English Wikipedia

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Favicon of Wikipedia English Wikipedia
Logo of the English Wikipedia
The homepage of the English Wikipedia
The homepage of the English Wikipedia
Web addressen.wikipedia.org
SloganThe free encyclopedia that anyone can edit
Type of site
Internet encyclopedia
RegistrationOptional, but required for certain tasks including
  • protected page edit
  • page creation
  • file upload
Content license
Creative Commons Attribution/
(most text also dual-licensed under GFDL)
Media licensing varies
OwnerWikimedia Foundation
Created byJimmy Wales, Larry Sanger[1]
Launched15 January 2001

The English Wikipedia is the English-language edition of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Founded on 15 January 2001 and reaching four million articles during July 2012, it is the first edition of Wikipedia and, as of September 2015, has the most articles of any of the editions (more than twice as many as the next in rank, the Swedish Wikipedia). As of April 2024, nearly 0% of articles in all Wikipedias belong to the English-language edition. This share has gradually declined from more than 50 percent in 2003, due to the growth of Wikipedias in other languages. There are articles on the site (live count). In December 2012, the combined text of the English Wikipedia's articles totaled roughly 9.7 gigabytes.[needs update]

Pioneering edition[edit]

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

The English Wikipedia has adopted features from Wikipedias in other languages. These features include verified revisions from the German Wikipedia (dewiki) and town population-lookup templates from the Dutch Wikipedia (nlwiki).

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

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

Users and editors[edit]

English Wikipedia statistics
Number of user accounts Number of articles Number of files Number of administrators
123,662 10,078 10,364 160

The English Wikipedia reached 4,000,000 registered user accounts on 1 April 2007,[2] just a little over a year since it had crossed a threshold of 1,000,000 registered user accounts in late February 2006.[3]

Over 800,000 editors have edited Wikipedia more than 10 times.[4] 300,000 editors edit Wikipedia every month[citation needed]; of these, over 30,000 perform more than 5 edits per month, and a little over 3,000 perform more than 100 edits per month.[5] By 24 November 2011, a total of 500 million edits had been performed on the English Wikipedia.[citation needed]

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

Arbitration Committee[edit]

The English Wikipedia has an Arbitration Committee (also known as ArbCom) that consists of a panel of editors that imposes binding rulings with regard to disputes between other editors of the online encyclopedia.[6] The Committee was created by Jimmy Wales on 4 December 2003 as an extension of the decision-making power he had formerly held as owner of the site.[7][8]

When initially founded, the Committee consisted of 12 arbitrators divided into three groups of four members each.[7][9] Since then, the Committee has gradually expanded to its membership to 18 arbitrators.[10][not in citation given]

Like other aspects of the English Wikipedia, Wikipedia's sister projects have emulated the Arbitration Committee with their own similar versions.[11] For instance, in 2007, an Arbitration Committee was founded on the German Wikipedia called the Schiedsgericht.[12]


Incidents of cyberbullying on Wikipedia have been reported in the mainstream press.[13][14][15] The Glen A. Wilson High School was the subject of such a threat in 2008,[13][14][15] and a 14-year-old boy was arrested for making a threat against Niles West High School on Wikipedia in 2006.[16]

A 2013 study from Oxford University concluded that the most disputed articles on the English Wikipedia tended to be broader issues, while on other language Wikipedias the most disputed articles tended to be regional issues; this is due to the English language's status as a global lingua franca, which means that many who edit the English Wikipedia do not speak English as a native language. The study stated that the most disputed entries on the English Wikipedia were: George W. Bush, anarchism, Muhammad, list of WWE personnel, global warming, circumcision, United States, Jesus, race and intelligence, and Christianity.[17]

Varieties of English[edit]

One controversy in the English Wikipedia concerns which national variety of the English language is to be preferred, with the most commonly advocated candidates being American English and British English.[18] Perennial suggestions range from standardizing upon a single form of English to forking the English Wikipedia project. A style guideline states, "the English Wikipedia has no general preference for a major national variety of the language" and "an article on a topic that has strong ties to a particular English-speaking nation uses the appropriate variety of English for that nation".[19] An article should use spelling and grammar variants consistently; for example, color and colour are not to be used in the same article, since they represent American and British English, respectively. The guide also states that an article must remain in its original national variant.

