The English is the English-language edition of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Founded on January 15, 2001, it is the first edition of and, as of November 2017, has the most articles of any of the editions.[2] As of April 2018, 12% of articles in alls belong to the English-language edition. This share has gradually declined from more than 50 percent in 2003, due to the growth ofs in other languages.[3] There are 5,612,941 articles on the site (live count).[4] In October 2015, the combined text of the English's articles totalled 11.5 gigabytes when compressed.[5] On 1 November 2015, the English announced it had reached 5,000,000 articles[6] and ran a special logo to reflect the milestone.[7]

The Simple English is a variation in which most of the articles use only basic English vocabulary. There is also the Old English (Ænglisc/Anglo-Saxon) (angwiki). Community-produced news publications include The Signpost.[8]

Pioneering edition

The English was the first edition and has remained the largest. It has pioneered many ideas as conventions, policies or features which were later adopted by editions in some of the other languages. These ideas include "featured articles",[9] the neutral-point-of-view policy,[10] navigation templates,[11] the sorting of short "stub" articles into sub-categories,[12] dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration,[13] and weekly collaborations.[14]

The English has adopted features froms in other languages. These features include verified revisions from the German (dewiki) and town population-lookup templates from the Dutch (nlwiki).

Although the English 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 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, are English users.

Users and editors

English statistics
Number of user accounts Number of articles Number of files Number of administrators
33,366,747 5,612,941 867,647 1,221

The English reached 4,000,000 registered user accounts on 1 April 2007,[15] just a little over a year since it had crossed a threshold of 1,000,000 registered user accounts in late February 2006.[16]

Over 800,000 editors have edited more than 10 times.[17] 300,000 editors edit every month[citation needed]; of these, over 30,000 perform more than 5 edits per month, and a little over 3,000 perform more than 100 edits per month.[18] By 24 November 2011, a total of 500 million edits had been performed on the English.[citation needed]

As the largest edition, and because English is such a widely used language, the English draws many users and editors whose native language is not English. Such users may seek information from the English rather than the of their native language because the English tends to contain more information about general subjects. Successful collaborations have been developed between non-native English speakers who successfully add content to the English and native English speakers who act as copyeditors for them.[citation needed]

Arbitration committee

The English 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.[19] 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.[20][21]

When initially founded, the committee consisted of 12 arbitrators divided into three groups of four members each.[20][22] Since then, the committee has gradually expanded its membership to 18 arbitrators.[23][not in citation given]

Like other aspects of the English, some of's sister projects have emulated the arbitration committee with their own similar versions.[24] For instance, in 2007, an arbitration committee was founded on the German called the Schiedsgericht (de).[25]


Threats against high schools

Several incidents of threats of violence against high schools on have been reported in the mainstream press.[26][27][28] The Glen A. Wilson High School was the subject of such a threat in 2008,[26][27][28] and a 14-year-old teenager was arrested for making a threat against Niles West High School on in 2006.[29]

Disputed articles

A 2013 study from Oxford University concluded that the most disputed articles on the English tended to be broader issues, while on other languages 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 do not speak English as a native language.[clarification needed] The study stated that the most disputed entries on the English were: George W. Bush, anarchism, Muhammad, list of WWE personnel, global warming, circumcision, United States, Jesus, race and intelligence, and Christianity.[30]

Varieties of English

One controversy in the English concerns which national variety of the English language is to be preferred, with the most commonly advocated candidates being American English and British English.[31] Perennial suggestions range from standardizing upon a single form of English to forking the English project. A style guideline states, "the English 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".[32] 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 concerning regional differences in writing. Efforts at a language fork for Portuguese have failed, and succeeded for Norwegian.

Andrew Lih wrote that the English "didn't have the chance to go through a debate over whether there should be a British English or an American English" because the English was the original edition.[33][clarification needed] 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."[34]

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. 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 currently has over 2,000 WikiProjects and activity varies.[35]

In 2007, in preparation for producing a print version, the English introduced an assessment scale of the quality of articles.[36] 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.[37][38]

The articles can also be rated as per "importance" as judged by a WikiProject. Currently, there are 5 importance categories: "low", "mid", "high", "top", and "???" for unclassified/uncertain level. For a particular article, different WikiProjects may assign different importance levels.

