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#1: Wikipedia

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Wikipedia
[1]

[2] The logo of Wikipedia, a globe featuring glyphs from several different writing systems

Screenshot [show]
URL wikipedia.org
Slogan The Free Encyclopedia
Commercial? No
Type of site Internet encyclopedia
Registration Optional (required only for certain tasks such as editing protected pages, creating pages or uploading files)
Available language(s) 275 active editions (285 in total)
Users 35,000,000 (total registered in all editions)[1]
Content license Creative Commons Attribution/
Share-Alike
3.0 (most text also dual-licensed under GFDL)
Media licensing varies
Owner Wikimedia Foundation (non-profit)
Created by Jimmy Wales, Larry Sanger[2]
Launched January 15, 2001 (11 years ago)
Alexa rank 6 (August 2012)[3]
Current status Active

Wikipedia ([3]i/ˌwɪkɨˈpdiə/ or [4]i/ˌwɪkiˈpdiə/ WIK-i-PEE-dee-ə) is a free, collaboratively edited, and multilingual Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 22 million articles (over 4 million in English alone) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site,[4] and it has about 100,000 regularly active contributors.[5][6] As of August 2012, there are editions of Wikipedia in 285 languages. It has become the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet,[7][8][9][10] ranking sixth globally among all websites on Alexa and having an estimated 365 million readers worldwide.[7][11] It is estimated that Wikipedia receives 2.7 billion monthly pageviews from the United States alone.[12]

Wikipedia was launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger.[13] Sanger coined the name Wikipedia,[14] which is a portmanteau of wiki (a type of collaborative website, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning "quick")[15] and encyclopedia. Wikipedia's departure from the expert-driven style of encyclopedia building and the presence of a large body of unacademic content have received extensive attention in print media. In 2006, Time magazine recognized Wikipedia's participation in the rapid growth of online collaboration and interaction by millions of people around the world, in addition to YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook.[16] Wikipedia has also been praised as a news source because of how quickly articles about recent events appear.[17][18]

The policies of Wikipedia strongly espouse verifiability and a neutral point of view.

Contents

Nature

As the popular joke goes, ‘The problem with Wikipedia is that it only works in practice. In theory, it can never work.’

—Miikka Ryokas, [19]

Editing

[5][6]In April 2009, the Wikimedia Foundation conducted a Wikipedia usability study, questioning users about the editing mechanism.[20]In a departure from the style of traditional encyclopedias, Wikipedia is largely open. This means that, except for particularly sensitive and/or vandalism-prone pages, which would be "protected" from some degree of editing,[21] the reader of an article can edit the text as he sees fit, anonymously or with a user account. Different language editions modify this policy; for example, only registered users may create a new article in the English edition.[22] No article should be owned by its creator or any other editor, nor vetted by any recognized authority. Instead, editors should agree on the content and structure of articles by consensus.[23]

By default, an edit to an article becomes available immediately, prior to any review. As such, an article may contain inaccuracies, ideological biases, or even patent nonsense, until or unless another editor corrects the problem. Different language editions, each under separate administrative control, are free to modify this policy. For example, the German Wikipedia maintains "stable versions" of articles,[24] which have passed certain reviews. Notably, however, the English Wikipedia does not use the German model. In 2010 the former conducted a two-month trial of a "pending changes" system wherein new users' edits to certain "controversial" or vandalism-prone articles would be "subject to review from an established Wikipedia editor before publication". In a discussion following the trial, the community failed to reach consensus as to whether or not to keep the "pending changes" system. Thus, all remaining pending changes were removed from article pages in May 2011.[25] [7][8]Editors keep track of changes to articles by checking the difference between two revisions of a page, displayed here in red.Contributors, whether registered or not, can take advantage of features available in the software that powers Wikipedia. The "History" page belonging to each article records every single past revision of the article, though a revision with libelous content, criminal threats or copyright infringements may be removed retroactively.[26][27] Editors can use this page to undo undesirable changes or restore lost content. The "Talk" page associated with each article helps coordinate work among multiple editors.[28] Importantly, editors may use the "Talk" page to reach "consensus",[29] sometimes through the use of polling.

In addition, editors may view the most "recent changes" to the website, which are displayed in reverse chronology. Regular contributors often maintain a "watchlist" of articles of interest to them, in order to easily track recent changes to those articles. In language editions with many articles, editors tend to prefer the "watchlist" because the number of edits has become too large to follow in "recent changes." New page patrol is a process by which newly created articles are checked for obvious problems.[30] A frequently vandalized article can be semi-protected, allowing only well established users to edit it.[31] A particularly contentious article may be locked so that only administrators are able to make changes.[32] [9][10]The editing interface of Wikipedia.Computer programs called bots have been used widely to correct common misspellings and stylistic issues, or to start articles such as geography entries in a standard format from statistical data.[33][34] There are also some bots designed to warn users making "undesirable" edits,[35] block on the creation of links to particular websites, and block on edits from particular accounts, IP addresses ranges. Bots on wikipedia must be approved by administration prior to activation.[36]

Organization of article pages

Articles in Wikipedia are loosely organized according to their development status and subject matter.[37] A new article often starts as a "stub", a very short page consisting of definitions and some links. On the other extreme, the most developed articles may be nominated for "Featured article" status. One "featured article" per day, as selected by editors, appears on the main page of Wikipedia.[38][39] Researcher Giacomo Poderi found that articles tend to reach featured status via the intensive work of few editors.[40] A 2010 study found the unevenness of the quality among featured articles and concluded that the community process is "ineffective" in assessing the quality of articles.[41] In 2007, in preparation for producing a print version, the English-language Wikipedia introduced an assessment scale against which the quality of articles is judged.[42]

A group of Wikipedia editors may form a WikiProject to focus their work on a specific topic area, using its associated discussion page to coordinate changes across multiple articles.

Vandalism

Main article: Vandalism on WikipediaThe most common and obvious types of vandalism include insertion of false information, advertising language, highly partisan or opinionated language, or other types of spam.[43] Sometimes editors commit vandalism by removing information or entirely blanking a given page. Less common types of vandalism can be more difficult to detect. Those committing vandalism can introduce irrelevant formatting, modify page semantics such as the page's title or categorization, manipulate the underlying code of an article, or utilize images disruptively.[citation needed]

The opportunity for vandalism provides a number of unique challenges to Wikipedia. One criticism is that, at any moment, a reader of an article cannot be certain that it has not been compromised by the insertion of false information or the removal of essential information. Former Encyclopædia Britannica editor-in-chief Robert McHenry once described the predicament using simile:[44] The user who visits Wikipedia to learn about some subject, to confirm some matter of fact, is rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom. It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him.[45][11][12]John Seigenthaler has described Wikipedia as "a flawed and irresponsible research tool".[46]Obvious vandalism is generally easy to remove from wiki articles; in practice, the median time to detect and fix vandalism is a few minutes.[47][48] However, in one high-profile incident, false information was introduced into the biography of American political figure John Seigenthaler and remained undetected for four months.[46] John Seigenthaler, the founding editorial director of USA Today and founder of the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, called Wales and asked if he had any way of knowing who contributed the misinformation. Wales replied that he did not, although the perpetrator was eventually traced.[49][50] This incident led to policy changes on the site, specifically targeted at tightening up the verifiability of all biographical articles of living people. [51]

Rules and laws governing content and editor behavior

Content in Wikipedia is subject to the laws (in particular, the copyright laws) of the United States and of the U.S. state of Florida, where the majority of Wikipedia's servers are located. Beyond legal matters, the editorial principles of Wikipedia are embodied in the "five pillars", and numerous policies and guidelines that are intended to shape the content appropriately. Even these rules are stored in wiki form, and Wikipedia editors as a community write and revise the website's policies and guidelines.[52] Editors can enforce rules by deleting or modifying non-compliant material. Originally, rules on the non-English editions of Wikipedia were based on a translation of the rules on the English Wikipedia. They have since diverged to some extent.

English Wikipedia

[13][14]Main Page of the English Wikipedia on October 20, 2010.[15][16]The mobile version of the English Wikipedia Main Page in the Safari web browser on an iPod Touch=====Content policies===== According to the rules on the English Wikipedia, each entry in Wikipedia to be worthy of inclusion must be about a topic that is encyclopedic and is not a dictionary entry or dictionary-like.[53] A topic should also meet Wikipedia's standards of "notability",[54] which usually means that it must have received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources such as mainstream media or major academic journals that are independent of the subject of the topic. Further, Wikipedia intends only to convey knowledge that is already established and recognized.[55] It must not present new information or original research. A claim that is likely to be challenged requires a reference to a reliable source. Among Wikipedia editors, this is often phrased as "verifiability, not truth" to express the idea that the readers, not the encyclopedia, are ultimately responsible for checking the truthfulness of the articles and making their own interpretations.[56] This can lead to the removal of information that is valid, thus hindering inclusion of knowledge and growth of the encyclopedia.[57] Finally, Wikipedia must not take a side.[58] All opinions and viewpoints, if attributable to external sources, must enjoy an appropriate share of coverage within an article.[59] This is known as neutral point of view (NPOV).

