George W Bush tops Wikipedia 15th birthday list

George W Bush Image copyright Getty Images

Online encyclopaedia Wikipedia has marked its 15th birthday with a list of the most edited pages on the site.

The English language version of the site, which anyone can edit, has more than five million entries and has been edited around 808 million times.

A page about former US president George W Bush has attracted the most attention with 45,862 edits since its creation.

Britney Spears, Adolf Hitler and a list of programmes broadcast by Asian TV channel ABS-CBN also make the top 15.

At the end of Wikipedia's first year, the most edited entry was about Creationism, with 179 edits, noted Jeff Elder and Ed Erhart from the Wikimedia Foundation in a blog post.

To date the entire site has been edited 808,187,367 times by Wikipedia's vast community.

The most edited story of 2015 was a page about notable deaths - but the second, an obscure page titled "geospatial summary of the High Peaks/Summits of the Juneau Icefield" was edited more than 7,000 times by one person.

Full list of top 15 most edited Wikipedia stories:

  • George W Bush (45,862 edits)
  • List of WWE personnel (42,836)
  • United States (35,742)
  • Wikipedia (33,958)
  • Michael Jackson (28,152)
  • Catholic Church (26,421)
  • List of programmes broadcast by ABS-CBN (25,188)
  • Jesus (25,084)
  • Barack Obama (24,708)
  • Adolf Hitler (24,612)
  • Britney Spears (23,802)
  • World War II (23,739)
  • Deaths in 2013 (22,529)
  • The Beatles (22,399)
  • India (22,271)

Founder Jimmy Wales recently told the BBC that Wikipedia had a difficult birth.

"The first version of Wikipedia was called Nupedia," he said.

"It was very top-down, very structured. I beat my head against the wall for two years, I knew the system was too complicated, but I didn't want to fail."

Serious business

The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, used the site's birthday to announce an endowment scheme to ensure a permanent source of funding for it and says it hopes to raise $100m (£69m) in the next 10 years.

The Foundation regularly asks for voluntary donations from readers and in 2014 raised $75.5m from 4.9m donors around the world, according to its own report.

On 3 December 2014 it received a record $29 (£20) per second, raising more than $2.5m (£1.7m) in one day.

Media captionWikipedia founder Jimmy Wales offered his advice to tech start ups.

Wikipedia sometimes hits the headlines when people make amusing edits to topical pages - but Jimmy Wales takes a dim view.

"If you wanna do something for your friends, click at it, make the funny change and just hit the preview button and just take a screenshot of that and you don't have to bother the rest of the world with your joke," he told BBC's Newsbeat in 2014.

Aleksi Aaltonen, assistant professor of information systems at Warwick Business School, said the site had come of age.

"The controversy and excitement that surrounded the service in the early days has passed," Mr Aaltonen said.

"As Wikipedia has grown older, it has become progressively more difficult for contributors to improve content. At the same time, Wikipedia's system of rules has become more burdensome.

"However, if Wikipedia can maintain its success, it will be remembered as a gift of an open internet that is now under attack from many directions."

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