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August 8th, 2004


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07:46 pm - I am going WIKI CRAZY
Since starting the phonemonkey job I've become a bit enamored with Wikipedia. It's becoming a rather nice resource, really, and being something I am reasonably sure I can browse safely at work, a great source of reading for those between-call times when Metafilter's either bustificated or just plain boring.

I started just reading through Wikipedia's frontpage stuff, looking up the Featured Article first or maybe one of the "Did You Know...?" sidebar items. Then I'd just start clicking through links I found interesting to see where I'd go. As is the case with a hyperlinked resource, you don't go "deeper" into the data, you just keep going "around." Angstrom and I even developed a game so far only called The Wiki Game, though Angstrom has suggested the full title of

The Wiki Game
or, How Best To Kill Ten Minutes At Work

The Rules

  1. Click the Random page link on any Wikipedia page. Note which page you get. That's Point B.
  2. Click the Random page link again. That's Point A. You can open that in a new window if you want for comparison.
  3. Find the fewest number of steps you can take to get from Point A to Point B.
  4. NO, USING THE BACK BUTTON ON YOUR BROWSER DOES NOT COUNT, YOU SNEAKY BEAKY.
  5. Now that you're at Point B, find the fewest number of steps that'll take you back to Point A.
  6. Hooray you have won and now have 10 less minutes to spend at work!

Variants

Expert Mode
For added challenge (especially if you used a few catch-all index pages like "North America" or "List of People Whose Names Begin With G") the route from B to A must not include any pages you used in the route from A to B.
Over/Under Betting Fun
Those who like to play the odds can bet beforehand which route will have the least amount of steps.
MULTIPLAYER SUPPORT!!
This game supports head-to-head multiplayer battles thus satisfying the (SA Forums or Slashdot or whoever) rule that No Game Is Good Unless it Has Multiplayer:
Deathmatch PvP
The players start out on opposite points. Whoever gets to their destination first wins!
Multiplayer PvP
Players start out wherever the hell they want. I guess. Go nuts.


I've also grown very fond of editing articles. Being an "open-content" encyclopedia, Wikipedia allows anyone and everyone the opportunity to add and modify articles until they're blue in the face. It's encouraged -- one of the philosophies of the site is "be bold". You can write or modify whatever you like should you feel so bold, but you do so under the knowledge that anyone else feeling bold enough can modify what you've done. Of course, there's a comprehensive system of backups kept (with diffs shown for each iteration, how handy) to keep vandalism from being permanent (notice how I didn't say "keep vandalism at bay" because Revert Wars and personal biases are the biggest form of Wikipedia drama today, hooray.)

But everybody likes clean, well-formatted, coherent articles with proper spelling and grammar, so if you're the type who feels compelled to take the time out to clear up a typo or put a period where it needs to go, man, you're gonna love this place. I've stopped my link-running, I've stopped playing the Wiki Game, pretty much all I do now is hit "Random page" and see if there's something, anything that I can clean up. The best part is that it's not mindless pedantry, no -- it's contributing to a rich, useful Internet resource! Hoo hah!

Besides, there's a personal bit of pride in knowing that I helped tweak articles on subjects I love. Or that I got to spruce up an article about something famous like the Eiffel Tower. The community seems okay, almost early 90s Usenet like in feel. Lot of well-read, dry-wit types among the trolls and clueless newbies. Quite interesting to see.

So that's what I'm doing besides, like, playing Diablo 2 or sleeping. Or chasing cats around. Or going to work, presumably.

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:ungratefulninja
Date:August 8th, 2004 05:54 pm (UTC)
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o snap I was supposed to be chosing them randomly?
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From:derspatchel
Date:August 8th, 2004 07:07 pm (UTC)
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Well, that's one of the things I did to make sure it was completely random. Even when someone picks two ironically-connected bits, they're still connected. I'm going for total disconnect here.
[User Picture]
From:nathanw
Date:August 8th, 2004 07:18 pm (UTC)
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We used to play a variant of this that we called "Web That Porn", where both players would start on some innocuous web site, like ibm.com. and see who could find a shorter path of links to porn. This was in 1997 or so, and we didn't both have graphics terminals, so we'd level the playing field by both playing in Lynx, and then using the graphics terminal to verify that the apparant porn was, in fact, porn.
[User Picture]
From:androidqueen
Date:August 8th, 2004 08:33 pm (UTC)
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dude! i too love wikipedia. we should go wikipedia-surfing together someday. it's like drinking without the hangover! hoo hah!
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From:derspatchel
Date:August 8th, 2004 09:30 pm (UTC)
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"Can't mow the lawn, I'm busy hangin with my Wiki buddy!"

It's the perfect excuse! Let's! Woo hoo hoo!
From:moxie_fawn
Date:August 9th, 2004 10:22 am (UTC)
(Link)
MMMMM DIABLO 2.... *drool*

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