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Name: Wikipedia
Owner/Maintainer: Wikimedia Foundation
Dates: 2001-
Topic: every known topic, the sum of human knowledge
URL: Wikipedia; en-Wiki; de-Wiki; fr-Wiki
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Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia founded in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, and run as a wiki.[1] The largest version is in English (often known as en-Wiki); with over 4 million articles as of November 2012,[1] it is the largest known encyclopedia of all time. There are also large versions in other languages, particularly German and French. It is currently supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, a US charity. The Wikipedia contributor base is heavily skewed towards men; a survey in 2011 found only 9% of respondents identified as female.[2]

Fandom on Wikipedia

Although set up to be a 'serious' encyclopedia, Wikipedia provides extremely extensive pop culture information, including episode guides for television series and detailed character bios for many fictional universes. Unlike Fanlore, Wikipedia applies a strict notability requirement and (though no formal policy codifies this) fanworks of any sort are generally considered 'unencyclopedic' and not notable. All content must be supported by references to secondary sources deemed 'reliable', and a conservative definition of what constitutes a reliable source that prioritises traditionally published print sources[3] is often used to exclude fannish content. A deletion culture ensures that if added, the lifespan of fannish articles is usually short.[4] The article on Cassandra Claire's The Very Secret Diaries, perhaps the only one on a work of fanfiction to survive any length of time, was deleted in 2011 with the comment:

I understand this may be one of the most well-known pieces of fanfiction - certainly, it seems to be the only one with a Wikipedia article - but nonetheless I don't believe it passes our inclusion guidelines. While it has been mentioned in reliable sources, the only coverage is trivial... It is also apparently included in the documentary Ringers: Lord of the Fans, but I don't think that's enough for notability. Currently, it has a brief mention in the Lord of the Rings article; that seems fine, but there isn't enough coverage to justify a separate article.[5]

In the early years, the same applied to information about fictional universes, known to non-fan editors as 'fancruft', and Deletion Wars raged for years. Fans banded together in WikiProjects such as the WikiProject Middle-earth (founded in 2005) to fight these mass deletions. Although they eventually largely won their corner, out-of-universe references to 'reliable' sources are still a requirement for inclusion, and canon-related articles remain at risk of deletion.[6]

Fannish Topics Covered by Wikipedia

A selection of fannish topics that are covered include:

Science Fiction Fandom and Wikipedia

In 2011, a science fiction blog, File 770, commented on Wikipedia's treatment of science fiction content. Fred Pohl, still alive and blogging, wanted to correct an error, but his only source was his own memory of having been present, so everyone warned him off. Meanwhile, a Wikipedia editor (RadioFan) had been trying to delete articles about American science fiction clubs. An argument broke out in the comments between File 770 readers and a Wikipedia admin (RHaworth) about the notability of the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society.[7]

Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 en-Wiki: Wikipedia (07:42, 22 November 2012) (accessed 22 November 2012)
  2. Wikipedia Editors Survey: Results from the Editor Survey 2011 (accessed 20 December 2012)
  3. Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources (03:14, 23 November 2012) (accessed 23 November 2012)
  4. In a typical example, in a deletion debate in 2003 over the Harry Potter Lexicon, which probably survived because of the wide media coverage of the associated lawsuit, one editor wrote: Seems like a bad precedent to have entries about fan websites. ... The site is not an official Harry Potter website, it was designed by a fan -- hence "fan website". If this is allowed to exist people will write about all sorts of unecyclopedic websites and the wiki will fill with spam for websites. (en-Wiki: Talk:The Harry Potter Lexicon (03:28, 22 August 2012) (accessed 22 November 2012)) In 2009, the article on the OTW was threatened with insta-deletion within 4 minutes of being created. (en-Wiki: Organization for Transformative Works (15:01, 30 August 2009) (accessed 22 November 2012))
  5. en-Wiki: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/The Very Secret Diaries (2nd nomination) (04:21, 28 February 2011) (accessed 22 November 2012) The article was created in July 2005, and had survived several previous deletion attempts. The text of the deleted article is archived at The Very Secret Diaries.
  6. For example, the article on the Angel episode 'Redefinition' was being discussed for deletion for lack of significant coverage from reliable secondary sources in November 2012 (en-Wiki: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Redefinition (01:23, 22 November 2012) (accessed 22 November 2012))
  7. Wikipedia, Fandom Waving Goodbye? -- File 770, Archived version. File 770 blog post. 28 February 2011. (Accessed 23 November 2012)