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What is Wikipedia?

Imagine a world in which every single person is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That‘s what we‘re doing. Wikipedia is a free content encyclopedia that can be read and edited by anyone.

Wikipedia began as an English-language project on January 15, 2001. It was soon joined by a German edition, and in a short time by many other languages. Enormous efforts are underway to highlight the international nature of the project. While English, with more than 4.5 million articles is still the largest Wikipedia, there are well over twenty-nine million articles in more than 280 languages, some quite large, and others just getting started.

Nobody knows everything but everybody knows something.


Wikipedia was founded on the belief that virtually everybody has some knowledge that they can share with others. Our editors range in age from seven to seventy and beyond, each of them contributing a little something to help make this the most well-rounded collaborative educational effort ever seen. We believe that every single person has the right to learn, but also that everyone has something that they can (and should) teach others.

Who are the people in the Wikipedia community?

On Wikipedia, anyone can create or modify an article instantly, so that no article has a single author. Instead, tens and even hundreds of people work together, sharing what they know to edit and improve the content. The result is a never-ending “work in progress,” always getting more thorough and always getting better. Contributors can create an account with a user name and a password, but this is not required. Much of our best work comes from anonymous users, many of them just passing through, who notice a little something that they can tidy up. Many of them become hooked, and are soon an integral part of the Wikipedia volunteer community. Our neutral point of view policy encourages people from diverse backgrounds to work together. When disputes arise, we have mechanisms in place to resolve them amicably.

“You can edit this page right now!”

The key to Wikipedia‘s success is innovative new software known as “wiki.” Created by Ward Cunningham in 1995, this software makes it possible to create a dynamic website, in which all users can edit a webpage quickly and easily, using their personal web browsers. It‘s easy. It‘s fast. It‘s a wiki!

Wikiwiki – “fast” in Hawaian

The wiki language, known as wikitext, is much simpler than HTML. It is practically intuitive, so that anyone can learn it in just a few minutes. For example, to italicize text, surround it with two apostrophes; use three for bolded text, and enclose a word in two brackets ([[]]) to create a link.

The software used by Wikipedia is known as Mediawiki, and was developed with the specific goal of creating an encyclopedia in mind. Today, Mediwiki software is distributed under a General Public License (GPL). It is used by many other wikis, though Wikipedia is still the largest wiki in existence.

How do I become a wikipedian?

Easy, all you have to do is go to Wikipedia and begin to edit. Add something you know, expand an article or simply improve its style. We‘re sure you‘ll be coming back again and again to the fastest growing Internet phenomenon in the world! The GNU free documentation license All material contributed to Wikipedia is considered to be free content under the GNU Free Documentation License. This means that all of our content can be freely used, freely edited, freely copied, and freely redistributed, subject to the restrictions of that license.

License Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike

Text and most images contributed to Wikipedia is considered to be free content under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA). This means that content can be freely used, freely edited, freely copied, and freely distributed.


backsideEdit

Wikipedia’s sister projects

As Wikipedia grew, sister projects were founded to enhance the content of the encyclopedia. Many of these have taken on a life of their own, though they are all part of the Wikimedia family, and there is constant cooperation between them. Our sister projects include:

Wiktionary a free dictionary project in many languages http://www.wiktionary.org

Wikibooks a project to develop free learning materials http://www.wikibooks.org

Wikiquote a free compendium of quotations http://wikiquote.org

Wikisource a repository of source texts http://www.wikisource.org

Wikinews collaboratively written news http://www.wikinews.org

Wikimedia Commons a repository for pictures and other media files under free licenses http://commons.wikimedia.org

Wiki Species a free directory of species http://species.wikimedia.org

Wikiversity a free learning materials and activities http://www.wikiversity.org/

Wikidata a free knowledge base http://www.wikidata.org

Wikivoyage a free travel guide http://www.wikivoyage.org


Wikimedia, the organization

The Wikimedia Foundation, based in California, USA, is the parent organization of Wikipedia and its sister projects. It is a non-profit organization with the goal of providing free knowledge to every person in the world. Wikimedia provides the hardware equipment and covers the costs of bandwidth and domains. As of 2015, Wikipedia was one of the top ten most popular websites on the Internet.

How can I help?

The Wikimedia Foundation relies on public donations to run its wiki-based projects. If you want to ensure that Wikipedia and all the other Wikimedia projects continue to grow and fl ourish, donate online with PayPal or MoneyBookers. Our account name is donation@wikimedia.org. PayPal allows for one time, monthly and yearly payment options. For more information, see our fundraising page at https://donate.wikimedia.org.