The 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. 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.[39] A 2010 study found unevenness in quality among featured articles and concluded that the community process is ineffective in assessing the quality of articles.[40]

Quality-wise distribution of over 5.5 million articles and lists on the English, as of 29 January 2017[41]

  Featured articles (0.11%)
  Featured lists (0.04%)
  A class (0.03%)
  Good articles (0.50%)
  B class (2.00%)
  C class (4.32%)
  Start class (26.41%)
  Stub class (53.01%)
  Lists (3.65%)
  Unassessed (9.94%)

Importance-wise distribution of over 5.5 million articles and lists on the English, as of 29 January 2017[41]

  Top (0.91%)
  High (3.20%)
  Medium (12.21%)
  Low (51.68%)
  ??? (32.00%)
  •   Featured articles
  •   Featured lists
  •   A-class articles
  •   Good articles
  •   B-class articles
  •   C-class articles
  •   Start-class articles
  •   Stub articles
  •   Lists
  •   Unassessed articles and lists

[Note: The table above (prepared by the Version 1.0 Editorial Team) is automatically updated daily by User:WP 1.0 bot, but the bar-chart and the two pie-charts are not auto-updated. In them, new data has to be entered by a editor (i.e. user).]


Internal news publications


Community-produced news publications include The Signpost.[8] The Signpost (previously known as The Signpost[46]) is the English's newspaper.[8][47][48] It is managed by the community and is published online weekly.[8][49] Each edition contains stories and articles related to the community.[50][51] A wide range of editors contribute articles and other pieces.[8]

The publication was founded in January 2005 by administrator and later Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, Michael Snow.[8][46][52] Originally titled The Signpost, it was later shortened to simply The Signpost.[46][53] The newspaper reports on events including Arbitration Committee rulings,[54] Wikimedia Foundation issues,[55] and other-related projects.[56] 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.[57]

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,[58] Italian,[59] Polish,[60] and Russian.[61] 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 itself.[62] 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.[63]

The Signpost has been the subject of academic analysis in publications including Sociological Forum,[64] the social movements journal Interface,[65] and New Review of Academic Librarianship;[66] and was consulted for data on by researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Dartmouth College.[67] It has garnered generally positive reception from media publications including The New York Times,[68] The Register,[69] Nonprofit Quarterly,[70] and Heise Online.[71] The book Wikipedia: The Missing Manual called The Signpost essential reading for ambitious new editors.[72]

Other past and present community news publications include the "WikiWorld" web comic, the 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


