|The free encyclopedia|
|Wiki of a free, collectively produced online encyclopedia|
|languages||294 active and 10 closed language versions|
|editorial staff||registered and non-registered authors|
|items||Over 55.6 million
(as of December 31, 2020)
thereof in German:
|On-line||January 15, 2001 (currently active)|
The Wikipedia [ ˌvɪkipeːdia (] ) is a company founded on 15 January 2001 profit project to create a free Internet - encyclopedia in many languages with the help of the so-called Wikiprinzips . According to public demand and distribution, Wikipedia is now one of the mass media .
Wikipedia offers free , i.e. free articles that are intended for further distribution, to be found under lexical entries ( lemmas ), as well as portals according to subject areas. According to co-founder Jimmy Wales , the aim is " to create a freely licensed and high-quality encyclopedia and thus to disseminate lexical knowledge".
In January 2021, Wikipedia was the thirteenth most visited website in the world . It was ranked seventh in Germany , sixth in Austria , fourth in Switzerland and eighth in the USA . As in the German-speaking countries, the website is the only non-commercial website among the top 50 worldwide. It is financed by donations .
Until 31 December 2020, Wikipedia was in nearly 300 languages in more than 55,600,000 articles More authorship written. In addition, the articles are continuously edited and discussed according to the principle of collaborative writing . The mentoring program offers new contributors free volunteer entry helpers to choose from. Almost all of the content on Wikipedia is under free licenses .
Wikipedia is operated by the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), a non-profit organization based in San Francisco ( USA ). In many countries around the world there are also independent Wikimedia associations that work with the foundation but do not operate Wikipedia; in the German-speaking area, these are Wikimedia Germany (WMDE), founded in 2004 , since 2006 in Switzerland Wikimedia CH (WMCH) and Wikimedia Austria (WMAT), which was created two years later.
Name and logo
The name Wikipedia is a box word made up of " Wiki " and "Encyclopedia" (the English word for encyclopedia ). The term “Wiki” comes from the Hawaiian word for “fast”. Wikis are hypertext systems for websites , the content of which can not only be read by the user, but also changed online in the web browser . The articles are linked to each other like a network.
The Wikipedialogo consists of a ball that is made up of puzzle pieces and is not completed because several pieces are missing at the top. The individual puzzle pieces are labeled with glyphs from different writing systems. The word mark of the respective language version is displayed under the ball on the website .
The graphic content is also created by "Wikipedians". Bjørn Smestad developed the first logo for Nupedia, the second was already created for Wikipedia by The Cunctator , and the third by Paul Staksiger. This was last modified by Notah in 2010 . The logo, designed by Bjørn Smestad, shows in a fisheye projection an excerpt from the foreword to Lewis Carroll's book Euclid and his Modern Rivals . The logo designed by The Cunctator used a text from Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes . This was followed by a representation of an unfinished puzzle in the form of a globe, with each puzzle piece containing a different glyph (letter or character) as an inscription, which symbolizes the multilingualism of Wikipedia. The words "Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia", which were previously set in the Hoefler Text font, have been used in the Wikipedia logo since 2010 in all language editions of Wikipedia and are set with Linux Libertine . In countries that use the Arabic alphabet , a specially designed crossed one (which was originally composed of two “Vs”) has since been included as an OpenType feature in the font. The lettering Wikipedia is in small caps with a capital A at the end.
General development until 2001
It is believed that the first person who came up with the idea of using the Internet to jointly develop an encyclopedia was Internet pioneer Rick Gates . In a no longer received post on October 22, 1993, he put the idea up for discussion in a newsgroup on Usenet . However, the project, which was named Interpedia , did not get beyond the planning stage. The GNUPedia , initiated by Richard Stallman in 1999, was also unsuccessful.
In March 2000, the Internet entrepreneur Jimmy Wales started the first project of an English-language Internet encyclopedia, the Nupedia, with the then PhD student of philosophy Larry Sanger via the Bomis company . The editing process of the previous encyclopedias served Nupedia as a model: Authors had to apply and then their texts had to undergo a peer review process, with Sanger serving as editor-in-chief.
At the end of 2000 / beginning of 2001, Sanger and Wales became aware of the Wiki system , with the help of which users can not only read web pages but also change them directly via the browser . On January 15, 2001, the Nupedia Wiki was available at the independent address wikipedia.com , which has since been considered the hour of birth of Wikipedia.
Originally, Sanger's Wikipedia was announced on Nupedia as a “fun project” alongside Nupedia. Thanks to its openness, however, Wikipedia developed so quickly - to the surprise of Sanger and Wales themselves - that it pushed Nupedia into the background and completely ousted it in September 2003.
Establishment, decision on freedom of advertising, Wikimediastiftung (2001-2004)
On March 15, 2001, Wales announced on the Wikipedia mailing list that it would provide versions in additional languages; among the first were the German language (only one day later, on March 16, 2001), the Catalan and the French Wikipedia. At the end of 2001, Wikipedia existed in 18 languages.
In February 2002 Bomis decided to no longer employ an editor-in-chief and terminated his contract with Larry Sanger, who a little later gave up his work at Nupedia and Wikipedia. As one of the ideas to motivate authors to write high-quality articles, the rating level “excellent” was introduced on August 27, 2002, with which outstanding articles could be rated after a vote; On March 22nd, 2005, the lower grade “worth reading” followed. By the beginning of 2016, their number in the German-language Wikipedia had grown to over 3800, the number of "excellent" articles to over 2400.
At the same time, numerous authors of the Spanish Wikipedia decided to split off and founded the Enciclopedia Libre Universal en Español, because they feared, after a corresponding communication from Sanger, that Wikipedia would in the future display advertising . To prevent further breakdowns, Wales declared that same year that Wikipedia would remain ad-free. In addition, the wikipedia.com website address was switched to the .org top-level domain usually associated with non-commercial organizations .
On June 20, 2003, Wales finally announced the establishment of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation and transferred the naming rights (which were with Bomis or him personally) and later the servers as well . In September Nupedia was discontinued.
Growth in the number of authors (until 2007), attempts at censorship (since 2004)
In spring 2007, the previous high point in the number of edits and registrations was reached. Since then it has been falling continuously. Wikimedia Commons was set up on September 7, 2004 to manage the media files. On June 13, 2004 there were 100,000 articles in the German-language Wikipedia, the English-language version already reached the million mark on March 1, 2006. The German-language Wikipedia reached the mark of 500,000 articles on November 23, 2006, and on December 27, 2009 also the million mark To exceed. The number of two million articles in the German language Wikipedia was reached on November 19, 2016.
Various measures were taken to curb nonsensical contributions or even illegal behavior, but also to gain credibility. So on May 6th, 2008 the "sighting" was introduced in the German language, and later also in other Wikipedia. Its purpose is to prevent changes to articles that have not yet been reviewed by more experienced authors from becoming visible to website visitors. As early as August 9, 2005, new information should be documented, which will be inserted into articles in the German version. The question of copyright infringements also became virulent again and again. As a result of the use of GDR literature in the period from November 2003 to November 2005, several hundred articles were deleted and amended. Wikipedia was cited for the first time on January 30, 2004 by a legal instance, the Göttingen Administrative Court .
The growing popularity made the online dictionary more susceptible to manipulation by interest groups. Günter Schuler diagnosed in 2007 "the targeted hijacking of article content for the respective point of view as well as the practice of enhancing articles for PR purposes". Since 2007, technical means have made it possible to block anonymously acting lobbyists or addresses of defamatory users and make them visible. Registered actors can only be blocked if they have seriously violated the rules of Wikipedia, in particular against maintaining a neutral point of view.
Naturally, the reliability of Wikipedia articles was compared with those of other encyclopedias at an early stage. On November 15, 2005, 42 articles on Wikipedia were compared with their counterparts in the Encyclopædia Britannica . Wikipedia did well, as Nature stated.
