CNET Editors' review
Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia. Instead of being authored by a select group of editors, Wikipedia can be edited by anyone anywhere, and at any time. Wikipedia is available in a large number of languages and has entries about nearly everything. It's become so well-known, people consider it an adjunct to Google as a place to find out more about almost any subject.
Each Wikipedia entry gets its own article as well as a built-in discussion in which users can talk about things they want to add or request changes from frequent contributors. There's also a history page that tracks every single change made to the article, as well as a means of reverting back to previous versions in case of disaster or user vandalism.
While Wikipedia pages are frequently the victims of vandalism and inaccuracies, there is a large base of roving editors who do their best to maintain civility and focus. The articles that have been most susceptible to falsified statements are biographies of living persons (BLP). As such, Wikipedia recently proposed a plan that would require editor approval before changes to such articles could take effect. Whether this will change the overall spirit of the service going forward remains to be seen. As for now, it remains a wealth of information, most of it entirely reliable.
From Wikimedia Foundation:
Wikipedia is a multilingual, Web-based, free content encyclopedia project. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers from all around the world. With rare exceptions, its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet, simply by clicking the edit this page link. The name Wikipedia is a portmanteau of the words wiki a type of collaborative Web site and encyclopedia. Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the largest reference Web sites.
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