English Wikipedia

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File:Wikipedia's W.svg English Wikipedia
URL http://en.wikipedia.org/</td></tr>
Slogan The Free Encyclopedia</td></tr>
Commercial? Charitable</td></tr>
Type of site Internet encyclopedia project</td></tr>
Registration Optional</td></tr>
Content license Creative Commons ShareAlike License 3.0</td></tr>
Owner Wikimedia Foundation</td></tr>
Created by Jimmy Wales, Larry Sanger[1]</td></tr>
Launched 15 January 2001</td></tr>

</table> The English Wikipedia is the English language edition of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Founded on January 15, 2001 and reaching three million articles by August 2009,[2] it was the first edition of Wikipedia and remains the largest, with more than three times as many articles as the next largest, the German Wikipedia. As of 2009, 22.3% of articles in all Wikipedias belong to the English language edition; this share has gradually declined from more than 50% in 2003, due to the growth of Wikipedias in other languages.[3] There are currently 789 articles on the site.


Pioneering edition

File:English Wikipedia contributors by country (2).png
English Wikipedia contributors by country[4] as of December 2007
File:Languages in Wikipedia.jpg
Article number of different language families. English highlighted has 22% of articles (06/09/09)
Main sizeable countries from which Wikipedians contribute.

The English Wikipedia was the first Wikipedia edition and has remained the largest. It has pioneered many conventions, policies and features that have been adopted by other Wikipedia editions. These include "featured articles",[5] the neutral point of view policy,[6] navigation templates,[7] the sorting of short "stub" articles into sub-categories,[8] dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration,[9] and weekly collaborations.[10] In turn, the English Wikipedia has adopted features from the German Wikipedia, and from smaller editions.

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

Users and editors

File:Wiki feel stupid v2.ogv
In April 2009, the Wikimedia Foundation conducted a usability study on the English Wikipedia, questioning users about the editing mechanism[11]
English Wikipedia statistics
Number of users Number of articles Number of files Number of administrators
18,145 789 0 1

The English Wikipedia reached 4,000,000 registered user accounts on 1 April 2007,[12] just a little over a year since it had crossed a threshold of 1,000,000 registered user accounts in late February 2006.[13]

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 seek information from the English Wikipedia rather than the Wikipedia of their native language because the English Wikipedia tends to contain more information. Successful collaborations have developed between non-native English speakers who add content to English Wikipedia and native English speakers who act as copyeditors for them.

Arbitration Committee

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.[14] The Committee was created by Jimmy Wales on December 4, 2003 as an extension of the decision-making power he had formerly held as owner of the site.[15][16]

When initially founded, the Committee consisted of 12 arbitrators divided into three groups of four members each.[15][17] Since then, the Committee has gradually expanded to its membership to 18 arbitrators.[18]

Like other aspects of the English Wikipedia, Wikipedia's sister projects have emulated the Arbitration Committee with their own similar versions. In 2007, an Arbitration Committee was founded on the German Wikipedia called the Schiedsrichter.[19]


Template:Seealso Among the controversies in the English Wikipedia is a debate over which national variety of the English language is to be preferred, with the most commonly advocated candidates being American English and British English.[20] Many suggestions have been proposed by editors, ranging 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."[21] 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 the same dialect in which it was first created, or which first became discernible in the article's history.

There has been a similar issue in the Chinese language Wikipedia concerning regional differences in how the language is written, as well as in the Portuguese Wikipedia between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese.

See also

Notes and references

  1. There is some controversy over who founded Wikipedia. Wikipedia's official personnel page from September 2001 states Wales and Sanger were the two or three co-founders, and that there was no editor-in-chief. 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. However, Sanger strongly contests that description. He was identified as a co-founder of Wikipedia at least as early as September 2001 and referred to himself that way as early as January 2002.
  2. Johnson, Bobbie (2009-08-17). "English Wikipedia hits three million articles". guardian.co.uk. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2009/aug/17/wikipedia-three-million. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  3. Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (2008-09-21). "List of Wikipedias". http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_Wikipedias&oldid=520778. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  4. m:Edits by project and country of origin
  5. English Wikipedia (2007-01-30). "Featured articles". http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Featured_articles&oldid=104207677. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  6. English Wikipedia (2007-01-25). "Neutral point of view". http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view&oldid=103033132. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  7. Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (2007-01-29). "Help:Template". http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Help:Template&oldid=520481. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  8. English Wikipedia (2007-01-19). "WikiProject Stub sorting". http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:WikiProject_Stub_sorting&oldid=101829026. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  9. English Wikipedia (2007-01-27). "Resolving disputes". http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Resolving_disputes&oldid=103577785. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  10. English Wikipedia (2007-01-30). "Article Creation and Improvement Drive". http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Article_Creation_and_Improvement_Drive&oldid=104243512. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  11. http://usability.wikimedia.org/wiki/UX_and_Usability_Study
  12. Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-04-02/News and notes. Retrieved on 20 April 2007
  13. Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2006-02-27/News and notes. Retrieved on 20 April 2007
  14. Schiff, Stacy (2006-12-02). "Know-alls". The Age. Fairfax Digital Network. http://www.theage.com.au/news/in-depth/democracy-for-knowalls/2006/11/30/1164777721624.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap2. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Wales, Jimmy (2003-12-04). "WikiEN-l Wikiquette committee appointments". Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. http://markmail.org/message/komcldyapats43xj#query:+page:1+mid:komcldyapats43xj+state:results. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  16. Hoffman, David A.; Salil Mehra (2010). "Wikitruth Through Wikiorder". Emory Law Journal 59 (2010). http://ssrn.com/abstract=1354424. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  17. Hyatt, Josh (2006-06-01). "Secrets of Greatness: Great Teams". Fortune. Time Warner. http://money.cnn.com/2006/05/31/magazines/fortune/mysql_greatteams_fortune/index.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  18. Wales, Jimmy (2008-12-20). "ArbCom Appointments". Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Jimbo_Wales&oldid=259248025. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  19. Kleinz, Torsten (2007-04-30). "Wikipedia sucht Schiedsrichter" (in German). heise online. http://www.heise.de/newsticker/Wikipedia-sucht-Schiedsrichter--/meldung/89083. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  20. English Wikipedia. "Wikipedia:Manual of Style (spelling)". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_%28spelling%29. Retrieved 2006-02-25. 
  21. English Wikipedia. "Wikipedia:Manual of Style". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#National_varieties_of_English. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 

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