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They Did What?: 

Meet Mr Wikipedia, the man responsible for 10% of all entries

wikipedia

Meet Sverker Johansson, the man who may just be ‘Mr. Wikipedia.’

No, the 53-year-old Swede is not the man who invented the online encyclopedia but he can take credit for 2.7 million of its articles, or 8.5% of the entire collection, according to a WSJ report.

Johansson holds degrees in economics, civil engineering, linguistics and particle physics, and claims that he has always been interested in “the origin of things, oh, everything.”

True enough, Johansson creates up to 10,000 new entries on a good day, mostly centred around insects, butterflies and beetles and other mysterious animal species. Approximately one-third of his entries are written to the Swedish language version of Wikipedia whilst the rest are composed in two versions of Filipino.

Hang on, did you say he writes 10,000 articles every day? 

You’re probably thinking that that’s not humanly possible, which it isn’t, except Johansson creates his articles using a computer software program — known as a bot. The program searches databases and other digital sources for news and information, and then forms an article with its findings.

This method of mass article production has its fair share of critics. Achim Raschka is a 41-year-old German Wikipedia enthusiast that spends days writing in-depth articles about a single type of plant.

“I am against production of bot-generated stubs in general,” he said. Raschka claims that Johansson’s mechanic way of generating entries sacrifice quality over quantity “not helping the readers and users of Wikipedia.”

In this latest battle of man versus machine and quality over quantity – who do you root for?

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