Wikipedia's purpose is to benefit readers by acting as a widely accessible and free 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
Wikipedia has a lofty goal: a comprehensive collection of all of the knowledge in the world.

Wikipedia is intended to be the largest, most comprehensive, and most widely-available encyclopedia ever written

Wikipedia's content is governed by three principal core content policies - neutral point of view, verifiability, and no original research

See also

  • 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.


  1. Diderot, Denis and d'Alembert, Jean le Rond Encyclopédie. University of Michigan Library: Scholarly Publishing Office and DLXS. Retrieved on: November 17, 2007
  2. Sanger, Larry (1 November 2001), Wikipedia Policy, Wikipedia, archived from the original on 2007-12-11
  3. Roblimo (28 July 2004). "Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Responds". Slashdot. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  4. "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia". Wikimedia. March 8, 2005. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  5. "Neutral point of view/draft - Meta".
  6. "Wikipedia: NeutralPointOfView". 16 April 2001.