The English Wikipedia is the primary[a] 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
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
Users46,184,560 users, 884 administrators as of 21 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

English Wikipedia is hosted alongside other language editions by the Wikimedia Foundation, an American nonprofit organization. Its content is written independently of other editions[1] 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[2] and has the most articles of any edition, at 6,717,275 as of September 2023.[3] It contains 10.9% of articles in all Wikipedias,[3] although it lacks millions of articles found in other editions.[1] The edition's one-billionth edit was made on January 13, 2021.[4]

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.[5][6] While its reliability was frequently criticized in the 2000s, it has improved over time, receiving greater praise in the late 2010s and early 2020s,[7][5][8][b] having become an important fact-checking site.[9][10] English Wikipedia has been characterized as having less cultural bias than other language editions due to its broader editor base.[2]


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",[11] the neutral-point-of-view policy,[12] navigation templates,[13] the sorting of short "stub" articles into sub-categories,[14] dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration,[15] and weekly collaborations.[16]

It surpassed six million articles on 23 January 2020.[17] In November 2022, the total volume of the compressed texts of its articles amounted to 20 gigabytes.[18]

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.[4] Currently, there are 6,717,275 articles created with 906,140 files. The encyclopedia is home to 10.9% of articles in all Wikipedias (down from more than 50% in 2003).[19][20] The English Wikipedia currently has 46,184,560 registered accounts of which 884 are administrators.


The English Wikipedia reached 4,000,000 registered user accounts on 1 April 2007,[21] over a year since the millionth Wikipedian registered an account in February 2006.[22]

Over 1,100,000 editors have edited Wikipedia more than 10 times.[23] Over 30,000 editors perform more than 5 edits per month, and over 3,000 perform more than 100 edits per month.[24]

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."[25] 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.[25]

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.[26] 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.[27][28] When it was founded, the committee consisted of 12 arbitrators divided into three groups of four members each.[27][29]

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%.[30]


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.[31] 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".[32]

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.[33]

Threats against high schools

Incidents of threats of violence against high schools on Wikipedia have been reported in the press.[34][35][36] The Glen A. Wilson High School was the subject of such a threat in 2008,[34][35][36] and a 14-year-old was arrested for making a threat against Niles West High School on Wikipedia in 2006.[37]

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.[38]

In 2007, in preparation for producing a print version, the English Wikipedia introduced an assessment scale of the quality of articles.[39] 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.[40][41]

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.[42] A 2010 study found unevenness in quality among featured articles and concluded that the community process is ineffective in assessing the quality of articles.[43]

Internal news publications

The Signpost icon, showing a styled 'S'

Community-produced news publications include The Signpost.[44] The Signpost (previously known as The Wikipedia Signpost)[45] is the English Wikipedia's newspaper.[44][46][47] It is managed by the Wikipedia community and is published online weekly.[44][48] Each edition contains stories and articles related to the Wikipedia community.[49][50]

The publication was founded in January 2005 by Wikipedia administrator and later Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, Michael Snow.[44][45][51] Originally titled The Wikipedia Signpost, it was later shortened to The Signpost.[45][52] The newspaper reports on Wikipedia events including Arbitration Committee rulings,[53] Wikimedia Foundation issues,[54] and other Wikipedia-related projects.[55] 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.[56]

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

The Signpost has been the subject of academic analysis in publications including Sociological Forum,[63] the social movements journal Interface,[64] and New Review of Academic Librarianship;[65] and was consulted for data on Wikipedia by researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Dartmouth College.[66] It has garnered "positive" reception from some media publications including The New York Times,[67] The Register,[68] Nonprofit Quarterly,[69] and Heise Online.[70] John Broughton's 2008 book Wikipedia: The Missing Manual called The Signpost "essential reading for ambitious new Wikipedia editors".[71]

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


  1. ^ The other edition is Simple English Wikipedia, which uses Basic English.
  2. ^ Despite this praise, Wikipedia does not recognize itself as a reliable source.