In the series of previous censorship measures against Wikipedia , the lockdowns in the People's Republic of China between June 2004 and October 2006 were the most significant. Large parts of China were temporarily affected. In September 2006, Jimmy Wales resisted a request by the Chinese government to block political entries from a Chinese version of Wikipedia. He justified his decision with the fact that censorship contradicts the philosophy of Wikipedia. Wales told the Observer : “We stand for freedom of information, and if we were to compromise, I think it would send the wrong message, namely that there is no one left to say, 'You know what ? We're not giving up. '”On July 31, 2008, the site was finally re-released in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics .
According to the organization Reporters Without Borders , Iran blocked the Kurdish Wikipedia for several months in 2006. In Tunisia, the Wikimedia site was blocked from November 23-27, 2006. Thai users reported in October 2008 that the English article about King Bhumibol was blocked , the Uzbek language version was blocked from January 10th to March 5th, 2008, in Syria from April 30th, 2008 to February 13th, 2009.
On November 13, 2008, Lutz Heilmann , member of the German Bundestag for the party Die Linke , blocked access to the German-language Wikipedia via the forwarding domain wikipedia.de by means of an injunction from the Lübeck Regional Court because the article contained factual claims about him at times . While, according to his subsequent presentation, he was concerned with false, defamatory and therefore his personal rights violating content, including that the immunity committee in the Bundestag had lifted Heilmann's immunity in relation to an investigation due to threats, the media speculated that the injunction had been issued because I read about him that he used to be a full-time employee of the Ministry for State Security of the GDR.
In December 2008, British providers blocked the article on the Scorpions album Virgin Killer because of the album cover shown there, which the Internet Watch Foundation, a British semi-public organization for combating child pornography on the Internet, had classified as child pornography and put on its blacklist.
Conversely, Wikipedia blocked access to certain user groups. On May 28, 2009, the English Wikipedia prevailed against Scientology , an organization that has not been allowed to make any article changes since then. In 2014, the English Wikipedia blocked access to its website several times for employees of the American House of Representatives who had made arbitrary changes to articles.
Wikipedia also repeatedly closed its website in protest against legislative initiatives that seemed to restrict or endanger its legal framework. On October 4, 2011, the Italian Wikipedia closed its access to protest against a law by the government under Silvio Berlusconi . This law stipulated that any correction that the applicant requested in the interests of his reputation must be made within 48 hours. Due to the protest of the English language Wikipedia on January 18, 2012 for 24 hours against two bills in the US Congress, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), some MPs changed their minds. The one-day protest by the Russian-language Wikipedia against a law had less influence. In Russia, freedom of panorama was introduced on October 1, 2014 , which means that Wikimedia has a large number of photographs. The change in the law goes back to an initiative by Wikimedia Russia . Because of an article about a form of cannabis , Wikipedia was blocked for the first time in Russia in August 2015, as it was not considered to be able to block individual articles.
On April 4, 2013, the French secret service DCRI forced the deletion of the article on the military radio station Pierre-sur-Haute in French Wikipedia, which now exists in 36 language versions (as of February 2017), including the German under the lemma military radio station Pierre-sur-Haute . On March 10, 2015, Wikipedia filed a lawsuit against the US foreign intelligence service, the NSA , for tracking user behavior on Wikipedia using a program called Upstream . "These activities are sensitive and private: they can reveal anything about a person's political and religious beliefs, about their sexual orientation or their illnesses" and "The cooperation of the NSA with other intelligence agencies could put Wikipedia authors in other countries at risk express themselves critical of their government ”, justified Wales and Lila Tretikov , the head of the Wikimedia Foundation, the complaint. This was prepared with civil rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch ; The American Civil Liberties Union represented the lawsuit .
On the morning of April 29, 2017, it was announced on the Turkey Blocks website that several Turkish Internet providers had blocked access to all Wikipedia editions. Hasan Gökkaya wrote in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit that the Turkish government accused the Wikipedia drivers of “terror propaganda”.
Meanwhile, in Germany, for example, cooperation with scientific institutions was intensified. This resulted in a cooperation agreement between Wikimedia Germany and the Federal Archives for the free provision of more than 80,000 images. In March 2009 there was a similar contract with the Dresden University Library . It made 250,000 image files available from the Deutsche Fotothek . In 2009 the Dutch Royal Tropical Institute provided Wikimedia with 49,000 images, followed by the Nationaal Archief on September 6, 2010 with 13,000 images.
From June 16 to 17, 2006, the first Wikipedia Academy took place at the Göttingen University Library to ensure greater integration into the academic sphere . A conference at the History Department of the University of Basel followed with Wikipedia in the Sciences . At the second Academy in Mainz, the article Ludwig Feuerbach by Josef Winiger was awarded the Johann Heinrich Zedler Medal, which was awarded by a jury of well-known humanities scholars. From 2007, they were awarded by Wikimedia Deutschland e. V. awarded. In 2010, the sponsors added a picture competition to the award. From 2012 the medal was replaced by the Zedler Prize for Free Knowledge . In 2015, a prize was awarded for the first time for special long-term commitment .
The "Wikipedia Ambassador Program", which has existed since summer 2011, was launched in Germany as a "Wikipedia University Program" in cooperation with the universities of Halle , Marburg , Munich , Potsdam and Stuttgart , but was discontinued after 15 months.
On April 23, 2014, the literal, but not appropriately labeled, takeover of parts of the text from Wikipedia in the work Große Seeschlachten published by the publisher CHBeck in 2013 resulted . Turning points in world history from Salamis to Skagerrak from Arne Karsten and Olaf Rader to the fact that the plant had to be withdrawn.
On January 15, 2011, Wikipedia celebrated its tenth anniversary. On this occasion, 470 events were held in 113 countries.
On November 28, 2014, an international conference in the Central National Library of Florence dealt with the topic Sfide e alleanze tra Biblioteche e Wikipedia (challenges and alliances between libraries and Wikipedia).
Increasing automation (since 2012)
As of April 2012, the “Wikidata” database made generally applicable data types such as life data available as a common source, which can be used in all articles in the Wikimedia projects. Since March 6, 2013, the links to article versions in other languages have been automatically available.
Within 18 months, the Dutch Wikipedia was able to increase its article inventory from 768,520 to 1,548,591, as their number was increased drastically by automated scripts. However, their quality is controversial. The Swedish-language Wikipedia achieved similarly high numbers.
In July 2013 the VisualEditor was introduced, which should make it easier to edit the articles. The syntax, which is often perceived as complicated, was one of the reasons for the declining number of authors.
In the summer of 2014 there were violent disputes over the “media viewer”. It was enforced against a decision by the German language Wikipedia. So that the community cannot switch off the media viewer, “super protection” was also introduced, but was removed in November 2015.
Competition and supplements (since 2008)
Google undertook from July 23, 2008 to May 1, 2012 with the encyclopedic database Knol . A Unit of Knowledge an attempt to also build an encyclopedia, which the company gave up. The work flowed into the Annotum project .
With Marjorie-Wiki, a project is being created to store relevant articles that have been deleted from the German-language Wikipedia. By October 2020, over 41,300 items had been collected there.
From October 19, 2009 to August 1, 2012, the online glossary twick.it (a box word from “Twitter” and “Wikipedia”) was supposed to deliver extremely short articles with a maximum of 140 characters. After 20,000 articles, however, the previously free service was discontinued. It has been operated by a commercial provider since the beginning of 2015.
At the end of October 2010, Wiki-Watch was founded at the position in the study and research focus media law of the legal faculty of the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt an der Oder . According to its own statement, it wants to “make the knowledge resource Wikipedia more transparent”. The Wikibu project, launched in January 2011 at the University of Education in Bern , aims to facilitate the assessment of Wikipedia articles.
The number of views of Wikipedia articles has decreased since Google made its Knowledge Graph available on May 16, 2012 , which provides basic data on the keywords entered on the page of its search engine. On December 4th, a German version followed along with other language versions.
In November 2014 it was announced that the library of President Boris Yeltsin in Saint Petersburg , which had already been founded in 2007, wants to set up its own online encyclopedia, since Wikipedia “is not able to provide detailed and reliable information about the regions of Russia and the To give life in the country ”. The project explicitly sees itself as an alternative to Wikipedia and also wants to provide media files, historical documents and online exhibitions. In November 2019, the Russian government planned to allocate $ 24 million to build a Russian alternative to Wikipedia. The Tagesanzeiger quoted President Putin as saying, "At least that will be reliable information."
