No one looking up an entry in Wikipedia over the past month or so would have missed the plea for donations from founder Jimmy Wales. The money raised from such drives is what has kept the online encyclopedia thriving over the past decade as voluntary contributions added to depth and breadth. As it celebrates its 10th anniversary, Wikipedia says it has about 3.5 million articles and some 13.7 million registered users for its English version. More than 91,000 people are working on 17 million articles in more than 270 languages—reflecting the extent to which it has been embraced by the global population.
While worries over accuracy aren’t misplaced, Wikipedia says its checks serve to weed out errors— malicious and otherwise. But as it expands, the key question will be whether it can retain its voluntary structure, and thereby its independence, in the next 10 years.