May 17, 2022
Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaboratively written multilingual encyclopedia project. The project is under the administration of the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is "to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally". . As part of one of several projects maintained by Wikimedia, the more than 58 million articles (1,091,723 in Portuguese, as of May 17, 2022) found today on Wikipedia were written jointly by several volunteers around the world. Almost all the entries on the website can also be edited by anyone with access to the Internet and the electronic address. As of April 2022, there are active editions of Wikipedia in 315 languages. Wikipedia was launched on January 15, 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger and has become the largest and most popular general reference work on the internet. In 2010, it had around 365 million readers. Wikipedia is a research tool widely used by students and has influenced the work of advertisers, pedagogues, sociologists and journalists, who use its material, even if they do not always cite its sources. The name Wikipedia was created by Larry Sanger and is a combination wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning "fast") and encyclopedia. The word "Wikipedia" is a Lusophone adaptation of the original Anglophone form on the fusion of the two names that form the term. In Portuguese, the prefix "Wiki" is added to the suffix of "enciclopédia", gaining an acute diacritic accent on the e, to suit the Lusophone grammar. Wikipedia departs from the traditional style of building an encyclopedia, having a large presence of non-academic content. When Time magazine recognized "You" as the 2006 Person of the Year, due to the accelerating success of online collaboration and the interaction of millions of users around the world, it cited Wikipedia as one of several examples of Web 2.0 services, along with with YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. Wikipedia's importance has been noted not only as an encyclopedic reference, but also as a frequently updated news resource because of the speed with which articles on recent events appear. Students have been told to write articles for Wikipedia as an exercise in clearly and succinctly explaining difficult concepts to an uninitiated audience. While Wikipedia's policies strongly advocate verifiability and a neutral point of view, its critics accuse it of systemic bias and inconsistencies (including the excessive weight given to mass culture) and claim that it favors consensus over credentials in its editorial processes. Its reliability and accuracy are also criticized. Other criticisms point to its susceptibility to vandalism and the addition of false or unverified information. However, academic work suggests that vandalism is usually short-lived. A 2005 survey in the journal Nature showed that the scientific papers they compared came close to the Encyclopædia Britannica level of accuracy and had a similar rate of "serious errors". Another 2011 survey conducted by ForeSee Results and released by CNET showed that, on a scale of satisfaction from 0 to 100, internet users gave Wikipedia 78 points, a result higher than that of other established sites, such as YouTube and Facebook.