Wiki Games

Online research games and patterns reveal structures of human thought

As one of the most important websites to be coughed up by the collective human imagination, Wikipedia provides not only specific knowledge but stunning insight into the categorization of human thought. Most people use the resource for topical learning, to look up an unfamiliar term or brief themselves on history, science, and other fields of interest. But Wikipedia's structure lends itself to endless browsing as hotlinked terms guide readers between articles. The fluid reading experience is the second most important improvement on the print encyclopedia (the first being Wikipedia's democratic editing procedure). 

People have co-opted the Wiki's structure and the random article feature to create games within the knowledge bank. The most common game is to forge the shortest path between two random articles. Similar games include hopping to Jesus Christ in six steps or fewer by means of strategic clicking. The Wiki Game website allows for competitive online Wikipedia racing. You create an account, are given a challenge, and see how many clicks it takes to complete it. Most random articles can be bridged in fewer than ten clicks. The plethora of hotlinks allows for smart readers to use patterns of knowledge to their advantage. Going broad--i.e. clicking the link to the United States page--and then narrowing down seems to be a good strategy, but Wikipedia regulars will have an arsenal of pattern recognition techniques at their disposal.

One fascinating Wikipedia pattern isn't a game at all--at least not in the competitive sense. Try it for yourself. Land on a random article, then click the first hotlink (parenthetical links, pronunciation guides, and moderator notes excluded). Then click the first hotlink of the next article you arrive at. Then the first hotlink of that article. Keep clicking the first link of every page, and eventually you will find yourself in a strangely expository loop. More often than not, you'll eventually find yourself bouncing between Philosophy and Rationality. 

I didn't believe the pattern would hold true at first, but I've only found one exception in a long series of experiments. Greek Language won't get to philosophy, but it will get to Aristotle--so close enough, I suppose. But even the most irrelevant and superfluous articles will eventually lead you to the umbrella field of human knowledge itself. It's a fascinating pattern and a little bit meta. In our quest for knowledge, we eventually get so abstract that we can only deal in philosophy. It is the origin-field, the epistemological mothership. After all, human science arose out of philosophy. It wasn't always just a throwaway college major; it was the basis of knowledge itself back when knowledge was new. There's a certain kind of beauty to this browsing pattern's end. 

I'm sure there are other ways in which Wikipedia can be analyzed to reveal how we think about the world. For the first time in history, the contents of our giant collective mind are up for anyone to read and edit. Finding patterns in the collective consciousness is a fascinating project. I wonder what else we can dig up about ourselves. 

(via Reddit)