With the Klexikon , an online dictionary was created in December 2014, which is aimed at children between the ages of six and twelve and which contained over 1000 articles after one year. In November 2020, there were over 3000. The initiative had Michael Schulte , editor of the children's program Kakadu of Germany radios taken and the historian Ziko van Dijk, who from 2011 to 2014 chairman of Wikimedia Nederland was. The Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth has now classified the website as a "recommended children's dictionary". In the project phase before and after the website was launched, the Klexikon was supported by Wikimedia Germany ; The focus was on a concept for an online encyclopedia for children. In 2018, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media supported the creation of a dictionary for beginners. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales described the dictionary in an interview on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Wikipedia as a “really impressive concept” and a “fascinating challenge that requires even more effort and thoughtfulness”.
Classification in historical processes, world cultural heritage opportunities, importance on the Internet
Almost since Wikipedia was founded, numerous publications have dealt with various aspects of the network encyclopedia, which has meanwhile replaced the printed encyclopedia. In 2012 , Peter Burke saw Wikipedia in the context of his social history of knowledge as the most important endpoint of a development since the first attempts to collect knowledge and present it to a larger audience.
Richard David Precht assigns Wikipedia in its consideration of the impending digital society in the chapter "Farewell to the Monetozän" the field of Allmendeproduktion to: "So Wikipedia is a Allmendeweide can graze on each his sheep and on all working for the benefit." While a look behind the scenes shows an extremely unequal distribution of interpretive power; but the principle seems honorable to Precht. Christine Brinck refers to Wikipedia as a suitable research medium for the necessary skills acquisition in the course of digitization .
In 2011 Wikimedia Germany started a campaign to make Wikipedia an intangible UNESCO World Heritage Site . The weekly newspaper Die Zeit noted that the recognition of a “digital place” as a cultural heritage of humanity was a novelty. But something else is just as important: “Because practically all cultural assets on the list were created from above, arranged and financed by potentates or organizations such as the church. Wikipedia would be the first work in it that comes from below ”.
At the beginning of 2016, the Wikipedia website was the seventh most visited website, also in Germany . In Austria it was in sixth place, also in the USA and even in fifth place in Switzerland . With the top-level domain .org, it is the only non-commercial website among the first 50. ARD and SRF Tagesschau also congratulated them on their 15th birthday .
One-day shutdown of several Wikipedia language versions 2019
Following an “opinion picture” in the community, the German-language Wikipedia protested on March 21, 2019 against the planned EU copyright reform . The web version could not be used for 24 hours, as all articles were displayed completely blacked out. Other Wikipedia language versions such as Danish, Czech or Slovak followed the protest. In particular, the protest action criticized the strict ancillary copyright law for press publishers provided for in Article 11 of the EU copyright reform and the obligations for Internet platforms anchored in Article 13 . It is feared that the introduction of upload filters will, among other things, restrict freedom of expression, art and the press. The protest met with a great response in the German-language press.
According to the project, four principles are irrevocable and cannot be changed even after discussions:
- Wikipedia is an encyclopedia.
- Contributions must be written in such a way that they comply with the principle of a neutral point of view .
- Content is free , it must be under a free license .
- Other users must be respected and the wikiquette must be adhered to (a derivation of the box word netiquette , which in turn goes back to the English 'net' and the French 'étiquette' for rules of behavior).
As a code of conduct, the Wikiquette requires employees to respect their co-authors and not to offend anyone in discussions or to attack them personally. This is based on the rule "go from good intentions from" . The principles of neutral point of view, verifiability and no finding of theory (which means original research ) should determine the content of the articles. In order to de-escalate or settle inevitable disagreements and disputes about article content and to enable readers to form their own opinion and to support their intellectual independence, Wikipedia has the policy of the neutral point of view (NPOV, from English neutral point of view ) set up. If there are different views on a topic, an article should describe them fairly, but not take a position itself. However, the neutral point of view does not require that all views are presented equally (see also prevailing opinion ). Social processes are designed to ensure that it is adhered to, which often leads to lengthy discussions on controversial topics.
Which topics are included in the encyclopedia and in which form, according to theory, are decided by the editors in an open process. In this context, conflicts usually arise about what “ knowledge ” represents, where it is differentiated from pure data and what is meant by encyclopedic relevance . Apart from rough guidelines that distinguish Wikipedia from other types of work such as dictionary, database, link or quotation collection, there are no general catalogs of criteria (e.g. for biographies) as they are used in traditional encyclopedias. In case of doubt, the individual case is discussed. If a user feels a topic is unsuitable or an article is not appropriate to the topic, he can submit a request for deletion , which all interested parties can then discuss.
By saving their editing, the authors give their consent that their contribution can be used under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) and, since June 15, 2009, also under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license (CC-BY-SA ) is published. These licenses allow others to change the content as they wish and to distribute it - even commercially - provided that the terms of the licenses are observed and the content is published again under the same licenses. This copyleft principle makes it impossible to exclusively exploit Wikipedia articles and texts based on them with reference to copyright law .
Although the authors mostly work under pseudonyms, their authorship is also protected within Wikipedia. For example, when articles or parts of articles are merged or translated, the associated version history must be transferred, which can be used to trace which author made which contribution.
Wikipedia consists of many language versions, with each language version having its own subdomain (e.g. de.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org) and technically representing its own wiki. The language versions are largely self-sufficient in terms of their content, guidelines and organizational matters. The encyclopedic articles are created individually in each language version. Articles on the same subject in different languages can be linked together. However, they are usually not translated from one another or their content is synchronized with one another.
The web pages of each wiki are divided into groups called " namespaces ". The most important namespace is the article namespace (ANR) with the encyclopedic articles. There are also other namespaces, for example the Wikipedia namespace with pages about Wikipedia metadiscourses, including guidelines. In the help namespace , help pages are summarized which contain instructions for the methodical implementation of article editing. Registered users each have user pages in the user namespace that they can freely fill and design with content, with a reference to Wikipedia. Frequent entries there concern personal information on age, origin and occupation, user-specific technical help, processing priorities, naming the articles opened by the user and criticism of Wikipedia .
In all namespaces, each page has a talk page assigned to it. In principle, the discussion pages can be edited just like normal pages. However, there are certain own conventions, such as the signing and indenting of contributions to the discussion, in order to make the course of the discussion recognizable.
The content of all pages is organized as hypertext . The authors enter cross-references and formatting instructions in a simple syntax . The software automatically converts terms set in double square brackets ([...]]) into an internal link to the relevant article. If the linked article already exists, the link is displayed in blue. If the article does not yet exist, the link appears in red, and when you click it, an input field opens in which the user can write the new article. This simple linkage option has ensured that the articles on Wikipedia are much more closely linked than those of other encyclopedias on CD-ROM or on the Internet.
In addition to the contextual hyperlinks to other articles, there are other navigation options such as categories (at the bottom of every page), info boxes, navigation bars or the alphabetical index, but these play a subordinate role.
Wikipedia authors choose their own fields of activity. The core is actually writing articles. In addition, users deal with proofreading and improving, formatting and classifying or with the illustration of the articles. Other users write or improve help pages, look after new Wikipedians in the mentoring program and answer questions in the support team. Administrators, who are elected by the community with a two-thirds majority, promote the enforcement of “law and order”, for example by blocking “vandals”, users who falsify, delete articles, work unenclopedically or insult other users or offend. Wikipedians with programming skills create tools to support work on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is operated by the Wikimedia Foundation , based in San Francisco . The individual language versions of Wikipedia are structured according to the same basic concept, but enjoy great independence.
The organizational structure is mainly determined by norms created in informal organizational processes . Users can use their contributions in the Community ( Community acquire a reputation). In addition to the persuasiveness of arguments, the social status within the Wikipedia community - acquired through specialist knowledge in certain areas, but also through making contacts and forming informal cliques - plays a role in the acceptance of edits in the article namespace.
Registered users who have already made a certain number of edits have additional rights. Particularly committed participants can be elected administrators by the author community . Administrators have extended rights and tasks, such as the right to block the editing of controversial articles for users who are not logged in or to temporarily exclude editors who grossly or repeatedly violate the rules.