  1. ^ a b Harrison, Stephen (1 September 2021). "Wikipedia Is Trying to Transcend the Limits of Human Language". Slate. Retrieved 6 July 2023.
  2. ^ a b Sato, Yumiko (19 March 2021). "Non-English Editions of Wikipedia Have a Misinformation Problem". Slate. Retrieved 6 July 2023.
  3. ^ a b The number of articles on the English Wikipedia is shown by the MediaWiki variable {{NUMBEROFARTICLES}}, with all Wikipedias as total {{NUMBEROF|ARTICLES|total}} = 61,766,734.
  4. ^ a b "The English Language Wikipedia Just Had Its Billionth Edit". Vice. 15 January 2021. Archived from the original on 15 January 2021. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Happy Birthday, Wikipedia". The Economist. 9 January 2021. Archived from the original on 1 January 2023. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  6. ^ Harrison, Stephen (9 June 2020). "How Wikipedia Became a Battleground for Racial Justice". Slate. Archived from the original on 10 February 2023. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Wikipedia is 20, and its reputation has never been higher". The Economist. 9 January 2021. Archived from the original on 31 December 2022. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  8. ^ Cooke, Richard (17 February 2020). "Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet". Wired. Archived from the original on 17 December 2022. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  9. ^ Hughes, Taylor; Smith, Jeff; Leavitt, Alex (3 April 2018). "Helping People Better Assess the Stories They See in News Feed with the Context Button". Meta. Archived from the original on 11 January 2023. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  10. ^ Cohen, Noam (7 April 2018). "Conspiracy videos? Fake news? Enter Wikipedia, the 'good cop' of the Internet". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018.
  11. ^ English Wikipedia (30 January 2007). "Featured articles". Archived from the original on 3 November 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  12. ^ English Wikipedia (25 January 2007). "Neutral point of view". Archived from the original on 3 November 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  13. ^ Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (29 January 2007). "Help:Template". Archived from the original on 3 November 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  14. ^ English Wikipedia (19 January 2007). "WikiProject Stub sorting". Archived from the original on 3 November 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  15. ^ English Wikipedia (27 January 2007). "Resolving disputes". Archived from the original on 3 November 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  16. ^ English Wikipedia (30 January 2007). "Article Creation and Improvement Drive". Archived from the original on 3 November 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  17. ^ "Wikipedia:Six million articles". Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Archived from the original on 6 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  18. ^ See size of downloads at Wikipedia:Database download and a list of historical sizes here Archived 1 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ 595252 (about 10%) more than the next in rank, the Cebuano Wikipedia. See m:List of Wikipedias.
  20. ^ Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (21 September 2008). "List of Wikipedias". Archived from the original on 3 November 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  21. ^ Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-04-02/News and notes. Retrieved 20 April 2007
  22. ^ Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2006-02-27/News and notes. Retrieved 20 April 2007
  23. ^ "Wikipedia Statistics – Tables – English". Archived from the original on 2 August 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  24. ^ "Wikipedia Statistics – Tables – English". Archived from the original on 2 August 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  25. ^ a b "The future of Wikipedia: WikiPeaks?". The Economist. 1 March 2014. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  26. ^ Schiff, Stacy (2 December 2006). "Know-alls". The Age. Australia: Fairfax Digital Network. Archived from the original on 21 April 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  27. ^ a b Wales, Jimmy (4 December 2003). "WikiEN-l Wikiquette committee appointments". Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Archived from the original on 17 September 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  28. ^ Hoffman, David A.; Salil Mehra (2010). "Wikitruth Through Wikiorder". Emory Law Journal. 59 (2010). SSRN 1354424.
  29. ^ Hyatt, Josh (1 June 2006). "Secrets of Greatness: Great Teams". Fortune. Archived from the original on 13 April 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  30. ^ "Wikistats - Statistics For Wikimedia Projects". Archived from the original on 11 July 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  31. ^ English Wikipedia. "Wikipedia:Manual of Style (spelling)". Archived from the original on 15 December 2005. Retrieved 25 February 2006.
  32. ^ English Wikipedia. "Wikipedia:Manual of Style". Archived from the original on 25 September 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
