Difference between revisions of "Subwiki:Subwiki versus Wikipedia"

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This page discusses some important differences between subject wikis and Wikipedia.

About Wikipedia and similarities between subject wikis and Wikipedia

Quick introduction

For many people using the Internet, "Wikipedia" is synonymous with "wiki" and also with the general appearance of a Wikipedia page. Thus, a lot of users who come to subject wiki pages simply think they have come to Wikipedia or some offshoot of Wikipedia.

Before proceeding, it is important to clarify some distinctions. "Wikipedia" is a specific wiki-based multilingual encyclopedia (since you're reading this, you have probably used the English-language version and possibly many other language versions). Each language Wikipedia can be viewed as a separate encyclopedia aiming to cover the entire range of encyclopedia-worthy knowledge. All the Wikipedias use a certain software called MediaWiki, which can be downloaded here. This software can also be used by other sister wikis to Wikipedia, such as independent of Wikipedia, such as those hosted at [http://www.wikia.com Wikia or Wiki-site or Editthis.info or independent wikis such as Wikileaks or SourceWatch.

Just because different wikis use the same underlying software and thus often have similar page layouts does not mean that they host similar content or are organized similarly. The differences between different wikis could be as small as the difference between different newspapers or as large as the difference between a newspaper and an academic journal.

Distinctive features of Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a wiki-based encyclopedia. Both the choice of content and organization of content reflect the goal of being an encyclopedia. Specifically, pages on topics in Wikipedia have to meet criteria of notability and facts in these pages must meet criteria of verifiability. There are also guidelines against putting original research on Wikipedia, reflecting the fact that encyclopedias are secondary and tertiary sources of knowledge rather than primary sources.