Most of Wikipedia's rules arise from the fact that many participants take up and apply a single suggestion. If such a proposal is supported by a qualified majority of users, it is considered accepted and can become the rule.
In the case of controversial decisions, Wikipedia traditionally tries to find a consensus . In practice, however, a real consensus among the large number of employees is often not possible. In such cases, the decisions are made in procedures that lie between discussion and vote .
The greatest personal influence - especially in the English language Wikipedia - has the founder Jimmy Wales, who initially settled conflicts in the community. At the beginning of 2004, he assigned part of his tasks in the English language Wikipedia to an "arbitration committee" chosen by the participants. This institution, comparable to an arbitration tribunal , also exists in other language versions, including the German and French language Wikipedia, whereby the respective powers differ significantly.
Over time, opposing beliefs have emerged as to how Wikipedia should develop. There is a major difference of opinion between the "inclusionists" and the "exclusionists". The inclusionists advocate including as much information as possible in Wikipedia and, if possible, not deleting any articles. One project that emerged from this dispute in the English-speaking world was the Deletionpedia . The opposite position is taken by the exclusionists, who warn against taking in overly detailed and irrelevant information.
Wikipedia is financed exclusively through donations from private individuals and companies, with fundraising campaigns only running until the specified donation amount is reached. The expenditure of the Wikimedia Foundation amounted in fiscal year 2017/2018 to 81.4 million dollars . Of that, about 47 percent went to salaries of 350+ employees and about $ 2.3 million to Internet hosting . The budget for the 2018/2019 fiscal year was just under $ 93 million. With a donation of two million dollars in 2010, Internet company Google Inc. is one of the largest single donors.
The individual national Wikimedia chapters also contribute to the financing of Wikipedia . For example, Wikimedia Germany has around 100 employees in 2019 and operated the tool server, on which tools were available for Wikipedia authors, but now only the OpenStreetMap map server .
In 2018, the donation totaled 97.7 million dollars, in Germany the income was 8.9 million euros. It was criticized that the calls for donations always aim at higher sums, even though the Wikimedia Foundation had assets of 78 million dollars in 2015.
Initially, Wikipedia used the software UseModWiki , which was written in Perl , but was soon no longer able to cope with the requirements. In January 2002, Wikipedia switched to a MySQL -based PHP application (phase II) written by the German biologist Magnus Manske , which was specially adapted to the needs of Wikipedia. After the website had shared the resources with the Bomis website for over a year, the English language Wikipedia, later the other language versions, moved to its own server in July 2002 with a version of Manskes software revised and partly rewritten by Lee Daniel Crocker (phase III) around. This was later named MediaWiki .
Wikipedia runs on Linux servers, mostly on the server variant of Ubuntu , and with some OpenSolaris servers for ZFS . HTTP requests first reach Varnish caches, which provide non-logged-in visitors who only want to read with pre-generated pages. The other requests come to load-balanced servers based on the Linux Virtual Server software , from where they are sent to one of the Apache HTTP servers . This uses the PHP scripting language and the MariaDB database to generate user-specific pages. The MariaDB database runs on several servers with replication in master-slave mode.
With increasing access numbers , the demands on the hardware increased. While there were three servers in December 2003, there are now 480 servers in Tampa , Amsterdam and Ashburn in operation for Wikipedia and its sister companies in September 2014 , which are looked after by a team of both volunteer and permanent administrators. The principle of naming the servers after famous encyclopedists was abandoned in 2005.
Wikipedia servers process between 25,000 and 60,000 hits per second, depending on the time of day. In some cases, this leads to capacity bottlenecks, which mean that pages can only be loaded slowly or not at all.
Several companies and organizations offered their support to the Wikimedia Foundation. In April 2005, the search engine operator Yahoo agreed to provide 23 servers in its data center in Asia for the operation of Wikipedia. These servers were discontinued on July 17, 2009 and switched off on January 1, 2010.
The development of the software, such as the installation of new functions, is determined by the community- independent team of programmers, which on the one hand tries to orient itself to the wishes of the users, on the other hand implements new ideas, such as extensions, from outside.
Each language version of Wikipedia has its own main page, which is individually designed. In most language versions, Wikipedia is briefly introduced at the beginning of the main page, the current number of articles is given and, in places , reference is made to further links, such as portal pages. This is followed by sections where Wikipedia articles are presented in different ways. Most language versions have an Article of the Day section that outlines a special, excellent article, a In the News section that references articles based on current events, a What Happened on ...? , in which reference is made to historical events, as well as a column Did you know? , in which newly created articles are presented. In some cases, reference is made to the picture of the day from Wikimedia Commons, other wiki projects or other selected language versions.
Evaluation of the articles, incentives
The Wikipedia community sets various incentives for authors to write articles and to write good articles. For example, there is the article marathon , the monument cup or the writing competition . If an article is comprehensive, technically correct, validly documented, generally understandable and clear, it can also apply for a distinction and is evaluated by the community within a certain period of time. If the candidacy is successful, the article can receive the award worth reading . If it is of outstanding quality, it can be labeled as excellent . In addition, good lists and portals can be given the rating informative . Articles that have received such awards are intended to serve as a model example for other authors to produce high-quality articles. They are also usually presented on the main page of Wikipedia. Another competition that is offered every calendar year is the WikiCup , where article writers and photographers can collect points. The best points are determined on a quarterly basis, and they then advance to the next round until a point winner is determined at the end of the year.
Some language versions of Wikipedia use bots , computer programs or scripts that relieve their operators of regular or repetitive tasks that can be automated (e.g. correcting typing errors). Occasionally, they are also used to automatically create articles. This is often criticized and rejected by some language versions because it results in very short articles in large numbers; this can be seen, for example, in the Volapük Wikipedia or the Dutch-language Wikipedia .
Categorization of articles
In Wikipedia, categories are a means by which pages can be classified according to certain characteristics. A page can be assigned to one or more categories; the categories can in turn be assigned to other categories. They are always displayed at the end of a page. This creates a systematic content and articles can be assigned to different subject areas. This forms the basis for statistical evaluations of the composition of the articles. The main category is the root of the Wikipedia category system .
Relevance criteria and deletion discussions
The decision for or against inclusion in an encyclopedia also depends on whether people, events or topics that currently have a broad public impact will, based on reasonable judgment, be of lasting importance. Persistent public reception can also be an indication of relevance. To ensure that there are as few cases of doubt as possible, the relevance criteria arose from the multi-year consensus.
If an article does not meet the relevance criteria, it can be deleted; This also applies to poor quality, vandalism, copyright infringement, etc. There are two options for deletion: In the case of obvious cases or articles that have already been deleted, a quick deletion request is made , the article is then usually deleted by an administrator within a few minutes. Usually, however, a deletion discussion takes place for at least 7 days as to whether an article complies with the rules and whether it should be deleted.
Martin Haase , linguist , member of the Pirate Party and the Chaos Computer Club and former board member at Wikimedia Germany , emphasized in 2011 that there are differences between the German-speaking languages with regard to the question of how free knowledge should be collected - broadly or deeply Wikipedia "and all the rest" give. In the German-language Wikipedia, "certain relevance criteria [of the printed lexicons] were taken over without reflection", "which it is almost impossible to break open today [...]".
Problems of collaborative copywriting
The wiki system provides that every visitor to the Wikipedia website can write articles and contributions and change texts without having to register. A login with your own user name is, however, welcome and also has certain advantages for the user. Each page has its own talk page on which every user can propose improvements or changes. It can also provide information about the development history of an item and any controversies. Specialist editors maintain several subject areas. Editorial offices mean platforms on which contact persons are available for questions, suggestions and discussions on a specific topic. Some of the editorial offices are extremely subject-specific, such as the chemistry department, the history department, the music department or the medicine department, to name just a few examples. Additional editorial offices were set up to be available especially for interdisciplinary inquiries. The principle is based on the assumption that users control and correct each other. Anyone who can contribute specialist knowledge is invited to register on the respective list of contact persons.
