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English Wikipedia

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English Wikipedia
The homepage of the English Wikipedia
Main Page of the English Wikipedia in April 2021
Type of site
Internet encyclopedia
OwnerWikimedia Foundation
RegistrationOptional; required for certain tasks
Users42,857,058 users, 1,060 administrators as of 11 January 2022
Launched15 January 2001; 20 years ago (2001-01-15)
Content license
Creative Commons Attribution/
(most text also dual-licensed under GFDL)
Media licensing varies

The English Wikipedia is the English-language edition of Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia. It was founded on 15 January 2001 as Wikipedia's first edition and, as of October 2021, has the most articles of any edition, at 6,436,864.[1] As of January 2022, 11% of articles in all Wikipedias belong to the English-language edition. This share was more than 50% in 2003.[2][3] The edition's one-billionth edit was made on 13 January 2021.[4]


The English Wikipedia has pioneered some ideas as conventions, policies or features which were later adopted by Wikipedia editions in some of the other languages. These ideas 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]

It surpassed six million articles on 23 January 2020.[11] In August 2020, the total volume of the compressed texts of its articles amounted to 18.6 gigabytes.[12]

The edition's one-billionth edit was made on 13 January 2021 by Ser Amantio di Nicolao (Steven Pruitt) who as of that date is the user with the highest number of edits on the English Wikipedia, at over four million.[4] Currently, there are 6,436,864 articles created with 895,813 files. The English Wikipedia currently has 42,857,058 registered accounts of which 1,060 are administrators.


The English Wikipedia reached 4,000,000 registered user accounts on 1 April 2007,[13] over a year since the millionth Wikipedian registered an account in February 2006.[14]

Over 1,100,000 editors have edited Wikipedia more than 10 times.[15] Over 30,000 editors perform more than 5 edits per month, and over 3,000 perform more than 100 edits per month.[16]

Number of editors on the English Wikipedia over time.

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."[17] The attrition rate for active editors in English Wikipedia was cited by The Economist as substantially in contrast to statistics for Wikipedia in other languages (non-English Wikipedia). The Economist reported that the number of contributors with an average of five or more edits per month was relatively constant since 2008 for Wikipedia in other languages at approximately 42,000 editors within narrow seasonal variances of about 2,000 editors up or down. The number of active editors in English Wikipedia, by "sharp" comparison, was cited as peaking in 2007 at approximately 50,000 and dropping to 30,000 by the start of 2014.

The trend analysis published in The Economist presents Wikipedia in other languages (non-English Wikipedia) as successful in retaining their active editors on a renewable and sustained basis, with their numbers remaining relatively constant at approximately 42,000.[17]

The English Wikipedia has the 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.[18] It 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.[19][20] When it was founded, the committee consisted of 12 arbitrators divided into three groups of four members each.[19][21]


English varieties

One controversy in the English Wikipedia concerns which national variety of the English language is to be preferred, some candidates being American English and British English.[22] 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".[23]

Disputed articles

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 some who edit the English Wikipedia have English as their second 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.[24]

Threats against high schools

Incidents of threats of violence against high schools on Wikipedia have been reported in the press.[25][26][27] The Glen A. Wilson High School was the subject of such a threat in 2008,[25][26][27] and a 14-year-old was arrested for making a threat against Niles West High School on Wikipedia in 2006.[28]

Wikiproject and assessment

A "WikiProject" is a group of contributors who want to work together as a team to improve Wikipedia. These groups may 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). In 16 March 2015, the English Wikipedia had over 2,000 WikiProjects and activity varied.[29]

In 2007, in preparation for producing a print version, the English Wikipedia introduced an assessment scale of the quality of articles.[30] 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 quality classes: either "good article", "A" or the highest, "featured article". Of the about 4.4 million articles and lists assessed as of March 2015, more than 5,000 (0.12%) are featured articles, and fewer than 2,000 (0.04%) are featured lists. One featured article per day, as selected by editors, appears on the main page of Wikipedia.[31][32]

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 auto-updates the data.