Comments

Shoutbox

Please log in or create an account to post shouts.
coxchesecenter for disease control national diabetes fact sheet 200711 months 5 days ago
coxchesepositive ppd isoniazid am j respir crit care med [url=http://carsenmedical.com]generique du cialis[/url] medication pentasa bloody diarrhea... how long does it take for klonopin to wear off [url=http://esmt.net]esmt.net[/url] generic cialis chemical structure,12 months 17 hours ago
coxchesehow do you find out when you have arthritis <a href=http://esmt.net>viagra</a> micardis cholesterol medicine, love and emulsion skin care macadamia ternifolia seed oil <a href=http://carsenmedical.com>cialis</a> tylenol chemical compound paracetamol, how long plan b side effects last morning after pill <a href=http://panamapeople.com>comprar cialis por internet</a> order doxycycline side effects? paxil cr and weight gain premenstrual dysphoric disorder pmdd <a href=http://carsenmedical.com>acheter cialis generique</a> plavix canada online pharmacy, what are the functions of vitamin c citrus fruits <a href=http://panamapeople.com>cialis sin receta</a> medrol jamaica?12 months 1 day ago
coxchesehow many mg of acai berry to lose weight [url=http://esmt.net]comprar viagra[/url] erythromycin chemistry. tips on high blood pressure dietary approaches to stop hypertension [url=http://carsenmedical.com]achat cialis[/url] cytotec inducing labor doctors. type one and type 2 non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus [url=http://abacoguide.net]sildenafil[/url] british columbia health diabetes. definition of the side effects for the drug buspar [url=http://esmt.net]URL[/url] xanax bangkok pharmacy.12 months 3 days ago
coxchesehow to beat rheumatoid arthritis omega 3 fatty acids <a href=http://carsenmedical.com>cialis 5mg</a> pharmacy kamagra, how long does it take work adipex without a prescription <a href=http://abacoguide.net>viagra pharmacie</a> toxicity isoniazid treatment emedicine. how do you know if you has low testosterone <a href=http://carsenmedical.com>cialis</a> meditation diabetes breathing exercises. top three weight loss what kind of pill is this <a href=http://esmt.net>viagra sin receta</a> heartburn fetus remedy...12 months 3 days ago
coxchesebefore and after weight loss pictures women tummy tuck <a href=http://panamapeople.com>cialis</a> chloroquine side effects. how is lexapro different from zoloft loss of appetite <a href=http://esmt.net>viagra</a> med arthritis, swollen ankles and high blood pressure calcium channel blockers <a href=http://esmt.net>viagra 100mg barato</a> side effects glucophage metformin. how does high blood pressure cause heart disease chronic <a href=http://esmt.net>comprar viagra</a> methadone doctors in us?12 months 4 days ago
coxchesehow long does it take for doxycycline to cure gonorrhea <a href=http://redslace.com>cheapest cialis australia</a> methotrexate pneumonitis diagnosis, ex curso intensivo de diabetes endocrinologia y enfermedades metabolicas <a href=http://archiforms.com>comprar viagra</a> nbc depo medrol! international diabetes federation a consensus on type 2 diabetes treatment <a href=http://redslace.com>cialis sales</a> doctors methadone treatment:1 year 2 weeks ago
coxchesexanax how long does it stay in system anxiety <a href=http://halesarver.com>kamagra</a> pharmacology of ranitidine. how long after plan b do me get your period <a href=http://archiforms.com>viagra</a> spironolactone side effects blackheads? how long does it take kick in benadryl allergy <a href=http://triarch.net>prix cialis pharmacie</a> keppra medication side effects...1 year 3 weeks ago
coxchesewhat are the numbers for diabetes impaired fasting glucose <a href=http://thevillagechapel.net>australia cialis</a> naprosyn medication anaprox ds! walking or jogging for weight loss burn more calories <a href=http://halesarver.com>kamagra</a> pharmaceutical companies viagra uk, how long does atenolol stay in your body side effects <a href=http://redslace.com>buy cialis generic online</a> remedies to weight loss,1 year 3 weeks ago
coxchesehow long after mixing methadone can you take suboxone <a href=http://redslace.com>buy cialis in the australia</a> solumedrol diabetes mellitus. how does the law of continuity relate to blood pressure <a href=http://halesarver.com>comprar kamagra</a> hctz blood pressure medicine...1 year 3 weeks ago
coxchesehow do you know if i have a wheat allergy <a href=http://thevillagechapel.net>cheap cialis online</a> sarafem more medical_authorities generic. prinivil 10 mg side effects congestive heart failure diabetes <a href=http://halesarver.com>sildenafil</a> desi pharmacy viagra.1 year 3 weeks ago
coxchesehow long does it take for tylenol to start free <a href=http://halesarver.com>sildenafil kamagra</a> arimidex cough side effects, zofran dosing in pediatrics chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting <a href=http://triarch.net>cialis</a> nycomed osteoporosis russia cis? what does the pill look like tramadol hcl 50mg <a href=http://archiforms.com>sildenafil viagra</a> just diagnosed with asthma, how long can it take for valtrex to work <a href=http://thevillagechapel.net>cialis pills</a> actoplus met side effects.1 year 3 weeks ago
coxchesehow do know if you have diabetes excessive thirst <a href=http://thevillagechapel.net>cialis</a> doctor food allergies! how long does keflex stay in your system please <a href=http://triarch.net>acheter cialis generique</a> lamictal adverse medication. how long do ultram withdrawals last restless leg syndrome <a href=http://archiforms.com>comprar viagra</a> toradol side effects oral? how long does it take for benicar to live <a href=http://redslace.com>cialis in the australia</a> zometa mediawiki.1 year 4 weeks ago
coxcheselindsay lohan before and after weight loss eating disorder <a href=http://triarch.net>cialis generique tadalafil</a> zithromax staph otitis media, anaphylaxis food allergy association of minnesota eczema and asthma <a href=http://halesarver.com>kamagra</a> ajanta pharma forzest? what were the unemployment rate of the great depression <a href=http://redslace.com>cialis sale australia</a> oral ephedrine medication.1 year 1 month ago
coxchesewhat is the difference between percocet and tylenol 3 <a href=http://naturfish.com>tadalafil</a> chinese medicine migraines. how long does it take for amoxicillin to clear chlamydia <a href=http://esscentualbrands.com>sildenafil viagra</a> zestril maximum side effects. how long after clomid do you ovulate positive opk <a href=http://kako-retreat.org>viagra</a> buy ephedrine medicine. how long does it eat for ginseng to take effect <a href=http://naturfish.com>URL</a> hydrocodone drug interactions medical, what are the side effects of levoxyl underactive thyroid <a href=http://kako-retreat.org>viagra generique</a> nitroprusside for hypertension.1 year 1 month ago
coxcheseranitidine side effects in babies gastroesophageal reflux disease gerd <a href=http://mountainlightphotos.com>cheap cialis</a> aspirin formed, how long does it take for dramamine to kick in <a href=http://patkaplan.com>cialis</a> norvasc combination side effects... does acupuncture for weight loss work diet and exercise <a href=http://patkaplan.com>cialis 5mg</a> omnicef insomnia side effects. how long does it make for bupropion to take effect <a href=http://skyloftsmarketsquare.com>viagra</a> weight loss medicine, how long does it take for amantadine to work <a href=http://naturfish.com>cialis</a> hair loss cvs pharmacy.1 year 1 month ago
coxchesenatural hair loss remedy for women aloe vera gel <a href=http://mountainlightphotos.com>generic cialis</a> metoclopramide medicine, 504 plans for diabetes the americans with disabilities act <a href=http://naturfish.com>cialis</a> migraines as a health. where to buy pure acai berry pro diet pills <a href=http://mountainlightphotos.com>order cialis online</a> arthritis doctor.1 year 1 month ago
coxchesehow long does it take for ciprofloxacin to write working <a href=http://kako-retreat.org>viagra</a> viagra biochemistry. serious skin care bella rose prominerals center with brush <a href=http://centro-odontologico.net>cialis</a> princeton allergy nj doctor. what blood pressure is considered hypertension hardening of the arteries <a href=http://kako-retreat.org>viagra generique</a> buy discreet medical viagra, how high is dangerous high blood pressure systolic and diastolic <a href=http://rastalpeluqueros.com>URL</a> neurontin physical side effects,1 year 1 month ago
coxchesemetoclopramide 10 mg tablets side effects neuroleptic malignant syndrome <a href=http://skyloftsmarketsquare.com>viagra pills</a> ratiopharm lorazepam? how long can high blood pressure go untreated causes <a href=http://kako-retreat.org>viagra sans ordonnance</a> codeine side effects itching,1 year 1 month ago
coxcheselinus pauling high blood pressure ascorbic acid vitamin c <a href=http://20may2013.com>minocycline side effects bipolar </a>1 year 1 month ago