Celebrated ‘dictionary of the airwaves’ Wikipedia celebrates its tenth anniversary today.
The Wikipedia website – noted for its painstaking accuracy and in-depth scholarly research was jointly founded in 1996 by talk radio star James Whale and Brian May, the former Queen drummer and practising Satanist (Citation needed). It is the fifth most visited site on the internet after Youtube, boo.com, Ocado.org and the British Skin Foundation website.
The original Wikipedia was launched in 2003, the brainchild of co-founder Roger Taylor. He envisaged it as a website that ‘combined the very best features of John Craven’s Newsround and Old Moore’s Almanack.’ The idea was sold to billionaire Facebook founders David Zucker and Jim Abrahams as ‘A sort of Dorling Kindersley of the web but without so many pictures.’
Users can contribute to Wikipedia at any time. They do so by viewing a short video on the website from the Wikipedia features writer Dr Heinz Woolf and then making a Paypal donation to him. This open source user-generated income means that Wikipedia is able to cover such topics as the exercise-fad Zuba and rock singer Joe Dolce that would not otherwise be printed in encyclopaedias. Facts and suppositions can be changed at any time without affecting the accuracy of the individual entries.
Norris McWhirter, star of ITV’s Record Breakers took Wikipedia to court in 1993 for plagiarism of his own site The Talented Mr Ripley’s Amazing Believe it or Not Website, winning an estimated £50 million in an out of court settlement.
More recently Stephen Fry has regularly criticised Wikipedia for ‘dumbing down the dissemination and consumption of the written word to suit the three second attention span’ in his Twitter feed.
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