Researcher Giacomo Poderi found that articles tend to reach featured status via the intensive work of a few editors.[33] A 2010 study found unevenness in quality among featured articles and concluded that the community process is ineffective in assessing the quality of articles.[34]

Internal news publications

The SIgnpost icon, showing a styled 'S'

Community-produced news publications include The Signpost.[35] The Signpost (previously known as The Wikipedia Signpost)[36] is the English Wikipedia's newspaper.[35][37][38] It is managed by the Wikipedia community and is published online weekly.[35][39] Each edition contains stories and articles related to the Wikipedia community.[40][41]

The publication was founded in January 2005 by Wikipedia administrator and later Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, Michael Snow.[35][36][42] Originally titled The Wikipedia Signpost, it was later shortened to The Signpost.[36][43] The newspaper reports on Wikipedia events including Arbitration Committee rulings,[44] Wikimedia Foundation issues,[45] and other Wikipedia-related projects.[46] Snow continued to contribute as a writer to The Signpost until his appointment to the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation in February 2008.[47]

Investigative journalism by The Signpost in 2015 on changes to freedom of panorama copyright restrictions in Europe was covered by publications in multiple languages including German,[48] Italian,[49] Polish,[50] and Russian.[51] Wikipedia users Gamaliel and Go Phightins! became editors-in-chief of The Signpost in January 2015; prior editor-in-chief The ed17 noted that during his tenure the publication expanded its scope by including more reporting on the wider Wikimedia movement and English Wikipedia itself.[52] In a letter to readers upon the newspaper's ,tenth anniversary, the co-editors-in-chief stressed the importance of maintaining independence from the Wikimedia Foundation in their reporting.[53]

The Signpost has been the subject of academic analysis in publications including Sociological Forum,[54] the social movements journal Interface,[55] and New Review of Academic Librarianship;[56] and was consulted for data on Wikipedia by researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Dartmouth College.[57] It has garnered "positive" reception from some media publications including The New York Times,[58] The Register,[59] Nonprofit Quarterly,[60] and Heise Online.[61] John Broughton's 2008 book Wikipedia: The Missing Manual called The Signpost "essential reading for ambitious new Wikipedia editors".[62]

Other 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 a number of publications from the Wikimedia Foundation and multilingual publications such as the Wikimedia Blog and This Month in Education.

