Wikipedia (i/ˌwɪkɨˈpiːdiə/ or i/ˌwɪkiˈpiːdiə/ wik-i-pee-dee-ə) is a free, collaboratively edited, and multilingual Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 22million articles (over 4 million in English alone) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site, and ithas about 100,000 regularly active contributors. As of August 2012, there are editions of Wikipedia in 285 languages. It has become the largest and most popular general reference work on theInternet, ranking sixth globally among all websites on Alexa and having an estimated 365 million readers worldwide. It is estimated that Wikipedia receives 2.7 billion monthly pageviewsfrom the United States alone.
Wikipedia was launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. Sanger coined the name Wikipedia, which is a portmanteau of wiki (a type ofcollaborative website, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning "quick") and encyclopedia. Wikipedia's departure from the expert-driven style of encyclopedia building and the presence of a large body ofunacademic content have received extensive attention in print media. In 2006, Time magazine recognized Wikipedia's participation in the rapid growth of online collaboration and interaction by millions ofpeople around the world, in addition to YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook. Wikipedia has also been praised as a news source because of how quickly articles about recent events appear.
Theopen nature of Wikipedia has led to various concerns, such as the quality of writing, vandalism and the accuracy of information. Some articles contain unverified or inconsistentinformation, though 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...
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