Wikipedia Day 2004
The English Wikipedia alone now has more than 190,000 articles, and the combined Wikipedias for other languages now exceed the English Wikipedia in size, giving an estimated total of over 420,000 articles in over 40 languages.  The English Wikipedia alone now contains over 56 million words, making it comparable in size with the largest previously existing encyclopedias.
18 of the non-English Wikipedias now have over 1000 articles, which seems to be the "lift-off" point for rapid growth, and non-English growth is expected to accelerate rapidly. A significant factor in aiding the growth of these Wikipedias is that they have almost without exception migrated to use the MediaWiki software. A further conversion challenge still awaits progression in 2004 towards using UTF-8 on all Wikipedias, allowing greater ease of use in articles including multilingual text.
Overall article growth continues to increase exponentially, but at a rate less than we estimated last year at this time (we originally estimated in 2001 that it would take 5 or more years to reach our first 100,000 articles in English). This analysis suggests that the "organic" hand-edited growth rate of a mature Wikipedia is slightly less than doubling growth per year, with younger Wikipedias growing somewhat faster.
This growth has not been at the expense of quality, as the level of polish and breadth of expertise has continued to grow throughout the Wikipedias. Further software features, such as new automated category indexes, are being developed to allow Wikipedia to scale with this massive growth in content and traffic.
The creation of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation has provided an independent legal foundation for Wikipedia, and has allowed Wikipedia to spin off a number of sister projects, including Wiktionary, Wikiquote and Wikibooks.
As the number of articles has increased, so has the amount of traffic from readers, to the point where the servers have begun to struggle to keep up in the face of recent hardware failures. In response to this, a fundraising drive brought in sufficient donations to allow the parts for a new scalable and fault-tolerant server farm to be ordered. The new server farm is anticipated to return Wikipedia to being fast and responsive, and to be able to continue to keep up with the growth in load over the next year.
Along with fundraising, Wikipedia is also experimenting with innovations in its self-governance.
Wikipedia Day 2003
With over 130,000 articles spread across 28 languages, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, turned 2 years old January 15, 2003. Several Wikipedia contributors (Wikipedians), in the collaborative spirit which has brought us so far, have redesigned the Main Page of the English Wikipedia in celebration of Wikipedia's birthday.
During the first year of its existence, Wikipedia went from zero to 20,000 articles in the English version and that was considered to be an impressive growth rate. The second year of Wikipedia saw the addition of nearly 80,000 more articles in the English version alone, making it the world's largest Wiki and the world's largest free content encyclopedia. With edits being made 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by hundreds of bright and enthusiastic volunteers from around the world, who knows where we will be one year from today?
Our original goal was to make 100,000, and at the time we speculated that this might take us five or more years. We now know that the 100,000 article milestone is just the tip of the iceberg. The power of the collaborative WikiWiki editing model, the freedom that the GNU Free Documentation License gives us, and our strong nonbias policy (the neutral point of view), combined with our goal of creating the world's largest encyclopedia will ensure the continued growth and success of our project.
Many people have told us that we would fail. "What?" they said, "You let anyone edit anytime they wish? It is preposterous to think that anything of any value could be created that way. You are destined to fail!" It is, however, becoming more and more apparent with each passing day that they are wrong. Let's celebrate Wikipedia Day by continuing to build the world's best encyclopedia!
The Internet Archive has retained copies of many Wikipedia pages from an earlier era. Here is the oldest one archived (March 30, 2001): http://web.archive.org/web/20010331173908/http://www.wikipedia.com/
Why not celebrate by writing an encyclopedia article on a topic of your choice? See m:Help:Starting a new page.
- Magnus Manske Day (January 25)
- Tim Starling Day (October 31)
- Brion Vibber Day (June 1)
- Wikipedia Holidays