Mediawiki and English Wikipedia

The New York Times reported that Wikipedia is ranked fifth globally among all websites stating, “With 18 billion page views and nearly 500 million unique visitors a month, according to the ratings firm comScore, Wikipedia trails just Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Google, the largest with 1. 2 billion unique visitors. “[10] Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger launched Wikipedia on January 15, 2001, the latter[11] creating its name,[12] a portmanteau of wiki (the name of a type of collaborative website, from the Hawaiian word for “quick”)[13] and encyclopedia.

Wikipedia’s departure from the expert-driven style of encyclopedia-building and the presence of much unacademic content have received extensive attention in print media. In 2006, Time magazine recognized Wikipedia’s participation in the rapid growth of online collaboration and interaction by millions of people around the world, in addition to YouTube, reddit, MySpace, and Facebook. [14] Wikipedia has also become known as a news source because of the rapid update of articles related to breaking news. [15][16][17] While Wikipedia has had its fair share of good press,[18] it has also gotten its fair share of bad as well.

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The open nature of Wikipedia has caused concerns about its writing,[19][20] the amount of vandalism,[21][22] and the accuracy of information. Some articles contain unverified or inconsistent information,[23] though a 2005 investigation in Nature showed that the 42 science articles they compared came close to the level of accuracy ofEncyclop? dia Britannica. [24] Contents [hide] 1 Nature 1. 1 Editing 1. 2 Organization of article pages 1. 3 Vandalism 1. 4 Rules and laws governing content and editor behavior 1. 5 Privacy 1. 6 Community 1. 7 Language editions 2 History 3 Analysis of content As the popular joke goes, ‘The problem with Wikipedia is that it only works in practice. In theory, it can never work. ‘ ” —Miikka Ryokas[25] Editing Unlike traditional encyclopedias, Wikipedia allows outside editing: except in particularly sensitive and/or vandalism-prone pages that are “protected” to some degree,[26] even without an account readers can edit text without permission. Different language editions modify this policy to some extent; for example, only registered users may create a new article in the English edition.

No article is considered to be owned by its creator or any other editor, nor is it vetted by any recognized authority. Instead, editors are supposed to agree on the content and structure of articles by consensus. [28] By default, an edit to an article immediately becomes available. Articles therefore may contain inaccuracies, ideological biases, or even patent nonsense until or unless another editor corrects them. Different language editions, each under separate administrative control, are free to modify this policy. For example, the German Wikipedia maintains “stable versions” of articles,[29] which have passed certain reviews.

Following the protracted trials and community discussion, the “pending changes” system was introduced to English Wikipedia in December 2012. [30] Under this system, new users’ edits to certain controversial or vandalism-prone articles would be “subject to review from an established Wikipedia editor before publication”. The software that powers Wikipedia can aid contributors. The “History” page of each article records revisions (though a revision with libelous content, criminal threats, or copyright infringements may be retroactively removed). [31] Editors can use this page to undo undesirable changes or restore lost content.

The “Talk” page associated with each article helps coordinate work among multiple editors. [32] Importantly, editors may use the “Talk” page to reach consensus,[33] sometimes through the use of polling. Editors can view the website’s most “recent changes”, which are displayed in reverse chronology. Regular contributors often maintain a “watchlist” of articles that interest them so as to easily track recent changes thereto. In language editions with many articles, editors tend to prefer the “watchlist” because edits have become too many to follow in “recent changes”.

New page patrol is a process whereby newly created articles are checked for obvious problems. [34] A frequently vandalized article can be semi-protected, allowing only well established users to edit it. [35] A particularly contentious article may be locked so that only administrators are able to make changes. [36] Computer programs called bots have been used widely to perform simple and repetitive tasks, such as correcting common misspellings and stylistic issues, or to start articles such as geography entries in a standard format from statistical data.

