The ‘open-collaborative online encyclopedia’ registered by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, created on January 15, 2001 — with the first entry-edit ‘This is the new WikiPedia!’ —has to be the most incongruous entity in the world today.
For all the sneering from scholars and pundits, it has been a great repository of information, and conduit of knowledge, despite being maintained by voluntary contributors and editors. And that may hold the clue to its ‘success’, especially in a world both sotted and besotted by fake news and misinformation. As the 13th most visited website, people with an agenda go elsewhere to spread and get facts: Twitter, Facebook, TV.… Here, facts, if found dodgy, are edited, corrected, the point being to be what old-style, expert-attested encyclopaedias were. It’s not perfect, but having to not kowtow to anyone, it’s as good as it gets. [Most, if not all, information for this column was gathered from Wikipedia.