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

Varieties of English[edit]

Andrew Lih wrote that the English Wikipedia "didn't have the chance to go through a debate over whether there should be a British English Wikipedia or an American English Wikipedia" because the English Wikipedia was the original edition.[20][clarification needed] Editors agreed to use U.S. spellings for primarily American topics and British spellings for primarily British topics. In 2009 Lih wrote, "No doubt, American spellings tend to dominate by default just because of sheer numbers."[21]

Wikiprojects, and assessments of articles' importance and quality[edit]

A "WikiProject" is a group of contributors who want to work together as a team to improve Wikipedia. These groups often focus on a specific topic area (for example, women's history), a specific location or a specific kind of task (for example, checking newly created pages). The English Wikipedia currently has over 2,000 WikiProjects and activity varies. [22]

In 2007, in preparation for producing a print version, the English Wikipedia introduced an assessment scale of the quality of articles.[23] Articles are rated by Wikiprojects. The range of quality classes begins with "Stub" (very short pages), followed by "Start", "C" and "B" (in increasing order of quality). Community peer review is needed for the article to enter one of the highest quality classes: either "A", "good article" or the highest, "featured article". Of the about 4.4 million articles and lists assessed as of March 2015, a little more than 5000 (0.12%) are featured articles, and a little less than 2000 (0.04%) are featured lists. One featured article per day, as selected by editors, appears on the main page of Wikipedia.[24][25]

The articles can also be rated as per "importance" as judged by a Wikiproject. Currently, there are 5 importance categories: "low", "mid", "high", "top", and "???" for unclassified/unsure level. For a particular article, different Wikiprojects may assign different importance levels.

The Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team has developed a table (shown below) that displays data of all rated articles by quality and importance, on the English Wikipedia. If an article or list receives different ratings by two or more Wikiprojects, then the highest rating is used in the table, pie-charts, and bar-chart. The software regularly auto-updates the data.

Researcher Giacomo Poderi found that articles tend to reach featured status via the intensive work of a few editors.[26] A 2010 study found unevenness in quality among featured articles and concluded that the community process is ineffective in assessing the quality of articles.[27]

Quality-wise distribution of over 4.8 million articles and lists on the English Wikipedia, as of 3 April 2015[28]

  Featured articles (0.11%)
  Featured lists (0.04%)
  A class (0.03%)
  Good articles (0.48%)
  B class (2.05%)
  C class (3.99%)
  Start class (25.73%)
  Stub class (54.08%)
  Lists (3.50%)
  Unassessed (9.99%)

Importance-wise distribution of over 4.8 million articles and lists on the English Wikipedia, as of 5 April 2015[28]

  Top (0.91%)
  High (3.21%)
  Medium (12.29%)
  Low (49.37%)
  ??? (34.22%)
  •   Featured articles
  •   Featured lists
  •   A-class articles
  •   Good articles
  •   B-class articles
  •   C-class articles
  •   Start-class articles
  •   Stub articles
  •   Lists
  •   Unassessed articles and lists

[Note: The table above (prepared by the Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team) is automatically updated daily by User:WP 1.0 bot, but the bar-chart and the two pie-charts are not auto-updated. In them, new data has to be entered by a Wikipedia editor (i.e. user).]