  1. ^ There is controversy over who founded. Wales considers himself to be the sole founder of and has told the Boston Globe that "it's preposterous" to call Sanger the co-founder.[citation needed] However, Sanger strongly contests that description. He was identified as a co-founder of as early as September 2001 and referred to himself as being founder as early as January 2002.[citation needed]
  2. ^ about 50 percent more than the next in rank, the Swedish. See m:List ofs.
  3. ^ Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (21 September 2008). "List ofs". Retrieved 21 September 2008. 
  4. ^ The number of articles on the English is shown by the MediaWiki variable {{NUMBEROFARTICLES}}, with alls as total {{NUMBEROFARTICLEStotal}} = 47,811,083.
  5. ^ See size of downloads at Wikipedia:Database download and a list of historical sizes here
  6. ^ "Wikipedia:Five million articles". Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "File:Wikipedia-logo-v2-en 5m articles.png". Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Phoebe Ayers; Charles Matthews; Ben Yates (2008). How Works: And how You Can be a Part of it. No Starch Press. pp. 345–. ISBN 978-1-59327-176-3. 
  9. ^ English (30 January 2007). "Featured articles". Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  10. ^ English (25 January 2007). "Neutral point of view". Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  11. ^ Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (29 January 2007). "Help:Template". Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  12. ^ English (19 January 2007). "WikiProject Stub sorting". Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  13. ^ English (27 January 2007). "Resolving disputes". Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  14. ^ English (30 January 2007). "Article Creation and Improvement Drive". Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  15. ^ Wikipedia:Signpost/2007-04-02/News and notes. Retrieved 20 April 2007
  16. ^ Wikipedia:Signpost/2006-02-27/News and notes. Retrieved 20 April 2007
  17. ^ "Statistics – Tables – English". Stats.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  18. ^ "Statistics – Tables – English". Stats.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  19. ^ Schiff, Stacy (2 December 2006). "Know-alls". The Age. Australia: Fairfax Digital Network. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  20. ^ a b Wales, Jimmy (4 December 2003). "WikiEN-l Wikiquette committee appointments". Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  21. ^ Hoffman, David A.; Salil Mehra (2010). "Wikitruth Through Wikiorder". Emory Law Journal. 59 (2010). SSRN 1354424Freely accessible. 
  22. ^ Hyatt, Josh (1 June 2006). "Secrets of Greatness: Great Teams". Fortune. Time Warner. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  23. ^ Wales, Jimmy (20 December 2008). "ArbCom Appointments". Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 June 2009. 
  24. ^ Wikidata (1 April 2015). "sitelinks for Arbitration Committee". Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  25. ^ Kleinz, Torsten (30 April 2007). "sucht Schiedsrichter" (in German). heise online. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  26. ^ a b Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (29 April 2008). "threats went unchecked – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. 
  27. ^ a b "Hacienda Heights school receives possible threat". abc7.com. Abclocal.go.com. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  28. ^ a b "Student arrested for violent threats on". Los Angeles Times. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  29. ^ "Teen charged after threat to school on". Bloomington, IL: Pantagraph.com. Associated Press. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  30. ^ Gross, Doug. "Wiki wars: The 10 most controversial pages." CNN. 24 July 2013. Retrieved on 26 July 2013. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  31. ^ English. "Wikipedia:Manual of Style (spelling)". Retrieved 25 February 2006. 
  32. ^ English. "Wikipedia:Manual of Style". Retrieved 10 October 2007. 
  33. ^ Lih, p. 135.
  34. ^ Lih, p. 136.
  35. ^ "Wikipedia: Wikiprojects". Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  36. ^ "Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment". Retrieved 28 October 2007. 
  37. ^ "Comparing featured article groups and revision patterns correlations in". First Monday. Retrieved 13 July 2010. 
  38. ^ Fernanda B. Viégas; Martin Wattenberg; Matthew M. McKeon (22 July 2007). "The Hidden Order of" (PDF). Visual Communication Lab, IBM Research. Retrieved 30 October 2007. 
  39. ^ Poderi, Giacomo, and the Featured Articles: How a Technological System Can Produce Best Quality Articles, Master thesis, University of Maastricht, October 2008.
  40. ^ Lindsey, David (5 April 2010). "Evaluating quality control of's featured articles". First Monday. 15 (4). Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  41. ^ a b Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Statistics –, the free encyclopedia