Dispute resolution

Wikipedia has many methods of settling disputes. A "BOLD, revert, discuss" cycle sometimes occurs, in which an editor changes something, another editor reverts the change, and then the two editors discuss the issue on a talk page. When editors disregard this process, when a change is repeatedly done by one editor and then undone by another, an 'edit war' may be asserted to have begun by the editor who chooses to engage in that assertion. The resolution or continuation of which asserted war is then upon the discretion -or absence of- of the editor who would have received the assertion.[60] The provenance of this phrase "an edit war" is unknown. [61]

In order to gain a broader community consensus, editors can raise issues at the Village Pump, or initiate a Request for Comment. An editor can report impolite, uncivil, or otherwise problematic communications with another editor via the "Wikiquette Assistance" noticeboard. Such postings themselves have no binding or disciplinary power. Specialized forums exist for centralizing discussion on specific decisions, such as whether or not an article should be deleted. Mediation is sometimes used, although it has been deemed by some Wikipedians to be unhelpful for resolving particularly contentious disputes.[62]

Arbitration

The Arbitration Committee is the ultimate dispute resolution method. Although disputes usually arise from a disagreement between two opposing views on how articles should read, the Arbitration Committee explicitly refuses to directly rule on which view should be adopted. Statistical analyses suggest that the committee ignores the content of disputes and focuses on the way disputes are conducted instead,[63] functioning not so much to resolve disputes and make peace between conflicting editors, but to weed out problematic editors while allowing potentially productive editors back in to participate. Therefore, the committee does not dictate the content of articles, although it sometimes condemns content changes when it deems the new content violates Wikipedia policies (for example, if the new content is biased). Its remedies include cautions and probations (used in 63.2% of cases) and banning editors from articles (43.3%), subject matters (23.4%) or Wikipedia (15.7%). Complete bans from Wikipedia are largely limited to instances of impersonation and anti-social behavior. When conduct is not impersonation or anti-social, but rather anti-consensus or violating editing policies, warnings tend to be issued.[64]

Privacy

One privacy concern in the case of Wikipedia is the right of a private citizen to remain private; to remain a "private citizen" rather than a "public figure" in the eyes of the law.[65] It is a battle between the right to be anonymous in cyberspace and the right to be anonymous in real life ("meatspace"). Wikipedia Watch argues that "Wikipedia is a potential menace to anyone who values privacy" and that "a greater degree of accountability in the Wikipedia structure" would be "the very first step toward resolving the privacy problem."[66] A particular problem occurs in the case of an individual who is relatively unimportant and for whom there exists a Wikipedia page against their wishes.

In January 2006, a German court ordered the German Wikipedia shut down within Germany because it stated the full name of Boris Floricic, aka "Tron", a deceased hacker who was formerly with the Chaos Computer Club. More specifically, the court ordered that the URL within the German .de domain (http://www.wikipedia.de/) may no longer redirect to the encyclopedia's servers in Florida at http://de.wikipedia.org although German readers were still able to use the US-based URL directly, and there was virtually no loss of access on their part. The court order arose out of a lawsuit filed by Floricic's parents, demanding that their son's surname be removed from Wikipedia.[67] On February 9, 2006, the injunction against Wikimedia Deutschland was overturned, with the court rejecting the notion that Tron's right to privacy or that of his parents were being violated.[68] The plaintiffs appealed to the Berlin state court, but were refused in May 2006.

Community

Main article: Community of Wikipedia[17][18]Wikimania, an annual conference for users of Wikipedia and other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation.Wikipedia's community has been described as "cult-like,"[69] although not always with entirely negative connotations,[70] and criticized for failing to accommodate inexperienced users.[71] The project's preference for cohesiveness, even if it requires compromise that includes disregard of credentials, has been referred to as "anti-elitism".[72]

Power structure

The Wikipedia community has established "a bureaucracy of sorts", including "a clear power structure that gives volunteer administrators the authority to exercise editorial control."[73][74][75] Editors in good standing in the community can run for one of many levels of volunteer stewardship; this begins with "administrator,"[76][77] a group of privileged users who have the ability to delete pages, lock articles from being changed in case of vandalism or editorial disputes, and block users from editing. Despite the name, administrators do not enjoy any special privilege in decision-making; instead their powers are mostly limited to making edits that have project-wide effects and thus are disallowed to ordinary editors, and to block users making disruptive edits (such as vandalism).[78][79]

Contributors

[19][20]Demographics of Wikipedia editors.Wikipedia does not require that its users provide identification.[80] However, as Wikipedia grew, "Who writes Wikipedia?" became one of the questions frequently asked on the project, often with a reference to other Web 2.0 projects such as Digg.[81] Wales once argued that only "a community ... a dedicated group of a few hundred volunteers" makes the bulk of contributions to Wikipedia and that the project is therefore "much like any traditional organization." Wales performed a study finding that over 50% of all the edits were done by just 0.7% of the users (at the time: 524 people). This method of evaluating contributions was later disputed by Aaron Swartz, who noted that several articles he sampled had large portions of their content (measured by number of characters) contributed by users with low edit counts.[82] A 2007 study by researchers from Dartmouth College found that "anonymous and infrequent contributors to Wikipedia ... are as reliable a source of knowledge as those contributors who register with the site."[83] Although some contributors are authorities in their field, Wikipedia requires that even their contributions be supported by published and verifiable sources.

In 2003, economics PhD student Andrea Ciffolilli argued that the low transaction costs of participating in wiki software create a catalyst for collaborative development, and that a "creative construction" approach encourages participation.[84] In his 2008 book, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, Zittrain cites Wikipedia's success as a case study in how open collaboration has fostered innovation on the web.[85] A 2008 study found that Wikipedians were less agreeable, open, and conscientious than others.[86][87] A 2009 study suggested there was "evidence of growing resistance from the Wikipedia community to new content."[88]

At OOPSLA 2009, Wikimedia CTO and Senior Software Architect Brion Vibber gave a presentation entitled "Community Performance Optimization: Making Your People Run as Smoothly as Your Site"[89] in which he discussed the challenges of handling the contributions from a large community and compared the process to that of software development.

Interactions

[21][22]Wikipedians and British Museum curators collaborate on the article Hoxne Hoard in June 2010.Members of the community predominantly interact with each other via 'talk' pages, which are wiki-edited pages which are associated with articles, as well as via talk pages that are specific to particular contributors, and talk pages that help run the site. These pages help the contributors reach consensus about what the contents of the articles should be, how the site's rules may change, and to take actions with respect to any problems within the community.[90]

The Wikipedia Signpost is the community newspaper on the English Wikipedia,[91] and was founded by Michael Snow, an administrator and the former chair of the Wikimedia Foundation board of trustees.[92] It covers news and events from the site, as well as major events from sister projects, such as Wikimedia Commons.[93]

Positive re-inforcement

Wikipedians sometimes award one another barnstars for good work. These personalized tokens of appreciation reveal a wide range of valued work extending far beyond simple editing to include social support, administrative actions, and types of articulation work. The barnstar phenomenon has been analyzed by researchers seeking to determine what implications it might have for other communities engaged in large-scale collaborations.[94]

New users

Up to sixty percent of Wikipedia's registered users never make another edit after their first 24 hours. Possible explanations are that such users only register for a single purpose, or are scared away by their experiences.[95] Goldman writes that editors who fail to comply with Wikipedia cultural rituals, such as signing talk pages, implicitly signal that they are Wikipedia outsiders, increasing the odds that Wikipedia insiders will target their contributions as a threat. Becoming a Wikipedia insider involves non-trivial costs; the contributor is expected to build a user page, learn Wikipedia-specific technological codes, submit to an arcane dispute resolution process, and learn a "baffling culture rich with in-jokes and insider references." Non-logged-in users are in some sense second-class citizens on Wikipedia,[96] as "participants are accredited by members of the wiki community, who have a vested interest in preserving the quality of the work product, on the basis of their ongoing participation,"[97] but the contribution histories of IP addresses cannot necessarily with any certainty be credited to, or blamed upon, a particular user.

A 2009 study by Business Insider editor and journalist Henry Blodget[98] showed that in a random sample of articles most content in Wikipedia (measured by the amount of contributed text which survives to the latest sampled edit) is created by "outsiders" (users with low edit counts), while most editing and formatting is done by "insiders" (a select group of established users).

