The word derives from the prefix ‘wiki’ which in Hawaiian means “fast” and from the ending of the word encyclopedia. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia managed by the Wikimedia Foundation, available in digital format and used to consult content written by volunteers, freely and for free. It has to its credit more than 46 million articles written by people around the world and a total of 2000 million editions.

Wikipedia Features

This encyclopedia is basically characterized by the freedom that it gives everyone to share and edit content, under the motto ‘The free encyclopedia that everyone can edit’. In addition, it has the following essential characteristics:

  • Allow anyone to edit the content. The so-called ‘wikis’ are the websites that allow this function, even from the browser.
  • Fully open content.
  • It is understood as a support that allows to collect, store and transmit information in a structured way.

In the words of its co-founder Jimmy Wales, this project aims to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest quality, reaching the greatest number of people around the world and in their own language.

Wikipedia policy

This encyclopedia has the particularity of having a set of policies established by the participants themselves and with the aim of maintaining the identity of the project as an encyclopedia, thus promoting quality content. Some of these policies are:

  • When a topic is not constituted as an encyclopedic it is excluded from it.
  • Articles should be created with various views on the subject in mind. However, contributions from those who in one way or another promote violence or hatred should not be included.
  • As for the discussions around the content or edition of any article, they will not appear in it, but on pages intended for discussion.
  • The version that is preferably used for the naming of articles will be in their respective language.

Interesting facts about Wikipedia

  • Google Inc. in 2010 donated the important sum of 2 million dollars to the Wikimedia Foundation, showing that it is completely dependent on donations from its benefactors.
  • The creation of new articles is relatively easy, in this sense the encyclopedia is in charge of providing you with some tips especially if you are a beginner.
  • It is not necessary to be registered in the encyclopedia to create new articles or suggest any corrections to existing articles.
  • The encyclopedia is directed by the Wikimedia Foundation, created in turn by its co-founder, in 2003.
  • Articles can be edited directly. In addition, each article offers a discussion forum where suggested corrections are allowed.
  • The same encyclopedia gives you a style manual for creating the articles.

Wikipedia interface

The visualization of the articles is given through the theme known as ‘vector’ created by the Foundation in 2010. The edition of an article is given through the wiki code, which consists of a text box that you can locate in the tab of ‘edit’. However, on some occasions this option is not available to prevent any sign of vandalism.

You can find a variety of controls, which are used to edit or navigate pages, these are not the same as the classic HTML. In 2016 the encyclopedia had 284 ‘active’ editions in different dialects and languages. Some of the elements used in its interface could cause a bad impression to those who do not have computer knowledge.

Regarding the editions, it is important to highlight that each one works independently, which does not necessarily imply the inclusion of the content of other editions and only the ‘neutral point of view’ should be maintained. The list of languages ​​includes from artificial languages ​​to aboriginal or indigenous languages. Among the editions with the most articles are French, German, Dutch, Swedish and English.

Wikipedia content license

Under the Creative Commons and GNU licenses is the textual content of the encyclopedia. For their part, the copyrights of each publisher, illustrator or author are attributed to them thanks to the Berne Convention. In the case of content with a free license, it can be copied by another author as long as they have the corresponding permission, however, contents that prohibit any distribution, modification or illegal reproduction are excepted from this option, generating problems with the policies of the encyclopedia.

Wikipedia content neutrality

One of the greatest advantages of the project is precisely allowing anyone to edit the content. However, this could translate into a problem when there is the case of users who deliberately enter partial information, thus creating a wrong approach or giving rise to points of view that are not shared or lacking in interest.

In this case, the ‘neutral point of view’ of the encyclopedia is precisely in charge of establishing how necessary it is to gather representative points of view in articles that are subject to controversy. On the other hand, the guarantee that each content can be republished comes from free content licenses. One of its co-founders believes that such collaboration allows the production of highly positive and accepted effects.

Wikipedia highlights

The version of the encyclopedia that has more entries so far is in English, with a little less than 4.4 million, for its part, the Spanish version is the fourth with the most visits, the seventh in terms of the number of articles and the second with respect to the Number of users.

During 2013 it received the greatest number of views when the article on Facebook was published, the most visited versions being in French and English. The encyclopedia includes a total of just over 26.4 million articles.

To get an idea of ​​the statistics: in 2011 each of the articles was modified 46.4 times on average, during that same year 14,500 new articles were added every day, in 2012 there were 8,300 in total.

The number of authors registered in the encyclopedia, called Wikipedians to date, exceeds 1.76 million active members, counting from its creation in 2001. In it we can find articles translated into approximately 285 languages.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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