Donate via postal mail

You can also send donations via snail-mail to Wikimedia‘s main office at the following address:

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 149 New Montgomery Street Floor 6 San Francisco, CA 94105 USA

If sending donations from outside the United States, please note that an international money order or a check payable in a United States bank would be appreciated, to avoid collection costs. Please do not send currency by mail.

oldEdit

What is Wikipedia?

Imagine a world in which every single person is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That‘s what we‘re doing.

Wikipedia is a free content encyclopedia that can be read and edited by anyone.

An international project

Wikipedia began as an English-language project on January 15, 2001. It was soon joined by a German edition, and in a short time by many other languages. Enormous efforts are underway to highlight the international nature of the project. While English, with more than 700,000 articles is still the largest Wikipedia, there are well over three million articles in more than 150 languages, some quite large, and others just getting started.

Nobody knows everything but everybody knows something

Wikipedia was founded on the belief that virtually everybody has some knowledge that they can share with others. Our editors range in age from seven to seventy and beyond, each of them contributing a little something to help make this the most well-rounded collaborative educational effort ever seen. We believe that every single person has the right to learn, but also that everyone has something that they can (and should) teach others.

Who are the people in the Wikipedia community?

On Wikipedia, anyone can create or modify an article instantly, so that no article has a single author. Instead, tens and even hundreds of people work together, sharing what they know to edit and improve the content. The result is a never-ending “work in progress,” always getting more thorough and always getting better.

Contributors can create an account with a user name and a password, but this is not required. Much of our best work comes from anonymous users, many of them just passing through, who notice a little something that they can tidy up. Many of them become hooked, and are soon an integral part of the Wikipedia volunteer community. Our neutral point of view policy encourages people from diverse backgrounds to work together. When disputes arise, we have mechanisms in place to resolve them amicably.

“You can edit this page right now!”

The key to Wikipedia‘s success is innovative new software known as “wiki.” Created by Ward Cunningham in 1995, this software makes it possible to create a dynamic website, in which all users can edit a webpage quickly and easily, using their personal web browsers. It‘s easy. It‘s fast. It‘s a wiki!

Wikiwiki – “fast” in Hawaian

The wiki language, known as wikitext, is much simpler than HTML. It is practically intuitive, so that anyone can learn it in just a few minutes. For example, to italicize text, surround it with two apostrophes; use three for bolded text, and enclose a word in two brackets ([[]]) to create a link. The software used by Wikipedia is known as Mediawiki, and was developed with the specific goal of creating an encyclopedia in mind. Today, Mediwiki software is distributed under a General Public License (GPL). It is used by many other wikis, though Wikipedia is still the largest wiki in existence.

How do I become a wikipedian?

Easy, all you have to do is go to our site and begin to edit. We‘re sure you‘ll be coming back again and again to the fastest growing Internet phenomenon in the world!

The GNU free documentation license

All original material contributed to Wikipedia is considered to be free content under the GNU Free Documentation License. This means that all of our content can be freely used, freely edited, freely copied, and freely redistributed, subject to the restrictions of that license.

Wikipedia’s sister projects

As Wikipedia grew, sister projects were founded to enhance the content of the encyclopedia. Many of these have taken on a life of their own, though they are all part of the Wikimedia family, and there is constant cooperation between them. Our sister projects include:

Wiktionary a free dictionary project in many languages http://www.wiktionary.org

Wikibooks a project to develop free learning materials http://www.wikibooks.org

Wikiquote a free compendium of quotations http://wikiquote.org

Wikisource a repository of source texts http://www.wikisource.org

Wikinews collaboratively written news http://www.wikinews.org

Wikimedia Commons a repository for pictures and other media files under free licenses http://commons.wikimedia.org

The Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation, based in Florida, USA, is the parent organization of Wikipedia and its sister projects. It is a non-profit organization with the goal of providing free knowledge to every person in the world. Wikimedia provides the hardware equipment and covers the costs of bandwidth and domains. As of 2005, Wikipedia was one of the 50 most popular websites on the Internet.

How can I help?

The Wikimedia Foundation relies on public donations to run its wiki-based projects. If you want to ensure that Wikipedia and all the other Wikimedia projects continue to grow and flourish, donate online with PayPal or MoneyBookers. Our account name is donation@wikipedia.org. PayPal allows for one time, monthly and yearly payment options. For more information, see our fundraising page at http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Fundraising.

Donate via postal mail

You can also send donations via snail-mail to Wikimedia‘s main office at the following address:

Wikimedia Foundation Inc.
200 2nd Ave South, #358
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-4313

If sending donations from outside the United States, please note that an international money order or a check payable in a United States bank would be appreciated, to avoid collection costs. Please do not send currency by mail.