“One knows a lot, two know more and everyone knows everything. Wikipedia calls this the wiki principle. "
The wiki principle describes functional and psychosocial features that are characteristic of the use of wiki software. The wiki principle is characterized by added value compared to the pure function of the wiki software, which arises from the mutual influence of content and communication ( stigmergy ). The Wiki principle thus fulfills all the essential characteristics of a cultural technique .
"Edit-Wars" and bans
If the content of the article is very controversial, edit wars can occur between different editors, which typically express themselves in such a way that the respective change made by the other is repeatedly undone. If this drags on for a while and neither party wants to give in or agree on a compromise, administrators can protect the article in question from editing for a while. This is intended to ensure that the dispute is transferred from the level of mutual deletion to the level of the content-related discussion of the contentious content, for example on the discussion page of the article. After a while, the article's side protection is usually removed again.
Instead of a full side protection, a half protection can also be applied. As a result, an article can only be edited by users who have been logged in for a certain period of time, but not by users who have not yet logged in or who have just logged in. The main purpose of the semi-protection is to prevent vandalism from unregistered users. This remedy is also only intended for temporary use.
An additional user account of a registered Wikipedian is called a " sock puppet " or multiple account . These multiple accounts are often used to protect the person hiding behind them, but are also often misused to fake majority opinions in discussions, to influence internal elections and votes or to disguise the author of vandalism. The misuse of sock puppets can be controlled by "check users" and, if necessary, punished and lead to user bans. Insults, threats and the continuation of Edit Wars can also lead to user bans, which are temporarily or permanently imposed depending on the case.
Vandalism and article sifting
In the context of Wikipedia, vandalism is understood to mean the modification of text content or images by users by setting obviously nonsensical or insulting, defamatory, vulgar or obscene content. Vandalism is typically committed by unregistered users who can only be identified by their IP address - apparently because they believe they can act more anonymously as a result than with a user account. Vandalism by registered users is rare and can result in the corresponding user being excluded from further article work ("blocked").
Vandalism particularly affects articles that deal with controversial content or controversial personalities. For example, the biography articles of George W. Bush and Tony Blair in the English language Wikipedia were frequently affected by vandalism during the Iraq war . However, articles on topics that are outside the mainstream may also be affected.
The German-language Wikipedia introduced the sighting system in May 2008 . This means that by default all unregistered users will see the last viewed version of an article. Changes to the content of an editor without "sifter status" are only visible to the general public if they have been activated by a user with sifter status. The primary aim of the sighting system is to make obvious vandalism , which is usually carried out by unregistered users, less attractive. Since the sightings were introduced, vandalism has decreased in the German-language Wikipedia.
A distinction is made between “passive classifiers” and “active classifiers” for the classifier status. Passive classifiers are essentially allowed to view their own edits, while active classifiers are also allowed to view the edits of other users. A registered user automatically acquires the status of passive or active sifter as soon as he has been active in the project for a defined period of time, has made a certain number of edits and has not been noticed by rule violations or destructive behavior.
The tone of voice
In Wikipedia, different characters meet in the anonymity of the Internet and mostly with pseudonyms. The predominantly factual tone among the Wikipedians should lead to a consensus - even in the case of differences of opinion. The discussion pages, which can be created for each article in the article namespace (ANR), are used for this. A small number of the authors, including individual administrators, do not adhere to the general rules on how to speak with one another. The article Wikiliebe describes a general attitude towards collegiality and community in Wikipedia. The basic rules for working together are also compiled on a separate page. The most important one is: "There is no justification for attacks on other users." Nevertheless, insults, degradation, defamation and defamation by false or undetectable factual assertions or discrediting occur, up to personal threats and threats to initiate legal action.
In order to curb this behavior, there are internal measures within the Wiki. In this way, attacked users can report this on the vandalism report page . Administrators can intervene simply, but also punish attacks without prior warning with a limited write access block or an unlimited user block. An administrator determines the form and duration of the sanction. Repeated failures usually lead to tightening of sanctions up to and including exclusion.
Authors, in turn, can defend themselves against sanctions. There is the revocation check , the mediation committee , the arbitration tribunal to resolve conflicts between users and finally a report page for conflicts with administrators.
Lack of citability
Wikipedia is often the citation been denied. In 2008, the Faculty of Physics at the University of Vienna explicitly allowed Wikipedia to be quoted. In the German language Wikipedia, Wikipedia articles from IPs and beginners have to be viewed since May 2008 before they are displayed. Before, the prevailing opinion was that the German-language Wikipedia was unreliable, untrustworthy because of the largely anonymous authors, had insufficient quality standards and was susceptible to vandalism and the influence of companies and organizations on the content. Subsequent investigations of the meanwhile considerably further developed Wikipedia have shown that problem-conscious use of Wikipedia as a source of information is very possible.
Prohibitions to use Wikipedia as a “source” in the context of university teaching contrast with the practice of adequate citation of Wikipedia in the academic, political and legal fields. With a view to the ability to cite, suggestions have been drawn up, as well as references to ways in which Wikipedia can be used for university didactics, for example as a means of improving the quality of the encyclopedia in the interest of historical studies . In the academic field, Wikipedia is widely used. But it is rarely given as a source; instead, cited literature that is quoted in Wikipedia articles or otherwise accessible is quoted.
Wikipedia is a particularly trustworthy source for young people. Catarina Katzer wrote in 2016 that there is generally little awareness that Wikipedia also contains incomplete or incorrect articles. "Wikipedia has become an online brand for knowledge worldwide - and this image has already been burned into our brains."
In view of the digital divide, there are considerable differences in level both globally and locally with regard to access to PCs, the Internet and thus Wikipedia. They are contrary to the ideal of the encyclopedia, which is equally available to everyone. In global terms they also create an undesirable gradient in the completeness of encyclopedic knowledge.
A look at the number of articles on aspects of the countries around the Mediterranean makes this gap clear - along with other causes such as the topic preferences of the voluntary authorship. The stock of articles relating to Germany (733,434), Switzerland (70,369) and Austria (125,280) is particularly high; with reference to the German-speaking countries directly neighboring countries such as France (148,080) and Italy (78,797) there is also a relatively high number of articles. In contrast, the representation of other countries in the German-language Wikipedia clearly lags behind. While other Mediterranean countries such as Spain (30,868) and Turkey (21,533) are now catching up, countries from the Sahel region - such as Mali with 708 articles - have so far been significantly underrepresented.
How strongly the organizational hierarchy develops according to the iron law of the oligarchy has so far been little discussed. While Adrian Vermeule from Harvard Law School assumed in 2008 that Wikipedia was subject to the laws of all knowledge communities in it, i.e. there was a tendency towards isolation through self-supplementation of the experts, i.e. the long-term Wikipedians, the sociologist Christian Stegbauer in 2009 saw more of the aspect of one bureaucratic power that he believed he could fix in the administrators. In contrast to individualistic theories of action or mere derivations from structures, he believes that the actors' actions result from their positioning in a network (relational perspective). Stegbauer notes a change from the egalitarian initial ideology to a product ideology that Wikipedia now perceives as a market participant that is in competition with other online encyclopedias. The quality of the content now takes priority over the participation of all or at least as many as possible. In addition, Stegbauer believes he can establish a center-periphery structure in which central participants have considerable decision-making power due to higher levels of activity and pronounced social cohesion. Ultimately, the management staff is said to have developed an informal network that manifests itself, for example, at physical meetings of the "regulars". This view and its basic assumptions were criticized in a review by media scientist Linda Groß, because "both the influence of norms on action and the communicative production of behavioral conventions are not taken into account in the study."
Piotr Konieczny worked out in an essay that authors who have been collaborating for a long time have a certain power advantage when working on articles. In his opinion, however, improved communication options, broader participation and greater transparency prevented the iron law in question from taking effect, especially since no one contributed to Wikipedia to move up in its hierarchy, as there would be no material incentives.
