Wikipedia was launched on January 15, 2001, as a single English-language edition at www.wikipedia.com, and announced by Sanger on the Nupedia mailing list.Wikipedia's policy of "neutral point-of-view" was codified in its first months. Otherwise, there were relatively few rules initially and Wikipedia operated independently of Nupedia.Originally, Bomis intended to make Wikipedia a business for profit.
Wikipedia gained early contributors from Nupedia, Slashdot postings, and web search engine indexing. By August 8, 2001, Wikipedia had over 8,000 articles.On September 25, 2001, Wikipedia had over 13,000 articles. By the end of 2001, it had grown to approximately 20,000 articles and 18 language editions. It had reached 26 language editions by late 2002, 46 by the end of 2003, and 161 by the final days of 2004. Nupedia and Wikipedia coexisted until the former's servers were taken down permanently in 2003, and its text was incorporated into Wikipedia. The English Wikipedia passed the mark of two million articles on September 9, 2007, making it the largest encyclopedia ever assembled, surpassing even the 1408 Yongle Encyclopedia, which had held the record for almost 600 years.
Citing fears of commercial advertising and lack of control in Wikipedia, users of the Spanish Wikipedia forked from Wikipedia to create the Enciclopedia Libre in February 2002. These moves encouraged Wales to announce that Wikipedia would not display advertisements, and to change Wikipedia's domain from wikipedia.com to wikipedia.org.
Though the English Wikipedia reached three million articles in August 2009, the growth of the edition, in terms of the numbers of articles and of contributors, appears to have peaked around early 2007.Around 1,800 articles were added daily to the encyclopedia in 2006; by 2013 that average was roughly 800.A team at the Palo Alto Research Center attributed this slowing of growth to the project's increasing exclusivity and resistance to change.Others suggest that the growth is flattening naturally because articles that could be called "low-hanging fruit"—topics that clearly merit an article—have already been created and built up extensively.
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, the project 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 methodology of the study.Two years later, in 2011, Wales acknowledged the presence of 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, Wales also claimed the number of editors was "stable and sustainable". A 2013 article titled "The Decline of Wikipedia" in MIT'sTechnology Review questioned this claim. The article revealed that since 2007, Wikipedia had lost a third of the volunteer editors who update and correct the online encyclopedia and those still there have focused increasingly on minutiae. In July 2012, the Atlantic reported that the number of administrators is 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"