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Wikipedia

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Wikipedia is a very large, very well-known website and community. It is a Wiki whose goal is to create a free encyclopedia.

History and leadership Edit

Wikipedia was first launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. It grew out of an earlier project, NuPedia, which never really took off. Wikipedia had a more open model, allowing anyone to edit, and quickly gathered a large community of contributors.

Wikipedia currently has versions in many languages, as well as related projects such as Wiktionary, Wikibooks, and Wikinews. All of these are under the banner of the Wikimedia Foundation, a Non-profit organisation which is supported by Fundraising (both donations from the community and larger Grants).

Wikipedia's day-to-day administration is done by Administrators elected by the community based on their previous contributions (a form of Meritocracy).

Culture Edit

Wikipedia's culture is very complicated. Many community members see only a small portion of the community as a whole.

The overall culture is guided by a number of policies which are expressed on the wiki itself. For instance, see:

The community is segmented in a number of ways. For instance, there are groups within Wikipedia who have interests in certain areas of knowledge, who enjoy certain activities, or who hold certain beliefs about how Wikipedia should be run. Many of these groups have names, such as (for instance) WikiGnomes or Deletionists.

Community norms Edit

  • Most community activity (including meta-discussions etc.) occur on a Wiki
  • There are also related Mailing lists, IRC channels, etc.
  • Wikipedia Policy is strongly defended by the community
  • Consensus decision-making is valued, however in effect many decisions are made through Voting
  • Pseudonymity is commonplace. Partial Anonymity is also common, though IP numbers are tracked.

Challenges Edit

  • Outsiders often see Wikipedia's culture as combative and unfriendly
  • Domain experts sometimes feel undervalued, without a structure allowing them to identify themselves, have their edits given any special status, or, sometimes, edit articles about their own work or area even as an acknowledged world leader in that domain.
  • As of mid 2009, studies have shown that the number of Wikipedia contributors is diminishing

See also Edit

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