Wikipedia (pípè /ˌwiːkiˈpiːdiə/ or /ˌwɪkɨˈpiːdiə/) is a multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based mostly on anonymous contributions. The name "Wikipedia" is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a type of collaborative Web site) and encyclopedia. Wikipedia's articles provide links to guide the user to related pages with additional information.
Wikipedia is written collaboratively by an international (and mostly anonymous) group of volunteers. Anyone with internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles. There are no requirements to provide one's real name when contributing; rather, each writer's privacy is protected unless they choose to reveal their identity themselves. Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the largest reference web sites, attracting around 65 million visitors monthly as of 2009. There are more than working on more than 13,000,000 articles in more than 260 languages. As of today, there are 33,732 articles in English. Every day, hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world collectively make tens of thousands of edits and create thousands of new articles to augment the knowledge held by the Wikipedia encyclopedia. (See also: Wikipedia:Statistics.)
Visitors do not need specialized qualifications to contribute. Wikipedia's intent is to have articles that cover existing knowledge, not create new knowledge (original research). This means that people of all ages and cultural and social backgrounds can write Wikipedia articles. Most of the articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet, simply by clicking the edit this page link. Anyone is welcome to add information, cross-references, or citations, as long as they do so within Wikipedia's editing policies and to an appropriate standard. Substandard or disputed information is subject to removal. Users need not worry about accidentally damaging Wikipedia when adding or improving information, as other editors are always around to advise or correct obvious errors, and Wikipedia's software is carefully designed to allow easy reversal of editorial mistakes.
Because Wikipedia is an ongoing work to which, in principle, anybody can contribute, it differs from a paper-based reference source in important ways. In particular, older articles tend to be more comprehensive and balanced, while newer articles more frequently contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism. Users need to be aware of this to obtain valid information and avoid misinformation that has been recently added and not yet removed (see Researching with Wikipedia for more details). However, unlike a paper reference source, Wikipedia is continually updated, with the creation or updating of articles on topical events within seconds, minutes, or hours, rather than months or years for printed encyclopedias.
What Wikipedia is not will give an understanding of how to consult or contribute to Wikipedia. Further information on key topics appears below. Further advice is at Frequently asked questions, advice for parents, or see Where to ask questions. For help with editing and other issues, see Help:Contents.
Nipa Wikipedia (About Wikipedia)Àtúnṣe
Itan Wikipedia (history)Àtúnṣe
Wikipedia was founded as an offshoot of Nupedia, a now-abandoned project to produce a free encyclopedia. Nupedia had an elaborate system of peer review and required highly qualified contributors, but the writing of articles was slow. During 2000, Jimmy Wales, founder of Nupedia, and Larry Sanger, whom Wales had employed to work on the project, discussed ways of supplementing Nupedia with a more open, complementary project. Multiple sources are suggested for the idea that a wiki might allow members of the public to contribute material, and Nupedia's first wiki went online on January 10, 2001.
There was considerable resistance on the part of Nupedia's editors and reviewers to the idea of associating Nupedia with a Web site in the wiki format, so the new project was given the name "Wikipedia" and launched on its own domain, wikipedia.com, on January 15 (now called "Wikipedia Day" by some users). The bandwidth and server (in San Diego) were donated by Wales. Other current and past Bomis employees who have worked on the project include Tim Shell, one of the cofounders of Bomis and its current CEO, and programmer Jason Richey. The domain was eventually changed to the present wikipedia.org when the not-for-profit Wikimedia Foundation was launched as its new parent organization, prompting the use of a ".org" domain to denote its non-commercial nature. In March 2007, the word wiki became a newly recognized English word.
In May 2001, a wave of non-English Wikipedias was launched—in Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, Esperanto, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. These were soon joined by Arabic and Hungarian. In September, Polish was added, and further commitment to the multilingual provision of Wikipedia was made. At the end of the year, Afrikaans, Norwegian, and Serbocroatian versions were announced.
Amiokowo ati awon etoawoko (Trademarks and copyrights)Àtúnṣe
Wikipedia is a registered trademark of the not-for-profit Wikimedia Foundation, which has created an entire family of free-content projects. On all of these projects, the contributor is welcome to be bold and to edit articles, contributing knowledge in a collaborative way.
