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Wikipedia's multilingual portal shows the project's different language editions.
Screenshot of Wikipedia's multilingual portal.
Website information
SloganThe Free Encyclopedia
Type of siteInternet encyclopedia project
RegistrationOptional (required only for certain tasks such as editing protected pages, creating pages or uploading files)
Available languages270 active editions (282 in total)
Content licenseCreative Commons Attribution/
Share-Alike 3.0 (most text also dual-licensed under GFDL)
Media licensing varies
OwnerWikimedia Foundation (non-profit)
Created byJimmy Wales, Larry Sanger
LaunchedJanuary 15, 2001(15 years ago)
Alexa rank(+) 7 ( )
Current statusActive

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Wikipedia (c-enEn-uk-Wikipedia.oggˌwɪkɨˈpiːdi.ə or c-enen-us-Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 19 million articles (over 3.6 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. As of July 2011, there were editions of Wikipedia in 282 languages. Wikipedia was launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger and has become the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet, ranking around seventh among all websites on Alexa and having 365 million readers.

The name Wikipedia was coined by Larry Sanger and is a combination of 'wiki' (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning "quick") and encyclopedia'.

Wikipedia's departure from the expert-driven style of encyclopedia building and the large presence of unacademic content has 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. Some have 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. Students have been assigned to write Wikipedia articles as an exercise in clearly and succinctly explaining difficult concepts to an uninitiated audience.

Although the policies of Wikipedia strongly espouse and a , critics of Wikipedia accuse it of systemic bias and inconsistencies (including undue weight given to popular culture), and allege that it favors consensus over credentials in its editorial processes. Its reliability and accuracy are also targeted. Other criticisms center on its susceptibility to vandalism and the addition of spurious or unverified information; however, scholarly work suggests that vandalism is generally short-lived. A 2005 investigation in Nature showed that the science articles they compared came close to the level of accuracy of Encyclopædia Britannica and had a similar rate of "serious errors."

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