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[The WikiPedia project].

Wikipedia is a project to create a general encyclopedia within a wiki in every language. It began as a fun experiment of the more serious NuPedia project in January 2001, but quickly took off to become a separate entity. After only a few months, it became the second biggest wiki on the Net (the original WikiWiki being the largest). In 2006, it has the 1,500,000 article mark (not counting tens of thousands of other pages of discussions, redirects, etc). With its other assorted pages, Wikipedia is now the world's BiggestWiki. The original NuPedia project has been shut down.

The founders of WikiPedia are WikiPedia:Jimbo_Wales, owner of the web portal Bomis, and LarrySanger, who served as WikiPedia's chief organizer until March 1, 2002. Originally, the project used UseModWiki, but community members developed a PHP wiki (called MediaWiki) specifically designed for producing an encyclopedia.

Since WikiPedia uses wiki software, it is similar to the many other wikis on the WorldWideWeb. However, the goal of the WikiPedia community to produce an encyclopedia makes its culture quite different. Some people say that WikiPediaIsNotTypical; others argue that there is no such thing as a "typical" wiki.

There is a separate wiki called MetaWikiPedia that is used to separate WikiOnWiki and MediaWiki discussions from encyclopedia work. A dictionary-themed wiki, the [WiktionaryProject], has recently spawned off as well. There are also [WikiBooks] to make textbooks, [WikiQuote] to document quotes, [WikiNews] for collaborative citizen journalism, [WikiSource] for free-content source texts, [WikimediaCommons] for storing and annotating media, [WikiSpecies] as a species database, and [WikiVersity] as a collaborative LearningCommunity.

An (slightly factually inaccurate) analysis of Wikipedia is made in the FirstMonday article OpenSourceIntelligence.

In 2004, the [WikimediaFoundation] was set up as a non-profit organisation to raise money for Wikipedia. The goals of the foundation are to maintain and develop open content, wiki-based projects and to provide the full contents of those projects to the public free of charge.

Editorial policy

WikiPedia solved a major problem with getting a large number of contributors to agree on a common OneText by adopting a NeutralPointOfView editorial policy. Under this policy, any number of divergent or conflicting viewpoints could simultaneously be present on one article page provided no viewpoint asserted its factual correctness over any of the others.

WikiPedia has suffered many criticisms over the years about the accuracy and authority of its articles, particularly from the established media who felt threatened by WikiPedia's success. In an ironic move, the current editorial policy at WikiPedia now requires that all text have cited references, and the only acceptable citations are those from the established media. The policy is an extreme one: editors are often unable and unwilling to use their own eyes to affirm a factual statement. The occasional absurdity of this policy has become somewhat of a joke on the Internet, e.g. http://www.wondermark.com/d/291.html

The requirement for cited references serves some important purposes, though. It has proven particularly helpful in preventing the inclusion of extreme fringe theories, by requiring proponents to have some media coverage, and limiting inclusion to those facts available in other media. This policy also helps to head off the inclusion of rumors into articles, particularly details claimed which no-one else would be able to verify.

WikiPedia's editorial policies have helped to focus its GoalStatement of collecting all knowledge and helped it to grow to a size where another CommunityMayNotScale. They also aid ConflictResolution, particularly when the subject of an article may be outside the scope of most editors' personal knowledge. However, WikiPediaIsNotTypical, and its policies would not be useful in many other types of wikis.

Wikipedia status and mirrored copies

When Wikipedia is down for its periodic hardware upgrades, there's usually [a Wikipedia status note] describing what's going on, and an estimate of how long it will take. It also has a list of mirrors.

Linking to fixed versions of Wikipedia articles

On LaissezFaire, AndrewCates wrote:

Incidentally at risk of being told off, this link is to a mirrored fixed copy of WikiPedia which I have put up on [fixed reference], not to the live version. The reason is partly that the live version contains some modern day politics, partly that I want to know what I am linking to and don't want the article to end up merged and redirected somewhere else, and partly because life's too short... -- AndrewCates

Why not just link to the particular version you want? e.g. [Laissez Faire]. To me, [fixed reference] seems unnecessary when Wikipedia's article histories are just as fixed, plus you can reference any particular version you like, rather than only the specific version dates provided by fixedreference. -- StephenGilbert

Stephen, That's a fair point (although I agree OffTopic: perhaps we should have this discussion at WP where I am WikiPedia:User:BozMo)... but only if you expect people to stick rigidly just to the page linked to and not wander off it on links. If they wander off it to follow definitions etc., the links all go back to the present version, not ones concurrent with the version and it is rather a mess. Pages are subsequently moved, disambiguated etc., redirected back to the latest version of the page you started at... I've had this with the various versions of Catholic, Catholicism, catholicism, Catholic Church where everyone moves all the deck-chairs every so often.

Ah, good points.

But if you are sure people won't follow links then why not just quote the text?

My general rule of thumb is to quote enough for context, and link the rest. Most times the entire article text would be overkill to put on a MeatballWiki page, but nonetheless useful for background information.

In the end I think WP are going to have to start edition management for this reason: it is hugely less useful not to have complete working static copies. On top of which WP seems to be very slow or down far too often at present. -- AndrewCates

Various plans have been in the works, to the best of my knowledge. I don't know if any are close to being implemented. -- StephenGilbert

I have looked around and indeed there is an intention stated to have automated static copies but they seem to be stuck on the technicalities. I find this a bit puzzling since it didn't prove difficult but I am still using the old "skin" so maybe that's the problem. -- AndrewCates

You risk losing the link if WP deletes the history. Consider how much space history takes up, at some point if they don't have money or space, they may trim some of the revisions.

