English Wikipedia

English Wikipedia
The homepage of the English Wikipedia
Main Page of the English Wikipedia in January 2023
Type of site
Internet encyclopedia
OwnerWikimedia Foundation
RegistrationOptional; required for certain tasks
Users46,181,526 users, 884 administrators as of 20 September 2023
Launched15 January 2001; 22 years ago (2001-01-15)
Content license
Creative Commons Attribution/
(most text also dual-licensed under GFDL)
Media licensing varies

The English Wikipedia is the primary English-language edition of Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia. It was created by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger on January 15, 2001, as Wikipedia's first edition.

English Wikipedia is hosted alongside other language editions by the Wikimedia Foundation, an American nonprofit organization. Its content is written independently of other editions in various varieties of English, aiming to stay consistent within articles. Its internal newspaper is The Signpost.

English Wikipedia is the most-read version of Wikipedia and has the most articles of any edition, at 6,717,024 as of September 2023. It contains 10.9% of articles in all Wikipedias, although it lacks millions of articles found in other editions. The edition's one-billionth edit was made on January 13, 2021.

English Wikipedia, often as a stand-in for Wikipedia overall, has been praised for its enablement of the democratization of knowledge, extent of coverage, unique structure, culture, and reduced degree of commercial bias. It has been criticized for exhibiting systemic bias, particularly gender bias against women and ideological bias. While its reliability was frequently criticized in the 2000s, it has improved over time, receiving greater praise in the late 2010s and early 2020s, having become an important fact-checking site. English Wikipedia has been characterized as having less cultural bias than other language editions due to its broader editor base.


Screenshot of Wikipedia's article on Earth, January 18, 2023
Opening English Wikipedia's main page with Mozilla Firefox 99 on Ubuntu 20.04

Editors of the English Wikipedia have pioneered some 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.

It surpassed six million articles on 23 January 2020. In November 2022, the total volume of the compressed texts of its articles amounted to 20 gigabytes.

The edition's one-billionth edit was made on 13 January 2021 by Ser Amantio di Nicolao (Steven Pruitt) who as of that date is the user with the highest number of edits on the English Wikipedia, at over four million. Currently, there are 6,717,024 articles created with 906,207 files. The encyclopedia is home to 10.9% of articles in all Wikipedias (down from more than 50% in 2003). The English Wikipedia currently has 46,181,526 registered accounts of which 884 are administrators.


The English Wikipedia reached 4,000,000 registered user accounts on 1 April 2007, over a year since the millionth Wikipedian registered an account in February 2006.

Over 1,100,000 editors have edited Wikipedia more than 10 times. Over 30,000 editors perform more than 5 edits per month, and over 3,000 perform more than 100 edits per month.

Number of editors on the English Wikipedia over time
Edits to English Wikipedia by country as of January 2022

On March 1, 2014, The Economist, in an article titled "The Future of Wikipedia", cited a trend analysis concerning data published by the Wikimedia Foundation stating that "[t]he number of editors for the English-language version has fallen by a third in seven years." The attrition rate for active editors in English Wikipedia was cited by The Economist as substantially in contrast to statistics for Wikipedia in other languages (non-English Wikipedia). The Economist reported that the number of contributors with an average of five or more edits per month was relatively constant since 2008 for Wikipedia in other languages at approximately 42,000 editors within narrow seasonal variances of about 2,000 editors up or down. The number of active editors in English Wikipedia, by "sharp" comparison, was cited as peaking in 2007 at approximately 50,000 and dropping to 30,000 by the start of 2014.

The trend analysis published in The Economist presents Wikipedia in other languages (non-English Wikipedia) as successful in retaining their active editors on a renewable and sustained basis, with their numbers remaining relatively constant at approximately 42,000.

The English Wikipedia has the 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. It 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 it was founded, the committee consisted of 12 arbitrators divided into three groups of four members each.

In 2022, for English Wikipedia, Americans accounted for about 40% of active editors, followed by British and Indian editors accounting for about 10% of each, and Canadian and Australian at about 5%.


English varieties

One controversy in the English Wikipedia concerns which national variety of the English language is to be preferred, two candidates being American English and British English. Suggestions range from standardizing upon a single form of English to forking the English Wikipedia project.[citation needed] 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".

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 some who edit the English Wikipedia have English as their second 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.

Threats against high schools

Incidents of threats of violence against high schools on Wikipedia have been reported in the 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 assessment

A "WikiProject" is a group of contributors who want to work together as a team to improve Wikipedia. These groups may 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). As of August 2022, the English Wikipedia had over 2,000 WikiProjects, for which activity varied.

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 quality classes: either "good article", "A" or the highest, "featured article". Of the about 6.5 million articles and lists assessed as of April 2022, more than 6,000 (0.09%) are featured articles, and fewer than 4,000 (0.06%) are featured lists. One featured article per day, as selected by editors, appears on the main page of Wikipedia.

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 auto-updates the data.

Researcher Giacomo Poderi found that articles tend to reach featured status via the intensive work of a few editors. A 2010 study found unevenness in quality among featured articles and concluded that the community process is ineffective in assessing the quality of articles.

Internal news publications

The Signpost icon, showing a styled 'S'

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.

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 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 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 "positive" reception from some 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 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 a number of publications from the Wikimedia Foundation and multilingual publications such as the Wikimedia Blog and This Month in Education.

See also

This page was last updated at 2023-09-20 17:35 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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