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For more than a quarter of people around the world, for as long as they’ve been alive, there’s always been Wikipedia. This week, the online crowd-sourced encyclopedia turns 15.
It’s come a long way: With some 35 million articles, Wikipedia speaks hundreds of languages and cites 80,000 volunteers around the world as editors. Its goals are lofty: to become a better Encyclopedia Britannica, a freely accessible “sum of all human knowledge.”
And arguably, it’s overcome the biggest hurdle. “We’ve moved beyond the era when people would say to the kids, ‘Don’t use Wikipedia, it’s not very good, it’s full of errors.’ And now we say, 'Here’s how to use Wikipedia,’ ” says co-founder Jimmy Wales.
Wales spoke with NPR on Wikipedia’s push for editors who are non-techy geeks, its struggle to grow its female ranks, advice for cleaning up newspapers’ comment sections, and the future of the organization.
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