Most of Wikipedia's text and many of its images are dual-licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts). Some text has been imported only under CC-BY-SA and CC-BY-SA-compatible license and cannot be reused under GFDL; such text will be identified either on the page footer, in the page history or the discussion page of the article that utilizes the text. Every image has a description page which indicates the license under which it is released or, if it is non-free, the rationale under which it is used.
Contributions remain the property of their creators, while the CC-BY-SA and GFDL licenses ensure the content is freely distributable and reproducible. (See the copyright notice and the content disclaimer for more information.)
Anyone with Web access can edit Wikipedia, and this openness encourages inclusion of a tremendous amount of content. About 75,000 editors—from expert scholars to casual readers—regularly edit Wikipedia, and these experienced editors often help to create a consistent style throughout the encyclopedia, following our Manual of Style.
Several mechanisms are in place to help Wikipedia members carry out the important work of crafting a high-quality resource while maintaining civility. Editors are able to watch pages and techies can write editing programs to keep track of or rectify bad edits. Over 1,500 administrators with special powers ensure that behaviour conforms to Wikipedia guidelines and policies. Where there are disagreements on how to present facts, editors work together to arrive at an article that fairly represents current expert opinion on the subject. The administrators can temporarily or permanently ban editors of Wikipedia who fail to work with others in a civil manner.
Although the Wikimedia Foundation owns the site, it is largely uninvolved in writing and daily operations.
Making the best use of WikipediaÀtúnṣe
Many visitors come to Wikipedia to acquire knowledge, others to share knowledge. At this very instant, dozens of articles are being improved, and new articles are also being created. Changes can be viewed at the Recent changes page and a random page at random articles. Over 2,000 articles have been designated by the Wikipedia community as featured articles, exemplifying the best articles in the encyclopedia. Another 7,000 articles are designated as good articles. Some information on Wikipedia is organized into lists; the best of these are designated as featured lists. Wikipedia also has portals, which organize content around topic areas; our best portals are selected as featured portals. Articles can be found using search using the search box on the left side of the screen.
Wikipedia is available in languages other than English. Wikipedia has more than two hundred languages (see other language versions), including a Simple English version, and related projects include a dictionary, quotations, books, manuals, and scientific reference sources, and a news service (see sister projects). All of these are maintained, updated, and managed by separate communities, and often include information and articles that can be hard to find through other common sources.
Wikipedia articles are all linked, or cross-referenced. When highlighted text like this is seen, it means there is a link to some relevant article or Wikipedia page with further in-depth information elsewhere. Holding the mouse over the link will often show to where the link will lead. The reader is always one click away from more information on any point that has a link attached. There are other links towards the ends of most articles, for other articles of interest, relevant external Web sites and pages, reference material, and organized categories of knowledge which can be searched and traversed in a loose hierarchy for more information. Some articles may also have links to dictionary definitions, audio-book readings, quotations, the same article in other languages, and further information available on our sister projects. Further links can be added if a relevant link is missing, and this is one way to contribute.
Using Wikipedia as a research toolÀtúnṣe
As a wiki, articles are never complete. They are continually edited and improved over time. In general, this results in an upward trend of quality and a growing consensus over a neutral representation of information.
Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start: they may contain false or debatable information. Indeed, many articles start their lives as partisan; and, after a long process of discussion, debate, and argument, they gradually take on a neutral point of view reached through consensus. Others may, for a while, become caught up in a heavily unbalanced viewpoint which can take some time—months perhaps—to achieve better balanced coverage of their subject. In part, this is because editors often contribute content in which they have a particular interest and do not attempt to make each article that they edit comprehensive. However, eventually, additional editors expand and contribute to articles and strive to achieve balance and comprehensive coverage. In addition, Wikipedia operates a number of internal resolution processes that can assist when editors disagree on content and approach. Usually, the editors eventually reach a consensus on ways to improve the article.