The sociologist René König observes knowledge-sociological power processes in the German-language Wikipedia. Using the example of conspiracy theories relating to the attacks of September 11, 2001 , he shows how supporters of the “ truth movement ” failed when they tried to introduce alternative perspectives on the events in the article with reference to the principle of neutrality. This was prevented with reference to the prohibition of original research. Since everyone involved in the discussion lacked expertise , as was to be expected in a lay project , an open deliberation of the numerous details and a discursive weighing of the different positions failed. Instead, strategies of channeling and exclusion had taken effect, with non- mainstream content being outsourced to the article Conspiracy Theories on September 11, 2001 . In the end, this practice was also applied on the discussion page of the article, so that not even content deviating from the official version could be brought up there. König sees Wikipedia in a “participatory dilemma”: On the one hand, it is dependent on the active participation of as many laypeople as possible, on the other hand, their massive participation means that “only the established hierarchies of knowledge” are used as a criterion for the inclusion of content, which means that Wikipedia's potential is limited.
Identity and expertise
The identity of the Wikipedia authors ( "Wikipedians" ) is usually not known. A significant proportion work unannounced, i.e. without a user account . Many registered authors provide personal information on their user page, but they are voluntary and cannot be checked. In 2007, the case of the 24-year-old American Wikipedia author Essjay , who had posed as a university professor and had risen to the highest community offices in the English language Wikipedia, hit the headlines. In some cases, content for Wikipedia is also created in cooperation with institutions : For example, it was temporarily possible to create a Wikipedia entry at Heidelberg University instead of a term paper . There is also a cooperation with ZDF .
Social structure and gender gap
The social structure to determine the Wikipedia authors, is a difficult task. In many cases, mere surveys are used. A survey by psychologists from Würzburg in 2009 showed that the proportion of men was 88 percent. About half were therefore singles. 43 percent of those surveyed worked full-time. A large group was made up of students. The median age was 33 years. When asked about their motivation, more than four out of five of the respondents rated the expansion of their own knowledge as important to very important. A high proportion of 13 to 23 year olds is also clear.
In an analysis of the participation behavior of registered participants, Jimmy Wales found that half of all contributions came from just 2.5 percent of users. In doing so, he supported his thesis of Wikipedia as a “community of thoughtful users”, which he contrasted with a conception as an emergent phenomenon in which an encyclopedia tends to spontaneously emerge from the contributions of a large number of anonymous Internet users.
In 2008, Joachim Schroer examined in his dissertation what motivated the authors to collaborate - apart from authors who pursue external interests or who are paid for them. After that, autonomy , feedback and the importance of the job were particularly important. Predicators of intrinsic motivation were, if one follows the assessment of the authors themselves, on the one hand the goal of the project, namely free knowledge. This goal was both driving and important for the identification, but hardly influenced the intensity of the engagement. A lack of information in Wikipedia was often the trigger for the transition from reader to author, while collective motives and generativity were of little importance.
K. Wannemacher states in an anthology of the same year that criticism is too much in the foreground, but less use is made of the possibilities of teaching: “At the moment, aspects such as the transitionality of entries in the online encyclopedia and unsuitability in terms of a scientific reference dominate , the student negligence in dealing with internet sources and the resulting need to check seminar papers for internet plagiarism with the help of commercial software (turnitin.com, plagiarism.org etc.) the perception of Wikipedia at the universities. ”“ Among the advantages This type of teaching includes the didactically activating method, the practice in source-critical work, the propaedeutic text work and the collaborative training of writing skills as well as exam-relevant learning effects (p. 154). "
The inadequate attention to supposedly female aspects of culture, but also popular culture, led to a heated debate on Wikipedia in 2007. An article on Kate Middleton's wedding dress triggered this after a request for deletion was made immediately after the otherwise impeccable article was discontinued. At Wikimania 2012, Jimmy Wales, who had campaigned for the article to be kept and referred to the reporting on the online magazine Slate in his reasoning, cited the dress as an example of the gender gap - the lack of participation by women and the lack of attention to women’s issues Wikipedia in general - at. Wikipedia has no problem describing dozens of Linux variants in separate articles, but the predominantly male community does not sufficiently appreciate such a culturally important item of clothing. Wales' escalation and the controversy itself received multiple press coverage.
“As the largest free collection of knowledge in the world, Wikipedia is initially something that depicts society and also depicts the world of knowledge. And in this world of knowledge, women are systematically and structurally disadvantaged. This means that Wikipedia acts as a reflection of the world and its imbalances. This means that the knowledge of the world, which is also conveyed to us in schools and can be found in Wikipedia articles, is something that was written by men from Europe and North America and which is now being used in mass media, such as Wikipedia, also found again. "
Causes for declining participation, countermeasures
For some time now, the Wikipedia community has been struggling to find and retain committed authors. A survey published in the English language version in autumn 2007 already showed that Wikipedia had, for the first time since its foundation, recorded a decline in the engagement of its active users and the number of new registrations was also falling. According to a study, one of the main reasons was an increasingly harsh tone. 27% of women justified their turning away from the project with the fact that the climate was too aggressive for them.
Another explanation is that the entry difficulties are too great for first-time authors who are not technically experienced. This is to be remedied since April 2010 with a project financed by the Stanton Foundation with 890,000 dollars to improve user friendliness. In 2007, a mentoring program was launched on the German-language Wikipedia to help new authors get started with the help of experienced Wikipedians.
These measures are intended to introduce beginners to an increasingly complex project. But another problem is the short time many beginners spend in the project. Increased rejection leads to the disappearance of these desirable new authors. This is indicated by a study from 2012. It is more likely to be rejected because it causes less work for the other authors. In addition, bots are displacing the typical entry-level work, such as spelling correction. In addition, it is becoming increasingly difficult for new authors to cope with the growing set of rules or even to enforce rule changes.
According to a study from 2009, the increasing relative power of the socially closed administrators and experts viewed as a group , the often hurtful tone of voice on discussion pages and in project debates, the abrupt treatment of unregistered employees (" IPs ") and newly logged in users. identify a problematic development, as it was shown as typical for expert networks.
After all, it was not noticed for a long time, according to the result of a Spanish dissertation, that the majority of the actual article work is done by very active authors and not by occasional dropouts; therefore, the focus should not only be on increasing the number of employees, but above all on maintaining active authorship. In addition, the proportion of academic institutions should not be underestimated.
Multilingualism and international cooperation
Wikipedia developed into a multilingual enterprise shortly after it was founded. In January 2016, there were 291 language versions of Wikipedia. A new Wikipedia in another language can be established at any time as soon as there are enough interested parties. There are now several Wikipedien in regional and minority languages such as Low German or the Frisian and Sorbian languages as well as in dialects such as Kölsch or Bavarian . Extinct or planned languages are also generally permitted.
Articles on the same subject are usually written and maintained separately in each language. Only occasionally are articles translated, in whole or in part, verbatim from one Wikipedia language version to another. By interwiki links articles are linked on the same subject in different languages to each other. In 2014, only 51 percent of the largest (English-language) Wikipedia had a counterpart in what was then the second largest (German-language) Wikipedia. Multilingual users make a valuable contribution to making the same article accessible in several languages.
The language versions of Wikipedia are largely independent of one another. Each language version has its own community that decides on the desired and undesired content and its own guidelines (e.g. relevance criteria or deletion rules). A study by a British research team showed that cultural background has a significant influence on the editing behavior of authors. Text is deleted significantly more often in the German language Wikipedia than in the Dutch, French or Japanese language.
Exchange between the language communities
The authorship of Wikipedia is described as a " method-oriented community ".
Due to language barriers, there is usually little exchange between the individual language communities; the communities organize and develop independently of one another. Individual initiatives such as the “Translation of the Week” try to overcome this barrier and encourage more exchange.
The establishment of Wikimedia Commons in particular brought about an upswing in international cooperation. On the multilingual Commons, Wikipedia participants from all language versions work on building a central media repository .
You can get in direct contact with the authors of an article on the respective "discussion page" of the article. There is a “portal” or “editorial office” for many topics and specialist areas. The authors meet in the "Author Portal". For general questions there is the page Questions about Wikipedia . Further contact options can be found on Wikipedia itself in the left menu bar under "Contact".
The Wikimedia Foundation has set up a “Community Advocacy” department that advises the community on legal issues and supports them in legal disputes. An FAQ list on legal issues has been set up to answer the most frequently asked questions, primarily providing support with copyright and licensing. Furthermore, the data protection of member data is an important issue.
