Favorite Wikipedia Entries
June 14, 2005 7:06 PM   Subscribe

What are the wisest/coolest/most surprising wikipedia entries you've run across? I already know about the Heavy Metal Umlaut and Exploding Whale.
posted by Tlogmer to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was really surprised when I found that someone had written an entry about my high school, a small yeshiva in Brooklyn.
posted by greatgefilte at 7:47 PM on June 14, 2005

The Unusual articles category and the entry on "Rocking the House" are the two I have bookmarked.
posted by John Shaft at 7:49 PM on June 14, 2005

I was thrilled to find an entry about the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site, now a park./museum but once the cradle of my branch of the Mahaffie family.
posted by mmahaffie at 7:53 PM on June 14, 2005

There's an interesting attempt to use Wikipedia as a knowledge-base for avian flu. Unfortunately it suffers even more from the "Encyclopedia in the present tense" problem that plagues developing stories because it's actually trying to be information on what to do in case something happens.

A wiki is the right system, Wikipedia is only half the right place (good exposure, technically off-topic).
posted by krisjohn at 8:40 PM on June 14, 2005

I like the OS-tan page, along with the List of OS-tans page.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 10:08 PM on June 14, 2005

Most surprising (for me, anyway) - tentacle rape, found via some Hokusai links.
posted by PY at 10:55 PM on June 14, 2005

I love the archive of fictional things.
posted by taz at 1:31 AM on June 15, 2005

Wisest is a tough call. Wikipedia articles are not known for dispensing timeless nuggets of wisdom; that would, perhaps, be POV. There are some nice articles on wise people.

I believe that the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake article is a stellar example of Wikipedia at its best. The article developed a professional form very similar to what you see now within 24 hours of the event, even if there was at the time less information and more speculation and rumor.

You can find more excellent articles in, for example, the Featured article archives. You can also poke around the Wikipedia Awards to find good editors and such via the "Barnstars" and other kudos that editors hand out to each other. I find that the nerdy archipelagoes such as Doctor Who are incredibly fleshed out (and often more useful than fansites). To a lesser extent the same is true of some musical groups, such as The Beatles and (well) Kylie Minogue or even Ashlee Simpson -- all it takes is one diligent contributor to build most of an article and many hands to massage it to quality. Some see it as fancruft and I definitely agree beyond a certain point -- e.g. an article for every single Pokemon (yes, they were created, but then deleted). That's the thing, though -- the more time I spend editing the Wikipedia, the more I appreciate the evolution of articles over time. It isn't the snapshot, it's the process of development and adaptation to new information and different points of view and newly created inbound links that makes a great article.

By contrast one of my least favorite edit wars involves a politically divided editorial crew who keep reverting each other's changes, even when there are attempts at progress and compromise, such that the article has gained new information but has barely evolved in six months. I find that tremendously disappointing.

I used to have this impulse on MeFi to "save" threads that had poor FPPs (bad framing, or too few links). I find I have the same motivation on Wikipedia -- the discovery of a bad article is, for better or worse, an opportunity. Recent forays in this vein have been Emmett Till, Lynching, and Ladder theory. I firmly believe that many problems with articles can be solved with better organization.

One pretty cool entry I can think of is the one on Deep Throat, which had a plethora of information even before the recent identification of Mark Felt.

Surprising might include the various articles on obscure, jokey sexual practices such as the donkey punch or the fairly decent ones on the devil horns gesture or the history of moshing. There's even a non-trivial article on Anna Ayala, the "finger in the Wendy's chili" woman, which has an, um, photograph I didn't see elsewhere.

On preview: Yes, for example, fictional curse words. It's frackin' good, I tell ya.
posted by dhartung at 2:07 AM on June 15, 2005

Wall Guy.
posted by lucien at 3:09 AM on June 15, 2005

So, we crashed Wikipedia? I was having fun reading from the list John Shaft provided, but now its all dead.
posted by Goofyy at 3:11 AM on June 15, 2005

I've always enjoyed Quebec French profanity.
posted by mendel at 4:30 AM on June 15, 2005

For odd corners of history, I enjoy Category:Former_countries.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:04 AM on June 15, 2005

The List of Cognitive Biases is always good.
posted by dabradfo at 6:04 AM on June 15, 2005

posted by zadcat at 6:58 AM on June 15, 2005

If you've watched to much sketch comedy in your life, browsing the Comedy Sketches category is a blast.
posted by Kattullus at 6:59 AM on June 15, 2005

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