ikipedia began as a complementary project for Nupedia, a free online Englishlanguage encyclopedia project whose articles were written by experts and reviewed under a formal process. Nupedia was founded on March 9, 2000, under the ownership of Bomis, Inc, a web portal company. Its main figures were Jimmy Wales, Bomis CEO, and Larry Sanger, editor-in-chief for Nupedia and later Wikipedia. Nupedia was licensed initially under its own Nupedia Open Content License, switching to the GNU Free Documentation License before Wikipedia's founding at the urging of Richard Stallman Though the English Wikipedia reached three million articles in August 2009, the growth of the edition, in terms of the numbers of articles and of contributors, appeared to have flattened off around early 2007.[37] In July 2007, about 2,200 articles were added daily to the encyclopedia; as of August 2009, that average is 1,300. A team led by Ed H. Chi at the Palo Alto Research Center speculated that this is due to the increasing exclusiveness of the project. [38] New or occasional editors have significantly higher rates of their edits reverted (removed) than an elite group of regular editors, colloquially known as the "cabal." This could make it more difficult for the project to recruit and retain new contributors, over the long term resulting in stagnation in article creation. Others simply point out that the low-hanging fruit, the obvious articles like China, already exist, and believe that the growth is flattening naturally.[39][40] In November 2009, a Ph.D thesis written by Felipe Ortega, a researcher at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, found that the English Wikipedia had lost 49,000 editors during the first three months of 2009; in comparison, the project lost only 4,900 editors during the same period in 2008.[41][42] The Wall Street Journal reported that "unprecedented numbers of the millions of online volunteers who write, edit and police [Wikipedia] are quitting." The array of rules applied to editing and disputes related to such content are among the reasons for this trend that are cited in the article.[43] These claims were disputed by Jimmy Wales, who denied the decline and questioned the methodology of the study. In departure from the style of traditional encyclopedias, Wikipedia employs an open, "wiki" editing model. Except for a few particularly vandalism-prone pages, every article may be edited anonymously or with a user account, while only registered users may create a new article (only in the English edition). No article is owned by its creator or any other editor, or is vetted by any recognized authority; rather, the articles are agreed on by consensus.[46] Most importantly, when changes to an article are made, they become available immediately before undergoing any review, no matter if they contain an error, are somehow misguided, or even patent nonsense. The German and the Hungarian editions of Wikipedia are exceptions to this rule: the German Wikipedia has been testing a system of maintaining "stable versions" of articles,[47] to allow a reader to see versions of articles that have passed certain reviews. The English edition of Wikipedia plans to trial a related approach.[48][49] In June 2010, it was announced that the English Wikipedia would remove strict editing restrictions from "controversial" or vandalism-prone articles (such as George W. Bush, David Cameron or homework). In place of an editing prohibition for new or unregistered users, there would be a "new system, called 'pending changes'" which, Jimmy Wales told the BBC, would enable the English Wikipedia "to open up articles for general editing that have been protected or semiprotected for years." The "pending changes" system was introduced on June 15, shortly after 11pm GMT. Edits to specified articles are now "subject to review from an established Wikipedia editor before publication." Wales opted against the German Wikipedia model of requiring editor review before edits to any article, describing it as "neither necessary nor desirable." He added that the administrators of the German Wikipedia were "going to be closely watching the English system, and I'm sure they'll at least consider switching if the results are good."[50]
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