Wish you a happy 20th, Wiki bhai!

Here’s to the strange repository of (largely) dependable information

AFP
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.
The Wikipedia entry for ‘Birthday’ tells us, among other things, that Hindus celebrate one’s birth anniversary day annually when the day that corresponds to the lunar or solar month of birth ‘has the same asterism (Star/Nakshatra) as that of the date of birth’. Even by our lofty standards, that’s a bit too complicated for us. So, a big happy birthday to Wikipedia as it turns 20 today.

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.

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