Demographics

One study found that the contributor base to Wikipedia "was barely 13% women; the average age of a contributor was in the mid-20s." Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, hopes to see female editing contributions increase to 25% by 2015.[99] Linda Basch, President of the National Council for Research on Women, noted the contrast in these Wikipedia editor statistics with the percentage of women currently completing bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and PhD programs in the United States (all at rates of 50% or greater).[100] [23][24]Estimation of contributions shares from different regions in the world to different Wikipedia editions.In a research article published in PLoS ONE in 2012, Yasseri et al. based on the circadian patterns of editorial activities of the community, have estimated the share of contributions to different editions of Wikipedia from different regions of the world. For instance, it has been reported that edits from North America are limited to almost 50% in the English Wikipedia and this value decreases to 25% in Simple English Wikipedia. The article also covers some other editions in different languages.[101] The Wikimedia Foundation hopes to increase the number of editors in the Global South to 37% by 2015.[102]

Language editions

See also: List of Wikipedias[25][26]Percentage of all Wikipedia articles in English (red) and top ten largest language editions (blue). As of July 2007 less than 23% of Wikipedia articles are in English.There are currently 285 language editions (or language versions) of Wikipedia; of these, 4 have over 1 million articles each (English, German, French and Dutch), 6 more have over 700,000 articles (Italian, Polish, Spanish, Russian, Japanese and Portuguese), 40 more have over 100,000 articles and 109 have over 10,000 articles.[103] The largest, the English Wikipedia, has over 4 million articles. According to Alexa, the English subdomain (en.wikipedia.org; English Wikipedia) receives approximately 54% of Wikipedia's cumulative traffic, with the remaining split among the other languages (Japanese: 10%, German: 8%, Spanish: 5%, Russian: 4%, French: 4%, Italian: 3%).[7] As of January 2012, the five largest language editions are (in order of article count) English, German, French, Dutch, and Italian Wikipedias.[104]

Since Wikipedia is web-based and therefore worldwide, contributors of a same language edition may use different dialects or may come from different countries (as is the case for the English edition). These differences may lead to some conflicts over spelling differences, (e.g. color vs. colour)[105] or points of view.[106] Though the various language editions are held to global policies such as "neutral point of view," they diverge on some points of policy and practice, most notably on whether images that are not licensed freely may be used under a claim of fair use.[107][108][109]

Wales has described Wikipedia as "an effort to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language."[110] Though each language edition functions more or less independently, some efforts are made to supervise them all. They are coordinated in part by Meta-Wiki, the Wikimedia Foundation's wiki devoted to maintaining all of its projects (Wikipedia and others).[111] For instance, Meta-Wiki provides important statistics on all language editions of Wikipedia,[112] and it maintains a list of articles every Wikipedia should have.[113] The list concerns basic content by subject: biography, history, geography, society, culture, science, technology, foodstuffs, and mathematics. As for the rest, it is not rare for articles strongly related to a particular language not to have counterparts in another edition. For example, articles about small towns in the United States might only be available in English, even when they meet notability criteria of other language Wikipedia projects.

Translated articles represent only a small portion of articles in most editions, in part because fully automated translation of articles is disallowed.[114] Articles available in more than one language may offer "Interwiki links", which link to the counterpart articles in other editions.

History

Main article: History of Wikipedia[27][28]Wikipedia originally developed from another encyclopedia project, Nupedia.Wikipedia began as a complementary project for Nupedia, a free online English-language encyclopedia project whose articles were written by experts and reviewed under a formal process. Nupedia was founded on March 9, 2000, under the ownership of Bomis, Inc, a web portal company. Its main figures were the Bomis CEO Wales and Larry Sanger, editor-in-chief for Nupedia and later Wikipedia. Nupedia was licensed initially under its own Nupedia Open Content License, switching to the GNU Free Documentation License before Wikipedia's founding at the urging of Richard Stallman.[115] Sanger and Wales founded Wikipedia.[116][117] While Wales is credited with defining the goal of making a publicly editable encyclopedia,[118][119] Sanger is usually credited with the strategy of using a wiki to reach that goal.[120] On January 10, 2001, Sanger proposed on the Nupedia mailing list to create a wiki as a "feeder" project for Nupedia.[121] Wikipedia was formally launched on January 15, 2001, as a single English-language edition at www.wikipedia.com,[122] and announced by Sanger on the Nupedia mailing list.[118] Wikipedia's policy of "neutral point-of-view"[123] was codified in its initial months, and was similar to Nupedia's earlier "nonbiased" policy. Otherwise, there were relatively few rules initially and Wikipedia operated independently of Nupedia.[118] [29][30]Number of articles in the English Wikipedia (in blue)Wikipedia gained early contributors from Nupedia, Slashdot postings, and web search engine indexing. It grew to approximately 20,000 articles and 18 language editions by the end of 2001. By late 2002, it had reached 26 language editions, 46 by the end of 2003, and 161 by the final days of 2004.[124] Nupedia and Wikipedia coexisted until the former's servers were taken down permanently in 2003, and its text was incorporated into Wikipedia. English Wikipedia passed the two million-article mark on September 9, 2007, making it the largest encyclopedia ever assembled, eclipsing even the 1407 Yongle Encyclopedia, which had held the record for 600 years.[125]

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.[126] These moves encouraged Wales to announce that Wikipedia would not display advertisements, and change Wikipedia's domain from wikipedia.com to wikipedia.org.[127] [31][32]Growth of the number of articles in the English Wikipedia (in blue)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.[128] Around 1,800 articles were added daily to the encyclopedia in 2006; by 2010 that average was roughly 1,000.[129] A team at the Palo Alto Research Center attributed this slowing of growth to the project's increasing exclusivity and resistance to change.[130] 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.[131][132]

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.[133][134] The Wall Street Journal reported that "unprecedented numbers of the millions of online volunteers who write, edit and police [Wikipedia] are quitting". The array of rules applied to editing and disputes related to such content are among the reasons for this trend that are cited in the article.[135] Wales disputed these claims in 2009, denying the decline and questioning the methodology of the study.[136] Two years later, 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.[137] Nevertheless, in the same interview he claimed the number of editors was "stable and sustainable".

In January 2007, Wikipedia entered for the first time the top ten list of the most popular websites in the United States, according to comScore Networks Inc. With 42.9 million unique visitors, Wikipedia was ranked No. 9, surpassing the New York Times (#10) and Apple Inc. (#11). This marked a significant increase over January 2006, when the rank was No. 33, with Wikipedia receiving around 18.3 million unique visitors.[138] As of May 2012, Wikipedia is the sixth-most-popular website worldwide according to Alexa Internet,[139] receiving more than 2.7 billion U.S. pageviews every month,[12] out of a global monthly total of over 12 billion pageviews.[140] [33][34]Wikipedia blackout protest against SOPA on January 18, 2012On January 18, 2012, the English Wikipedia participated in a series of coordinated protests against two proposed laws in the United States Congress—the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA)—by blacking out its pages for 24 hours.[141] More than 162 million people viewed the blackout explanation page that temporarily replaced Wikipedia content.[142][143]

Analysis of content

See also: Academic studies about WikipediaAlthough poorly-written articles are flagged for improvement,[144] critics note that the style and quality of individual articles may vary greatly. Others argue that inherent biases (willful or not) arise in the presentation of facts, especially controversial topics and public or historical figures. Although Wikipedia's stated mission is to provide information and not argue value judgements, articles often contain overly specialized, trivial, or objectionable material.[145]

In 2006, the Wikipedia Watch criticism website listed dozens of examples of plagiarism by Wikipedia editors on the English version.[146] Wales has said in this respect: "We need to deal with such activities with absolute harshness, no mercy, because this kind of plagiarism is 100% at odds with all of our core principles."[146]

Accuracy of content

Articles for traditional encyclopedias such as Encyclopædia Britannica are carefully and deliberately written by experts, lending such encyclopedias a reputation for accuracy. On the other hand, Wikipedia is often cited for factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations. However, a non-scientific report in the journal Nature in 2005 suggested that for some scientific articles Wikipedia came close to the level of accuracy of Encyclopædia Britannica and had a similar rate of "serious errors."[147] These claims have been disputed by, among others, Encyclopædia Britannica.[148][149] The Nature report also concluded that the structure of Wikipedia's articles was often poor.

As a consequence of the open structure, Wikipedia "makes no guarantee of validity" of its content, since no one is ultimately responsible for any claims appearing in it.[150] Concerns have been raised regarding the lack of accountability that results from users' anonymity,[151] the insertion of spurious information,[152] vandalism, and similar problems.

Economist Tyler Cowen wrote: "If I had to guess whether Wikipedia or the median refereed journal article on economics was more likely to be true, after a not so long think I would opt for Wikipedia." He comments that some traditional sources of non-fiction suffer from systemic biases and novel results, in his opinion, are over-reported in journal articles and relevant information is omitted from news reports. However, he also cautions that errors are frequently found on Internet sites, and that academics and experts must be vigilant in correcting them.[153]

Critics argue that Wikipedia's open nature and a lack of proper sources for most of the information makes it unreliable.[154] Some commentators suggest that Wikipedia may be reliable, but that the reliability of any given article is not clear.[155] Editors of traditional reference works such as the Encyclopædia Britannica have questioned the project's utility and status as an encyclopedia.[156]

Wikipedia's open structure inherently makes it an easy target for Internet trolls, spamming, and those with an agenda to push.[26][157] The addition of political spin to articles by organizations including members of the US House of Representatives and special interest groups[158] has been noted,[159] and organizations such as Microsoft have offered financial incentives to work on certain articles.[160] These issues have been parodied, notably by Stephen Colbert in The Colbert Report.[161] For example, in August 2007, the website WikiScanner began to trace the sources of changes made to Wikipedia by anonymous editors without Wikipedia accounts. The program revealed that many such edits were made by corporations or government agencies changing the content of articles related to them, their personnel or their work.[162]

Quality of writing

Because contributors usually rewrite small portions of an entry rather than making full-length revisions, high- and low-quality content may be intermingled within an entry. Roy Rosenzweig, a history professor, stated that American National Biography Online outperformed Wikipedia in terms of its "clear and engaging prose", which, he said, was an important aspect of good historical writing.[163] Contrasting Wikipedia's treatment of Abraham Lincoln to that of Civil War historian James McPherson in American National Biography Online, he said that both were essentially accurate and covered the major episodes in Lincoln's life, but praised "McPherson's richer contextualization... his artful use of quotations to capture Lincoln's voice ... and ... his ability to convey a profound message in a handful of words." By contrast, he gives an example of Wikipedia's prose that he finds "both verbose and dull". Rosenzweig also criticized the "waffling—encouraged by the npov policy—[which] means that it is hard to discern any overall interpretive stance in Wikipedia history." By example, he quoted the conclusion of Wikipedia's article on William Clarke Quantrill. While generally praising the article, he pointed out its "waffling" conclusion: "Some historians...remember him as an opportunistic, bloodthirsty outlaw, while others continue to view him as a daring soldier and local folk hero."[163]

