As the news broke on Wednesday that there was a riot at the U.S. Capitol, volunteer #Wikipedia editors worked to document what was happening. At 18:34 UTC (1:34 p.m. EST) on January 6, an editor created a short article titled “January 2021 Donald Trump rally” about what was at the time only a rally in Washington, D.C. Shortly after 2 p.m. EST, protesters breached the Capitol building. The information was first introduced to the article at 2:33 p.m. EST, and at this point many editors began rapidly updating the page. At the peak of editing, I would estimate there was an edit being saved every ten seconds—many more were unsuccessful due to “edit conflicts”, which occur when two editors try to simultaneously save conflicting revisions.
As of [January 10th], the article has been edited more than 4,500 times by almost 800 different people, who collaborated to create an article that is nearly 14,000 words long and cites 480+ sources. It’s been viewed almost a million times.