The ideal Wikipedia article is well-written, balanced, neutral, and encyclopedic, containing comprehensive, notable, verifiable knowledge. An increasing number of articles reach this standard over time, and many already have. Our best articles are called Featured Articles (and display a small star in the upper right corner of the article), and our second best tier of articles are designated Good Articles. However, this is a process and can take months or years to be achieved, as each user adds their contribution in turn. Some articles contain statements which have not yet been fully cited. Others will later be augmented with new sections. Some information will be considered by later contributors to be insufficiently founded and, therefore, may be removed or expounded.
While the overall trend is toward improvement, it is important to use Wikipedia carefully if it is intended to be used as a research source, since individual articles will, by their nature, vary in quality and maturity. Guidelines and information pages are available to help users and researchers do this effectively, as is an article that summarizes third-party studies and assessments of the reliability of Wikipedia.
Wikipedia vs. paper encyclopediasÀtúnṣe
Wikipedia has advantages over traditional paper encyclopedias. Wikipedia has a very low "publishing" cost for adding or expanding entries and a low environmental impact, since it need never be printed. In addition, Wikipedia has wikilinks instead of in-line explanations and it incorporates overview summaries (article introductions) with the extensive detail of a full article. Additionally, the editorial cycle is short. A paper encyclopedia stays the same until the next edition, whereas editors can update Wikipedia at any instant, around the clock, to help ensure that articles stay abreast of the most recent events and scholarship.
Strengths, weaknesses, and article quality in WikipediaÀtúnṣe
Wikipedia's greatest strengths, weaknesses, and differences all arise because it is open to anyone, it has a large contributor base, and its articles are written by consensus, according to editorial guidelines and policies.
- Wikipedia is open to a large contributor base, drawing a large number of editors from diverse backgrounds. This allows Wikipedia to significantly reduce regional and cultural bias found in many other publications, and makes it very difficult for any group to censor and impose bias. A large, diverse editor base also provides access and breadth on subject matter that is otherwise inaccessible or little documented. A large number of editors contributing at any moment also means that Wikipedia can produce encyclopedic articles and resources covering newsworthy events within hours or days of their occurrence. It also means that like any publication, Wikipedia may reflect the cultural, age, socio-economic, and other biases of its contributors. There is no systematic process to make sure that "obviously important" topics are written about, so Wikipedia may contain unexpected oversights and omissions. While most articles may be altered by anyone, in practice editing will be performed by a certain demographic (younger rather than older, male rather than female, rich enough to afford a computer rather than poor, et cetera) and may, therefore, show some bias. Some topics may not be covered well, while others may be covered in great depth.
- Allowing anyone to edit Wikipedia means that it is more easily vandalized or susceptible to unchecked information, which requires removal. See Wikipedia:Administrator intervention against vandalism. While blatant vandalism is usually easily spotted and rapidly corrected, Wikipedia is more subject to subtle viewpoint promotion than a typical reference work. However, bias that would be unchallenged in a traditional reference work is likely to be ultimately challenged or considered on Wikipedia. While Wikipedia articles generally attain a good standard after editing, it is important to note that fledgling articles and those monitored less well may be susceptible to vandalism and insertion of false information. Wikipedia's radical openness also means that any given article may be, at any given moment, in a bad state, such as in the middle of a large edit, or a controversial rewrite. Many contributors do not yet comply fully with key policies, or may add information without citable sources. Wikipedia's open approach tremendously increases the chances that any particular factual error or misleading statement will be relatively promptly corrected. Numerous editors at any given time are monitoring recent changes and edits to articles on their watchlist.
- Wikipedia is written by open and transparent consensus – an approach that has its pros and cons. Censorship or imposing "official" points of view is extremely difficult to achieve and usually fails after a time. Eventually for most articles, all notable views become fairly described and a neutral point of view reached. In reality, the process of reaching consensus may be long and drawn-out, with articles fluid or changeable for a long time while they find their "neutral approach" that all sides can agree on. Reaching neutrality is occasionally made harder by extreme-viewpoint contributors. Wikipedia operates a full editorial dispute resolution process, one that allows time for discussion and resolution in depth, but one that also permits disagreements to last for months before poor-quality or biased edits are removed.
