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English Wikipedia



Started: January 2001

Areas of strength

  • Breaking news and current events
  • Popular culture

Areas of weakness

  • Medicine
  • Geography: too many items miss coordinates, the infoboxes only appear on some pages, population data outdated

Who is the competition (print, online)?

  • Britannica
  • Encarta (Microsoft)
  • World Book

Prominent milestones/events

  • How to destroy Wikipedia (essay)
  • Departure of Larry Sanger
  • John Seigenthaler case
  • One million articles
  • Essjay controversy
  • SOPA blackout
  • Five million articles

What has its impact been?

  • Inspired many other language editions, projects
  • Has become staple for college students
  • More popular than Twitter and Netflix[1]

What consequences does it hold?

  • Ideological situational issues
  • Wiki model is easy target for spammers
  • Article quality issues



What language features are challenging?

  • British and American spellings (ie. colour vs color). General agreement than articles with British roots should be dominated by British spellings, and vice versa. But by default, American spellings predominate.

What would surprise the outside reader about the community?

  • Dedicated IRC channels for vandal fighting
  • Software robots for copyright violations, vandal fighting, repetitive tasks, etc.

What are some unique practices/characteristics?

  • Requests for Adminship highly political, normally garnering over 100-150 "!votes" at a time

Who were the earliest participants, who started it?

  • Larry Sanger
  • Jimmy Wales
  • Tim Shell

Other prominent Wikipedians?

  • Raul654 - featured articles, arbitration committee
  • Danny - early Wikipedian, one of the first Wikimedia Foundation employees
  • Bastique - current Wikimedia Foundation volunteer coordinator