The open nature of a wiki offers no protection against copyright and other legal violations. If there is a corresponding suspicion, active users check articles to see whether they have been copied from other sources. If the suspicion is confirmed, these articles will be deleted by the administrators after a period of objection. However, this procedure does not offer complete security.
Initially, the Wikipedia content was only available under the GFDL. It turned out, however, that this license is only partially suitable for the wiki-based creation of a free encyclopedia. The GFDL was originally developed for free IT documentation in which the number of text revisions and the authors involved is usually manageable. In contrast, Wikipedia has a large number of authors involved in articles on popular or controversial topics. Merging and splitting up articles, translations from Wikipedia versions in other languages and anonymous text donations from unclear sources are the order of the day. The complex creation process of many articles can often only be reconstructed with great difficulty.
This is why lawyers are discussing how the GFDL license conditions are to be applied in detail. This applies, for example, to the provision of the complete version history, the determination of main authors or the obligation to reproduce the license text in full.
After a vote within Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation announced on May 21, 2009 that the texts on Wikipedia would be licensed under both the GNU license for free documentation and the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license (attribution) from June 15, 2009 Distribution under the same conditions). In contrast to the GNU license, the Creative Commons licenses are not only designed for IT documentation and thus offer advantages, especially for printed media.
A representative survey in the UK carried out by YouGov in August 2014 found that 60% of respondents consider the information on Wikipedia to be largely trustworthy, and 7% to be particularly trustworthy. 28% didn't trust Wikipedia, six percent didn't trust Wikipedia at all. Confidence in the Encyclopædia Britannica was significantly greater; 83% trusted her mostly or especially. Wikipedia authors, however, enjoyed greater confidence in telling the truth than journalists. 64% trusted Wikipedia authors, at least for the most part, compared to 61% for BBC journalists and, depending on the newspaper, sometimes significantly less for newspaper journalists.
Referrals on Wikipedia are a key mechanism for monitoring and maintaining their high quality.
The economic value of Wikipedia is estimated at 3.6 to 80 billion US dollars, depending on the calculation method. In comparison, the German book trade achieved a turnover of 9.2 billion euros in 2015.
In 2017, a strong influence of Wikipedia articles on scientific publications was demonstrated. For the study, the same formulations in Wikipedia articles and new scientific publications were examined and compared with unpublished Wikipedia articles as a randomized control. About every three hundredth word was taken from Wikipedia by scientists. The investigation results in a picture of Wikipedia as an archive of scientific knowledge that is distributed effectively and inexpensively. Wikipedia is used in particular by scientists from emerging countries who have only limited access to the often expensive scientific specialist literature.
Wikipedia compared to other encyclopedias
In December 2005 the journal Nature published a comparison of the English Wikipedia with the Encyclopædia Britannica . In a blind test, 50 experts checked an article from each of the two factories in their specialist area exclusively for errors. With an average of four errors per article, Wikipedia was only slightly behind the Britannica, in which an average of three errors were found.
Britannica responded to this in March 2006 with a criticism of the Nature study, in which she accused the science magazine of serious technical errors - for example, articles were used that did not come from the actual encyclopedia but from yearbooks, and the reviews themselves were not has been checked for errors. Nature magazine denied the allegations, saying it compared the online editions that included the yearbook articles. She never claimed that the reviews were checked for errors; and because the study was carried out as a blind test, all points of criticism also apply to the reviews of the Wikipedia articles, and consequently the overall result does not change.
Wikipedia received good comparative marks from Günter Schuler in July 2007, both in competition with the well-known universal encyclopedias and in comparison with various specialist dictionaries and online search engines such as Yahoo and Google. Schuler saw the advantages of Wikipedia over the classic online search engines primarily in the favorable combination of web links that are “the finest” and the fact that at least “the larger Wikipedia language versions now cover almost all subject areas.” A Comparison with the Brockhaus led to a similar result.
Lucy Holman Rector's verdict in 2008 was considerably less favorable. She compared nine articles in the English language Wikipedia with those on the same subject in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, The Dictionary of American History and American National Biography Online. She criticized that Wikipedia's reliability rate was only 80%, while the comparison dictionaries were 95-96%. In addition, at least five citations were found that were not assigned to an author.
The verdict of Christoph Drösser and Götz Hamann (Die Zeit) was again positive , who on the occasion of the tenth birthday of Wikipedia emphasized that, unlike printed encyclopedias, it was always up to date and that its effect was at best with that of Denis Diderot's Encyclopédie from 1751 can be compared: “Diderot linked his work with the hope that 'our grandchildren will not only be educated, but also be more virtuous and happier at the same time.' After the publication of the first volumes of his encyclopedia, it spread like no other in Europe. In a world of hearsay, oral tradition, individual Enlightenment writings and smaller lexicon editions, the comprehensive work illuminated the continent. With Diderot the Enlightenment got an intellectual foundation. Educated people in Europe suddenly made use of the same wealth of knowledge. By using and quoting and translating the encyclopedia, they came to an understanding about what the world is like. Wikipedia has a similar effect today. "
Richard David Precht emphasized in Anna, die Schule und der liebe Gott 2013 that the trustworthiness of the knowledge stored in Wikipedia no longer depends on the authority of an individual or a designated team, but results from the sum of contributions and views. "The more frequently a page is edited, the more likely it is that the information on it has been checked for truthfulness and relevance." The motivation of the contributors is only of limited importance. “Even a need for recognition, envy, hatred or righteousness become blurred over time. And individual evaluations grind down, sometimes laboriously, under permanent quality control to become encyclopedically relevant. Seen in this way, Wikipedia is above all one thing: a social community of consent, a discursive process of finding the truth, whose long-term wisdom the user must trust in order to be able to take over the living knowledge stored in it. "
According to Thomas Grundmann (October 2020), Wikipedia can keep up with renowned commercial encyclopedias in terms of reliability. “A clear advantage is that Wikipedia is all the necessary information for everyone easily and also available in German.” He recommended the German-language Wikipedia as a reliable digital guide through the controversy of the expert opinions on Corona. The scientific résumés and documentation of the course of scientific debates available in Wikipedia can usually be trusted.
Forms of use
Wikipedia content is taken up by numerous websites thanks to the free license (e.g. Wikiwand ), some of which earn money from the display of advertisements . Many media also use contributions from Wikipedia for their reports, often without checking them.
In the early days of Wikipedia, formats emerged that could be used when there was no connection to the Internet , including an edition by zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH in Berlin. On the one hand, freeware offline readers such as WikiTaxi were created. On the other hand, printed versions of Wikipedia were published, such as a thousand-page print version based on the articles from Bertelsmann Verlag that were most frequently accessed in 2007/2008 ( the Wikipedia encyclopedia in one volume ), individually compiled book-on-demand in A5 format - a Lambert M. Surhone is said to have co- edited more than 235,000 books on demand based on Wikipedia articles - as well as the business practice of some print-on-demand book publishers, which has been criticized many times. However, with the increasing scope of Wikipedia and the increasing availability of Internet access at all times, these forms of use lost more and more importance.
Due to the increasing spread of smartphones , the mobile use of Wikipedia is also playing an increasing role. Both an adapted (“mobile”) presentation of the website and specially adapted apps display the Wikipedia content appropriately on the mostly small screens of the devices. Access through natural language is also becoming increasingly important. Mobile voice assistants (e.g. Siri or the Google app) use the content of Wikipedia for definition questions and sometimes read out the introductions to the corresponding articles. Furthermore, information systems that support augmented reality are increasingly linking information from Wikipedia, for example, with video images from the user's real world.
Wikipedia as a model
Wikipedia inspired the founding of numerous other wikis , such as the Citizendium encyclopedia project . Just like the now discontinued German project Wikiweise, it saw itself as an alternative to the free Wikipedia and wanted to offer a higher quality standard. From 2004 the Wikipedia community developed the parodies Kamelopedia , Uncyclopedia and Stupidedia . In July 2008, Google started a related multilingual project called Knol , which was seen as a possible serious competitor to Wikipedia, but was discontinued on May 1, 2012. The OpenStreetMap project likes to refer to Wikipedia in its working methods and is more often referred to as "Wikipedia for maps".