That said, articles and subject areas sometimes suffer from significant omissions, and while misinformation and vandalism are usually corrected quickly, this does not always happen. (See for example this incident in which a person inserted a fake biography linking a prominent journalist to the Kennedy assassinations and Soviet Russia as a joke on a co-worker which went undetected for four months, saying afterwards he "didn’t know Wikipedia was used as a serious reference tool.") Therefore, a common conclusion is that it is a valuable resource and provides a good reference point on its subjects.
The MediaWiki software that runs Wikipedia retains a history of all edits and changes, thus information added to Wikipedia never "vanishes". Discussion pages are an important resource on contentious topics. Therefore, serious researchers can often find a wide range of vigorously or thoughtfully advocated viewpoints not present in the consensus article. Like any source, information should be checked. A 2005 editorial by a BBC technology writer comments that these debates are probably symptomatic of new cultural learnings that are happening across all sources of information (including search engines and the media), namely "a better sense of how to evaluate information sources."
Wikipedia disclaimers apply to all pages on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia, in common with many Web sites, has a disclaimer that, at times, has led to commentators citing these in order to support a view that Wikipedia is unreliable. A selection of similar disclaimers from places which are often regarded as reliable (including sources such as Encyclopædia Britannica, Associated Press, and the Oxford English Dictionary) can be read and compared at Non-Wikipedia disclaimers. Wikipedia content advisories can also be found here.
Contributing to WikipediaÀtúnṣe
- Main articles: Contributing to Wikipedia, First steps in editing articles, New contributors' help page
- Guide to fixing vandalism: Help:Reverting
Anyone can contribute to Wikipedia by clicking on the Edit this page tab in an article. Before beginning to contribute however, read some handy helping tools such as the tutorial and the policies and guidelines, as well as our welcome page. It is important to realize that in contributing to Wikipedia, users are expected to be civil and neutral, respecting all points of view, and only add verifiable and factual information rather than personal views and opinions. "The five pillars of Wikipedia" cover this approach and are recommended reading before editing. (Vandals are reported via the Administrator Notice Board and may be temporarily blocked from editing Wikipedia.)
Most articles start as stubs, but after many contributions, they can become featured articles. Once the contributor has decided a topic of interest, they may want to request that the article be written (or they could research the issue and write it themselves). Wikipedia has on-going projects, focused on specific topic areas or tasks, which help coordinate editing.
Editing Wikipedia pagesÀtúnṣe
- Main article, including list of common mark-up shortcuts: Wikipedia:How to edit a page
Wikipedia uses a simple yet powerful page layout to allow editors to concentrate on adding material rather than page design. These include automatic sections and subsections, automatic references and cross-references, image and table inclusion, indented and listed text, links, ISBNs, and math, as well as usual formatting elements and most world alphabets and common symbols. Most of these have simple formats that are deliberately very easy and intuitive.
The page layout consists of tabs along the top of the window. These are:
- Article. Shows the main Wikipedia article.
- Discussion. Shows a user discussion about the articles topics and possible topics, controversies, etc.
- Edit this page. This tab allows users to edit the article. Depending on the controversy surrounding the topic, this tab may not be shown for all users. (For example, any user who is not an administrator will not be able to edit the Main Page).
- History. This tab allows readers to view the editors of the article and the changes that have been made.
- Watch. Clicking on the watch tab will cause any changes made to the article to be displayed on the watchlist. (Note: when this tab is clicked, it changes to an unwatch tab.)
Wikipedia has robust version and reversion controls. This means that poor-quality edits or vandalism can quickly and easily be reversed or brought up to an appropriate standard by any other editor, so inexperienced editors cannot accidentally do permanent harm if they make a mistake in their editing. As there are many more editors intent on improving articles than not, error-ridden articles are usually corrected promptly.
Wikipedia content criteriaÀtúnṣe
Wikipedia content is intended to be factual, notable, verifiable with cited external sources, and neutrally presented.
