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: ''For how PESWiki relates to Wikipedia, see PESWiki vs Wikipedia and Building on Wikipedia's Foundation.

Wikipedia is a Web-based free-content encyclopedia project. It exists as a wiki, a website that allows visitors to edit its content.


The word Wikipedia itself is a portmanteau of the words wiki and encyclopedia. There was an error working with the wiki: Code[1] is written collaboratively by volunteers, allowing most articles to be changed by anyone with access to the website. Bomis, an online advertising company that hosts mostly adult-oriented web rings, played a significant part in the early development of Wikipedia and the network itself.

Wikipedia currently is funded through the Wikimedia Foundation. Its 4th Quarter 2005 costs were $321,000 USD, with hardware making up almost 60% of the budget.


Wikipedia itself runs on its own in-house created software, known as Mediawiki, a powerful open source wiki system written in PHP and built upon MySQL. As well as allowing articles to be written, it includes a basic internal macro language, variables and transcluded templating system for page enhancement, and features such as redirection are also provided within the software. Wikipedia runs on a cluster of dedicated Linux servers located in Florida and four other locations around the world. MediaWiki is Phase III of the program's software. Originally, Wikipedia ran on UseModWiki by Clifford Adams (Phase I). At first it required camel case for links later it was also possible to use double brackets. Wikipedia began running on a PHP wiki engine with a MySQL database in January 2002. This software, Phase II, was written specifically for the Wikipedia project by Magnus Manske. Several rounds of modifications were made to improve performance in response to increased demand. Ultimately, the software was rewritten again, this time by Lee Daniel Crocker. Instituted in July 2002, this Phase III software was called MediaWiki. It was licensed under the GNU General Public License and used by all Wikimedia projects.


Wikipedia was served from a single server until 2003, when the server setup was expanded into a distributed multitier architecture. In January 2005, the project ran on 39 dedicated servers located in Florida. This configuration included a single master database server running MySQL, multiple slave database servers, 21 web servers running the Apache software, and seven Squid cache servers. By September 2005, its server cluster had grown to around 100 servers in four locations around the world.

Page requests are processed by first passing to a front-end layer of Squid caching servers. Requests that cannot be served from the Squid cache are sent to two load-balancing servers running the Perlbal software, which then pass the request to one of the Apache web servers for page-rendering from the database. The web servers serve pages as requested, performing page rendering for all the Wikipedias. To increase speed further, rendered pages for anonymous users are cached in a filesystem until invalidated, allowing page rendering to be skipped entirely for most common page accesses. Wikimedia has begun building a global network of caching servers with the addition of three such servers in France. A new Dutch cluster is also online now. In spite of all this, Wikipedia page load times remain quite variable. The ongoing status of Wikipedia's website is posted by users at a status page on OpenFacts.

Pros and Cons

Almost all visitors may edit Wikipedia's content, and registered users can create new articles and have their changes instantly displayed. Wikipedia is built on the expectation that collaboration among users will improve articles over time, in much the same way that open-source software develops. Some of Wikipedia's editors have explained its editing process as a "socially Darwinian evolutionary process".

Articles are always subject to editing, unless the article is protected for a short time due to the aforementioned vandalism or revert wars Wikipedia does not declare any of its articles to be "complete" or "finished". The authors of articles need not have any expertise or formal qualifications in the subjects that they edit, and users are warned that their contributions may be "edited mercilessly and redistributed at will" by anyone who wishes to do so. Its articles are not controlled or copyrighted by any particular user or editorial group decisions on the content and editorial policies of Wikipedia are instead made largely through consensus decision-making and, occasionally, by vote. Jimmy Wales retains final judgement on Wikipedia policies and user guidelines.

Former Nupedia editor-in-chief, Larry Sanger, has said that having the GFDL license as a "guarantee of freedom is a strong motivation to work on a free encyclopedia." Wikipedia has been viewed as an experiment in a variety of social, political, and economic systems, including anarchy, democracy, and communism. Critics of Wikipedia include Wikipedia editors themselves, ex-editors, representatives of other encyclopedias, and even subjects of articles. Critics of Wikipedia have viewed it as an oligarchy which is controlled primarily by its administrators, stewards, and bureaucrats, or simply by a small number of its contributors. Daniel Brandt of Wikipedia Watch has referred to Jimbo Wales as the "dictator" of Wikipedia however, most Wikipedia users either do not consider Wales to be a dictator, or consider him to be one who rarely gives non-negotiable orders.

Wikipedia's downsides

See the following pages on Wikipedia itself (keep in mind that the pages are edited by thier apologists, also):

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[2],

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[3], and

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[4]

External articles

Jason Scott, A Criticism of Wikipedia Now Exceeding a Scream.

Why Wikipedia sucks. Big time, The Aardvark Speaks.


Article source: Template: 1483