One controversy in the English Wikipedia concerns which national variety of the English language is to be preferred, with the most commonly advocated candidates being American English and British English. Perennial suggestions range from standardizing upon a single form of English to forking the English Wikipedia project. A style guideline states, "the English Wikipedia has no general preference for a major national variety of the language" and "an article on a topic that has strong ties to a particular English-speaking nation uses the appropriate variety of English for that nation". An article should use spelling and grammar variants consistently; for example, color and colour are not to be used in the same article, since they represent American and British English, respectively. The guide also states that an article must remain in its original national variant.
There has been a similar issue in the Chinese-language Wikipedia concerning regional differences in writing. Efforts toward a language fork for Portuguese Wikipedia have failed, but those regarding Norwegian Wikipedia succeeded.
Andrew Lih wrote that the English Wikipedia "didn't have the chance to go through a debate over whether there should be a British English Wikipedia or an American English Wikipedia" because the English Wikipedia was the original edition.[clarification needed] Editors agreed to use U.S. spellings for primarily American topics and British spellings for primarily British topics. In 2009 Lih wrote, "No doubt, American spellings tend to dominate by default just because of sheer numbers."
A 2013 study from Oxford University concluded that the most disputed articles on the English Wikipedia tended to be broader issues, while on other language Wikipedias the most disputed articles tended to be regional issues; this is due to the English language's status as a global lingua franca, which means that many who edit the English Wikipedia do not speak English as a native language.[clarification needed] The study stated that the most disputed entries on the English Wikipedia were: George W. Bush, anarchism, Muhammad, list of WWE personnel, global warming, circumcision, United States, Jesus, race and intelligence, and Christianity.
Threats against high schools
Several incidents of threats of violence against high schools on Wikipedia have been reported in the mainstream press. The Glen A. Wilson High School was the subject of such a threat in 2008, and a 14-year-old was arrested for making a threat against Niles West High School on Wikipedia in 2006.
Wikiprojects, and assessments of articles' importance and quality
Main article: WikiProject
A "WikiProject" is a group of contributors who want to work together as a team to improve Wikipedia. These groups often focus on a specific topic area (for example, women's history), a specific location or a specific kind of task (for example, checking newly created pages). The English Wikipedia currently has over 2,000 WikiProjects and activity varies.
In 2007, in preparation for producing a print version, the English Wikipedia introduced an assessment scale of the quality of articles. Articles are rated by WikiProjects. The range of quality classes begins with "Stub" (very short pages), followed by "Start", "C" and "B" (in increasing order of quality). Community peer review is needed for the article to enter one of the highest quality classes: either "good article", "A" or the highest, "featured article". Of the about 4.4 million articles and lists assessed as of March 2015, a little more than 5,000 (0.12%) are featured articles, and fewer than 2,000 (0.04%) are featured lists. One featured article per day, as selected by editors, appears on the main page of Wikipedia.
The articles can also be rated for "importance" as judged by a WikiProject. Currently, there are five importance categories: "low", "mid", "high", "top", and "???" for unclassified/uncertain level. For a particular article, different WikiProjects may assign different importance levels.
The Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team has developed a table (shown below) that displays data of all rated articles by quality and importance, on the English Wikipedia. If an article or list receives different ratings by two or more WikiProjects, then the highest rating is used in the table, pie-charts, and bar-chart. The software regularly auto-updates the data.
Researcher Giacomo Poderi found that articles tend to reach featured status via the intensive work of a few editors. A 2010 study found unevenness in quality among featured articles and concluded that the community process is ineffective in assessing the quality of articles.
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