Wikipedia (pronounced /ˌwɪkɨˈpiːdi.ə/ WI-ki-PEE-dee-ə) is a free,[4] web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its name is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning "quick") and encyclopedia. Wikipedia's 14 million articles (3.2 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site.[5] It was launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger[6] and is currently the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet.[2][7][8][9]

Critics of Wikipedia accuse it of systemic bias and inconsistencies (including undue weight given to popular culture),[10] and allege that it favors consensus over credentials in its editorial process.[11] Its reliability and accuracy are also targeted.[12] Other criticisms center on its susceptibility to vandalism and the addition of spurious or unverified information,[13] though scholarly work suggests that vandalism is generally short-lived,[14][15] and an investigation in Nature found that the material they compared came close to the level of accuracy of Encyclop?dia Britannica and had a similar rate of "serious errors".[16]

Wikipedia's departure from the expert-driven style of the encyclopedia building mode and the large presence of unacademic content have been noted several times. When Time magazine recognized You as its Person of the Year for 2006, acknowledging the accelerating success of online collaboration and interaction by millions of users around the world, it cited Wikipedia as one of several examples of Web 2.0 services, along with YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook.[17] Some noted the importance of Wikipedia not only as an encyclopedic reference but also as a frequently updated news resource because of how quickly articles about recent events appear.[18][19]

Contents [hide]
1 History
2 Nature of Wikipedia
2.1 Editing model
2.2 Attacks on the encyclopedia
2.3 Coverage of topics
2.4 Quality
2.5 Reliability
2.6 Community
3 Operation
3.1 Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia chapters
3.2 Software and hardware
3.3 Delivery media
4 License and language editions
5 Cultural significance
6 Related projects
7 See also
8 Notes
9 Further reading
10 External links

Main article: History of Wikipedia
Wikipedia began as a complementary project for Nupedia, a free online English-language encyclopedia project whose articles were written by experts and reviewed under a formal process. Nupedia was founded on March 9, 2000, under the ownership of Bomis, Inc, a web portal company. Its main figures were Jimmy Wales, Bomis CEO, and Larry Sanger, editor-in-chief for Nupedia and later Wikipedia. Nupedia was licensed initially under its own Nupedia Open Content License, switching to the GNU Free Documentation License before Wikipedia's founding at the urging of Richard Stallman.[20]

Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales founded Wikipedia.[21][22] While Wales is credited with defining the goal of making a publicly editable encyclopedia,[23][24] Sanger is usually credited with the strategy of using a wiki to reach that goal.[25] On January 10, 2001, Larry Sanger proposed on the Nupedia mailing list to create a wiki as a "feeder" project for Nupedia.[26] Wikipedia was formally launched on January 15, 2001, as a single English-language edition at,[27] and announced by Sanger on the Nupedia mailing list.[23] Wikipedia's policy of "neutral point-of-view"[28] was codified in its initial months, and was similar to Nupedia's earlier "nonbiased" policy. Otherwise, there were relatively few rules initially and Wikipedia operated independently of Nupedia.[23]

Graph of the article count for the English Wikipedia, from January 10, 2001, to September 9, 2007 (the date of the two-millionth article)Wikipedia gained early contributors from Nupedia, Slashdot postings, and web search engine indexing. It grew to approximately 20,000 articles and 18 language editions by the end of 2001. By late 2002, it had reached 26 language editions, 46 by the end of 2003, and 161 by the final days of 2004.[29] Nupedia and Wikipedia coexisted until the former's servers were taken down permanently in 2003, and its text was incorporated into Wikipedia. English Wikipedia passed the 2 million-article mark on September 9, 2007, making it the largest encyclopedia ever assembled, eclipsing even the Yongle Encyclopedia (1407), which had held the record for exactly 600 years.[30]

Citing fears of commercial advertising and lack of control in a perceived English-centric Wikipedia, users of the Spanish Wikipedia forked from Wikipedia to create the Enciclopedia Libre in February 2002.[31] Later that year, Wales announced that Wikipedia would not display advertisements, and its website was moved to[32] Various other projects have since forked from Wikipedia for editorial reasons. Wikinfo does not require a neutral point of view