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A white sphere made of large jigsaw pieces. Letters from many alphabets are shown on the pieces.
Slogan The Free Encyclopedia
Commercial? No
Type of site Wiki
Registration Optional
Available in Multilingual
No. of users 80 million (all languages)
35 million (English)
Owner Wikimedia Foundation
Launched 15 January 2001 (English)
Current status Active

Wikipedia (/ˌwɪkɨˈpdiə/ or /ˌwɪkiˈpdiə/ WIK-i-PEE-dee-ə) is an open and multilingual wiki supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation through donations. It is by far the most successful and well known wiki in existence, as well as the largest and one of the oldest still active. Its 50 million articles (5 million in English alone)[1] have been written collaboratively by volunteers from around the world. Most of its pages can be edited by anyone with access to the site, and the English version has about 140,000 regularly active contributors. As of March 2019, there are active editions of Wikipedia in 293 languages.[2] It has become the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet,[3][4] and one of the most popular websites according to Alexa rank.

Wikipedia was launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger.[5] Sanger coined the name Wikipedia,[6] which is a portmanteau of wiki (a technology for creating websites collaboratively, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning "quick")[7] and encyclopedia.

In 2005, Nature published a peer review comparing 42 hard science articles from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia and found that Wikipedia's level of accuracy approached that of Britannica,[8] although critics suggested that it might not have fared so well in a similar study of a random sampling of all articles or one focused on social science or contentious social issues.[9][10] Time magazine stated that the open-door policy of allowing anyone to edit had made Wikipedia the biggest and possibly the best encyclopedia in the world, and was a testament to the vision of Jimmy Wales.[11]

Wikipedia has been criticized for exhibiting systemic bias, for presenting a mixture of "truths, half truths, and some falsehoods",[12] and for being subject to manipulation and spin in controversial topics.[13] In 2017, Facebook announced that it would help readers detect fake news by suitable links to Wikipedia articles. YouTube announced a similar plan in 2018.[14]


  1. As of 1 March 2019.
  2. List of Wikipedias. Meta-Wiki.
  3. Bill Tancer (May 1, 2007). "Look Who's Using Wikipedia". Time.,8599,1595184,00.html. Retrieved December 1, 2007. "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 US, Wikipedia is No. 1, capturing 24.3% of all visits to the category" . Cf. Bill Tancer (Global Manager, Hitwise), "Wikipedia, Search and School Homework" 25, 2012/ Archived March 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., Hitwise, March 1, 2007.
  4. Alex Woodson (July 8, 2007). "Wikipedia remains go-to site for online news". Reuters. Retrieved December 16, 2007. "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." 
  5. Mike Miliard (March 1, 2008). "Wikipediots: Who Are These Devoted, Even Obsessive Contributors to Wikipedia?". Salt Lake City Weekly. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  6. How I started Wikipedia, presentation by Larry Sanger
  7. “wiki” in the Hawaiian Dictionary, Revised and Enlarged Edition, University of Hawaii Press, 1986
  8. Jim Giles (December 2005). "Internet encyclopedias go head to head". Nature 438 (7070): 900–901. Bibcode 2005Natur.438..900G. doi:10.1038/438900a. PMID 16355180. Template:Subscription required Note: The study was cited in several news articles; e.g.:
  9. Reagle, pp. 165–166.
  10. Orlowski, Andrew (16 Dec 2005). "Wikipedia science 31% more cronky than Britannica's Excellent for Klingon science, though". The Register. Retrieved 25 February 2019. 
  11. "The 2006 Time 100". Time. May 8, 2006.,28804,1975813_1975844_1976488,00.html. Retrieved November 11, 2017. 
  12. Black, Edwin (April 19, 2010) Wikipedia – The Dumbing Down of World Knowledge 9, 2016/ Archived September 9, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., History News Network Retrieved October 21, 2014
  13. J. Petrilli, Michael (SPRING 2008/Vol.8, No.2) Wikipedia or Wickedpedia? 21, 2016/ Archived November 21, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., Education Next Retrieved October 22, 2014
  14. Cohen, Noam (April 7, 2018). "Conspiracy videos? Fake news? Enter Wikipedia, the ‘good cop’ of the Internet". The Washington Post. 

External links