English Wikipedia

English Wikipedia
URL en.wikipedia.org
Slogan The Free Encyclopedia
Commercial? Charitable
Type of site Internet encyclopedia project
Registration Optional (required to create articles)
Content license Creative Commons Attribution/
(most text also dual-licensed under GFDL)
Media licensing varies
Owner Wikimedia Foundation
Created by Jimmy Wales, Larry Sanger[1]
Launched 15 January 2001

The English Wikipedia (enwiki) is the English-language edition of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Founded on 15 January 2001 and reaching three million articles by August 2009,[2] it was the first edition of Wikipedia and remains the largest, with almost three times as many articles as the next largest, the German Wikipedia. As of February 2012, nearly 20.4% 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 4,243,511 articles on the site (live count).[4]

The Simple English Wikipedia is a variation, with most of the articles using a simplified level of English sentences and vocabulary.


Pioneering edition

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",[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. 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

Origin of edits (04/10 - 03/11) Source
United States
United Kingdom
New Zealand
English Wikipedia statistics
Number of users Number of articles Number of files Number of administrators
1 4,243,511 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]

About 250,000 new accounts are created every month, and these numbers are growing. About 300,000 editors have edited Wikipedia more than 10 times. Approximately the same number, 300,000 editors, edit Wikipedia every month; of these, about 50,000 perform more than 5 edits, and 5,000 perform more than 100 edits. By 24 November 2011, a total of 500 million edits had been performed on the English Wikipedia.

A 2008 survey provided some basic information on the demographics and motivations of Wikipedia editors.[14]

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.[15] 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.[16][17]

When initially founded, the Committee consisted of 12 arbitrators divided into three groups of four members each.[16][18] Since then, the Committee has gradually expanded to its membership to 18 arbitrators.[19]

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.[20]


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.[21] 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".[22] 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 national variant 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.

Incidents of cyberbullying on Wikipedia have been reported in the mainstream press.[23][24][25] The Glen A. Wilson High School was subject of such a threat in 2008,[23][24][25] and a 14-year-old boy was arrested for making a threat against Niles West High School on Wikipedia in 2006.[26]

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 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 (17 August 2009). "English Wikipedia hits three million articles". The Guardian (UK). http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2009/aug/17/wikipedia-three-million. Retrieved 17 August 2009. 
  3. ^ Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (21 September 2008). "List of Wikipedias". http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_Wikipedias&oldid=520778. Retrieved 21 September 2008. 
  4. ^ The number of articles on the English Wikipedia is shown by the MediaWiki variable {{{NUMBEROFARTICLES}} , with all Wikipedias as total {{NUMBEROF|ARTICLES|total}} = 20,797,180.
  5. ^ English Wikipedia (30 January 2007). "Featured articles". http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Featured_articles&oldid=104207677. Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  6. ^ English Wikipedia (25 January 2007). "Neutral point of view". http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view&oldid=103033132. Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  7. ^ Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (29 January 2007). "Help:Template". http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Help:Template&oldid=520481. Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  8. ^ English Wikipedia (19 January 2007). "WikiProject Stub sorting". http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:WikiProject_Stub_sorting&oldid=101829026. Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  9. ^ English Wikipedia (27 January 2007). "Resolving disputes". http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Resolving_disputes&oldid=103577785. Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  10. ^ English Wikipedia (30 January 2007). "Article Creation and Improvement Drive". http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Article_Creation_and_Improvement_Drive&oldid=104243512. Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  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. ^ New Reports from November 2008 Survey Released, Wikimedia Blog, 2 April 2010
  15. ^ Schiff, Stacy (2 December 2006). "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 15 June 2009. 
  16. ^ a b Wales, Jimmy (4 December 2003). "WikiEN-l Wikiquette committee appointments". Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. http://markmail.org/message/komcldyapats43xj#query:+page:1+mid:komcldyapats43xj+state:results. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  17. ^ Hoffman, David A.; Salil Mehra (2010). "Wikitruth Through Wikiorder". Emory Law Journal 59 (2010). SSRN 1354424. 
  18. ^ Hyatt, Josh (1 June 2006). "Secrets of Greatness: Great Teams". Fortune. Time Warner. http://money.cnn.com/2006/05/31/magazines/fortune/mysql_greatteams_fortune/index.htm. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  19. ^ Wales, Jimmy (20 December 2008). "ArbCom Appointments". Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Jimbo_Wales&oldid=259248025. Retrieved 14 June 2009. 
  20. ^ Kleinz, Torsten (30 April 2007). "Wikipedia sucht Schiedsrichter" (in German). heise online. http://www.heise.de/newsticker/Wikipedia-sucht-Schiedsrichter--/meldung/89083. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  21. ^ English Wikipedia. "Wikipedia:Manual of Style (spelling)". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_%28spelling%29. Retrieved 25 February 2006. 
  22. ^ English Wikipedia. "Wikipedia:Manual of Style". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#National_varieties_of_English. Retrieved 10 October 2007. 
  23. ^ a b Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (29 April 2008). "Wikipedia threats went unchecked – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2008/apr/29/local/me-wikipedia29. 
  24. ^ a b Hacienda Heights school receives possible threat | abc7.com
  25. ^ a b "L.A. Now". Los Angeles Times. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2008/04/wiki.html?cid=6a00d8341c630a53ef011571abd811970b. 
  26. ^ "Teen charged after threat to school on Wikipedia". Associated Press. Bloomington, IL: Pantagraph.com. 31 October 2006. http://www.pantagraph.com/news/article_baef01f3-e56f-52e1-b9af-e90eb83e811b.html. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 

External links