It started almost entirely open—anyone could create articles, and any Wikipedia article could be edited by any reader, even those who did not have a Wikipedia account.
Modifications to all articles would be published immediately.
In January 2007, Wikipedia entered for the first time the top-ten list of the most popular websites in the US, according to com Score Networks.
"New pages patrol" is a process whereby newly created articles are checked for obvious problems.
In 2003, economics Ph D student Andrea Ciffolilli argued that the low transaction costs of participating in a wiki create a catalyst for collaborative development, and that features such as allowing easy access to past versions of a page favor "creative construction" over "creative destruction".
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 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.
A 2013 article titled "The Decline of Wikipedia" in MIT's Technology Review questioned this claim.