  33. ^ Gross, Doug (24 July 2013). "Wiki wars: The 10 most controversial Wikipedia pages". CNN. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  34. ^ a b Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (29 April 2008). "Wikipedia threats went unchecked – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  35. ^ a b "Hacienda Heights school receives possible threat". 18 April 2008. Archived from the original on 24 July 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  36. ^ a b "Student arrested for violent threats on Wikipedia". Los Angeles Times. 29 April 2008. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  37. ^ "Teen charged after threat to school on Wikipedia". Bloomington, IL: Associated Press. 31 October 2006. Archived from the original on 22 June 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  38. ^ "Wikipedia: Wikiprojects". Archived from the original on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  39. ^ "Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment". Archived from the original on 20 April 2021. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  40. ^ "Comparing featured article groups and revision patterns correlations in Wikipedia". First Monday. Archived from the original on 6 May 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  41. ^ Fernanda B. Viégas; Martin Wattenberg; Matthew M. McKeon (22 July 2007). "The Hidden Order of Wikipedia" (PDF). Visual Communication Lab, IBM Research. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 October 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  42. ^ Poderi, Giacomo, Wikipedia and the Featured Articles: How a Technological System Can Produce Best Quality Articles, Master thesis, University of Maastricht, October 2008.
  43. ^ Lindsey, David (5 April 2010). "Evaluating quality control of Wikipedia's featured articles". First Monday. 15 (4). Archived from the original on 24 November 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  44. ^ a b c d Phoebe Ayers; Charles Matthews; Ben Yates (2008). How Wikipedia Works: And how You Can be a Part of it. No Starch Press. pp. 345–. ISBN 978-1-59327-176-3. Archived from the original on 10 October 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  45. ^ a b c Cohen, Noam (5 March 2007). "A Contributor to Wikipedia Has His Fictional Side". The New York Times. p. C5. Archived from the original on 21 July 2016. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  46. ^ Koebler, Jason (16 February 2016). "The Secret Search Engine Tearing Wikipedia Apart". Vice. Archived from the original on 16 December 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  47. ^ Geoffroy, Romain (16 January 2014). "Une employée de Wikipédia débarquée pour avoir monnayé ses articles" [Wikipedia employee disembarks for minting her articles]. Les Inrockuptibles (in French). Archived from the original on 17 August 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  48. ^ Dobusch, Leonhard (12 January 2014). "Interview mit Dirk Franke über "Grenzen der Bezahlung" in der Wikipedia" [Interview with Dirk Franke about "Limits of Payment" in Wikipedia]. (in German). Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  49. ^ Rosen, Rebecca (6 February 2013). "If You Want Your Wikipedia Page to Get a TON of Traffic, Die While Performing at the Super Bowl Half-Time Show". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 1 March 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  50. ^ Dariusz Jemielniak (2014). Common Knowledge?: An Ethnography of Wikipedia. Stanford University Press. pp. 231–. ISBN 978-0804797238. Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  51. ^ McCarthy, Caroline (18 July 2008). "Wikimedia Foundation edits its board of trustees". CNET. Archived from the original on 1 March 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  52. ^ 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 Wikipedia". doi:10.2139/ssrn.2021326. SSRN 2021326. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  53. ^ Oz, Ayelet (1 September 2014). "The Legal Consciousness of Wikipedia". Harvard Law School. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2572381. SSRN 2572381. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  54. ^ Sotirios Paroutis; Loizos Heracleous; Duncan Angwin (1 February 2013). Practicing Strategy: Text and Cases. SAGE Publications. pp. 237–. ISBN 978-1-4462-9047-7. Archived from the original on 30 April 2021. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
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  60. ^ "ТРЕВОГА! Свободная съемка на улицах Европы – под угрозой" [ANXIETY! Free shooting on the streets of Europe - at risk] (in Russian). 23 June 2015. Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
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  66. ^ Yan, Guanhua; Arackaparambil, Chrisil (2011). "Wiki-watchdog: Anomaly detection in Wikipedia 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. CiteSeerX doi:10.1109/WI-IAT.2011.86. ISBN 978-0-7695-4513-4. S2CID 11693510. Archived from the original on 26 April 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
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Further reading

External links