72 Facts About Wikipedia


Wikipedia is the largest and most-read reference work in history.

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Wikipedia has received praise for its enablement of the democratization of knowledge, extent of coverage, unique structure, culture, and reduced degree of commercial bias; but criticism for exhibiting systemic bias, particularly gender bias against women and alleged ideological bias.

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The reliability of Wikipedia was frequently criticized in the 2000s but has improved over time, as Wikipedia has been generally praised in the late 2010s and early 2020s.

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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.

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Nupedia was initially licensed under its own Nupedia Open Content License, but even before Wikipedia was founded, Nupedia switched to the GNU Free Documentation License at the urging of Richard Stallman.

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Wikipedia gained early contributors from Nupedia, Slashdot postings, and web search engine indexing.

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Nupedia and Wikipedia coexisted until the former's servers were taken down permanently in 2003, and its text was incorporated into Wikipedia.

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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, it lost only 4, 900 editors during the same period in 2008.

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In January 2007, Wikipedia first became one of the ten most popular websites in the US, according to Comscore Networks.

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Loveland and Reagle argue that, in process, Wikipedia follows a long tradition of historical encyclopedias that have accumulated improvements piecemeal through "stigmergic accumulation".

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On 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 and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA)—by blacking out its pages for 24 hours.

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On January 20, 2014, Subodh Varma reporting for The Economic Times indicated that not only had Wikipedia's growth stalled, it "had lost nearly ten percent of its page views last year.

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Unlike traditional encyclopedias, Wikipedia follows the procrastination principle regarding the security of its content.

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For example, the German Wikipedia maintains "stable versions" of articles which have passed certain reviews.

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The incident led to policy changes at Wikipedia for tightening up the verifiability of biographical articles of living people.

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Content in Wikipedia is subject to the laws of the United States and of the US state of Virginia, where the majority of Wikipedia's servers are located.

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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.

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Originally, rules on the non-English editions of Wikipedia were based on a translation of the rules for the English Wikipedia.

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Further, Wikipedia intends to convey only knowledge that is already established and recognized.

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Over time, Wikipedia has developed a semiformal dispute resolution process.

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Wikipedia encourages local resolutions of conflicts, which Jemielniak argues is quite unique in organization studies, though there has been some recent interest in consensus building in the field.

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Complete bans from Wikipedia are generally limited to instances of impersonation and anti-social behavior.

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Wikipedia's community has been described as cultlike, although not always with entirely negative connotations.

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In 2008, a Slate magazine article reported that: "According to researchers in Palo Alto, one percent of Wikipedia users are responsible for about half of the site's edits.

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English Wikipedia has 6, 558, 654 articles, 44, 282, 280 registered editors, and 121, 508 active editors.

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On March 1, 2014, The Economist, in an article titled "The Future of Wikipedia", cited a trend analysis concerning data published by the Wikimedia Foundation stating that "[t]he number of editors for the English-language version has fallen by a third in seven years.

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In 2010, columnist and journalist Edwin Black described Wikipedia as being a mixture of "truth, half-truth, and some falsehoods".

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In 2020, Omer Benjakob and Stephen Harrison noted that "Media coverage of Wikipedia has radically shifted over the past two decades: once cast as an intellectual frivolity, it is lauded as the 'last bastion of shared reality' online.

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In 2006, the Wikipedia Watch criticism website listed dozens of examples of plagiarism in the English Wikipedia.

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Amy Bruckman has argued that, due to the number of reviewers, "the content of a popular Wikipedia page is actually the most reliable form of information ever created".

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In contrast, academic writing in Wikipedia has evolved in recent years and has been found to increase student interest, personal connection to the product, creativity in material processing, and international collaboration in the learning process.

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Wikipedia seeks to create a summary of all human knowledge in the form of an online encyclopedia, with each topic covered encyclopedically in one article.

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The exact degree and manner of coverage on Wikipedia is under constant review by its editors, and disagreements are not uncommon.

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The "Wikipedia is not censored" policy has sometimes proved controversial: in 2008, Wikipedia rejected an online petition against the inclusion of images of Muhammad in the English edition of its Muhammad article, citing this policy.

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The presence of politically, religiously, and pornographically sensitive materials in Wikipedia has led to the censorship of Wikipedia by national authorities in China and Pakistan, amongst other countries.

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The October 22, 2013, essay by Tom Simonite in MIT's Technology Review titled "The Decline of Wikipedia" discussed the effect of systemic bias and policy creep on the downward trend in the number of editors.