Other critics have made similar charges that, even if Wikipedia articles are factually accurate, they are often written in a poor, almost unreadable style. Frequent Wikipedia critic Andrew Orlowski commented: "Even when a Wikipedia entry is 100 per cent factually correct, and those facts have been carefully chosen, it all too often reads as if it has been translated from one language to another then into to a third, passing an illiterate translator at each stage."[164] A study of cancer articles by Yaacov Lawrence of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University found that the entries were mostly accurate, but they were written at college reading level, as opposed to the ninth grade level seen in the Physician Data Query. He said that "Wikipedia's lack of readability may reflect its varied origins and haphazard editing."[165] The Economist argued that better-written articles tend to be more reliable: "inelegant or ranting prose usually reflects muddled thoughts and incomplete information."[166]

Coverage of topics and systemic bias

See also: Notability in English WikipediaWikipedia seeks to create a summary of all human knowledge in the form of an online encyclopedia, with each topic of knowledge covered encyclopedically in one article. Since it has terabytes of disk space, it can have far more topics than can be covered by any conventional printed encyclopedia.[167] It also contains materials that some people may find objectionable, offensive, or pornographic (cf below).[168] It was made clear that this policy is not up for debate, and the policy has sometimes proved controversial. For instance, in 2008, Wikipedia rejected an online petition against the inclusion of Muhammad's depictions in its English edition, citing this policy. The presence of politically, religiously, and pornographically sensitive materials in Wikipedia has led to the censorship of Wikipedia by national authorities in China,[169] Pakistan[170] and the United Kingdom,[171] among other countries. In addition, Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, has criticized Wikipedia not for the Pornographic Content, but for the fact that the Content is accessible to children, and contains extreme and detailed photographs and films. [172]

A 2008 study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Palo Alto Research Center gave a distribution of topics as well as growth (from July 2006 to January 2008) in each field:[173] [35][36]Pie chart of Wikipedia content by subject as of January 2008[173]*Culture and the arts: 30% (210%)

  • Biographies and persons: 15% (97%)
  • Geography and places: 14% (52%)
  • Society and social sciences: 12% (83%)
  • History and events: 11% (143%)
  • Natural and the physical sciences: 9% (213%)
  • Technology and the applied science: 4% (−6%)
  • Religions and belief systems: 2% (38%)
  • Health: 2% (42%)
  • Mathematics and logic: 1% (146%)
  • Thought and philosophy: 1% (160%)

These numbers refer only to the quantity of articles; it is possible for one topic to contain a large number of short articles and another one contain a small number of large ones. Through its "Wikipedia Loves Libraries" program, Wikipedia has partnered with major public libraries such as the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to expand its coverage of underrepresented subjects and articles.[174]

Furthermore, the exact coverage of Wikipedia is under constant review by the editors, and disagreements are not uncommon (see also deletionism and inclusionism).[175][176]

As of September 2009, Wikipedia articles cover about half a million places on Earth. However, research conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute has shown that the geographic distribution of articles is highly uneven. Most articles are written about North America, Europe, and East Asia, with very little coverage of large parts of the developing world, including most of Africa.[177]

When multiple editors contribute to one topic or set of topics, there may arise a systemic bias, such as non-opposite definitions for apparent antonyms. In 2011 Wales noted that the unevenness of the coverage is the reflection of the demography of the editors, which predominantly consists of young male with high educations in the developed world (cf. above)[137]

A "selection bias"[178] may arise when more words per article are devoted to one public figure than a rival public figure. Editors may dispute suspected biases and discuss controversial articles, sometimes at great length. Wales has noted the dangers of bias on controversial political topics or polarizing public figures.[179]

Citing Wikipedia

Main article: Reliability of Wikipedia[37][38]The crowdsourced nature of Wikipedia's content creation means that anyone can add falsehoods to, or vandalize, the site. However, it also enables people to easily reverse such actions.Most university lecturers discourage students from citing any encyclopedia in academic work, preferring primary sources;[180] some specifically prohibit Wikipedia citations.[181][182] Wales stresses that encyclopedias of any type are not usually appropriate to use as citeable sources, and should not be relied upon as authoritative.[183]

In February 2007 an article in The Harvard Crimson newspaper reported that a few of the professors at Harvard University include Wikipedia in their syllabi, but that there is a split in their perception of using Wikipedia.[184] In June 2007 former president of the American Library Association Michael Gorman condemned Wikipedia, along with Google,[185] stating that academics who endorse the use of Wikipedia are "the intellectual equivalent of a dietitian who recommends a steady diet of Big Macs with everything." He also said that "a generation of intellectual sluggards incapable of moving beyond the Internet" was being produced at universities. He complains that the web-based sources are discouraging students from learning from the more rare texts which are found only on paper or subscription-only web sites. In the same article Jenny Fry (a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute) commented on academics who cite Wikipedia, saying that: "You cannot say children are intellectually lazy because they are using the Internet when academics are using search engines in their research. The difference is that they have more experience of being critical about what is retrieved and whether it is authoritative. Children need to be told how to use the Internet in a critical and appropriate way."[185]

A Harvard Law textbook, Legal Research in a Nutshell (2011), cites Wikipedia as a "general source" that "can be a real boon" in "coming up to speed in the law governing a situation" and, "while not authoritative, can provide basic facts as well as leads to more in-depth resources."[186]

Wales once said he receives about ten e-mails weekly from students saying they got failing grades on papers because they cited Wikipedia. According to The Sunday Times of London, Wales told the students they got what they deserved. "For God's sake, you're in college; don't cite the encyclopedia", he said.[187]

Explicit content

I. Problem? What problem? So, you didn’t know that Wikipedia has a porn problem? Dr. Larry Sanger[188]Wikipedia has been criticized for allowing information of graphic content. Articles depicting arguably objectionable content (such as feces, corpses, the human penis or vulva) contain graphic pictures and detailed information easily available to anyone with the internet, including children.

The site also includes sexual content such as images and videos of masturbation and ejaculation as well as photos from hardcore pornographic films in its articles.

The Wikipedia article about Virgin Killer – a 1976 album from German heavy metal band Scorpions – features a picture of the album's original cover, which depicts a naked prepubescent girl. The original release cover caused controversy and was replaced in some countries. In December 2008, access to the Wikipedia article Virgin Killer was blocked for four days by most Internet service providers in the United Kingdom, after it was reported by a member of the public as child pornography,[189] to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) which issues a stop list to ISPs. IWF, a nonprofit, nongovernment-affiliated organization, later criticized the inclusion of the picture as "distasteful."[190]

In April 2010, Sanger wrote a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, outlining his concerns that two categories of images on Wikimedia Commons contained child pornography, and were in violation of U.S. federal obscenity law.[191] Sanger later clarified that the images, which were related to pedophilia and one about lolicon, were not of real children, but said that they constituted "obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children", under the PROTECT Act of 2003.[192] That law bans photographic child pornography and cartoon images and drawings of children that are obscene under American law.[192] Sanger also expressed concerns about access to the images on Wikipedia in schools.[193] Wikimedia Foundation spokesman Jay Walsh strongly rejected Sanger's accusation,[194] saying that Wikipedia did not have "material we would deem to be illegal. If we did, we would remove it."[194] Following the complaint by Sanger, Wales deleted sexual images without consulting the community. After some editors who volunteer to maintain the site argued that the decision to delete had been made hastily, Wales voluntarily gave up some of the powers he had held up to that time as part of his co-founder status. He wrote in a message to the Wikimedia Foundation mailing list that this action was "in the interest of encouraging this discussion to be about real philosophical/content issues, rather than be about me and how quickly I acted."[195]

Operation

Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia chapters

[39][40]Wikimedia Foundation logoMain article: Wikimedia FoundationWikipedia is hosted and funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization which also operates Wikipedia-related projects such as Wiktionary and Wikibooks. The Wikimedia Foundation relies on public contributions and grants to fund its mission.[196] The Wikimedia chapters, local associations of users and supporters of the Wikimedia projects, also participate in the promotion, development, and funding of the project.

