broader than others; however, even the most specific articles are left open to future improvement.
At what point did someone know on which day the millionth article would be written?
This has been the subject of speculation for some time. The Millionth Article Pool was an informal set of guesses gathered last year; András Mészáros was the best guesser and the winner of the pool (Grand Prize: limited fame and glory). Bets came in as to which day of the week would the one millionth article be created as late as the day prior to the occurrence.
Can this milestone be compared to the number of articles in other encyclopedias?
Classical encyclopedia projects do not use the same kinds of open editing and proofreading, and so put more attention into each individual article. By allowing anyone to contribute, Wikipedia has attracted the efforts of over 100,000 editors; however, the editorial process, and therefore the results, are somewhat different.
If these numbers aren't quite comparable, why are people celebrating?
There is cause for celebration within the community, because the project has been successful so far, and has grown rapidly and steadily. The project has outstripped its original expectations of one day reaching 100,000 articles; and after all, you only reach 1,000,000 once.
Are there other measures of growth which should be watched?
Certainly. The question is, how much time one wants to put into evaluation. Some metrics — such as the number of words — are more resistant to different standards of article size. Another useful metric would be the number of independent statements or facts in the encyclopedia; but this is quite difficult to estimate. One could go so far as to create a matrix of coverage for a tree of topics, and identify how Wikipedia's coverage and depth compares to that of traditional reference works. These measures would be useful, but do not yet exist.
When will the next Wikipedia language reach 1 million articles?
This is unknown.
- As of August 17 2009 (the date that the English Wikipedia reached the 3 million article mark), the German Wikipedia had 943,760 articles, and the French Wikipedia had 840,341 articles.
- On December 29 2009, the German Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the second Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was Ernie Wasson (English language version). The French Wikipedia remains the third largest with 893,518 articles. The Polish Wikipedia is fourth largest, with 662,709 articles, while the Italian Wikipedia is fifth largest, with 643.078 articles.
- On September 21 2010, the French Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the third Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was Louis Babel (English language version). The Polish Wikipedia remains the fourth largest with 729,508 articles, while the Italian Wikipedia is the fifth largest, with 729,060 articles.
- On December 17, 2011, the Dutch Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the fourth Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was Antal Újváry (English language version).
- On January 22, 2013, the Italian Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the fifth Wikipedia to reach that milestone. There was some discussion on what was the one-millionth article, but there was never a final agreement on it.
- On May 11, 2013, the Russian Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the sixth Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was not announced.
- On May 16, 2013, the Spanish Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the seventh Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was not announced.
- On June 15, 2013, the Swedish Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the eighth Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was Jameela palmyra (English language version).
- On September 25, 2013, the Polish Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the ninth Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was 2013–14 Armenian Premier League (English language version).
- On June 8, 2014, the Waray-Waray Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the tenth Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was not announced.
- On June 15, 2014, the Vietnamese Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the eleventh Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was not announced.
- On July 16, 2014, the Cebuano Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the twelfth Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was not announced.
- On January 19, 2016, the Japanese Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the thirteenth Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was 波号第二百二十四潜水艦 (a submarine that was under construction for the Japanese Navy during World War II and its production was stopped at 20% completion because the war ended).
- On April 13, 2018, the number of Chinese Wikipedia entries exceeded 1 million, becoming the fourteenth Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was not announced.
- On June 26, 2018, the Portuguese Wikipedia exceeded the one million mark, becoming the fifteenth Wikipedia to reach that milestone. The millionth article was pt:Perdão de Richard Nixon.
Is the English language Wikipedia the largest encyclopedia of all time, in all languages?
This is a subtle question. The largest number of articles or pages? Almost certainly. The largest number of words? Probably. The largest number of individual facts? Perhaps. The largest collection of important information in a fixed, readable, usable form? No. There are other larger databases and collections of information which exist and have existed. There are also various works throughout history which may have been referred to as 'encyclopedias'; for instance, one could see the entire Internet to date as one enormous, lightly-sorted "encyclopedia."
Other "millionth" milestones English Wikipedia articles
- 1 million articles, March 1, 2006, Jordanhill railway station;
- 2 million articles, 9 September 2007, El Hormiguero;
- 3 million articles, 17 August 2009, Beate Eriksen;
- 4 million articles, 13 July 2012, Izbat Al Burj
- 5 million articles, 1 November 2015, Persoonia terminalis
- 6 million articles, 23 January 2020, Maria Elise Turner Lauder
- Terdiman, Daniel (December 7, 2005). "Growing pains for Wikipedia:After two scandals in one week, Wikipedia's founder decides to make a change to the anyone-can-contribute encyclopedia".