English Wikipedia

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Favicon of Wikipedia English Wikipedia
Logo of the English Wikipedia
Web address en.wikipedia.org
Slogan The Free Encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
Commercial? No
Type of site Internet encyclopedia project
Registration Optional (but required to create articles)
Users 22,554,619
Content license Creative Commons Attribution/
Share-Alike
3.0
(most text also dual-licensed under GFDL)
Media licensing varies
Owner Wikimedia Foundation
Created by Jimmy Wales, Larry Sanger[1]
Launched 15 January 2001

The English Wikipedia is the English-language edition of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Founded on 15 January 2001 and reaching four million articles by July 2012, it was the first edition of Wikipedia and, as of September 2014, remains the largest, with more than twice as many articles as the next largest, the Swedish Wikipedia[citation needed].[2] As of September 2014, nearly 13.8% of articles in all Wikipedias belong to the English-language edition. This share has gradually declined from more than 50% in 2003, due to the growth of Wikipedias in other languages.[3] There are 4,607,086 articles on the site (live count).[4] In December 2012, the combined text of the English Wikipedia's articles totaled roughly 9.7 gigabytes.[5]

The Simple English Wikipedia is a variation, with most of the articles using a simplified level of English vocabulary. There are also two other "English" Wikipedias, the Scots Wikipedia (Scots Wikipaedia) which aims to preserve the vocabulary and grammar of the Scots language in all its forms over the past nine centuries, and the Old English (Ænglisc/Anglo-Saxon) Wikipedia.

Pioneering edition[edit]

The English Wikipedia was the first Wikipedia edition and has remained the largest. It has pioneered many ideas as conventions, policies or features which were later adopted by some of the other-language Wikipedia editions. These ideas include "featured articles",[6] the neutral-point-of-view policy,[7] navigation templates,[8] the sorting of short "stub" articles into sub-categories,[9] dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration,[10] and weekly collaborations.[11]

The English Wikipedia has adopted features from the German Wikipedia, and from smaller editions. These features include verified revisions from the German Wikipedia (dewiki), and town population-lookup templates from the Dutch Wikipedia (nlwiki).

Although the English Wikipedia stores images and audio files, as well as text files, many of the images have been moved to Wikimedia Commons with the same name, as passed-through files. However, the English Wikipedia also has fair-use images and audio/video files (with copyright restrictions), most of which are not allowed on Commons.

Many of the most active participants in the Wikimedia Foundation, and the developers of the MediaWiki software that powers Wikipedia, are English Wikipedia users.

Users and editors[edit]

English Wikipedia statistics
Number of user accounts Number of articles Number of files Number of administrators
22,554,619 4,607,086 838,276 1,393

The English Wikipedia reached 4,000,000 registered user accounts on 1 April 2007,[12] just a little over a year since it had crossed a threshold of 1,000,000 registered user accounts in late February 2006.[13]

Over 800,000 editors have edited Wikipedia more than 10 times.[14] 300,000 editors edit Wikipedia every month[citation needed]; of these, over 30,000 perform more than 5 edits per month, and a little over 3,000 perform more than 100 edits per month.[15] By 24 November 2011, a total of 500 million edits had been performed on the English Wikipedia.[citation needed]

As the largest Wikipedia edition, and because English is such a widely used language, the English Wikipedia draws many users and editors whose native language is not English. Such users may seek information from the English Wikipedia rather than the Wikipedia of their native language because the English Wikipedia tends to contain more information about general subjects. Successful collaborations have developed between non-native English speakers who add content to the English Wikipedia and native English speakers who act as copyeditors for them.[citation needed]

Arbitration Committee[edit]

The English Wikipedia has an Arbitration Committee (also known as ArbCom) that consists of a panel of editors that imposes binding rulings with regard to disputes between other editors of the online encyclopedia.[16] The Committee was created by Jimmy Wales on 4 December 2003 as an extension of the decision-making power he had formerly held as owner of the site.[17][18]

When initially founded, the Committee consisted of 12 arbitrators divided into three groups of four members each.[17][19] Since then, the Committee has gradually expanded to its membership to 18 arbitrators.[20][not in citation given]

Like other aspects of the English Wikipedia, Wikipedia's sister projects have emulated the Arbitration Committee with their own similar versions.[citation needed] In 2007, an Arbitration Committee was founded on the German Wikipedia called the Schiedsrichter.[21]

