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Anyone can put Wikipedia in the palms of their hands, including you. All you need to do is simply edit an article.

Wikipedians or editors are the volunteers who write and edit Wikipedia's articles, unlike readers who simply read them. Anyone—including you—can become a Wikipedian by boldly making changes when they find something that can be improved. To learn more about how, you can check out the basic editing tutorial or the more detailed manual.

Wikipedians do a wide variety of tasks, from fixing typos and removing vandalism to resolving disputes and perfecting content, but unite in a desire to make human knowledge available to every person on the planet.

Number of editors[edit]

Number of active Wikipedians as of 2012
84 / 100
The 2013 study The Wikipedia Gender Gap Revisited measured gender bias in survey completion and estimated that as of 2008, 84% of English Wikipedia editors were male. In the worldwide Wikipedia Editor Survey 2011 of all the Wikipedias, 91% of respondents were male.
20 / 100
Most editors (20%) reside in the United States, followed by Germany (12%) and Russia (7%). The only country not in Europe or North America in the top 10, is India (3%).
76 / 100
49 / 100
Predictably, most of the editors primarily edit (76%) and read (49%) the English Wikipedia, followed by the German Wikipedia as 20% and 12%, and Spanish Wikipedia as 12% and 6% respectively. More than half (51%) the editors contribute in two or more languages.
Age distribution
13 / 100
14 / 100
26 / 100
19 / 100
28 / 100
13% are under 17, 14% of the editors are in the group 18–21, 26% are 22–29, and 19% are 30–39. 28% editors are aged 40+.
59 / 100
59% of the editors are aged 17 to 40.
Editing activities
66 / 100
66% of editors said that their primary activity is to edit existing articles.
42 / 100
28 / 100
42% said it was researching articles and 28% creating new articles.
23 / 100
23% said that they do mostly patrolling work.
22 / 100
22% participate primarily in discussions.
17 / 100
17% mainly upload media.
Why contribute?
71 / 100
71% of the editors contribute because they like the idea of volunteering to share knowledge.
69 / 100
69% believe that information should be freely available.
63 / 100
63% pointed out that contributing is fun.
7 / 100
Only 7% edit Wikipedia for professional reasons.

The English Wikipedia currently has 26,850,708[1] users who have registered a username. Only a minority of users contribute regularly (127,502[2] have edited in the last 30 days), and only a minority of those contributors participate in community discussions. An unknown but relatively large number of unregistered Wikipedians also contribute to the site.

As of February 2015, about 12,000 editors were eligible to vote in the Wikimedia Stewards Elections on the basis of their edits on the English Wikipedia, based on having an edit count of at least 600 overall and 50 since August of 2014. This is about one quarter of the number who had 600 edits overall. (See the Talk page for details.)

User permissions[edit]

Some accounts have special permissions, including:[3]

Some user groups (such as stewards) act globally and thus they do not get local flags and local rights.

Editing patterns[edit]

The highest number of unique users making at least one edit during any given month was in March 2007.[4] Since then, the number of active users declined and has now largely plateaued. For example, in December 2010, 34,048 users made more than five edits during the month and 3,478 made more than 100 edits during the month; in December 2011, 33,948 users made more than five edits during the month and 3,489 made more than 100 edits during the month.[5]

There is a definite seasonal pattern to editor activity, with more editors active during the North American school year than during its summer break.

About 250,000 new accounts are created every month. About 300,000 editors have edited Wikipedia more than 10 times. 127,502 have performed an edit within the last 30 days.[6]

Most people creating accounts don't save any edits. About 25% of newly registered accounts save at least one edit, usually the same day that the account was created. Only about 1% of newly created accounts (about 4% of users ever making an edit) are still editing during the following month (30 to 60 days after account creation).

The Wikipedians with the 5,000 highest edit counts are listed here.


Based on a survey of over 58,000 self-selected Wikipedians by a group at UNU-Merit published in March 2010, contributors can be split into four approximately equal age-groups: those under 18, those between 18 and 22, those from 22 to 30 and the remainder between 30 and 85.[7] About 23% of contributors have completed degree-level education, 26% are undergraduates and 45% have secondary education or less. 87% are men and 13% women. The survey included users of 22 language editions in 231 countries.[7]

Various information about individual Wikipedians is available on the user pages of Wikipedians who choose to create them.

