Wikipedia is not just an encyclopedia, and not just a community. It's also a software project, as any website project necessarily must be. Accordingly, Wikipedia editing and reading is supported by hundreds of different software tools designed to accomplish specific tasks.
Among the many purposes to which these tools have been put:
Reducing the strain of repetitive tasks for individual editors
Streamlining the review of new edits in order to catch vandalism
Analyzing page edit histories and user accounts
Automated programs called "bots" performing certain tasks must faster than people can
Browser plug-ins altering your view of Wikipedia pages
Processes designed to help Wikipedia work with different document formats
In the coming weeks and months, we'll look at some of the most common and useful Wikipedia tools. And over the next year, we'll returning to Wikipedia's Manual of Style and user essay series, as well as more tools—so stay tuned!