The success and publicity of the open encyclopedia concept (Wikipedia was in fourth place among the best-known brands internationally in 2007 ). In 2017, Wikipedia was named the most likeable brand in Austria after a study by Marketagent.com.
Since Wikipedia is limited to encyclopedia articles, offshoots have now emerged that take on other types of text and other media.
Since September 2004 there has been a central database called Wikimedia Commons , which makes images and other media accessible to all Wikimedia projects. With nearly 30 million media files, Wikimedia Commons is one of the largest free media collections in the world. Together with Wikimedia Commons, the photo competition Wiki Loves Monuments has been held since 2011, which was recognized as the largest photo competition by Guinness World Records with almost 170,000 photos submitted . The sister photo competition Wiki Loves Earth , or WLE for short, which was held for the first time in Ukraine in 2013 and which is about images of protected landscapes and protected objects in nature, has also been held in other countries since 2014. In 2017, 36 countries and biosphere reserves worldwide took part in Commons: Wiki Loves Earth 2017 with over 137,000 photographs .
Wikinews , which is dedicated to building a free news source, was launched in early November 2004. But there is a strong overlap with the encyclopedia, which also plays an important role as a medium for disseminating news. Wikiversity , a study and research platform based on a Wiki , has existed since August 2006 . The two most recent Wiki projects are the free Wikidata database , available from October 2012, and the travel guide Wikivoyage , which joined the Wikipedia family in November 2012. Other offshoots are Wiktionary , in which the wiki concept is applied to dictionaries, or Wikibooks , which was founded in July 2003 with the aim of creating free textbooks. In the Wikiquote project , quotations are collected and the Wikisource project is a collection of free sources in the sense of the historical sciences. Wikispecies is a directory of biological species . Wikidata is a freely editable database with the aim of supporting Wikipedia and providing certain data types, such as dates of birth or other generally applicable data, as a common source for all Wikimedia projects.
On April 23, 2009, the Wikimedia Foundation and the telecommunications company Orange announced a partnership with the aim of "increasing people's access to free knowledge". Separate Wikipedia channels with corresponding links are to be made available on Orange's mobile and web portals.
Wikipedia is comprehensively statistically recorded internally. The main ranking of the individual language versions is based on the absolute number of articles. The minimum requirements for an article are very different in the individual language versions, which is why the number of articles alone is not a sufficient criterion for comparison. The individual Wikipedia media are therefore listed according to the scope of the articles, the number of visits to the website or the number of edits. There are a total of 291 active Wikipedia media with over 143 million contributions, of which 37,815,388 articles were made by almost 60 million registered users through 2.6 billion edits (as of January 3, 2016). As of November 11, 2018, around 2.6 million pictures illustrate the articles. Approx. 3700 administrators ensure that the Wikipedia rules are observed. The English language Wikipedia is leading with over 5.7 million articles. Another 14 Wikipedien can come up with more than one million articles each, another 46 Wikipedien bring it to more than 100,000 articles and a further 80 language versions have more than 10,000 articles. The German Wikipedia had to date 2,237,760 items and takes with it behind the English, the cebuanosprachigen and the Swedish Wikipedia a fourth. On November 14, 2020, the 2.5 millionth article was added to the German-language Wikipedia.
Measured by other criteria (according to the number of article edits, administrators, authors and particularly active authors), however, the German-language Wikipedia is the second largest after the English-language Wikipedia.
The English-language version is by far the most popular, followed by the Japanese- language version and the Russian-language Wikipedia . Articles are created automatically in the Swedish and Dutch versions, which other language versions reject.
To date, more than 2.0 million registered users and an unknown number of non-registered users have contributed to Wikipedia. Around 5800 authors work regularly on the German-language edition (as of May 2015).
The New York Times reported in February 2014, with reference to Comscore , an international Internet market research company that regularly publishes reports on Internet usage, that half a billion people visit 15 billion Wikipedia pages worldwide every month.
According to press reports, the American Steven Pruitt is the Wikipedian with the most edits with 2.8 million edits and 31,000 articles (as of January 2019). That's why he was named one of the 25 most influential people on the internet by Time magazine in 2017 .
Wikipedia in science
Wikipedia has been widely used as the corpus for linguistic research in the areas of computational linguistics, information retrieval, and natural language processing. In particular, it often serves as a target knowledge base for the entity linking problem, which is then called “wikification”, and for the related problem of the disambiguation of the meaning of the word . Wikification-like methods can in turn be used to find “missing” links in Wikipedia.
The automatic quality assessment of Wikipedia articles is a well-known and widespread scientific problem.
Prizes, awards and honors
Wikipedia received the following prizes and awards:
- 2004: Golden Nica in the “Digital Communities” category of the Prix Ars Electronica
- 2004: Webby Award in the "Community" category
- 2005: Grimme Online Award
- 2006: LeadAward as "Web Leader of the Year"
- 2006: DMMA OnlineStar in the "News" category
- 2008: Quadriga Prize from the Berlin Association of Werkstatt Deutschland for “A Mission of Enlightenment”, which Jimmy Wales received on October 3, 2008 at the Berlin Komische Oper . The prize money of 25,000 euros went to Wikimedia Germany.
- 2013: The asteroid (274301) Wikipedia named in honor of Wikipedia.
- 2014: The first Wikipedia monument unveiled in the western Polish city of Słubice .
- 2015: Erasmus Prize
- 2015: Princess of Asturias Prize in the "International Cooperation" category
- 2016: GDCh Prize for journalists and writers for the chemistry department
- The Wikipedia promise - 20 years of knowledge for everyone? Script and direction: Lorenza Castella and Jascha Hannover, 52 minutes, Germany 2020. ( Arte Mediathek until April 4, 2021 The Wikipedia promise - 20 years of knowledge for everyone? On YouTube , accessed on January 5, 2021.)
Literature and projects
The Wiki Research Bibliography in English and “Wikipedistik” in German provide an overview of teaching and research on wikis in general and Wikipedia in particular . There are a number of publications that analyze Wikipedia. In 2010, the Critical Point of View research initiative was founded, which deals with Wikipedia and its significance for society. Research projects to research Wikipedia have also been created from the community, the Wikimedia Foundation and the sponsoring associations.
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- Andreas Mäckler (Ed.): Black Book Wikipedia . Zeitgeist publishing house, Höhr-Grenzhausen 2020, ISBN 978-3-943007-27-5 .
Cooperation, internal perspectives
- Marius Beyersdorff: Who defines knowledge? Knowledge negotiation processes for controversially discussed topics in "Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia". A discourse analysis using the example of homeopathy. Lit, Berlin / Münster 2011, ISBN 978-3-643-11360-3 .
- Ziko van Dijk: Wikipedia. How to contribute to the free encyclopedia. Open Source Press, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-941841-04-8 .
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- Nando Stöcklin: Using Wikipedia cleverly - at school and at work. Orell Füssli, Zurich 2010, ISBN 978-3-280-04065-2 .
- Joachim Schroer: Wikipedia: triggering and sustaining factors for volunteering in a Web 2.0 project. Logos, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-8325-1886-8 .
- Christian Stegbauer (Ed.): Wikipedia. The puzzle of cooperation. VS publishing house for social sciences. Wiesbaden 2009, ISBN 978-3-531-16589-9 .
- Wikimedia Germany e. V. (Ed.): Everything about Wikipedia and the people behind the largest encyclopedia in the world . Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-455-50236-7 .
- Pavel Richter : The Wikipedia story: Biography of a world wonder. With a foreword by Jimmy Wales . Campus-Verlag , Frankfurt 2020, ISBN 978-3-593-51406-2 .
Relationship to the sciences
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- Johannes Mikuteit: Developing information and media skills . Students as authors of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. In: History in Science and Education. 63rd year (2012), issue 5/6, pp. 285–290.
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- Peter Hoeres: History communication and history politics in Wikipedia . In: Yearbook for Politics and History , Vol. 7, 2016–2019, pp. 81–101.
Investigations through the sciences
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