L’ANTISECHE – Wikipedia celebrates its 20th anniversary on January 15. The opportunity to come back to the main operating principles of the largest encyclopedia in the world. Every day, the JDD cheat sheet answers a not-so-stupid question as it seems.
“Wikipedia is a universal, multilingual encyclopedia, created by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger on January 15, 2001.” Here is the definition that Wikipedia gives of itself. The site will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Friday and many preconceived ideas exist about it. Here is what you need to know about this work, the most consulted non-commercial site in the world:
1- Wikipedia does not belong to anyone and its content is “free”, that is to say, that there is no copyright. This rule also applies to content reproduced on the site.
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2- It’s a collective work: “Any Wikipedia reader is a potential writer or corrector”, explains the site. Anyone can therefore write, but you have to accept to be proofread and corrected. However, there are users (volunteers) with extended content editing rights, mastering the functioning of the encyclopedia. They are responsible for monitoring articles in their chosen field or whose sensitivity is recognized. Other contributors are (computer) robots who edit mainly for spelling issues, although some are also real editors.
3- But in reality, nobody ever changes anything on the encyclopedia: everything is kept in memory and the old versions of the articles are always available.
4- The quality of the content is very carefully scrutinized by Wikipedia. There are “many rules and procedures for quality control,” the site adds. The latter also warns his readers by assuring them not to be the panacea: “We ask you not to condemn Wikipedia, but to use it knowingly. Also, as articles may contain errors, we ask you to please do not rely on Wikipedia to make important decisions. ” Several studies have been carried out to determine the degree of reliability of scientific articles and almost all point to a quality equal to or better than those of paid equivalents. It may be different for cultural or historical articles, which are more subject to interpretation.
5- There are more than 55 million articles, written in 300 languages. The most prolific languages are English, then Cebuano (from the Philippines) and Swedish (thanks to a robot whose mission is to produce draft articles).
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