Wikipedia's purpose is to benefit readers by acting as a free widely accessible encyclopedia; a comprehensive written compendium that contains information on all branches of knowledge. The goal of a Wikipedia article is to present a neutrally written summary of existing mainstream knowledge in a fair and accurate manner with a straightforward, "just-the-facts style". Articles should have an encyclopedic style with a formal tone instead of essay-like, argumentative, promotional or opinionated writing.
- Concept of an encyclopedia
|“||Indeed, the purpose of an encyclopedia is to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe; to set forth its general system to the men with whom we live, and transmit it to those who will come after us, so that the work of preceding centuries will not become useless to the centuries to come; and so that our offspring, becoming better instructed, will at the same time become more virtuous and happy, and that we should not die without having rendered a service to the human race.—Denis Diderot chief editor, and contributor of Encyclopédie (Paris, 1755)||”|
- Wikipedia is intended to be the largest, most comprehensive, and most widely-available encyclopedia ever written
|“||Our goal with Wikipedia is to create a free encyclopedia; indeed, the largest encyclopedia in history, both in terms of breadth and in terms of depth. We also want Wikipedia to be a reliable resource.—Larry Sanger||”|
|“||Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing.—Jimmy Wales||”|
|“||Wikipedia is first and foremost an effort to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language.—Jimmy Wales||”|
- Wikipedia's content is governed by three principal core content policies - neutral point of view, verifiability, and no original research
|“||Wikipedia has an important policy: roughly stated, you should write articles without bias, representing all views fairly.—Larry Sanger||”|
|“||A general purpose encyclopedia is a collection of synthesized knowledge presented from a neutral point of view. To whatever extent possible, encyclopedic writing should steer clear of taking any particular stance other than the stance of the neutral point of view.—Jimmy Wales||”|
- Administration – discusses both the human administrative structure of Wikipedia, as well as its non-human components.
- The Free Encyclopedia – describes how Wikipedia is "Free" as in Free Software and Free Culture.
- The essence of Wikipedia – describes how Wikipedia is the use of collective intelligence, collaboration, and preservation to build more and better content.
- Statement of principles – by the co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, as updated by the community since then.
- What Wikipedia is not – describes how there are certain things that Wikipedia is not.
- Offline access – describes how to access Wikipedia's free content without internet access.
- Original Wikipedia policy – as edited by the co-founder of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, on November 1, 2001.
- Diderot, Denis and d'Alembert, Jean le Rond Encyclopédie. University of Michigan Library:Scholarly Publishing Office and DLXS. Retrieved on: November 17, 2007
- Sanger, Larry (1 November 2001), Wikipedia Policy, Wikipedia, archived from the original on 2007-12-11
- Roblimo (28 July 2004). "Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Responds". Slashdot. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia". Wikimedia. March 8, 2005. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
- "Neutral point of view/draft - Meta". meta.wikimedia.org.
- "Wikipedia: NeutralPointOfView". 16 April 2001.
|Jimmy Wales: The birth of Wikipedia, 2005 TED (conference), 20 mins.|
- What is Wikipedia? – The Wikimedia Foundation.
- Mission statement – The Wikimedia Foundation.
- Statement of Purpose – Wikimedia Foundation Bylaws Article II .
- Foundation Guiding Principles – The Wikimedia Foundation.
- Wikimedia founding principles – Principles generally supported by all of the Wikimedia communities.