The appropriate policies and guidelines for these are found at:
- Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, which summarizes what belongs in Wikipedia and what does not;
- Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, which describes Wikipedia's mandatory core approach to neutral, unbiased article-writing;
- Wikipedia:No original research, which prohibits the use of Wikipedia to publish personal views and original research of editors and defines Wikipedia's role as an encyclopedia of existing recognized knowledge;
- Wikipedia:Verifiability, which explains that it must be possible for readers to verify all content against credible external sources (following the guidance in the Wikipedia:Risk disclaimer that is linked-to at the bottom of every article);
- Wikipedia:Reliable sources, which explains what factors determine whether a source is acceptable;
- Wikipedia:Citing sources, which describes the manner of citing sources so that readers can verify content for themselves; and
- Wikipedia:Manual of Style, which offers a style guide—in general editors tend to acquire knowledge of appropriate writing styles and detailed formatting over time.
Editorial administration, oversight, and managementÀtúnṣe
The Wikipedia community is largely self-organising, so that anyone may build a reputation as a competent editor and become involved in any role he/she may choose, subject to peer approval. Individuals often will choose to become involved in specialised tasks, such as reviewing articles at others' request, watching current edits for vandalism, watching newly created articles for quality control purposes, or similar roles. Editors who find that editorial administrator responsibility would benefit their ability to help the community may ask their peers in the community for agreement to undertake such roles; a structure which enforces meritocracy and communal standards of editorship and conduct. At present, around a 75–80% approval rating after enquiry is considered the requirement for such a role, a standard which tends to ensure a high level of experience, trust, and familiarity across a broad front of aspects within Wikipedia.
A variety of software-assisted systems and automated programs help several hundred editors to watch for problematic edits and editors. An arbitration committee sits at the top of all editorial and editor conduct disputes, and its members are elected in three regularly rotated tranches by an established enquiry and decision-making process in which all regular editors can equally participate.
Theoretically all editors and users are treated equally with no "power structure". There is, however a hierarchy of permissions:
- Anyone can edit most of the articles here. Some articles are protected due to vandalism or edit-warring, and can only be edited by certain editors.
- Anyone with an account that has been registered for four days or longer and made 10 edits becomes Autoconfirmed, and can do three things that IP users (also referred to somewhat incorrectly as "anonymous editors") cannot do:
- They can move articles.
- They can edit semi-protected articles.
- They can vote in certain elections.
- Many editors with accounts obtain access to certain tools that make editing easier and faster. Most of those tools, few learn about, but one common privilege granted to editors in good standing is "rollback", which is the ability to undo edits more easily.
- Administrators ("admins" or "sysops") have been elected by the community, and have access to a few more tools. They can delete articles, can block accounts or IP addresses, and can edit fully protected articles.
- The Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) is kind of like Wikipedia's supreme court. They deal with disputes that remain unresolved after attempts at dispute resolution have failed. Members of ArbCom are elected to three-year terms on a rotating schedule, and they tend to be selected from among the pool of admins.
- Bureaucrats are elected via a process similar to how admins are selected. There are not very many B-crats, and they can add or remove admin rights, approve or revoke "bot" privileges, and rename user accounts.
- Stewards are the top echelon, other than the Wikimedia Board of Directors. Stewards can do a few technical things, and one almost never hears much about them, as they normally only act when a local admin or bureaucrat is not available, and hence almost never on the English Wikipedia. There are very few stewards.
Handling disputes and abuseÀtúnṣe
- Main articles: Wikipedia:Vandalism, Wikipedia:Dispute resolution, Wikipedia:Consensus, Wikipedia:Sock puppetry, Wikipedia:Conflict of interest
Wikipedia has a rich set of methods to handle most abuses that commonly arise. These methods are well-tested and should be relied upon.
- Intentional vandalism can be reported and corrected by anyone.
- Unresolved disputes between editors, whether based upon behavior, editorial approach, or validity of content, can be addressed through the talk page of an article, through requesting comments from other editors or through Wikipedia's comprehensive dispute resolution process.
- Abuse of user accounts, such as the creation of "Internet sock puppets" or solicitation of friends and other parties to enforce a non-neutral viewpoint or inappropriate consensus within a discussion, or to disrupt other Wikipedia processes in an annoying manner, are addressed through the sock puppet policy.
