|This page in a nutshell: A reader is someone who simply visits Wikipedia to read articles, not to edit or create them. |
They are the sole reason for which Wikipedia exists.
A reader is someone who visits Wikipedia articles to read rather than edit the content. Editors, often referred to as Wikipedians if logged in, also read Wikipedia of course, but other than reading they also edit the pages to help build the encyclopedia.
Wikipedia currently has 5,981,816 articles that are edited by 135,824 active editors. Since 2007 Wikipedia has been one of the ten most popular websites and the Main Page receives hundreds of millions of hits per month. In June 2012 it had 227 million hits. Individual articles vary in popularity depending on the shifting Zeitgeist.
The majority of visitors are readers so it is important that pages and articles are optimised for this readership.
According to the 2011 readership survey, the average reader is 36 years old, which is older than the average editor at the English Wikipedia. About 45% of readers are female, but only about 15% of editors are female.
About half of readers—and the overwhelming majority of readers in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Japan—visit Wikipedia more than once a week.
Wikipedia can be divided into content and project pages, although not all pages fit neatly into this dichotomy. Some pages may be both types and there is disagreement as to what does actually constitute content. Article pages are clearly part of the content of Wikipedia, as are categories that contain content articles.
The Help and Wikipedia namespaces are a mix of content and project pages although the vast majority of Wikipedia namespace pages are used for the project itself.
It is important to attract editors to help with the project but this should not be done at the expense of readability. Virtually every page on Wikipedia has an associated "Talk" page for any related discussion and this is one of the links where new editors can jump to the project side and become involved. There are other links from content to project: the Community portal link on the left hand side of the pages can be used, and the maintenance and warning templates often contain links to the project side.