Controversies[edit]

Incidents of cyberbullying on Wikipedia have been reported in the mainstream press.[22][23][24] The Glen A. Wilson High School was subject of such a threat in 2008,[22][23][24] and a 14-year-old boy was arrested for making a threat against Niles West High School on Wikipedia in 2006.[25]

A 2013 study from Oxford University concluded that the most disputed articles on the English Wikipedia tended to be broader issues, while on other language Wikipedias the most disputed articles tended to be regional issues; this is due to the English language's status as a global lingua franca, which means that many who edit the English Wikipedia do not speak English as a native language. The study stated that the most disputed entries on the English Wikipedia were: George W. Bush, Anarchism, Muhammad, List of WWE personnel, Global warming, Circumcision, United States, Jesus, Race and intelligence, and Christianity.[26]

Varieties of English[edit]

One controversy in the English Wikipedia concerns which national variety of the English language is to be preferred, with the most commonly advocated candidates being American English and British English.[27] Perennial suggestions range from standardizing upon a single form of English to forking the English Wikipedia project. A style guideline states, "the English Wikipedia has no general preference for a major national variety of the language" and "an article on a topic that has strong ties to a particular English-speaking nation uses the appropriate variety of English for that nation".[28] An article should use spelling and grammar variants consistently; for example, color and colour are not to be used in the same article, since they represent American and British English, respectively. The guide also states that an article must remain in its original national variant.

There has been a similar issue in the Chinese language Wikipedia concerning regional differences in writing. Efforts at a language fork for Portuguese Wikipedia have failed, and succeeded for Norwegian Wikipedia.

Varieties of English[edit]

Andrew Lih wrote that the English Wikipedia "didn't have the chance to go through a debate over whether there should be a British English Wikipedia or an American English Wikipedia" because the English Wikipedia was the original edition.[29] Editors agreed to use U.S. spellings for primarily American topics and British spellings for primarily British topics. In 2009 Lih wrote, "No doubt, American spellings tend to dominate by default just because of sheer numbers."[30]

Quality-wise distribution of articles[edit]



Circle frame.svg

Quality-wise distribution of over 4.6 million articles and lists on the English Wikipedia, as of 6 September 2014[31]

  Featured articles (0.11%)
  Featured lists (0.04%)
  A class (0.03%)
  Good articles (0.49%)
  B class (2.16%)
  C class (3.90%)
  Start class (25.50%)
  Stub class (54.12%)
  Lists (3.46%)
  Unassessed (10.29%)

In 2007, in preparation for producing a print version, the English Wikipedia introduced an assessment scale of the quality of articles.[32] The range of quality classes begins with "Stub" (very short pages), followed by "Start", "C" and "B" (in increasing order of quality). Community peer review is needed for the article to enter one of the highest quality classes: either "A", "good article" or the highest, "featured article". Of the total of about 4.4 million articles assessed as of 11 December 2013, approximately five thousand are featured articles (0.1%). One featured article per day, as selected by editors, appears on the main page of Wikipedia.[33][34]

Researcher Giacomo Poderi found that articles tend to reach featured status via the intensive work of a few editors.[35] A 2010 study found unevenness in quality among featured articles and concluded that the community process is ineffective in assessing the quality of articles.[36]

[Note that the pie-chart may not be displayed properly in mobile view.]

Graphics[edit]

Internal news publications[edit]