Software and hardware

See also: MediaWikiThe operation of Wikipedia depends on MediaWiki, a custom-made, free and open source wiki software platform written in PHP and built upon the MySQL database system.[197] The software incorporates programming features such as a macro language, variables, a transclusion system for templates, and URL redirection. MediaWiki is licensed under the GNU General Public License and it is used by all Wikimedia projects, as well as many other wiki projects. Originally, Wikipedia ran on UseModWiki written in Perl by Clifford Adams (Phase I), which initially required CamelCase for article hyperlinks; the present double bracket style was incorporated later. Starting in January 2002 (Phase II), Wikipedia began running on a PHP wiki engine with a MySQL database; this software was custom-made for Wikipedia by Magnus Manske. The Phase II software was repeatedly modified to accommodate the exponentially increasing demand. In July 2002 (Phase III), Wikipedia shifted to the third-generation software, MediaWiki, originally written by Lee Daniel Crocker. Several MediaWiki extensions are installed[198] to extend the functionality of MediaWiki software. In April 2005 a Lucene extension[199][200] was added to MediaWiki's built-in search and Wikipedia switched from MySQL to Lucene for searching. The site currently uses Lucene Search 2.1,[201] which is written in Java and based on Lucene library 2.3.[202] [41][42]Overview of system architecture, December 2010. See server layout diagrams on Meta-Wiki.Wikipedia receives between 25,000 and 60,000 page requests per second, depending on time of day.[203] Page requests are first passed to a front-end layer of Squid caching servers.[204] Further statistics are available based on a publicly available 3-months Wikipedia access trace.[205] Requests that cannot be served from the Squid cache are sent to load-balancing servers running the Linux Virtual Server software, which in turn pass the request to one of the Apache web servers for page rendering from the database. The web servers deliver pages as requested, performing page rendering for all the language editions of Wikipedia. To increase speed further, rendered pages are cached in a distributed memory cache until invalidated, allowing page rendering to be skipped entirely for most common page accesses.

Wikipedia employed a single server until 2004, when the server setup was expanded into a distributed multitier architecture. In January 2005, the project ran on 39 dedicated servers in Florida. This configuration included a single master database server running MySQL, multiple slave database servers, 21 web servers running the Apache HTTP Server, and seven Squid cache servers. Wikipedia currently runs on dedicated clusters of Linux servers (mainly Ubuntu),[206][207] with a few OpenSolaris machines for ZFS. As of December 2009, there were 300 in Florida and 44 in Amsterdam.[208]

Access to content

Content licensing

When the project was started in 2001, all text in Wikipedia was covered by GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), a copyleft license permitting the redistribution, creation of derivative works, and commercial use of content while authors retain copyright of their work,[209] GFDL was created for software manuals that come with free software programs that are licensed under GPL. This made it a poor choice for a general reference work; for example, the GFDL requires the reprints of materials from Wikipedia to come with a full copy of the GFDL license text. In December 2002, the Creative Commons license was released: it was specifically designed for creative works in general; not just for software manuals. The license gained popularity among bloggers and others distributing creative works on the Web. The Wikipedia project sought the switch to the Creative Commons.[210] Because the two licenses, GFDL and Creative Commons, were incompatible, following the request of the project, in November 2008, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) released a new version of GFDL designed specifically to allow Wikipedia to relicense its content to CC BY-SA by August 1, 2009. (A new version of GFDL automatically covers Wikipedia contents.) In April 2009, Wikipedia and its sister projects held a community-wide referendum which decided the switch in June 2009.[211][212][213][214]

The handling of media files (e.g., image files) varies across language editions. Some language editions, such as the English Wikipedia, include non-free image files under fair use doctrine, while the others have opted not to, in part due to the lack of fair use doctrines in their home countries (e.g., in Japanese copyright law). Media files covered by free content licenses (e.g., Creative Commons' CC BY-SA) are shared across language editions via Wikimedia Commons repository, a project operated by the Wikimedia Foundation.

The Wikimedia Foundation is not a licensor of content, but merely a hosting service for the contributors (and licensors) of the Wikipedia. This position has been successfully defended in court.[215][216]

Methods of access

Because Wikipedia content is distributed under an open license, anyone can reuse, or re-distribute it at no charge. The content of Wikipedia has been published in many forms, both online and offline, outside of the Wikipedia website.

  • Web sites – Thousands of "mirror sites" exist that republish content from Wikipedia; two prominent ones, that also include content from other reference sources, are Reference.com and Answers.com. Another example is Wapedia, which began to display Wikipedia content in a mobile-device-friendly format before Wikipedia itself did.
  • Mobile apps – A variety of mobile apps provide access to Wikipedia on hand-held devices, including both Android and Apple iOS devices (see Wikipedia iOS apps). (See also Mobile access).
  • Search engines – Some web search engines make special use of Wikipedia content when displaying search results: examples include Bing (via technology gained from Powerset)[217] and Duck Duck Go.
  • Compact Discs, DVDs – Collections of Wikipedia articles have been published on optical discs. An English version, 2006 Wikipedia CD Selection, contained about 2,000 articles.[218][219] The Polish-language version contains nearly 240,000 articles.[220] There are German and Spanish-language versions as well.[221][222] Also: "Wikipedia for Schools", the Wikipedia series of CDs/DVDs, produced by Wikipedians and SOS Children, is a free, hand-checked, non-commercial selection from Wikipedia targeted around the UK National Curriculum and intended to be useful for much of the English-speaking world.[223] The project is available online; an equivalent print encyclopedia would require roughly 20 volumes.
  • Books – There are efforts to put a select subset of Wikipedia's articles into printed book form.[224][225] Since 2009, tens of thousands of print on demand books which reproduced English, German, Russian and French Wikipedia articles have been produced by the American company Books LLC and by three Mauritian subsidiaries of the German publisher VDM.[226]
  • Semantic Web – The website DBpedia, begun in 2007, is a project that extracts data from the infoboxes and category declarations of the English-language Wikipedia and makes it available in a queriable semantic format, RDF. The possibility has also been raised to have Wikipedia export its data directly in a semantic format, possibly by using the Semantic MediaWiki extension. Such an export of data could also help Wikipedia reuse its own data, both between articles on the same language Wikipedia and between different language Wikipedias.[227]

Obtaining the full contents of Wikipedia for reuse presents challenges, since direct cloning via a web crawler is discouraged.[228] Wikipedia publishes "dumps" of its contents, but these are text-only; as of 2007 there is no dump available of Wikipedia's images.[229]

Several languages of Wikipedia also maintain a reference desk, where volunteers answer questions from the general public. According to a study by Pnina Shachaf in the Journal of Documentation, the quality of the Wikipedia reference desk is comparable to a standard library reference desk, with an accuracy of 55%.[230]

Mobile access

See also: Help:Mobile access

Wikipedia's original medium was for users to read and edit content using any standard web browser through a fixed internet connection. In addition, Wikipedia content is now accessible through the mobile web.

Access to Wikipedia from mobile phones was possible as early as 2004, through the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), via the Wapedia service. In June 2007 Wikipedia launched en.mobile.wikipedia.org, an official website for wireless devices. In 2009 a newer mobile service was officially released,[231] located at en.m.wikipedia.org, which caters to more advanced mobile devices such as the iPhone, Android-based devices, or the Palm Pre. Several other methods of mobile access to Wikipedia have emerged. Many devices and applications optimise or enhance the display of Wikipedia content for mobile devices, while some also incorporate additional features such as use of Wikipedia metadata (See Wikipedia:Metadata), such as geoinformation.[232][233]

Impact

Sister projects – Wikimedia

Wikipedia has also spawned several sister projects, which are also wikis run by the Wikimedia Foundation. The first, "In Memoriam: September 11 Wiki,"[234] created in October 2002,[235] detailed the September 11 attacks. Wiktionary, a dictionary project, was launched in December 2002;[236] Wikiquote, a collection of quotations, a week after Wikimedia launched, and Wikibooks, a collection of collaboratively written free textbooks and annotated texts. Wikimedia has since started a number of other projects, including Wikimedia Commons, a site devoted to free-knowledge multimedia; Wikinews, for citizen journalism; and Wikiversity, a project for the creation of free learning materials and the provision of online learning activities.[237] Of these, only Commons has had success comparable to that of Wikipedia. Another sister project of Wikipedia, Wikispecies, is a catalogue of species.

Impact on publishing

Some observers have stated that Wikipedia represents an economic threat to publishers of traditional encyclopedias, who may be unable to compete with a product that is essentially free. Nicholas Carr, wrote a 2005 essay, "The amorality of Web 2.0", that criticized websites with user-generated content, like Wikipedia, for possibly leading to professional (and, in his view, superior) content producers going out of business, because "free trumps quality all the time." Carr wrote, "Implicit in the ecstatic visions of Web 2.0 is the hegemony of the amateur. I for one can't imagine anything more frightening."[238] Others dispute the notion that Wikipedia, or similar efforts, will entirely displace traditional publications. For instance, Chris Anderson, the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, wrote in Nature that the "wisdom of crowds" approach of Wikipedia will not displace top scientific journals, with their rigorous peer review process.[239]

Cultural significance

Main article: Wikipedia in culture[43][44]Graph showing the number of days between every 10,000,000th edit.In addition to logistic growth in the number of its articles,[240] Wikipedia has steadily gained status as a general reference website since its inception in 2001.[241] According to Alexa and comScore, Wikipedia is among the ten most visited websites worldwide.[10][242] The growth of Wikipedia has been fueled by its dominant position in Google search results;[243] about 50% of search engine traffic to Wikipedia comes from Google,[244] a good portion of which is related to academic research.[245] The number of readers of Wikipedia worldwide reached 365 million at the end of 2009.[11] The Pew Internet and American Life project found that one third of US Internet users consulted Wikipedia.[246] In October 2006, the site was estimated to have a hypothetical market value of $580 million if it ran advertisements.[247]

Wikipedia's content has also been used in academic studies, books, conferences, and court cases.[248][249][250] The Parliament of Canada's website refers to Wikipedia's article on same-sex marriage in the "related links" section of its "further reading" list for the Civil Marriage Act.[251] The encyclopedia's assertions are increasingly used as a source by organizations such as the U.S. Federal Courts and the World Intellectual Property Organization[252] – though mainly for supporting information rather than information decisive to a case.[253] Content appearing on Wikipedia has also been cited as a source and referenced in some U.S. intelligence agency reports.[254] In December 2008, the scientific journal RNA Biology launched a new section for descriptions of families of RNA molecules and requires authors who contribute to the section to also submit a draft article on the RNA family for publication in Wikipedia.[255]

Wikipedia has also been used as a source in journalism,[256][257] often without attribution, and several reporters have been dismissed for plagiarizing from Wikipedia.[258][259][260] In July 2007 Wikipedia was the focus of a 30-minute documentary on BBC Radio 4[261] which argued that, with increased usage and awareness, the number of references to Wikipedia in popular culture is such that the term is one of a select band of 21st-century nouns that are so familiar (Google, Facebook, YouTube) that they no longer need explanation and are on a par with such 20th-century terms as Hoovering or Coca-Cola.

