Wikipedia (/ˌwɪkɪˈpiːdiə/ WIK-i-PEE-dee-ə or /ˌwɪkiˈpiːdiə/ WIK-ee-PEE-dee-ə) is a free online encyclopedia with the aim to allow anyone to edit articles. Wikipedia is the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet, and is ranked the fifth-most popular website. Wikipedia is owned by the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation.
Wikipedia was launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. The name of the site was coined by Sanger as a portmanteau of wiki, the Hawaiian word for “quick”, and encyclopedia. The word “wiki” also refers to the first user-editable website WikiWikiWeb that was launched in March 1995 by Ward Cunningham as part of the Portland Pattern Repository. According to Forbes’ interview with Cunningham in 2006, he named his project after Hawaii’s local airport shuttle bus service “Wiki Wiki Shuttle” that he had heard while on vacation.
Wikipedia was initially envisioned as a drafting companion tool for Nupedia, an online encyclopedia edited solely by experts, but it quickly outgrew its parent website into a global general referential resource with early contributions from Nupedia editors and Slashdot users. By the end of 2001, the site had grown into a vibrant international community with approximately 20,000 articles featured in 18 language editions, 26 language editions by 2002, 46 languages by 2003 and more than 161 languages by 2004.
In 2002, Wikimedia announced that the site will not support any form of commercial advertisements and changed its domain from wikipedia.com to wikipedia.org. The decision was made after the wake of a group of Spanish Wikipedia editors’ departure from the site, who cited growing concerns of its commercial marketability as the reason for leaving. In the following years, the site’s success led to a number of other similar projects like Wikia, a for-profit service co-founded by Jimmy Wales in late 2004, as well as parody sites like Uncyclopedia, a humor site founded by Jonathan Huang in January 2005. By January 2007, Wikipedia had entered the list of top ten most popular websites in the United States for the first time, according to comScore Networks.
As of March 2017, Wikipedia has about 40,000 high-quality articles, known as Featured Articles and Good Articles, that cover vital topics. In 2005, Nature published a peer review comparing 42 science articles from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia, and found that Wikipedia's level of accuracy approached that of Encyclopædia Britannica. In March 2017, Wikipedia has about 40,000 high-quality articles, known as Featured Articles and Good Articles, that cover vital topics. In 2005, Nature published a peer review comparing 42 science articles from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia, and found that Wikipedia's level of accuracy approached that of Encyclopædia Britannica.
Unlike traditional encyclopedias, Wikipedia follows the procrastination principle regarding the security of its content. It started almost entirely open—anyone could create articles, and any Wikipedia article could be edited by any reader, even those who did not have a Wikipedia account. Modifications to all articles would be published immediately. As a result, any article could contain inaccuracies such as errors, ideological biases, and nonsensical or irrelevant text.
Policies and LawsEdit
Content in Wikipedia is subject to the laws (in particular, copyright laws) of the United States and of the U.S. state of Virginia, where the majority of Wikipedia's servers are located. Beyond legal matters, the editorial principles of Wikipedia are embodied in the "five pillars" and in numerous policies and guidelines intended to appropriately shape content. Even these rules are stored in wiki form, and Wikipedia editors write and revise the website's policies and guidelines. Editors can enforce these 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 for the English Wikipedia. They have since diverged to some extent.
Content policies and guidelinesEdit
According to the rules on the English Wikipedia, each entry in Wikipedia must be about a topic that is encyclopedic and is not a dictionary entry or dictionary-like.A topic should also meet Wikipedia's standards of "notability", which generally means that the topic must have been covered in mainstream media or major academic journal sources that are independent of the article's subject. Further, Wikipedia intends to convey only knowledge that is already established and recognized.It must not present 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.This can at times lead to the removal of information that is valid.Finally, Wikipedia must not take sides.All opinions and viewpoints, if attributable to external sources, must enjoy an appropriate share of coverage within an article.This is known as neutral point of view (NPOV).
In October 2011, Wikimedia announced the launch of Wikipedia Zero, an initiative to open up free mobile access to the site in select developing countries through partnerships with mobile operators. The project aims to reduce two barriers to accessing free knowledge, namely cost of data usage and network speed, by encouraging local service providers to zero-rate, or waiver data charges, the full mobile version of Wikipedia (m.wikipedia.org) and/or the text-only version (zero.wikipedia.org). The initiative went into effect during the early months of 2012, with the launch of zero-rate partnerships in Uganda and Tunisia in April, Malaysia in May, Niger and Kenya in July, Montenegro and Cameroon in August, and most recently, Ivory Coast, Thailand and Saudi Arabia in September and October.