The sixth most widely used website in the world is not run anything like the others in the top 10. It is not operated by a sophisticated corporation but by a leaderless collection of volunteers who generally work under pseudonyms and habitually bicker with each other.
Because there is no other free information source like it, many online services rely on Wikipedia. Look something up on Google or ask Siri a question on your iPhone, and youâ€™ll often get back tidbits of information pulled from the encyclopedia and delivered as straight-up facts.
Yet Wikipedia and its stated ambition to â€œcompile the sum of all human knowledgeâ€ are in trouble. The volunteer workforce that built the projectâ€™s flagship, the English-language Wikipediaâ€”and must defend it against vandalism, hoaxes, and manipulationâ€”has shrunk by more than a third since 2007 and is still shrinking.