On September 28, 2007 Italian politician Franco Grillini raised a parliamentary question with the Minister of Cultural Resources and Activities about the necessity of freedom of panorama. He said that the lack of such freedom forced Wikipedia, "the seventh most consulted website" to forbid all images of modern Italian buildings and art, and claimed this was hugely damaging to tourist revenues.[262] [45][46]Jimmy Wales receiving the Quadriga A Mission of Enlightenment award.On September 16, 2007 The Washington Post reported that Wikipedia had become a focal point in the 2008 U.S. election campaign, saying, "Type a candidate's name into Google, and among the first results is a Wikipedia page, making those entries arguably as important as any ad in defining a candidate. Already, the presidential entries are being edited, dissected and debated countless times each day."[263] An October 2007 Reuters article, titled "Wikipedia page the latest status symbol," reported the recent phenomenon of how having a Wikipedia article vindicates one's notability.[264]

Active participation also has an impact. Law students have been assigned to write Wikipedia articles as an exercise in clear and succinct writing for an uninitiated audience.[265]

Awards

Wikipedia won two major awards in May 2004.[266] The first was a Golden Nica for Digital Communities of the annual Prix Ars Electronica contest; this came with a €10,000 (£6,588; $12,700) grant and an invitation to present at the PAE Cyberarts Festival in Austria later that year. The second was a Judges' Webby Award for the "community" category.[267] Wikipedia was also nominated for a "Best Practices" Webby. On January 26, 2007 Wikipedia was also awarded the fourth highest brand ranking by the readers of brandchannel.com, receiving 15% of the votes in answer to the question "Which brand had the most impact on our lives in 2006?"[268]

In September 2008, Wikipedia received Quadriga A Mission of Enlightenment award of Werkstatt Deutschland along with Boris Tadić, Eckart Höfling, and Peter Gabriel. The award was presented to Wales by David Weinberger.[269]

Satire

[47][48]Wikipedia shown in "Weird Al" Yankovic's music video for his song "White & Nerdy".Many parody Wikipedia's openness and susceptibility to inserted inaccuracies, with characters vandalizing or modifying the online encyclopedia project's articles.

Comedian Stephen Colbert has parodied or referenced Wikipedia on numerous episodes of his show The Colbert Report and coined the related term wikiality, meaning "together we can create a reality that we all agree on—the reality we just agreed on".[161] Another example can be found in a front-page article in The Onion in July 2006, with the title "Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years of American Independence".[270] "My Number One Doctor", a 2007 episode of the TV show Scrubs, played on the perception that Wikipedia is an unserious reference tool with a scene in which Dr. Perry Cox reacts to a patient who says that a Wikipedia article indicates that the raw food diet reverses the effects of bone cancer by retorting that the same editor who wrote that article also wrote the Battlestar Galactica episode guide.[271] In 2008, the comedic website CollegeHumor produced a video sketch named "Professor Wikipedia", in which the fictitious Professor Wikipedia instructs a class with a medley of unverifiable and occasionally absurd statements.[272] In July 2009, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a comedy series called Bigipedia, which was set on a website which was a parody of Wikipedia. Some of the sketches were directly inspired by Wikipedia and its articles.[273]

In 2010, comedian Daniel Tosh encouraged viewers of his show, Tosh.0, to visit the show's Wikipedia article and edit it at will. On a later episode, he commented on the edits to the article, most of them offensive, which had been made by the audience and had prompted the article to be locked from editing.[274][275]

Related projects

A number of interactive multimedia encyclopedias incorporating entries written by the public existed long before Wikipedia was founded. The first of these was the 1986 BBC Domesday Project, which included text (entered on BBC Micro computers) and photographs from over 1 million contributors in the UK, and covered the geography, art, and culture of the UK. This was the first interactive multimedia encyclopedia (and was also the first major multimedia document connected through internal links), with the majority of articles being accessible through an interactive map of the UK. The user interface and part of the content of the Domesday Project were emulated on a website until 2008.[276] One of the most successful early online encyclopedias incorporating entries by the public was h2g2, which was created by Douglas Adams. The h2g2 encyclopedia is relatively light-hearted, focusing on articles which are both witty and informative. Everything2 was created in 1998. All of these projects had similarities with Wikipedia, but were not wikis and neither gave full editorial privileges to public users.

GNE, an encyclopedia which was not a wiki, also created in January 2001, co-existed with Nupedia and Wikipedia early in its history; however, it has been retired.[115]

Other websites centered on collaborative knowledge base development have drawn inspiration from Wikipedia. Some, such as Susning.nu, Enciclopedia Libre, Hudong, and Baidu Baike likewise employ no formal review process, although some like Conservapedia are not as open. Others use more traditional peer review, such as Encyclopedia of Life and the online wiki encyclopedias Scholarpedia and Citizendium. The latter was started by Sanger in an attempt to create a reliable alternative to Wikipedia.[277][278] Scholarpedia also focuses on ensuring high quality.

Glossary

  • AGF – Assume good faith
  • Revert – undoing changes
  • Wikilawyering – a pejorative term, describing various questionable ways of judging the actions of Wikipedians. It may refer to certain quasi-legal practices.
  • Wikipedians – Wikipedia editors

See also

Special searches

References

  1. ^ Grand Total. Wikimedia.org. 10 June 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
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  5. ^ "Technology can topple tyrants: Jimmy Wales an eternal optimist". Sydney Morning Herald. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
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  266. ^ "Trophy Box," Meta-Wiki (March 28, 2005).
  267. ^ "Webby Awards 2004". The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. 2004. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved June 19, 2007.
  268. ^ Zumpano, Anthony (January 29, 2007). "Similar Search Results: Google Wins". Interbrand. Retrieved January 28, 2007.
  269. ^ "Die Quadriga – Award 2008". Retrieved December 26, 2008.
  270. ^ "Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence". The Onion. 2006. Retrieved October 15, 2006.
  271. ^ Bakken, Janae. "My Number One Doctor"; Scrubs; ABC; December 6, 2007
  272. ^ "Professor Wikipedia – CollegeHumor Video". CollegeHumor. November 17, 2009. Retrieved April 19, 2011.
  273. ^ "Interview With Nick Doody and Matt Kirshen". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  274. ^ Your Wikipedia Entries on Comedy Central (February 3, 2010)
  275. ^ Wikipedia Updates on Comedy Central (February 3, 2010)
  276. ^ Website discussing the emulator of the Domesday Project User Interface for the data from the Community Disc (contributions from the general public); the site is currently out of action following the death of its creator
  277. ^ Orlowski, Andrew (September 18, 2006). "Wikipedia founder forks Wikipedia, More experts, less fiddling?". The Register. Retrieved June 27, 2007. "Larry Sanger describes the Citizendium project as a "progressive or gradual fork," with the major difference that experts have the final say over edits." – Andrew Orlowski.
  278. ^ Lyman, Jay (September 20, 2006). "Wikipedia Co-Founder Planning New Expert-Authored Site". LinuxInsider. Retrieved June 27, 2007.

Further reading

Academic studies

Main article: Academic studies about Wikipedia*Yasseri, Taha; Robert Sumi and János Kertész (2012). Szolnoki, Attila. ed. "Circadian Patterns of Wikipedia Editorial Activity: A Demographic Analysis". PLoS ONE 7 (1): e30091. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030091. PMC 3260192. PMID 22272279.

Books

Main article: List of books about Wikipedia*Ayers, Phoebe; Matthews, Charles; Yates, Ben (September 2008). How Wikipedia Works: And How You Can Be a Part of It. San Francisco: No Starch Press. ISBN 978-1-59327-176-3.

Book reviews and other articles

Learning resources

Other media coverage

See also: List of films about Wikipedia*Balke, Jeff (2008-03). "For Music Fans: Wikipedia; MySpace". Houston Chronicle (Blog). Retrieved December 17, 2008.

