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Wikipedia was launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger on January 15, 2001. Sanger coined its name as a blend of wiki and encyclopedia. Wales was influenced by the "spontaneous order" ideas associated with Friedrich Hayek and the Austrian School of economics after being exposed to these ideas by the libertarian economist Mark Thornton. Initially available only in English, versions in other languages were quickly developed. Its combined editions comprise more than 60 million articles, attracting around 2 billion unique device visits per month and more than 15 million edits per month (about 5.7 edits per second on average) as of January 2023[update]. In 2006, Time magazine stated that the policy of allowing anyone to edit had made Wikipedia the "biggest (and perhaps best) encyclopedia in the world".
In November 2009, a researcher at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, Spain found that the English Wikipedia had lost 49,000 editors during the first three months of 2009; in comparison, it lost only 4,900 editors during the same period in 2008. The Wall Street Journal cited the array of rules applied to editing and disputes related to such content among the reasons for this trend. Wales disputed these claims in 2009, denying the decline and questioning the study's methodology. Two years later, in 2011, he acknowledged a slight decline, noting a decrease from "a little more than 36,000 writers" in June 2010 to 35,800 in June 2011. In the same interview, he also claimed the number of editors was "stable and sustainable". A 2013 MIT Technology Review article, "The Decline of Wikipedia", questioned this claim, revealing that since 2007, Wikipedia had lost a third of its volunteer editors, and that those remaining had focused increasingly on minutiae. In July 2012, The Atlantic reported that the number of administrators was also in decline. In the November 25, 2013, issue of New York magazine, Katherine Ward stated, "Wikipedia, the sixth-most-used website, is facing an internal crisis."
Wikipedia does not require that its editors and contributors provide identification. As Wikipedia grew, "Who writes Wikipedia" became one of the questions frequently asked there. Jimmy Wales once argued that only "a community ... a dedicated group of a few hundred volunteers" makes the bulk of contributions to Wikipedia and that the project is therefore "much like any traditional organization". In 2008, a Slate magazine article reported that: "According to researchers in Palo Alto, one percent of Wikipedia users are responsible for about half of the site's edits." This method of evaluating contributions was later disputed by Aaron Swartz, who noted that several articles he sampled had large portions of their content (measured by number of characters) contributed by users with low edit counts.
On March 5, 2014, Julie Beck writing for The Atlantic magazine in an article titled "Doctors' #1 Source for Healthcare Information: Wikipedia", stated that "Fifty percent of physicians look up conditions on the (Wikipedia) site, and some are editing articles themselves to improve the quality of available information." Beck continued to detail in this article new programs of Amin Azzam at the University of San Francisco to offer medical school courses to medical students for learning to edit and improve Wikipedia articles on health-related issues, as well as internal quality control programs within Wikipedia organized by James Heilman to improve a group of 200 health-related articles of central medical importance up to Wikipedia's highest standard of articles using its Featured Article and Good Article peer-review evaluation process. In a May 7, 2014 follow-up article in The Atlantic titled "Can Wikipedia Ever Be a Definitive Medical Text", Julie Beck quotes WikiProject Medicine's James Heilman as stating: "Just because a reference is peer-reviewed doesn't mean it's a h