Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 15 million articles (over 3.3 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site. Wikipedia was launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger and is currently the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet. Although the policies of Wikipedia strongly espouse verifiability and a neutral point of view, critics of Wikipedia accuse it of systemic bias and inconsistencies (including undue weight given to popular culture), and allege that it favors consensus over credentials in its editorial process. Its reliability and accuracy are also targeted. Other criticisms center on its susceptibility to vandalism and the addition of spurious or unverified information, though scholarly work suggests that vandalism is generally short-lived, and an investigation in Nature found that the material they compared came close to the level of accuracy of Encyclopædia Britannica and had a similar rate of "serious errors".
Wikipedia's departure from the expert-driven style of the encyclopedia building mode and the large presence of unacademic content have been noted several times. When Time magazine recognized You as its Person of the Year for 2006, acknowledging the accelerating success of online collaboration and interaction by millions of users around the world, it cited Wikipedia as one of several examples of Web 2.0 services, along with YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook. Some noted the importance of Wikipedia not only as an encyclopedic reference but also as a frequently updated news resource because of how quickly articles about recent events appear.
The word Wikipedia ( // or // WIK-i-PEE-dee-ə) was coined by Larry Sanger and is a portmanteau from wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning "quick") and encyclopedia.
- ↑ Some versions, such as the English language version, contain non-free content.
- ↑ In some parts of the world, the access to Wikipedia had been blocked.
- ↑ Mike Miliard (2008-03-01). "Wikipediots: Who Are These Devoted, Even Obsessive Contributors to Wikipedia?". Salt Lake City Weekly. http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/article-5129-feature-wikipediots-who-are-these-devoted-even-obsessive-contributors-to-wikipedia.html. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
- ↑ "Five-year Traffic Statistics for Wikipedia.org". Alexa Internet. http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details/wikipedia.org?range=5y&size=large&y=t. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- ↑ Bill Tancer (2007-05-01). "Look Who's Using Wikipedia". Time. http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1595184,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-01. "The sheer volume of content [...] is partly responsible for the site's dominance as an online reference. When compared to the top 3,200 educational reference sites in the U.S., Wikipedia is #1, capturing 24.3% of all visits to the category" Cf. Bill Tancer (Global Manager, Hitwise), "Wikipedia, Search and School Homework", Hitwise: An Experian Company (Blog), March 1, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
- ↑ Alex Woodson (2007-07-08). "Wikipedia remains go-to site for online news". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSN0819429120070708. Retrieved 2007-12-16. "Online encyclopedia Wikipedia has added about 20 million unique monthly visitors in the past year, making it the top online news and information destination, according to Nielsen//NetRatings."
- ↑ "Top 500". Alexa. http://www.alexa.com/site/ds/top_sites?ts_mode=global&lang=none. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
- ↑ Larry Sanger, Why Wikipedia Must Jettison Its Anti-Elitism, Kuro5hin, December 31, 2004.
- ↑ Danah Boyd (2005-01-04). "Academia and Wikipedia". Many 2 Many: A Group Weblog on Social Software. Corante. http://many.corante.com/archives/2005/01/04/academia_and_wikipedia.php. Retrieved 2008-12-18. "[The author, Danah Boyd, describes herself as] an expert on social media[,] ... a doctoral student in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley [,] and a fellow at the Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet & Society [at Harvard Law School.]"
- ↑ Simon Waldman (2004-10-26). "Who knows?". Guardian.co.uk (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2004/oct/26/g2.onlinesupplement. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
- ↑ Ahrens, Frank (2006-07-09). "Death by Wikipedia: The Kenneth Lay Chronicles". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/08/AR2006070800135.html. Retrieved 2006-11-01.
- ↑ Fernanda B. Viégas, Martin Wattenberg, and Kushal Dave (2004). "Studying Cooperation and Conflict between Authors with History Flow Visualizations" (PDF). Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) (Vienna, Austria: ACM SIGCHI): 575–582. doi:10.1145/985921.985953. ISBN 1-58113-702-8. http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~fviegas/papers/history_flow.pdf. Retrieved 2007-01-24.
- ↑ Reid Priedhorsky, Jilin Chen, Shyong (Tony) K. Lam, Katherine Panciera, Loren Terveen, and John Riedl (GroupLens Research, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota) (2007-11-04). "Creating, Destroying, and Restoring Value in Wikipedia" (PDF). Association for Computing Machinery GROUP '07 conference proceedings (Sanibel Island, Florida). http://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~reid/papers/group282-priedhorsky.pdf. Retrieved 2007-10-13.
- ↑ Jim Giles (December 2005). "Internet encyclopedias go head to head". Nature 438: 900–901. doi:10.1038/438900a. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7070/full/438900a.html. The study (that was not in itself peer reviewed) was cited in several news articles, e.g.,
- ↑ "Time's Person of the Year: You". TIME (Time, Inc). 2006-12-13. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1569514,00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
- ↑ Jonathan Dee (2007-07-01). "All the News That's Fit to Print Out". The New York Times Magazine. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/01/magazine/01WIKIPEDIA-t.html. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- ↑ Andrew Lih (2004-04-16). "Wikipedia as Participatory Journalism: Reliable Sources? Metrics for Evaluating Collaborative Media as a News Resource" (PDF). 5th International Symposium on Online Journalism (University of Texas at Austin). http://jmsc.hku.hk/faculty/alih/publications/utaustin-2004-wikipedia-rc2.pdf. Retrieved 2007-10-13.
- ↑ How I started Wikipedia, presentation by Larry Sanger
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