External links

On February 8, 2012, Beesley announced she was leaving Wikia to launch a startup called ChalkDrop.com.[5]

Contents

History

Wikia spent over a year going by the name "Wikicities" (inviting comparisons to GeoCities),[6] but changed its name to "Wikia" on March 27, 2006, saying that "the name Wikicities has often caused confusion, with many people believing it was a site for city guides rather than wikis about any topic."[7] In the month before the move, Wikia announced a US$4 million venture capital investment from Bessemer Venture Partners and First Round Capital.[8] Nine months later, Amazon.com invested US$10 million in Series B funding,[9] with Senior VP of Business Development Jeff Blackburn joining the company board.[10]

In November 2006, Wikia claimed to have spent only $5.74 on marketing, while generating 40 to 50 million page views.[10] The company later spent $2 million to purchase ArmchairGM, a sports forum and wiki, previously an independently hosted site.[10]

Wikia announced the creation of its hundredth wiki on February 3, 2005.[11] As of July 2007, it had over 3,000 wikis in over 50 languages.[12] Wikia's growth stems not only from wikis founded on Wikia, but also from incorporating formerly independent wikis that joined Wikia over time, such as LyricWiki, The Vault, Uncyclopedia and WoWWiki.[13][14][15]

On April 7, 2010, Wikia announced the creation of its 100,000th wiki.[16] In May 2010, the company offered the removal of external ads (though not internal promotions) for a fee, but only for wikis with fewer than 20,000 page-views per month.[17]

Topics and wikis

Wikia covers a broad range of topics; almost any project not founded on hate, libel, pornography or copyright infringement is allowed, as long as it does not duplicate Wikimedia Foundation projects.[18] Many hosted wikis follow the style of Wikipedia, but offer detail beyond what is considered appropriate for a general encyclopedia. For example, a minor character in a Star Wars film may have its own article on Wookieepedia.[19] Another example is that content that is generally considered beyond the scope of information of Wikipedia articles on video games and related video game topics, such as detailed instructions, gameplay details, plot details, and so forth, are offered on video game related wikis hosted by Wikia. Gameplay concepts can also have their own articles. Wikia also allows wikis to have a point of view, rather than the neutral POV on Wikipedia. However, many wikis choose to follow a neutral point of view policy regardless.

Wikia requires all user text content to be published under a free license;[20] most use the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, although Memory Alpha and Uncyclopedia use a noncommercial variant and some use the GNU Free Documentation License.[nb 1][21]

Questions and answers site

Wikia has struggled several times to open a question-and-answer site akin to Google Answers and similar ventures. In January 2009, the company relaunched this effort, which used the name "Wikianswers", which drew criticism from Answers.com, which had a preexisting site called WikiAnswers.[22] Answers.com CEO Bob Rosenschein stated, "Wikia is creating market confusion by associating its Q&A category with our market-leading WikiAnswers domain and site."[23]

In March 2010, Wikia re-launched "Answers from Wikia",[24] where users could create topic-specialized knowledge market wikis based upon Wikia's own Wikianswers subdomain.

OpenServing

OpenServing was a short-lived Web publishing project owned by Wikia, founded on December 12, 2006,[25][26] and abandoned, unannounced, in January 2008.[27] Like Wikia, OpenServing was to offer free wiki hosting, but it would differ in that each wiki's founder would retain any revenue gained from advertising on the site.[25][28][29] OpenServing used a modified version of the Wikimedia Foundation's MediaWiki software created by ArmchairGM, but was intended to branch out to other open source packages.[25][30]

According to Wikia co-founder and chairman Jimmy Wales, the OpenServing site received several thousand applications in January 2007.[31] However, after a year, no sites had been launched under the OpenServing banner. Angela Beesley, a co-founder and vice president of Community at Wikia described OpenServing as "never very popular or successful", and said Wikia's efforts had been refocused on wikia.com, to which openserving.com redirects.[27]

ArmchairGM

ArmchairGM was a sports forum and wiki site created by Aaron Wright, Dan Lewis, Robert Lefkowitz and developer David Pean. Launched in early 2006, the site was initially US-based, but sought to improve its links to sports associated with Britain over its first year. Its MediaWiki-based software included a Digg-style article-voting mechanism, blog-like comment forms with "thumbs up/down" user feedback, and the ability to write multiple types of posts (news, opinions, or "locker room" discussion entries).

In late 2006, the site was bought by Wikia for $2 million.[32] After the purchase was made, the former owners applied ArmchairGM's architecture to other Wikia sites.

For Super Bowl XLI, the site made charity donations for every comment posted. The main hub of this commenting was in a live blog.[33] An ArmchairGM contributor operating under the pseudonym Manny Stiles auctioned his blogging services on eBay in early 2007. Tampa Bay Devil Rays President Matt Silverman bought the 33-year-old blogger's work for $535, before adding another $1000. The money went to AIDS awareness.[34]

On March 20, 2008, Sports Illustrated added a section to their website called the SI Vault Wiki, pointing to the ArmchairGM encyclopedia.[35]

From September 2010 to February 2011, Wikia absorbed the site's encyclopedia articles and blanked all of its old blog entries, effectively discontinuing ArmchairGM in its original form.

On August 1, 2011, ArmchairGM's codebase was open-sourced.[36]

Software and hardware

Wikia runs a modified version of MediaWiki[37] on Linux (Ubuntu) servers[citation needed]. The Wikia file store as of June 2011 includes over 8 million files stored on SSD.[38]

Search engines

Wikiasari

Wikia Inc. initially proposed creating a copyleft search engine; the software (but not the site) was named "Wikiasari" by a November 2004 naming contest.[nb 2] The proposal became inactive in 2005.

Search Wikia

Main article: Wikia SearchThe "public alpha" of Wikia Search web search engine was launched on January 7, 2008,[39] from the USSHC underground data center.[40] This roll-out version of the search interface was roundly panned by reviewers in technology media.[41] The project was ended in March 2009.[42]

Current search engine

Late in 2009, a new search engine was established to index and display results from all sites hosted on Wikia.[43]

Company

Wikia, Inc. is based in San Francisco.[44] The company was originally incorporated in Florida in December 2004 and re-incorporated in Delaware as Wikia, Inc. on January 10, 2006.

Angela Beesley has served since the beginning as Wikia's Vice-President of Community Relations.[45] Gil Penchina, a previous angel investor[45] and former vice president and general manager at eBay, was hired as CEO on June 5, 2006.[46] Michael E. Davis, a former business partner of Wales who served for years as a founding member of the Wikimedia Foundation board and was that organization's Treasurer, was named Treasurer and Secretary of Wikia in January 2006.

In October 2011, Wikia announced that Craig Palmer, the former CEO of Gracenote, would replace Penchina as CEO, and that Jennifer Betka would commence in the new position of senior vice president of marketing.[4]

Wikia has technical staff in the USA, but also has an office in Poznań, Poland, in 2006. Explaining his choice of location, Wales commented "It's about reasonable salaries and high quality. You can find cheaper programmers in other parts of the world, but the quality's not there!"[12]

Wikia derives income from advertising. The company initially used Google AdSense,[47] but moved on to Federated Media before bringing ad management in-house.[48]

Controversy

Advertising and use of free content

Wikia has sometimes expanded by acquiring an existing wiki's domain name, user lists, and databases, from a founder or co-founder in return for money and stock options.[49] The original wiki is then shut down without consulting its editors or wider community, and the domain redirected to Wikia's version of the project. In at least two cases[nb 3][50] the content was under a non-commercial license, raising the question of whether the wikis could legitimately be sold to Wikia for commercial use.[51] In 2009, Wikia added an extension where users could create magazines of content pages, through partner MagCloud;[52] however, this was not disabled on wikis with a "Noncommercial" clause on their license, which would break the license.

Once on Wikia, wiki communities have complained of inappropriate advertisements, or advertising in the body text area.[53] There is no easy way for individual communities to switch to conventional paid hosting, as Wikia usually owns the relevant domain names. If a community leaves Wikia for new hosting, the company typically continues to operate the abandoned wiki using its original name and content, adversely affecting the new wiki's search rankings, for advertising revenue.[54]

Wikia and the Wikimedia Foundation

Wikia has been accused of unduly profiting from a perceived association with Wikipedia.[55] Although Wikia has been referred to in the media as "the commercial counterpart to the non-profit Wikipedia",[56][57] Wikimedia[58] and Wikia staff[59] call this description inaccurate.

