The English Wikipedia is the English-language edition of the free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. It was founded on 15 January 2001 as Wikipedia's first edition and, , has the most articles of any edition, at . As of , of articles in all Wikipedias belong to the English-language edition. This share has gradually declined from more than 50 percent in 2003, due to the growth of Wikipedias in other languages. The edition's one-billionth edit was made on 13 January 2021. The Simple English Wikipedia (simplewiki) is a variation in which most articles use only basic English vocabulary. There is also the Old English (Ænglisc/Anglo-Saxon) Wikipedia (angwiki), as well as a test incubator version for the Middle English Wikipedia (enmwiki).

Pioneering edition

The English Wikipedia was the first Wikipedia edition and has remained the largest. It has pioneered many ideas as conventions, policies or features which were later adopted by Wikipedia editions in some of the other languages. These ideas include "featured articles", the neutral-point-of-view policy, navigation templates, the sorting of short "stub" articles into sub-categories, dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration, and weekly collaborations. The English Wikipedia has adopted features from Wikipedias in other languages. These features include verified revisions from the German Wikipedia and town population-lookup templates from the Dutch Wikipedia. Although the English Wikipedia stores images and audio files, as well as text files, many of the images have been moved to Wikimedia Commons with the same name, as passed-through files. However, the English Wikipedia also has fair-use images and audio/video files (with copyright restrictions), most of which are not allowed on Commons. Many of the most active participants in the Wikimedia Foundation, and the developers of the MediaWiki software that powers Wikipedia, are English-speaking users.

Users and editors

The English Wikipedia surpassed six million articles on 23 January 2020. In August 2020, the total volume of the compressed texts of the English Wikipedia's articles amounted to 18.6 gigabytes. The edition's one-billionth edit was made on 13 January 2021 by Ser Amantio di Nicolao (Steven Pruitt), who is the user with the highest number of edits on the English Wikipedia, at over four million.


The English Wikipedia reached 4,000,000 registered user accounts on 1 April 2007,Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-04-02/News and notes. Retrieved 20 April 2007 just a little over a year since the millionth Wikipedian registered an account in late February 2006.Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2006-02-27/News and notes. Retrieved 20 April 2007 Over 1,100,000 editors have edited Wikipedia more than 10 times. Over 30,000 editors perform more than 5 edits per month, and a little over 3,000 perform more than 100 edits per month. By 24 November 2011, a total of 500 million edits had been performed on the English Wikipedia. As the largest Wikipedia edition, and because English is such a widely used language, the English Wikipedia draws many users and editors whose native language is not English. Such users may seek information from the English Wikipedia rather than the Wikipedia of their native language because the English Wikipedia tends to contain more information about general subjects. Often bringing in new perspectives, a strong motivation to contribute for them is to increase the coverage of topics outside the English world for an international audience and to enrich existing topics with missing information from non-English countries, thereby helping to reduce systemic bias. Successful collaborations have been developed between non-native English speakers who successfully add content to the English Wikipedia and native English speakers who act as copyeditors for them.

Arbitration committee

The English Wikipedia has an arbitration committee (also known as ArbCom) that consists of a panel of editors that imposes binding rulings with regard to disputes between other editors of the online encyclopedia. The committee was created by Jimmy Wales on 4 December 2003 as an extension of the decision-making power he had formerly held as owner of the site. When initially founded, the committee consisted of 12 arbitrators divided into three groups of four members each. Since then, the committee has gradually expanded its membership to 18 arbitrators. As with other aspects of the English Wikipedia, some of Wikipedia's sister projects have emulated the arbitration committee with their own similar versions. For instance, in 2007, an arbitration committee was founded on the German Wikipedia called the .


English varieties

One controversy in the English Wikipedia concerns which national variety of the English language is to be preferred, with the most commonly advocated candidates being American English and British English. Perennial suggestions range from standardizing upon a single form of English to forking the English Wikipedia project. A style guideline states, "the English Wikipedia has no general preference for a major national variety of the language" and "an article on a topic that has strong ties to a particular English-speaking nation uses the appropriate variety of English for that nation". An article should use spelling and grammar variants consistently; for example, ''color'' and ''colour'' are not to be used in the same article, since they represent American and British English, respectively. The guide also states that an article must remain in its original national variant. There has been a similar issue in the Chinese-language Wikipedia concerning regional differences in writing. Efforts toward a language fork for Portuguese Wikipedia have failed, but those regarding Norwegian Wikipedia succeeded. Andrew Lih wrote that the English Wikipedia "didn't have the chance to go through a debate over whether there should be a British English Wikipedia or an American English Wikipedia" because the English Wikipedia was the original edition. Editors agreed to use U.S. spellings for primarily American topics and British spellings for primarily British topics. In 2009 Lih wrote, "No doubt, American spellings tend to dominate by default just because of sheer numbers."

Disputed articles

A 2013 study from Oxford University concluded that the most disputed articles on the English Wikipedia tended to be broader issues, while on other language Wikipedias the most disputed articles tended to be regional issues; this is due to the English language's status as a global ''lingua franca'', which means that many who edit the English Wikipedia do not speak English as a native language. The study stated that the most disputed entries on the English Wikipedia were: George W. Bush, anarchism, Muhammad, list of WWE personnel, global warming, circumcision, United States, Jesus, race and intelligence, and Christianity.Gross, Doug.
Wiki wars: The 10 most controversial Wikipedia pages
" ''CNN''. 24 July 2013. Retrieved on 26 July 2013.