Internal news publications[edit]

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

See also[edit]

  • English Wikipedia blackout
  • History of Wikipedia
  • Reliability of Wikipedia
  • Simple English Wikipedia
  • Wikipedia for Schools
  • Wikipedia community



  1. ^ There is some controversy over who founded Wikipedia. Wales considers himself to be the sole founder of Wikipedia and has told the Boston Globe that "it's preposterous" to call Sanger the co-founder.[citation needed] However, Sanger strongly contests that description. He was identified as a co-founder of Wikipedia as early as September 2001 and referred to himself as being founder as early as January 2002.[citation needed]
    • Sidener, Jonathan (6 December 2004). "Everyone's Encyclopedia". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 15 October 2006.
    • Meyers, Peter (20 September 2001). "Fact-Driven? Collegial? This Site Wants You". New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2006.
    • Sanger, Larry: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Abgerufen am 12. April 2006.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  2. ^ Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-04-02/News and notes. Retrieved 20 April 2007
  3. ^ Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2006-02-27/News and notes. Retrieved 20 April 2007
  4. ^ Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Stats.wikimedia.org, abgerufen am 8. August 2013.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  5. ^ Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Stats.wikimedia.org, abgerufen am 8. August 2013.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  6. ^ Stacy Schiff: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". In: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Fairfax Digital Network, 2. Dezember 2006, abgerufen am 15. Juni 2009.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  7. ^ a b Jimmy Wales: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". In: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Wikimedia Foundation, 4. Dezember 2003, abgerufen am 9. Juni 2009.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  8. ^ Hoffman, David A.; Salil Mehra (2010). "Wikitruth Through Wikiorder". Emory Law Journal. 59 (2010). SSRN 1354424.
  9. ^ Josh Hyatt: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". In: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Time Warner, 1. Juni 2006, abgerufen am 15. Juni 2009.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  10. ^ Jimmy Wales: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". In: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". 20. Dezember 2008, abgerufen am 14. Juni 2009.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  11. ^ Wikidata: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". 1. April 2015, abgerufen am 1. April 2015.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  12. ^ Torsten Kleinz: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". heise online, 30. April 2007, abgerufen am 9. Juni 2009 (german).
  13. ^ a b Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (29 April 2008). "Wikipedia threats went unchecked – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times.
  14. ^ a b Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Abclocal.go.com, 18. April 2008, abgerufen am 8. August 2013.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  15. ^ a b "Student arrested for violent threats on Wikipedia". Los Angeles Times. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  16. ^ "Teen charged after threat to school on Wikipedia". Bloomington, IL: Pantagraph.com. Associated Press. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  17. ^ Gross, Doug. "Wiki wars: The 10 most controversial Wikipedia pages." (Archive) CNN. 24 July 2013. Retrieved on 26 July 2013.
  18. ^ English Wikipedia: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Abgerufen am 25. Februar 2006.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  19. ^ English Wikipedia: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Abgerufen am 10. Oktober 2007.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  20. ^ Lih, p. 135.
  21. ^ Lih, p. 136.
  22. ^ Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Abgerufen am 16. März 2015.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  23. ^ Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Abgerufen am 28. Oktober 2007.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  24. ^ Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". First Monday, abgerufen am 13. Juli 2010.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  25. ^ Fernanda B. Viégas, Martin Wattenberg, and Matthew M. McKeon (22 July 2007). "The Hidden Order of Wikipedia" (PDF). Visual Communication Lab, IBM Research. Retrieved 30 October 2007. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ Poderi, Giacomo, Wikipedia and the Featured Articles: How a Technological System Can Produce Best Quality Articles, Master thesis, University of Maastricht, October 2008.
  27. ^ Lindsey, David. "Evaluating quality control of Wikipedia's featured articles". First Monday.
  28. ^ a b Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Statistics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  29. ^ Erik Zachte: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Wikimedia Statistics, 14. November 2011, abgerufen am 19. Januar 2011.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  30. ^ Erik Zachte: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Wikimedia Statistics, 14. November 2011, abgerufen am 19. Januar 2011.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  31. ^ Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Wikimedia Foundation, abgerufen am 19. Januar 2012.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär
  32. ^ Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Stats.wikimedia.org, abgerufen am 28. Juli 2014.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär

External links[edit]