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Taha Yasseri of the University of Oxford, in 2013, studied the statistical trends of systemic bias at Wikipedia introduced by editing conflicts and their resolution.

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Wikipedia's research examined the counterproductive work behavior of edit warring.

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Wikipedia has been criticized for allowing information about graphic content.

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One privacy concern in the case of Wikipedia is the right of a private citizen to remain a "private citizen" rather than a "public figure" in the eyes of the law.

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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.

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Wikipedia is hosted and funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization which operates Wikipedia-related projects such as Wiktionary and Wikibooks.

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Wikipedia is supported by many organizations and groups that are affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation but independently-run, called Wikimedia movement affiliates.

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Originally, Wikipedia ran on UseModWiki written in Perl by Clifford Adams, which initially required CamelCase for article hyperlinks; the present double bracket style was incorporated later.

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In July 2002, Wikipedia shifted to the third-generation software, MediaWiki, originally written by Lee Daniel Crocker.

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Wikipedia receives between 25, 000 and 60, 000-page requests per second, depending on the time of the day.

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In 2017, Wikipedia installed a caching cluster in an Equinix facility in Singapore, the first of its kind in Asia.

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Wikipedia Library is a resource for Wikipedia editors which provides free access to a wide range of digital publications, so that they can consult and cite these while editing the encyclopedia.

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Wikipedia content is distributed under an open license, anyone can reuse or re-distribute it at no charge.

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The content of Wikipedia has been published in many forms, both online and offline, outside the Wikipedia website.

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Wikipedia publishes "dumps" of its contents, but these are text-only; as of 2007 there was no dump available of Wikipedia's images.

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Several languages of Wikipedia maintain a reference desk, where volunteers answer questions from the general public.

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The article in The New York Times reported the comparison statistics for mobile edits stating that, "Only 20 percent of the readership of the English-language Wikipedia comes via mobile devices, a figure substantially lower than the percentage of mobile traffic for other media sites, many of which approach 50 percent.

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The Android app for Wikipedia was released on July 23, 2014, to generally positive reviews, scoring over four of a possible five in a poll of approximately 200, 000 users downloading from Google.

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Wikipedia Zero was an initiative of the Wikimedia Foundation to expand the reach of the encyclopedia to the developing countries.

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The number of Wikipedia editors has been declining after several years and Tom Simonite of MIT Technology Review claims the bureaucratic structure and rules are a factor in this.

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Noam Cohen, writing in The Washington Post states, "YouTube's reliance on Wikipedia to set the record straight builds on the thinking of another fact-challenged platform, the Facebook social network, which announced last year that Wikipedia would help its users root out 'fake news'.

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In February 2014, The New York Times reported that Wikipedia was ranked fifth globally among all websites, stating "With 18 billion page views and nearly 500 million unique visitors a month,.

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Almost half of Wikipedia readers visit the site more than five times a month, and a similar number of readers specifically look for Wikipedia in search engine results.

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About 47 percent of Wikipedia readers do not realize that Wikipedia is a non-profit organization.

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Wikipedia's content has been used in academic studies, books, conferences, and court cases.

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Content appearing on Wikipedia has been cited as a source and referenced in some US intelligence agency reports.

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Wikipedia has been used as a source in journalism, often without attribution, and several reporters have been dismissed for plagiarizing from Wikipedia.

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In July 2007, Wikipedia was the focus of a 30-minute documentary on BBC Radio 4 which argued that, with increased usage and awareness, the number of references to Wikipedia in popular culture is such that the word is one of a select group of 21st-century nouns that are so familiar that they no longer need explanation.

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Wikipedia 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.

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On September 16, 2007, The Washington Post reported that Wikipedia had become a focal point in the 2008 US 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.

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In September 2008, Wikipedia received Quadriga A Mission of Enlightenment award of Werkstatt Deutschland along with Boris Tadic, Eckart Hofling, and Peter Gabriel.

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In 2015, Wikipedia was awarded both the annual Erasmus Prize, which recognizes exceptional contributions to culture, society or social sciences, and the Spanish Princess of Asturias Award on International Cooperation.

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Wikipedia described it as "a work of reference as useful as any in existence", with so wide a range that it is almost impossible to find a person, place, or thing that it has left uncovered and that he could never have written his last two books without it.

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Wikipedia has spawned several sister projects, which are wikis run by the Wikimedia Foundation.

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Wikipedia has been widely used as a corpus for linguistic research in computational linguistics, information retrieval and natural language processing.

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Studies related to Wikipedia have been using machine learning and artificial intelligence to support various operations.

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