Threats against high schools

Several incidents of threats of violence against high schools on Wikipedia have been reported in the mainstream press. The Glen A. Wilson High School was the subject of such a threat in 2008, and a 14-year-old was arrested for making a threat against Niles West High School on Wikipedia in 2006.

Wikiprojects, and assessments of articles' importance and quality

A "WikiProject" is a group of contributors who want to work together as a team to improve Wikipedia. These groups often focus on a specific topic area (for example, women's history), a specific location or a specific kind of task (for example, checking newly created pages). The English Wikipedia currently has over 2,000 WikiProjects and activity varies. In 2007, in preparation for producing a print version, the English Wikipedia introduced an assessment scale of the quality of articles. Articles are rated by WikiProjects. The range of quality classes begins with "Stub" (very short pages), followed by "Start", "C" and "B" (in increasing order of quality). Community peer review is needed for the article to enter one of the highest quality classes: either "good article", "A" or the highest, "featured article". Of the about 4.4 million articles and lists assessed as of March 2015, a little more than 5,000 (0.12%) are featured articles, and fewer than 2,000 (0.04%) are featured lists. One featured article per day, as selected by editors, appears on the main page of Wikipedia. The articles can also be rated for "importance" as judged by a WikiProject. Currently, there are five importance categories: "low", "mid", "high", "top", and "???" for unclassified/uncertain level. For a particular article, different WikiProjects may assign different importance levels. The Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team has developed a table (shown below) that displays data of all rated articles by quality and importance, on the English Wikipedia. If an article or list receives different ratings by two or more WikiProjects, then the highest rating is used in the table, pie-charts, and bar-chart. The software regularly auto-updates the data. Researcher Giacomo Poderi found that articles tend to reach featured status via the intensive work of a few editors.Poderi, Giacomo, ''Wikipedia and the Featured Articles: How a Technological System Can Produce Best Quality Articles'', Master thesis, University of Maastricht, October 2008. A 2010 study found unevenness in quality among featured articles and concluded that the community process is ineffective in assessing the quality of articles.


Wikipedia by Language.svg|Percentages of articles written in various language families. In March 2013, 16.76% of articles were in English. File:Most popular edition of Wikipedia by country.svg|The countries in which the English Wikipedia is the most popular language version of Wikipedia are shown in red. Enwiki-map.png|Top 25 contributor countries to the English Wikipedia. Dark green: Native English speaking countries; light green: countries with English as a foreign language. Wiki feel stupid v2.ogv|In April 2009, the Wikimedia Foundation conducted a usability study on the English Wikipedia, questioning users about the editing mechanism. Wikipedia_5_million_articles_milestone_video_November_2015.ogv|Video marking English Wikipedia's milestone of five million articles on 1 November 2015 Wikipedia en - Page views by country over time.png|Page views by country over time on the English Wikipedia

Internal news publications

Community-produced news publications include ''The Signpost''. ''The Signpost'' (previously known as ''The Wikipedia Signpost'') is the English Wikipedia's newspaper. It is managed by the Wikipedia community and is published online weekly. Each edition contains stories and articles related to the Wikipedia community. A wide range of editors contribute articles and other pieces. Some of the editors make minor changes in the existing contributions. The publication was founded in January 2005 by Wikipedia administrator and later Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, Michael Snow. Originally titled ''The Wikipedia Signpost'', it was later shortened to simply ''The Signpost''. The newspaper reports on Wikipedia events including Arbitration Committee rulings, Wikimedia Foundation issues, and other Wikipedia-related projects. Snow continued to contribute as a writer to ''The Signpost'' until his appointment to the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation in February 2008. Investigative journalism by ''The Signpost'' in 2015 on changes to freedom of panorama copyright restrictions in Europe was covered by publications in multiple languages including German, Italian, Polish, and Russian. Wikipedia users Gamaliel and Go Phightins! became editors-in-chief of ''The Signpost'' in January 2015; prior editor-in-chief The ed17 noted that during his tenure the publication expanded its scope by including more reporting on the wider Wikimedia movement and English Wikipedia itself. In a letter to readers upon the newspaper's tenth anniversary, the new co-editors-in-chief stressed the importance of maintaining independence from the Wikimedia Foundation in their reporting. ''The Signpost'' has been the subject of academic analysis in publications including ''Sociological Forum'', the social movements journal ''Interface'', and ''New Review of Academic Librarianship''; and was consulted for data on Wikipedia by researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Dartmouth College. It has garnered generally positive reception from media publications including ''The New York Times'', ''The Register'', ''Nonprofit Quarterly'', and ''Heise Online''. John Broughton's 2008 book ''Wikipedia: The Missing Manual'' called ''The Signpost'' "essential reading for ambitious new Wikipedia editors". Other past and present community news publications include the "WikiWorld" web comic, the ''Wikipedia Weekly'' podcast, and newsletters of specific WikiProjects like ''The Bugle'' from WikiProject Military History and the monthly newsletter from The Guild of Copy Editors. There are also a number of publications from the Wikimedia Foundation and multilingual publications such as the Wikimedia Blog and ''This Month in Education''.

See also

* English Wikipedia blackout * History of Wikipedia * Reliability of Wikipedia * Wikipedia for Schools * Wikipedia community * Wikipedia:Milestone statistics



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External links

* * English Wikipedia on Meta-Wiki {{Wikipedias Category:2001 establishments in the United States Category:Articles containing video clips Wikipedia Category:Global culture Category:Internet properties established in 2001 Category:Wikipedias by language