See also


  1. ^ The number of articles on the English Wikipedia is shown by the MediaWiki variable {{NUMBEROFARTICLES}}, with all Wikipedias as total {{NUMBEROF|ARTICLES|total}} = 58,113,330.
  2. ^ About 10% more than the next in rank, the Cebuano Wikipedia. See m:List of Wikipedias.
  3. ^ Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (21 September 2008). "List of Wikipedias". Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  4. ^ a b "The English Language Wikipedia Just Had Its Billionth Edit". Vice. 15 January 2021. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  5. ^ English Wikipedia (30 January 2007). "Featured articles". Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  6. ^ English Wikipedia (25 January 2007). "Neutral point of view". Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  7. ^ Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (29 January 2007). "Help:Template". Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  8. ^ English Wikipedia (19 January 2007). "WikiProject Stub sorting". Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  9. ^ English Wikipedia (27 January 2007). "Resolving disputes". Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  10. ^ English Wikipedia (30 January 2007). "Article Creation and Improvement Drive". Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  11. ^ "Wikipedia:Six million articles". Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  12. ^ See size of downloads at Wikipedia:Database download and a list of historical sizes here
  13. ^ Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-04-02/News and notes. Retrieved 20 April 2007
  14. ^ Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2006-02-27/News and notes. Retrieved 20 April 2007
  15. ^ "Wikipedia Statistics – Tables – English". Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  16. ^ "Wikipedia Statistics – Tables – English". Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  17. ^ a b "The future of Wikipedia: WikiPeaks?". The Economist. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  18. ^ Schiff, Stacy (2 December 2006). "Know-alls". The Age. Australia: Fairfax Digital Network. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  19. ^ a b Wales, Jimmy (4 December 2003). "WikiEN-l Wikiquette committee appointments". Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  20. ^ Hoffman, David A.; Salil Mehra (2010). "Wikitruth Through Wikiorder". Emory Law Journal. 59 (2010). SSRN 1354424.
  21. ^ Hyatt, Josh (1 June 2006). "Secrets of Greatness: Great Teams". Fortune. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  22. ^ English Wikipedia. "Wikipedia:Manual of Style (spelling)". Retrieved 25 February 2006.
  23. ^ English Wikipedia. "Wikipedia:Manual of Style". Retrieved 10 October 2007.
  24. ^ Gross, Doug. "Wiki wars: The 10 most controversial Wikipedia pages." CNN. 24 July 2013. Retrieved on 26 July 2013. "Wiki wars: The 10 most controversial Wikipedia pages". CNN. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2013.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  25. ^ a b Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (29 April 2008). "Wikipedia threats went unchecked – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times.
  26. ^ a b "Hacienda Heights school receives possible threat". 18 April 2008. Archived from the original on 24 July 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  27. ^ a b "Student arrested for violent threats on Wikipedia". Los Angeles Times. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  28. ^ "Teen charged after threat to school on Wikipedia". Bloomington, IL: Associated Press. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  29. ^ "Wikipedia: Wikiprojects". Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  30. ^ "Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment". Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  31. ^ "Comparing featured article groups and revision patterns correlations in Wikipedia". First Monday. Archived from the original on 6 May 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  32. ^ Fernanda B. Viégas; Martin Wattenberg; Matthew M. McKeon (22 July 2007). "The Hidden Order of Wikipedia" (PDF). Visual Communication Lab, IBM Research. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 October 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  33. ^ Poderi, Giacomo, Wikipedia and the Featured Articles: How a Technological System Can Produce Best Quality Articles, Master thesis, University of Maastricht, October 2008.
  34. ^ Lindsey, David (5 April 2010). "Evaluating quality control of Wikipedia's featured articles". First Monday. 15 (4). Archived from the original on 24 November 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  35. ^ a b c d Phoebe Ayers; Charles Matthews; Ben Yates (2008). How Wikipedia Works: And how You Can be a Part of it. No Starch Press. pp. 345–. ISBN 978-1-59327-176-3.
  36. ^ a b c Cohen, Noam (5 March 2007). "A Contributor to Wikipedia Has His Fictional Side". The New York Times. p. C5. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  37. ^ Koebler, Jason (16 February 2016). "The Secret Search Engine Tearing Wikipedia Apart". Vice.
