Wikipedia, Nupedia and radar


Perfection is good. Very good. But it can also be a hindrance in many situations – blocking advance.

During WWII the Nazis were developing a radar system. They were ahead of Britain that was also developing a radar system. The Nazi scientists did not use their system before they have perfected it. The British air force started to use their system immediately and improved as they go. The Germans only launched theirs’s two years later. But it was these two years that eventually helped Britain not to lose the air battle over Britain.

In 2000, James Wales and Larry Sanger started an online encyclopaedia called Nupedia. The goal was for it include contributions written only by experts. Before and article could be posted on Nupedia, it had to go through an extensive scholarly review process. That strategy proved to be painstakingly slow. When Nupedia unplugged is servers in 2003, only twenty-four articles had been posted and seventy-four were in the review process. There were not very many articles, but they were scholarly and professionally written.

In 2001, one year after Nupedia launched, Wales and Sanger started Wikipedia as a feeders system for Nupedia. The idea was to allow non-pros and non-scholars, and non-experts to write articles that the Nupedia scholars would review. The articles would then make their way through the extensive Nupedia approval process. By the end of 2001, volunteers had submitted more than 20,000 wiki “articles”.

It took the experts three years to create twenty-four articles and non-experts one year to create twenty-thousand articles. Today (2021), Wikipedia has 6.2 million articles. The English Wikipedia is the largest of the more than 300 Wikipedia encyclopaedias. Overall, Wikipedia comprises more than 55 million articles, attracting 1.7 billion unique visitors per month. And according to an independent survey, most are as accurate as traditional encyclopaedia entries written by recognised experts.

(Information was mainly taken from Wikichurch, Steve Murell –  

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About the author

Bennie Mostert
By Bennie Mostert