Information on the gender gap can be found at meta:Gender gap. The significant and stable under-representation of women results in persistently unbalanced coverage (e.g. articles related to football are much more developed than articles related to motherhood[dubious ]) in Wikipedia.[citation needed] The gender gap may be driven significantly by Wikipedia's conflict-oriented culture. Experienced female editors can be very successful—they are more likely to become administrators than men—but they are more likely to leave if treated aggressively in discussions, especially as new editors, when their good-faith contributions are more likely to be reverted than a similarly good-faith contribution by a man.[8]


Researchers around the world have begun to identify key personality traits in Wikipedians. According to a study published in 2008, Wikipedia members are more likely than non-members to locate their 'real me' online—that is, to feel more comfortable expressing their "real" selves online than off.[9] This corresponds with more general findings that Internet communities tend to attract users who are introverted offline but more able to open up and feel empowered on the Web.[10][11] A gender difference was found in terms of extroversion: whereas female Wikipedia members were on average more introverted than female non-members, male members were just as extroverted as males in the control group. Wikipedians have also been found to be less agreeable, and less open, as defined by psychology’s Big Five personality traits.[9]

Motivations for contributing[edit]

In November 2007, the most commonly indicated motives were "fun", "ideology", and "values", whereas the least frequently indicated motives were "career", "social", and "protective" (as in "reducing guilt over personal privilege").[12]


It has been suggested that Wikipedist would be a more appropriate name, as an encyclopedist is someone who contributes to an encyclopedia. Wikipedian, though, suggests being part of a group, community or demonym (a resident of a locality). So in this sense, Wikipedians are people who form the Wikipedia Community. The term "Wikimedian" is also widely used to include contributors to all the projects supported by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Contribution styles[edit]

Some Wikipedians welcome newcomers; some Wikipedians award those who they feel deserve awards. Some upload images or help others do so; some work on history articles; some clean up grammar; and still others work on reverting vandalism. Many take on all of these tasks; some, of course, take on none. Whatever one decides to do, every Wikipedian is a valuable member of the community.

Wikipedians who contribute mainly by writing and editing the contents of Wikipedia, without interacting much on Talk or administrative pages, are sometimes called exopedians, whereas those who spend significant time on such community interactions are contrasted as metapedians. A multitude of views and other contribution characteristics are represented well by common Wikipedia-related userboxes: Wikipedia:Userboxes/Wikipedia.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ This number is dynamically updated with the magic word NUMBEROFUSERS
  2. ^ This number is dynamically updated with the magic word NUMBEROFACTIVEUSERS
  3. ^ These numbers are dynamically updated with the magic word NUMBERINGROUP:groupname
  4. ^ Ragesoss, Editing frequency statistics show decline in participation. Wikipedia:Signpost, January 3 2009
  5. ^ Edit activity levels of registered users and bots per group of namespaces
  6. ^ This number is dynamically updated with the magic word NUMBEROFACTIVEUSERS
  7. ^ a b Collaborative Creativity Group, retrieved 2011-03-22 
  8. ^ Lam, S. K.; Uduwage, A.; Dong, Z.; Sen, S.; Musicant, D. R.; Terveen, L.; Riedl, J. (2011). "WP:Clubhouse? An Exploration of Wikipedia's Gender Imbalance". WikiSym. 
  9. ^ a b Amichai-Hamburger, Y. et al. "Personality Characteristics of Wikipedia Members", CyberPsychology & Behavior, Vol. 11, No. 6 (2008).
  10. ^ Amichai-Hamburger, Y., Wainapel G., Fox S. “On the Internet no one knows I’m an introvert: extroversion, neuroticism and Internet interaction.” CyberPsychology & Behavior (2002).
  11. ^ Amichai-Hamburger, Y., McKenna, K., Tal, S. “E-empowerment: Empowerment by the Internet.” Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 24 (2008).
  12. ^ Nov, Oded (2007). "What Motivates Wikipedians?". Communications of the ACM 50 (11): 60–64. doi:10.1145/1297797.1297798. Retrieved 11 August 2011. 

External links[edit]