Indians visit Wikipedia over 750 million times every month, making the country the fifth largest audience for the website. The 20-year-old online encyclopedia is available in 24 Indian languages, with over 60,000 articles each in widely-spoken languages such as Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu. In December 2020 alone, Wikipedia got 789 million page-views from India.
Globally, Wikipedia has over 55 million articles across over 300 languages. In all, 89% of articles on Wikipedia are in languages other than English. Importantly, Wikipedia says that most “vandalism” — edits that “do not meet Wikipedia’s reliability and neutrality standards” — is addressed within five minutes.
- 280,000 volunteer editors every month globally
- Edited 350 times per minute and over 8,000 times a second
- Accessed by 1.5 billion unique devices every month
- Read more than 15 billion times every month
- 7 million donors, with average donation of $15 USD
Wikipedia said it saw record daily traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Celebrating its 20th birthday, the Foundation said in a statement that:
In a time when disinformation and polarization challenge our trust in information and institutions, Wikipedia is more relevant than ever. Wikipedia celebrates its past and looks ahead to how it will meet the challenges of tomorrow to grow into a more resilient, accessible resource for knowledge.
Wikipedia to work on diversity of volunteers, policies for user privacy, disinformation
Further, the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia’s volunteer communities are “actively evolving” to face “the challenges of our time”, the foundation said. This includes [all emphasis ours]:
- Investing in “overall health and diversity of volunteer communities” to be more inclusive and globally representative
- Developing tools and programs to expand the quantity and diversity of Wikipedia content
- Advocating for policies that preserve user privacy, free expression, and the free exchange of knowledge online
- Enhancing volunteers’ ability to combat disinformation with better resources and insights
In May 2020, the Foundation had said it would introduce a universal code of conduct (UCoC) that will be a binding minimum set of standards across all Wikimedia projects by the end of 2020. The UCoC is aimed at combatting “harassment, toxicity, and incivility” faced by some volunteers. The proposed code was submitted to the Wikipedia Board of Trustees in October 2020, and is now under review.
Any action Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia’s editors take to address disinformation and diversity is likely to have a bearing on its operations as well as perception in India. Wikipedia has faced accusations of bias against Hinduism and India’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party. For instance, in July 2019, an edit to a Wikipedia article about “Jai Shri Ram”, which said the phrase was used as a “war cry”, attracted accusations of Wikipedia harbouring anti-Hindu bias, as per a recent report by WIRED.
In India, Wikipedia runs programs such as the Wikiproject India, Project Tiger and Project SWASTHA “to engage with local communities and enable credible information with Indian relevance to be available”, via partners including Google and Centre for Internet & Society.