In 2006, the Wikimedia Foundation shared hosting and bandwidth costs with Wikia, and received some donated office space from Wikia during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006. At the end of fiscal year 2007, Wikia owed the Foundation US$6,000. As of June 2007, two members of the Foundation's Board of Directors also served as employees, officers, or directors of Wikia.[60] In January 2009, Wikia subleased two conference rooms to the Wikimedia Foundation for the Wikipedia Usability Initiative.[61] According to a 2009 email by Erik Möller, deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation, bid averaging was used "as a way to arrive at a fair market rate".[62]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Most content on Wikia was licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License until June 19, 2009, at which point most wikis were relicensed to CC-BY-SA.
  2. ^ The name was derived from the Hawaiian word for "quick" and asari, Japanese for "rummaging search".
  3. ^ The acquisition of uncyclopedia.org from Jonathan Huang in July 2006 and gamewikis.org from Phil Nelson in October 2007

References

  1. ^ Wikia, Inc.. "Wikia, Inc.". Retrieved 2008-10-23.
  2. ^ "Wikia.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  3. ^ Pink, Daniel H. (2005-03-13). "The Book Stops Here". Wired News. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  4. ^ a b Marlowe, C. (2011-10-13). "Wikia names ex-Gracenote Craig Palmer as CEO". Digital Media Wire. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  5. ^ Angela. "User blog:Angela/Leaving Wikia - Wikia Community Central". Community.wikia.com. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
  6. ^ Gussow, Dave (2005-04-04). "Global villages convene in wiki town halls". St. Petersburg Times.
  7. ^ Beesley, Angela (2006-03-27). "Wikicities relaunches as Wikia". Wikia. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  8. ^ Hinman, Michael (2006-03-10). "Venture capitalists invest wiki-millions". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved 2006-03-10.
  9. ^ Primack, Dan (2007-01-03). "PE Week Wire". Private Equity Week.
  10. ^ a b c Blitstein, Ryan (2006-12-06). "Amazon puts faith – and money – in Wikia". Mercury News.
  11. ^ Beesley, Angela et al. (2005-02-03). "100 Wikicities". Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  12. ^ a b Shannon, Victoria (2006-09-28). "Wikipedia Founder Staffs For Profit Wikia Spinoff". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2006-10-28.[dead link]
  13. ^ Colombo, Sean (2009-08-31). "LyricWiki:Wikia Migration FAQ". Wikia. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  14. ^ Beesley, Angela (2005-05-26). "Uncyclopedia joins Wikia" (Wiki). Wikia. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
  15. ^ Warschauer, Mark; Grimes, Douglas (2007). "Audience, Authorship, and Artifact: The emergent semiotics of Web 2.0". Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 27: 1–23. doi:10.1017/S0267190508070013.
  16. ^ Manley, Sarah (2010-04-07). "100,000 wikis on Wikia" (Wiki). Wikia. Wikia. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
  17. ^ "Ad free wikis" (Wiki). Wikia. 2010-05-17. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  18. ^ "Wikia:Creation policy". Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  19. ^ McNichol, Tom (March 2007). "With Wikia, a Wikipedia founder looks to strike it rich". Business 2.0 Magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
  20. ^ "Wikia:Licensing". Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  21. ^ Beesley, Angela. "Licensing update June 19, 2009". Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  22. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (2009-01-31). "Jimmy Wales Quietly Launches Wikianswers". Techcrunch.com. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  23. ^ "WikiAnswers: setting the record straight". Nostupidanswers.com. 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  24. ^ "Free wiki hosting company Wikia to let you create your own question and answer sites". Digital.venturebeat.com. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
  25. ^ a b c "Wikipedia founder remakes Web-publishing economics". Reuters/USA Today. 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  26. ^ "Wikia Announces Free Wiki Hosting". TechCrunch. 2006-12-11.
  27. ^ a b "Wikia's OpenServing Project Dies a Quiet Death". Mars Magazine. 2007-10-10.
  28. ^ "Wikipedia to share collaborative software". Daily Times. 2006-12-18. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  29. ^ "Wikia Unveils OpenServing - the Mother of All Freebies". Business Wire. 2006-12-11.
  30. ^ "Wikipedia founder to share collaborative software". AFP. December 2006.[dead link]
  31. ^ "Wikis can succeed on newspaper sites, claims Wikipedia founder". Online Journalism News, Journalism.co.uk. 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  32. ^ "Amazon puts Time and Money into Wikia". MercuryNews.com. 2006-06-12. Retrieved 2007-02-18.
  33. ^ "Online Sports Community ArmchairGM Seeks to Turn Super Bowl Sunday into Charitable Fund Raiser". eMediaWire. 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2007-02-18.
  34. ^ "Rays' newest investment is online". St. Petersburg Times. 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  35. ^ Staci D. Kramer (2008-03-25). "SI Opens The Vault—And Treasure Seekers Follow". paidContent. Retrieved 2011-06-03.
  36. ^ "Changeset 40097 on Wikia's Subversion repository". Trac.wikia-code.com. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
  37. ^ "Wikia's Subversion repository". Svn.wikia-code.com. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
  38. ^ Artur Bergman (2011-06-16). "Artur Bergman (Wikia) on SSDs". O'Reilly Media. Retrieved 2011-06-17.
  39. ^ "Public alpha of Wikia search project". Alpha.search.wikia.com. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
  40. ^ Rich Miller. "Wikia Search Launches From Iowa Data Bunker". Data Center Knowledge.
  41. ^ Manjoo, Farhad (2008-01-07). "Wikipedia founder's search engine gets bad reviews". Salon.com. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
  42. ^ Needleman, Rafe (March 31, 2009). "Wales giving up on Wikia Search". Webware. CNet. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  43. ^ "Changeset 10625 on Wikia's Subversion repository". Trac.wikia-code.com. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
  44. ^ "San Mateo-Based Wikia Lands Investment from Amazon.com". Silicon Valley Wire. 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2007-03-08.; California Business Portal, Agent for service of process address; Go Daddy, Registered domain address.
  45. ^ a b Wikia, Inc. (2006-03-30). "Bessemer Venture Partners Funds Jimmy Wales' Startup Wikia". Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  46. ^ "Wikia taps eBay exec as CEO". San Francisco Business Times. 2006-06-05.
  47. ^ Lashinksy, Adam; Scott, Jagon (2006-08-30). "For-profit wiki". Marketplace. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
  48. ^ "Advertising on Wikia". 2008-01-08. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  49. ^ "GuildWiki: Wikia Move". GuildWiki. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
  50. ^ "Announcement: Wikia & Uncyclopedia". Uncyclopedia. 2006-07-10.
  51. ^ "How to Stop Commercial Use of Copyleft Materials?". Slashdot. 2007-09-15.
  52. ^ "Introducing: Magazine Creator". 2009-10-14. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  53. ^ Finkelstein, Seth (2008-09-25). "Read me first: Wikipedia isn't about human potential, whatever Wales says". London: The Guardian.
  54. ^ Finkelstein, Seth (2008-07-31). "How will Wikia cope when the workers all quit the plantation?". London: The Guardian.
  55. ^ "Wikipedia: Special Treatment for Wikia and some other Wikis". TechCrunch. April 28, 2007.
  56. ^ "Wikipedia founder says to challenge Google, Yahoo". Reuters. 2007-03-09.
  57. ^ "Community websites take wiki path". BBC News (BBC). 2006-12-12.
  58. ^ "Wikia, Inc. is not the commercial counterpart to Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation". Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 2008-02-26.
  59. ^ "Wikimedia". Wikia, Inc.. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  60. ^ Wikimedia Foundation 2006-2007 Audit page 9 says "The Organization shared hosting and bandwidth costs with Wikia, Inc., a for-profit company founded by the same founder as Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Included in accounts receivable at June 30, 2007, is $6,000 due from Wikia, Inc. for these costs. The Organization received some donated office space from Wikia Inc. during the year ended June 30, 2006, valued at $6,000. No donation of the office space occurred in 2007. Through June 30, 2007, two members of the Organization’s board of directors also serve as employees, officers, or directors of Wikia, Inc."
  61. ^ "A note on the Wikipedia Usability Initiative". Blog.wikimedia.org. 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  62. ^ "Foundation-l: Wikia leasing office space to WMF". Lists.wikimedia.org. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-07-17.

External links

Wookiepedia

Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki is an online encyclopedia for information on the Star Wars fictional universe[1]—including information on all six films, as well as The Clone Wars and the Expanded Universe. It is a specialized wiki created to be an extensive encyclopedia of the Star Wars universe with some articles reaching up to 60,000 words,[2] and is written almost entirely from an in-universe perspective. The name Wookieepedia is a portmanteau of Wookiee and encyclopedia, being a pun on the name of Wikipedia. The logo, too, is a visual pun showing the incomplete second Death Star as opposed to Wikipedia's incomplete "jigsaw logo."

Contents

History

Wookieepedia was conceived by Steven Greenwood and created at the request of hosting site Wikia by Chad Barbry.[2][3] Barbry also coined the term "Wookiepedia" (sic), which was later corrected to "Wookieepedia". On March 4, 2005, Wookieepedia was launched at Wikia.

Wookieepedia is the most-visited wiki hosted by Wikia as of April 2005. On November 28, 2005, Wookieepedia was selected as the Sci Fi Channel's "Sci Fi Site of the Week."[4] In January 2006, the site was Wikia's featured Wiki of the month.

As of July 2012, the English language version of the wiki contains over 95,200 articles,[5] making it the fifth-largest Wikia-hosted wiki in terms of article count, ahead of sites such as Memory Alpha and the Marvel Database Project. Wikia hosts Star Wars wikis in many other languages, and Wookieepedia also coordinates its efforts with the German language wiki called Jedipedia.net and the Polish language Biblioteka Ossus.

Extent

As of June 15, 2012, Wookiepedia was documented with 94,000 pages, all covering the Star Wars topic. Its articles stretch from AAA-2 Verbo Brain to Zzzanmxl. Its 50,000 pictures scattered across the wiki illustrate most articles. It is one of the most extensive wikis of Wikia.

References

  1. ^ Bjortomt, Olav (2007-08-18). "The arts online". London: The Times. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  2. ^ a b Wookieepedia tracks 'Star Wars' - Entertainment News, Technology News, Media - Variety
  3. ^ Wookieepedia - Wookieepedia, the Star Wars wiki
  4. ^ "Sci-Fi Site of the Week". Sci-Fi.com. 2005-11-28.
  5. ^ Statistics - Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki

External links

[56] Star Wars portal
[57] Internet portal

Also on Fandom

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