I'm with Kerry.
By the way, 120 million notable articles are possible, but the estimate is far to be complete, so the real figure is greater for sure. I love these discussions.
Re: the article. It seems to be one of a number of opinion pieces that uses the War of 1812 as its primary example. It must be some new scientific method: proof by War of 1812 :-)
But more seriously, I think the potential for new articles in Wikipedia is limited only by the definition of notability, for which the primary requirement is some good quality sources. So the more that is written, the more there is to write about in Wikipedia. Even if we restricted ourselves to new articles on topics notable prior to 2013 (say), we would still have enormous growth potential.
Generally Wikipedia has better coverage of contemporary topics than historical because the WWW provides easy access to more sources for topics of contemporary notability than for historic notability. But if every single episode of Seinfeld is notable (as it must be as each has a WP article!), then surely every book/song/poem/artwork that has ever been reviewed is notable too. and based on the apparent notability of current sports people and the results of what seems like every football season, tennis tournament, atheletics meet, etc, then surely history has plenty of equally notable articles on similar topics. Jousting tournaments in 1517 in Avignon, etc. What about race horses? A lot has been written on their pedigree, form and prospects for centuries. Lots of growth potential there too.
History has a wealth of new articles for Wikipedia of at least the same notability as current subjects. Whether anyone wants to write them or anyone want to read them, only time will tell. Notability doesn't necessarily make something interesting to a modern reader. But there is a massive "long tail" of historically notable topics that could be written about.
Sent from my iPad
On 28/10/2012, at 8:55 PM, "Yaroslav M. Blanter" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> We have a new article in The Atlantic,
> (which btw I found following Dario's twitter, @ReaderMeter, which I recommend)
> and this is still the same story of whether we achieved the limit of what can be written etc). Without going into details of this animated debate (I have smth to say, for instance, I just created two articles which have about a hundred red links, and the material to fill in these red links is available, but this will lead us away from the topic), I am curious, if anybody ever tried to estimate what is the possible number of notable topics for articles. On the short time scale, it should grow linearly with time, since we have new sports events, elections, TW shows, movies, books etc, and many persons who previously not been notable become notable. Thus, this number must be
> N = a + b (t-2012),
> where a is the number of topics notable now, t is the time in years, and b is the number of new topics which become notable every year.
> Was there any research on what order of magnitude a and b have? I guess b must be in the order of dozens of thousands, since we are talking about people. What is a? Is it dominated by the number of species of insects, or cosmic bodies, or what?
> I tried to ask this question several years ago in Russian Wikipedia, but there was no concluding answer.
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