The Arabic (Arabic: ويكيبيديا العربية) is the Arabic language version of Wikipedia. It started on 9 July 2003. As of November 2017, it has over 500,000 articles, 1,400,000 registered users and over 29,000 images and it is the 20th largest edition of by article count; it was the first Semitic language to exceed 100,000 articles.
The design of the Arabic differs somewhat from others. Most notably, since Arabic is written right-to-left, the location of links is a mirror image of thoses in languages written left-to-right. Prior to's update to MediaWiki 1.16, Arabic had a default page background of the site inspired by Arabic/Islamic tiling or ornament styles. Switching from MediaWiki's new default Vector layout to the original MonoBook layout may restore this page background.
At the emergence of the project in 2001, there were calls to create an Arabic domain raised by Arab engineers. The domain was created as "ar.wikipedia.org" but no serious activity took place except with anonymous users who experimented with the idea. Until 7 February 2003, all contributors to the Arabic were non-Arab volunteers from the International Project that handled the technical aspects. Elizabeth Bauer, who used the user name Elian in the Arabic, approached many potential Arabs who might be interested in volunteering to spearhead the Arabic project. The only group who responded were the ArabEyes team who were involved in Arabizing the Open Source initiatives. Elian's request were conservatively received and ArabEyes team were ready to participate but not take a leadership role and then declined participating on the second of February 2003. During this negotiation time, volunteer users from the German project continued to develop the technical infrastructure of the Arabic backbone.
In 2003 Rami Tarawneh (Arabic: رامي عوض الطراونة), a Jordanian PhD student in Germany who originated from Zarqa, encountered the English and began to edit content. Contributors encouraged him to start an Arabic. The Arabic opened in July 2003. By that year a significant group of contributors included Tarawneh and four other Jordanians studying in Germany.
On 7 February 2004, one member from the ArabEyes, Isam Bayazidi (Arabic: عصام بايزيدي), volunteered with 4 other friends to be involved with the Arabic and assumed some leadership roles. In 2004, Bayazid was assigned the SysOp responsibilities and he, with another 5 volunteers, namely Ayman, Abo Suleiman, Mustapha Ahmad and Bassem Jarkas are considered to be the first Arabs to lead the project and they are attributed for working on translating and enforcing the English policies to Arabic. The Arabic faced many challenges at its inception. In February 2004, it was considered to be the worst project among all other languages. However, in 2005, it showed phenomenal progress by which in December 2005, the total number of articles reached 8,285. By that time, there were fewer than 20 contributors and the administrators and contributors made efforts to recruit new users.
In 2007 the secret police in an unspecified country detained Tarawneh and demanded that he reveal the IP address of a contributor. To protect then, the administrators forged a dispute that was the presumed reason for Tarawneh losing his administrator access, so the secret police was unable to obtain the IP. In response to the incident, the rules now state that no one user may have access to all information about the's users.
In 2008 the had had fewer than 65,000 articles and was ranked #29 out of thes, behind the Esperanto and the Slovenian. Noam Cohen of The New York Times reported that, to many of the attendees of the 2008 Wikimania conference in Alexandria, Egypt, the "woeful shape of the Arabic has been the cause of chagrin." Cohen stated that out of Egyptians, fewer than 10% "are thought to have internet access" and of those with internet access many tend to be knowledgeable in English and have a preference of communicating in that language. The Arabic had 118,870 articles as of 15 January 2010.
As of July 2012 there are around 630 active Arabic editors around the world. Ikram Al-Yacoub of Al Arabiya says that this is "a relatively low figure." At the time there were hundreds of thousands of articles on the Arabic. The Wikimedia Foundation and the nonprofit group Taghreedat established the "Arabic Editors Program" intended to train users to edit the Arabic. By the end of June 2014, the number of articles has reached 384,000
The Arabic has been blocked in Syria with no official reasons given by the Syrian government. The block began on 30 April 2008 while all other language versions of remain unblocked and freely accessible. And it is still blocked in the country so far.[when?] Wikimedia.org[when?] continues to be blocked, which causes all images on (in all languages) to be unavailable. Tarawneh stated that wasta was used to unblock in Syria.
In June 2016, Arabic scored 233 in terms of depth (a very rough indicator of the encyclopedia's quality). This is better than the German version (102), the French version (207) or the Japanese version (74), making it the fifth highest +100,000 articles in the terms of depth, after English (930), Serbo-Croatian (561), Thai (253) and Hebrew (251).
In 2010, Tarek Al Kaziri, from Radio Netherlands Worldwide, believed that Arabic reflected the Arabic reality in general. Low participation lowers the probability that the articles are reviewed, developed and updated, and political polarisation of participants is likely to lead to biases in the articles.
In 2008, an article from The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli newspaper, accused the Arabic of being biased against Israel and on many other issues. The article was written by a journalist who says that he doesn't "read or speak Arabic" and used Google Translations to understand the content of the Arabic.
According to Alexa Internet, on 26 November 2014, the Arabic is the 10th most visited language version of in terms of percentage of visitors on all of thes over a month, with the "ar.wikipedia.org" subdomain attracting approximately 1.8% of the total visitors of the "wikipedia.org" website, despite being ranked no. 22 in term of the article count. In terms of page views, it is ranked 12th with the same 10s above it plus the Polish and Dutch ones.
Florence Devouard, the former president of the Wikimedia Foundation, stated in 2010 that the largest number of articles on the Arabic were written by Egyptians and that the Egyptians were more likely to participate in the Arabic compared to other groups.
|Rank||Country||% of views|
|9||United Arab Emirates||2.7%|
|Rank||Country||% of views 1 August 2017 - 31 August 2017|
|25||United Arab Emirates||12.0%|
Logos in different fonts for Arabic:
Media related to Arabic at Wikimedia Commons
|Arabic edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|