In addition, brand new users (until they have established themselves a bit) may at the start find that their votes are given less weight by editors in some informal polls, in order to prevent abuse of single-purpose accounts.
Editorial quality reviewÀtúnṣe
As well as systems to catch and control substandard and vandalistic edits, Wikipedia also has a full style and content manual and a variety of positive systems for continual article review and improvement. Examples of the processes include peer review, good article assessment, and the featured article process, a rigorous review of articles that are intended to meet the highest standards and showcase Wikipedia's capability to produce high-quality work.
In addition, specific types of article or fields often have their own specialized and comprehensive projects, assessment processes (such as biographical article assessment), and expert reviewers within specific subjects. Nominated articles are also frequently the subject of specific focus under projects such as the Neutrality Project or are covered under editorial drives by groups such as the Cleanup Taskforce.
Wikipedia uses MediaWiki software, the open-source program used not only on Wikimedia projects but also on many other third-party Web sites. The hardware supporting the Wikimedia projects is based on several hundred servers in various hosting centers around the world. Full descriptions of these servers and their roles are available on this meta page. For technical information about Wikipedia, check Technical FAQs. Wikipedia publishes various types of metadata; and, across its pages, are many thousands of microformats.
Feedback and questionsÀtúnṣe
Wikipedia is run as a communal effort. It is a community project whose result is an encyclopedia. Feedback about content should, in the first instance, be raised on the discussion pages of those articles. Be bold and edit the pages to add information or correct mistakes.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)Àtúnṣe
There is an established escalation-and-dispute process within Wikipedia, as well as pages designed for questions, feedback, suggestions, and comments:
- Talk pages—the associated discussion page for discussion of an article or policy's contents (usually the first place to go);
- Wikipedia:Vandalism—a facility for reporting vandalism (but fix vandalism as well as report it);
- Dispute resolution—the procedure for handling disputes that remain unresolved within an article's talk space; and
- Village pump—the Wikipedia discussion area, part of the community portal.
- Bug tracker—a facility for reporting problems with the Wikipedia Web site or the MediaWiki software that runs it;
- Village pump: proposals page—a place for making non-policy suggestions; and
- Wikipedia:Help desk—Wikipedia's general help desk, if other pages have not answered the query.
Research help and similar questionsÀtúnṣe
Facilities for help for users researching specific topics can be found at:
- Wikipedia:Requested articles—to suggest or request articles for the future.
- Wikipedia:Reference desk—to ask for help with any questions, or in finding specific facts.
Because of the nature of Wikipedia, it is encouraged that people looking for information should try to find it themselves in the first instance. If, however, information is found to be missing from Wikipedia, be bold and add it so others can gain.
For specific discussion not related to article content or editor conduct, see the Village pump, which covers such subjects as announcements, policy and technical discussion, and information on other specialized portals such as the help, reference and peer review desks. The Community Portal is a centralized place to find things to do, collaborations, and general editing help information, and find out what is happening.
Contacting individual Wikipedia editorsÀtúnṣe
For more information, the first place to go is the Help:Contents. To contact individual contributors, leave a message on their talk page. Standard places to ask policy and project-related questions are the village pump, online, and the Wikipedia mailing lists, over e-mail. Reach other Wikipedians via IRC and e-mail.
In addition, the Wikimedia Foundation meta-wiki, a site for coordinating the various Wikipedia projects and sister projects (and abstract discussions of policy and direction). Also available are places for submitting bug reports and feature requests.
For a full list of contact options, see Wikipedia:Contact us.
Related versions and projectsÀtúnṣe
- Wikipedia:Quality control
- Ten things you probably did not know about Wikipedia
- Meta:Power structure
- List of online encyclopedias—compare Wikipedia to other projects in a convenient chart
- "Quarterly update to OED online: New edition: Prakrit to prim", Oxford English Dictionary, March 15, 2007
- "Wikipedia announcements — May 2001".
- "Wikipedia announcements — September 2001".
- Bill Thompson, "What is it with Wikipedia?", BBC, December 16, 2005.
- The founder of Wikipedia is the sole individual empowered to override this process, but has stated in public that extreme circumstances aside, he will not do so.