  38. ^ Geoffroy, Romain (16 January 2014). "Une employée de Wikipédia débarquée pour avoir monnayé ses articles" [Wikipedia employee disembarks for minting her articles]. Les Inrockuptibles (in French).
  39. ^ Dobusch, Leonhard (12 January 2014). "Interview mit Dirk Franke über "Grenzen der Bezahlung" in der Wikipedia" [Interview with Dirk Franke about "Limits of Payment" in Wikipedia]. (in German).
  40. ^ Rosen, Rebecca (6 February 2013). "If You Want Your Wikipedia Page to Get a TON of Traffic, Die While Performing at the Super Bowl Half-Time Show". The Atlantic. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  41. ^ Dariusz Jemielniak (2014). Common Knowledge?: An Ethnography of Wikipedia. Stanford University Press. pp. 231–. ISBN 978-0804797238.
  42. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (18 July 2008). "Wikimedia Foundation edits its board of trustees". CNET.
  43. ^ Okoli, Chitu; Mehdi, Mohamad; Mesgari, Mostafa; Nielsen, Finn Årup; Lanamäki, Arto (24 October 2012). "The people's encyclopedia under the gaze of the sages: A systematic review of scholarly research on Wikipedia". doi:10.2139/ssrn.2021326. SSRN 2021326. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  44. ^ Oz, Ayelet (1 September 2014). "The Legal Consciousness of Wikipedia". Harvard Law School. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2572381. SSRN 2572381. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  45. ^ Sotirios Paroutis; Loizos Heracleous; Duncan Angwin (1 February 2013). Practicing Strategy: Text and Cases. SAGE Publications. pp. 237–. ISBN 978-1-4462-9047-7.
  46. ^ Waters, John K. (2010). The Everything Guide to Social Media. Adams Media. pp. 180, 270. ISBN 978-1440506314.
  47. ^ Ral315 (18 February 2008). "From the editor: This week, I'd like to congratulate and thank Michael Snow". The Wikipedia Signpost. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  48. ^ Diener, Andrea (27 June 2015). "Geben Sie Panoramafreiheit, Sire!" [Give freedom of panorama, sire!]. FAZ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Archived from the original on 29 June 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  49. ^ "Libertà di Panorama: a rischio in Europa con una riforma del copyright" [Freedom of Panorama: at risk in Europe with a copyright reform]. Blogo: Informazione libera e indipendente (in Italian). 22 June 2015. Archived from the original on 23 June 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  50. ^ "Chcesz robić zdjęcia znanych budowli Europy? Spiesz się. To mogą być ostatnie tygodnie" [Do you want to take photos of famous European buildings? Rush. These may be the last weeks]. Gazeta Wyborcza (in Polish). 24 June 2015. ISSN 0860-908X. Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  51. ^ "ТРЕВОГА! Свободная съемка на улицах Европы – под угрозой" [ANXIETY! Free shooting on the streets of Europe - at risk] (in Russian). 23 June 2015. Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  52. ^ The ed17 (21 January 2015). "From the editor: Introducing your new editors-in-chief". The Signpost. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  53. ^ Go Phightins! and Gamaliel (28 January 2015). "From the editor: An editorial board that includes you". The Signpost. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  54. ^ Konieczny, Piotr (March 2009). "Governance, Organization, and Democracy on the Internet: The Iron Law and the Evolution of Wikipedia" (PDF). Sociological Forum. 24 (1): 162–192. doi:10.1111/j.1573-7861.2008.01090.x. JSTOR 40210340.
  55. ^ Konieczny, Piotr. "Wikipedia: community or social movement?" (PDF). Interface: A Journal for and About Social Movements. 1 (2): 212–232. ISSN 2009-2431. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  56. ^ Bayliss, Gemma (January 2013). "Exploring the Cautionary Attitude Toward Wikipedia in Higher Education: Implications for Higher Education Institutions". New Review of Academic Librarianship. 19 (1): 39. doi:10.1080/13614533.2012.740439. ISSN 1361-4533. S2CID 61150982.
  57. ^ Yan, Guanhua; Arackaparambil, Chrisil (2011). "Wiki-watchdog: Anomaly detection in Wikipedia through a distributional lens". Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conferences on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology – Volume 01. IEEE Computer Society Washington. pp. 257–264. CiteSeerX doi:10.1109/WI-IAT.2011.86. ISBN 978-0-7695-4513-4. S2CID 11693510. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  58. ^ Dee, Jonathan (1 July 2007). "All the News That's Fit to Print Out". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  59. ^ Orlowski, Andrew (12 January 2016). "Wikimedia Foundation bins community-elected trustee". The Register.
  60. ^ McCambridge, Ruth (16 February 2016). "Knight Foundation Grant Request Tears at Wikipedia's Community". Nonprofit Quarterly.
  61. ^ Kleinz, Torsten (27 February 2016). "Kommentar: Wie geht es weiter mit der Wikimedia Foundation?" [Comment: What's next with the Wikimedia Foundation?]. Heise Online (in German).
  62. ^ John Broughton (25 January 2008). Wikipedia: The Missing Manual: The Missing Manual. "O'Reilly Media, Inc.". pp. 454–. ISBN 978-0-596-55377-7.


External links