Wikipedia has just introduced the concept of WikiPedia:Wikipedia:WikiMoney

Arguably just a cheap knock-off of the BarnStar... ;-) (one wiki-kiss to anyone who writes something on the pros and cons of both systems ;-))

Well not really because WikiPedia gives people a BarnStar as well. Wiki Money involves someone else dictating the task in advance -- AndrewCates

WikiMoney? never took off, and the page is marked as inactive. --KatWalsh

The non-English Wikipedias should also be of note and currently the largest are the German, French, Dutch, Polish, and Japanese, in that order. There are currently 12 languages with over 100,000 articles. One of these is the Spanish Wikipedia, whose early growth was slow after most of the EsWikipedia? participants forked the Wikipedia project after a dispute with Jimmy Wales about advertising. The fork is known as EnciclopediaLibre Universal and claims over 10,000 articles (a large fraction of which are templates for Spanish places). Wikipedia is now a multilingual project, but the EnglishWikipedia still often gets the majority of the attention.

DeWikiPedia (the German WikiPedia) has 500 000 pages (Dec 2006) and is under active development.

The EsperantoWikipedia started in November 2001 and is already over twice the size of Meatball. As of early September 2003, it is estimated to have over 8400 articles.

FrenchWikipedia has over 16 000 pages in september 2003 and is under active development.

SwedishWikipedia has over 13 000 pages in september 2003.

On June 20, 2003, Jimbo Wales [announced the formation of the Wikimedia Foundation], a non-profit organization that now serves as the parent of WikiPedia and all of the WikiMedia projects.

Compare EverythingTwo (but do it silently; Wikipedians cringe at such comparisons :P ). Wikipedia has a [guide for Everything2 noders] that outlines some of the main differences between the two projects.

See HistoryFlowVisualization for a visual display of the histories of Wikipedia pages.

TourBus Info

 name: WikiPedia
 tour bus stop URL: WikiPedia:Wikipedia:TourBusStop
 host and e-mail: Jimmy Wales, mailto:jwales@bomis.com
 language: English and Other Languages
 mission: to produce a comprehensive, open content encyclopedia
 wiki-software (clone) used: MediaWiki
 geographical location: United States
 neighbourhood: NuPedia (father), WikiWiki (mother), EncyclopediaBritannica? (grumpy old great uncle),
                l'Encyclop├ędie (ancestor)
 date of birth: January 2001
 pages/homepages: changes very quickly; see BiggestWiki
 open or closed: open
 tour connections / wanted: 
 date of last update (this template): 09 Oct 2003

Why create a new wiki when WikiPedia has everything? I wanted to create a title like that but can't think of a good one. Anyhow, I've been thinking about starting a wiki for the online community I manage which has a good-sized audience to provide content, I believe. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize that every topic imaginable is on WikiPedia. Why create a new one? Why does this wiki, for example, still exist when every topic available is already mentioned on WikiPedia with a larger audience and more in-depth information? Feel free to move this message elsewhere. -- AstralisLux?

Community and purpose. Firstly, there's a community here on Meatball that would be lost on Wikipedia. I've edited pages on subjects I'm interested in, and put them on my watch-list, but have yet to feel any kind of community spirit about Wikipedia, probably because there's such a large audience. Secondly, Wikipedia expressly states that it is not for new ideas: everything on Wikipedia must come from other sources. That makes perfect sense for an encyclopedia, but the goals of Meatball - learning about communities - are incompatible with that. -- ChrisPurcell

Chris, would you provide some topics on MeatBall that would not be permitted to exist on WikiPedia? I agree with what you're saying, but every topic that I think of to add to a wiki is already on WikiPedia. I can think of internal topics of my own community, though, that would not fit on WikiPedia and that is starting to help me shape the wiki for my community. Ward mentioned that visitorship of his wiki is decreasing. He's blaming it on the spam, but I think it may be because of the success of WikiPedia. I'm not sure, though. And when you visit this site, it looks straight from 1995 like it is a dinosaur that is no longer updated. I remember when I looked deeply at this site for the first time, I recalled that I've seen this site over the years on searches but I always skipped it because I thought it was out-dated. -- AstralisLux?

New ideas. Wikipedia can only organize facts that are already established. -- SunirShah

Maybe this would expand on Sunirs point a bit. The WikiPedia concept becomes difficult when there is "a valid spread of opinion on a subject matter". WikiPedia is suited to describing different flavors of a religion (e.g. Christianity) and its origins, but is not suitable to present multiple viewpoints on whether that religion is good for you or not. BTW religion is not a good wiki topic due to the passion associated with it, but I do not have a convenient example

Note how wide a definition they use for original research [1]. It includes:
    1. analysis
    2. synthesis of existing ideas
    3. anything that requires argument
    4. coining any term or using recently invented terms
-- JeffBolden?

Creeping hierarchisition

Wikipedia has instituted hierarchy within the roles of editors, as well as within the categorisation of content, and now also in rating content and flagging that rating prominently on pages. Editors seem to be increasingly ignorant of the original differences between the wiki editing system, and the (CMS) ContentManagementSystem? style system which SoCalledWikiPedia? is rapidly approaching and engulfing. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Plants/Assessment&oldid=327228642

Hey anon, since this sounds like crazy talk, I ask you to sign your real name and stand behind your words, or I will delete it and ask that you don't return. -- SunirShah

BTW, anyone at WikiSym find useful insights regarding CommunityBuilding, WikiSpam management, future of wikis, from WikiPedia or information from WikiMania??
Comment moved to ReliabilityMetric.
See also:

CategoryOnlineCommunity CategoryOpenContent CategoryWikipedia


NathanielThurston -- Wed Sep 23 16:29:32 2009

For anyone interested in analyzing WikiPedia's community, a good place to start would be WikiPedia:Academic_studies_about_Wikipedia

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