Community-produced news publications include The Signpost which has been published since January 2005 on English Wikipedia. Other past and present community news publications include the "Wikiworld" web comic, the Wikipedia Weekly podcast, and newsletters of specific WikiProjects like The Bugle from WikiProject Military History and the monthly newsletter from The Guild of Copy Editors. There are also a number of publications from the Wikimedia Foundation and multilingual publications such as the Wikimedia Blog and This Month in Education.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ There is some controversy over who founded Wikipedia. Wikipedia's official personnel page from September 2001 states Wales and Sanger were the two co-founders, and that there was no editor-in-chief. Wales considers himself to be the sole founder of Wikipedia and has told the Boston Globe that "it's preposterous" to call Sanger the co-founder. However, Sanger strongly contests that description. He was identified as a co-founder of Wikipedia at least as early as September 2001 and referred to himself that way as early as January 2002.
  2. ^ https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/List_of_Wikipedias#All_Wikipedias_ordered_by_number_of_articles
  3. ^ Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (21 September 2008). "List of Wikipedias". Retrieved 21 September 2008. 
  4. ^ The number of articles on the English Wikipedia is shown by the MediaWiki variable {{{NUMBEROFARTICLES}}, with all Wikipedias as total {{NUMBEROF|ARTICLES|total}} = 33,298,522.
  5. ^ "Download Wikipedia In English – All 9.7GB Of It". 9 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-10.
  6. ^ English Wikipedia (30 January 2007). "Featured articles". Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  7. ^ English Wikipedia (25 January 2007). "Neutral point of view". Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  8. ^ Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (29 January 2007). "Help:Template". Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  9. ^ English Wikipedia (19 January 2007). "WikiProject Stub sorting". Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  10. ^ English Wikipedia (27 January 2007). "Resolving disputes". Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  11. ^ English Wikipedia (30 January 2007). "Article Creation and Improvement Drive". Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  12. ^ Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-04-02/News and notes. Retrieved 20 April 2007
  13. ^ Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2006-02-27/News and notes. Retrieved 20 April 2007
  14. ^ "Wikipedia Statistics - Tables - English". Stats.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  15. ^ "Wikipedia Statistics - Tables - English". Stats.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  16. ^ Schiff, Stacy (2 December 2006). "Know-alls". The Age. Australia: Fairfax Digital Network. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  17. ^ a b Wales, Jimmy (4 December 2003). "WikiEN-l Wikiquette committee appointments". Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  18. ^ Hoffman, David A.; Salil Mehra (2010). "Wikitruth Through Wikiorder". Emory Law Journal 59 (2010). SSRN 1354424. 
  19. ^ Hyatt, Josh (1 June 2006). "Secrets of Greatness: Great Teams". Fortune. Time Warner. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  20. ^ Wales, Jimmy (20 December 2008). "ArbCom Appointments". Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 June 2009. 
  21. ^ Kleinz, Torsten (30 April 2007). "Wikipedia sucht Schiedsrichter" (in German). heise online. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  22. ^ a b Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (29 April 2008). "Wikipedia threats went unchecked – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. 
  23. ^ a b "Hacienda Heights school receives possible threat | abc7.com". Abclocal.go.com. 2008-04-18. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  24. ^ a b "Student arrested for violent threats on Wikipedia". Los Angeles Times. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  25. ^ "Teen charged after threat to school on Wikipedia". Bloomington, IL: Pantagraph.com. Associated Press. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  26. ^ Gross, Doug. "Wiki wars: The 10 most controversial Wikipedia pages." (Archive) CNN. July 24, 2013. Retrieved on July 26, 2013.
  27. ^ English Wikipedia. "Wikipedia:Manual of Style (spelling)". Retrieved 25 February 2006. 
  28. ^ English Wikipedia. "Wikipedia:Manual of Style". Retrieved 10 October 2007. 
  29. ^ Lih, p. 135.
  30. ^ Lih, p. 136.
  31. ^ Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Statistics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  32. ^ "Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment". Retrieved October 28, 2007. 
  33. ^ "Comparing featured article groups and revision patterns correlations in Wikipedia". First Monday. Retrieved July 13, 2010. 
  34. ^ Fernanda B. Viégas, Martin Wattenberg, and Matthew M. McKeon (July 22, 2007). The Hidden Order of Wikipedia (PDF). Visual Communication Lab, IBM Research. Retrieved October 30, 2007. 
  35. ^ Poderi, Giacomo, Wikipedia and the Featured Articles: How a Technological System Can Produce Best Quality Articles, Master thesis, University of Maastricht, October 2008.
  36. ^ David Lindsey. "Evaluating quality control of Wikipedia's featured articles". First Monday. 
  37. ^ Erik Zachte (14 November 2011). "Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report – Wikipedia Page Views Per Country – Trends". Wikimedia Statistics. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  38. ^ Erik Zachte (14 November 2011). "Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report – Page Edits Per Wikipedia Language – Breakdown". Wikimedia Statistics. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  39. ^ "Usability and Experience Study". Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  40. ^ "Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report - Page Edits Per Wikipedia Language - Breakdown". Stats.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 

External links[edit]