  42. ^ Zachte, Erik (14 November 2011). "Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report – Page Views Per Country – Trends". Wikimedia Statistics. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  43. ^ Zachte, Erik (14 November 2011). "Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report – Page Edits Per Language – Breakdown". Wikimedia Statistics. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  44. ^ "Usability and Experience Study". Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  45. ^ "Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report – Page Edits Per Language – Breakdown". Stats.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  46. ^ a b c Cohen, Noam (5 March 2007). "A Contributor to Has His Fictional Side". The New York Times. p. C5. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 
  47. ^ Koebler, Jason (16 February 2016). "The Secret Search Engine Tearing Apart". Vice. 
  48. ^ Geoffroy, Romain (16 January 2014). "Une employée de Wikipédia débarquée pour avoir monnayé ses articles". Les Inrockuptibles. 
  49. ^ Dobusch, Leonhard (12 January 2014). "Interview mit Dirk Franke über "Grenzen der Bezahlung" in der". Netzpolitik.org. 
  50. ^ Rosen, Rebecca (6 February 2013). "If You Want Your Page to Get a TON of Traffic, Die While Performing at the Super Bowl Half-Time Show". The Atlantic. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  51. ^ Dariusz Jemielniak (2014). Common Knowledge?: An Ethnography of. Stanford University Press. pp. 231–. ISBN 978-0804797238. 
  52. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (18 July 2008). "Wikimedia Foundation edits its board of trustees". CNET. 
  53. ^ Okoli, Chitu; Mehdi, Mohamad; Mesgari, Mostafa; Nielsen, Finn Årup; Lanamäki, Arto (24 October 2012). "The people's encyclopedia under the gaze of the sages: A systematic review of scholarly research on". doi:10.2139/ssrn.2021326. SSRN 2021326Freely accessible. 
  54. ^ Oz, Ayelet (1 September 2014). "The Legal Consciousness of". Harvard Law School. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2572381. SSRN 2572381Freely accessible. 
  55. ^ Sotirios Paroutis; Loizos Heracleous; Duncan Angwin (1 February 2013). Practicing Strategy: Text and Cases. SAGE Publications. pp. 237–. ISBN 978-1-4462-9047-7. 
  56. ^ Waters, John K. (2010). The Everything Guide to Social Media. Adams Media. pp. 180, 270. ISBN 978-1440506314. 
  57. ^ Ral315 (18 February 2008). "From the editor: This week, I'd like to congratulate and thank Michael Snow". The Signpost. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  58. ^ Diener, Andrea (27 June 2015). "Geben Sie Panoramafreiheit, Sire!". FAZ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Archived from the original on 29 June 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  59. ^ "Libertà di Panorama: a rischio in Europa con una riforma del copyright". Blogo: Informazione libera e indipendente (in Italian). 22 June 2015. Archived from the original on 23 June 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  60. ^ "Chcesz robić zdjęcia znanych budowli Europy? Spiesz się. To mogą być ostatnie tygodnie". Gazeta Wyborcza (in Polish). 24 June 2015. ISSN 0860-908X. Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  61. ^ "ТРЕВОГА! Свободная съемка на улицах Европы – под угрозой" (in Russian). 23 June 2015. Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  62. ^ The ed17 (21 January 2015). "From the editor: Introducing your new editors-in-chief". The Signpost. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  63. ^ Go Phightins! and Gamaliel (28 January 2015). "From the editor: An editorial board that includes you". The Signpost. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  64. ^ Konieczny, Piotr (March 2009). "Governance, Organization, and Democracy on the Internet: The Iron Law and the Evolution of". Sociological Forum. Wiley. 24 (1): 167. JSTOR 40210340. (Subscription required (help)). 
  65. ^ Konieczny, Piotr. "Wikipedia: community or social movement?" (PDF). Interface: A Journal for and about Social Movements. 1 (2): 212–232. ISSN 2009-2431. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  66. ^ Bayliss, Gemma (January 2013). "Exploring the Cautionary Attitude Toward in Higher Education: Implications for Higher Education Institutions". New Review of Academic Librarianship. 19 (1): 39. doi:10.1080/13614533.2012.740439. ISSN 1361-4533. Retrieved 1 March 2016 – via EBSCO Host. 
  67. ^ Yan, Guanhua; Arackaparambil, Chrisil. "Wiki-watchdog: Anomaly detection in through a distributional lens". Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conferences on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology – Volume 01. IEEE Computer Society Washington. pp. 257–264. doi:10.1109/WI-IAT.2011.86. ISBN 978-0-7695-4513-4. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  68. ^ Dee, Jonathan (1 July 2007). "All the News That's Fit to Print Out". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 February 2016. 
  69. ^ Orlowski, Andrew (12 January 2016). "Wikimedia Foundation bins community-elected trustee". The Register. 
  70. ^ McCambridge, Ruth (16 February 2016). "Knight Foundation Grant Request Tears at's Community". Nonprofit Quarterly. 
  71. ^ Kleinz, Torsten (27 February 2016). "Kommentar: Wie geht es weiter mit der Wikimedia Foundation?". Heise Online. 
  72. ^ John Broughton (25 January 2008). Wikipedia: The Missing Manual: The Missing Manual. "O'Reilly Media, Inc.". pp. 454–. ISBN 978-0-596-55377-7. 


External links