There are also some bots designed to warn users making “undesirable” edits,[40] prevent the creation of links to particular websites, and block edits from particular accounts or IP address ranges. Bots on Wikipedia must be approved by administration prior to activation. [41] Organization of article pages Articles in Wikipedia are loosely organized according to their development status and subject matter. [42] A new article often starts as a “stub”, a very short page consisting of definitions and some links. On the other extreme, the most developed articles may be nominated for “featured article” status.

One “featured article” per day, as selected by editors, appears on the main page of Wikipedia. [43][44] Researcher Giacomo Poderi found that articles tend to reach featured status via the intensive work of a few editors. [45] A 2010 study found unevenness in quality among featured articles and concluded that the community process is ineffective in assessing the quality of articles. [46] In 2007, in preparation for producing a print version, the English-language Wikipediaintroduced an assessment scale against which the quality of articles is judged.

A group of Wikipedia editors may form a WikiProject to focus their work on a specific topic area, using its associated discussion page to coordinate changes across multiple articles. [48] Vandalism Main article: Vandalism on Wikipedia Any edit that changes content in a way that deliberately compromises the integrity of Wikipedia is considered vandalism. The most common and obvious types of vandalism include insertion of obscenities and crude humor. Vandalism can also include advertising language, and other types of spam. [49] Sometimes editors commit vandalism by removing information or entirely blanking a given page.

Less common types of vandalism, such as the deliberate addition of plausible but false information to an article, can be more difficult to detect. Vandals can introduce irrelevant formatting, modify page semantics such as the page’s title or categorization, manipulate the underlying code of an article, or utilize images disruptively. [50] John Seigenthaler has described Wikipedia as “a flawed and irresponsible research tool”. [51] Obvious vandalism is generally easy to remove from wiki articles; in practice, the median time to detect and fix vandalism is a few minutes.

However, in one high-profile incident in 2005, false information was introduced into the biography of American political figure John Seigenthaler and remained undetected for four months. [51] He was falsely accused of being a suspect in the assassination of John F. Kennedy by an anonymous user, but was actually an administrative assistant to President Kennedy. [51] Seigenthaler, the founding editorial director of USA Today and founder of theFreedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, called Wikipedia co-founder Wales and asked whether he had any way of knowing who contributed the misinformation.

Wales replied that he did not, although the perpetrator was eventually traced. [52][53] This incident led to policy changes on the site, specifically targeted at tightening up the verifiability of all biographical articles of living people. [54] Rules and laws governing content and editor behavior Content in Wikipedia is subject to the laws (in particular, the copyright laws) of the United States and of the US state of Florida, where the majority of Wikipedia’s servers are located.

Beyond legal matters, the editorial principles of Wikipedia are embodied in the “five pillars”, and numerous policies and guidelines that are intended to shape the content appropriately. Even these rules are stored in wiki form, and Wikipedia editors as a community write and revise the website’s policies and guidelines. [55] Editors can enforce rules by deleting or modifying non-compliant material. Originally, rules on the non-English editions of Wikipedia were based on a translation of the rules on the English Wikipedia. They have since diverged to some extent. English Wikipedia Main article: English Wikipedia

Main Page of the English Wikipedia The mobile version of the English Wikipedia Main Page Content policies Main page: Wikipedia:Content policies According to the rules on the English Wikipedia, each entry in Wikipedia, to be worthy of inclusion, must be about a topic that isencyclopedic and is not a dictionary entry or dictionary-like. [56] A topic should also meet Wikipedia’s standards of “notability”,[57]which usually means that it must have received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources such as mainstream media or major academic journals that are independent of the subject of the topic.

Further, Wikipedia intends to convey only knowledge that is already established and recognized. [58] It must not present new information or original research. A claim that is likely to be challenged requires a reference to a reliable source. Among Wikipedia editors, this is often phrased as “verifiability, not truth” to express the idea that the readers, not the encyclopedia, are ultimately responsible for checking the truthfulness of the articles and making their own interpretations. [59] This can lead to the removal of information that is valid, thus hindering inclusion of knowledge and growth of the encyclopedia.



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