0214: "The Problem with Wikipedia"

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phlip
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0214: "The Problem with Wikipedia"

Postby phlip » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:05 am UTC

Obligatory Link

I know the feeling... I've often spent hours on tangents looking into stuff... it's only when I start closing tabs and getting back to work when I realise "Hey yeah, that's what I was looking at..."

Looking at my Firefox history... I see recently I was linked to WP:POINT in IRC, and ended up at "King Kong (1933 film)" before I realised "What the hell am I looking at this for?"

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
[he/him/his]

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Gordon
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Postby Gordon » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:11 am UTC

As per our brief discussion on IRC, I 'rofl'ed when I saw the Taylor Hansen (Hanson?) bubble.
Meaux_Pas wrote:
RealGrouchy wrote:I still remember the time when Gordon left. I still wake up in the middle of the night crying and screaming his name.
I do that too, but for an entirely different reason.
RealGrouchy wrote:
Gordon wrote:How long have I been asleep?!
Our daughter is in high school now.

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thedesk
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Postby thedesk » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:20 am UTC

My favorite has to be when I've been reading for three or four hours and come full circle to what I was originally viewing.

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Postby rektide » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:25 am UTC

in spite of any intended joke, you are absolutely correct. we suck at manipulating information spaces. HCI would say its a problem of too many options. i say its a shite interface that doesnt permit contextualization; the entire discovery tree ends up random accumulated tabs overflowing off the side of firefox.

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rektide
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Postby rektide » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:31 am UTC

"My favorite has to be when I've been reading for three or four hours and come full circle to what I was originally viewing."

That usually only happens when i'm looking up some particular effect or something, i start recycling though again by accident. More typically though, I open a dozen links, go to one of the links, open a couple dozen links, repeat a couple times and then start popping the stack and iterating through. There'll be some repeats, but mostly topics i'd forgotten had piqued my interest in the first place. Takes a while to clear the stack!

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Gordon
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Postby Gordon » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:42 am UTC

As per the alt text or "tool tip text" as I find myself calling it, I say we start a wiki on surviving raptor attacks. As I have never spent more than 3 minutes on the site someone else will have to start it. Feel free to use my name though.
Meaux_Pas wrote:
RealGrouchy wrote:I still remember the time when Gordon left. I still wake up in the middle of the night crying and screaming his name.
I do that too, but for an entirely different reason.
RealGrouchy wrote:
Gordon wrote:How long have I been asleep?!
Our daughter is in high school now.

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Durinthal
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Postby Durinthal » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:50 am UTC

I can't remember how many times I've done just that.

jon787
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Postby jon787 » Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:15 am UTC

Yeah I'm guilty of this one, except replace hours with days.

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Postby beard0 » Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:29 am UTC

Wikipedia has its shortcomings, yes, but you can always turn to uncyclopedia when it falls short.
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Strilanc
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Postby Strilanc » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:40 am UTC

This is also where tabbed browsing turns against you. Its so easy to end up with a queue/stack mentality.
Don't pay attention to this signature, it's contradictory.

bcherry
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Postby bcherry » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:51 am UTC

haha just a few hours ago this happened to me. It began with me reading these forums at work, and coming across the "youtube" comic again. From there I went to youtube to investigate the actual state of posters (my previous experience in reading those posts revolved around videos of people destroying songs like "Jordan" on expert in GHII).

Then I made the worst decision, and went to wikipedia to look something up about youtube....

my journey:

youtube->Internet memes->people in memes->[many i can't remember,star wars kid->tony hawk's pro skater,john titor->time travel->[external sites on the topic]->andrew carlssin->the 24th century->[star trek(s)->Capt Kirk,fallout->fallout2->[Black Isle Studios, Bethesda, Fallout 3, the rest of the fallout games, every fallout topic imaginable]->external sites->thepiratebay.org->downloading fallout2 so i can play it again (my copy is lost back at home somewhere)]]

So now I really want to play fallout, all because of moron posters on youtube. I love Wikipedia.

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Postby Ronfar » Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:48 am UTC

I do this all the time. I don't know if it's a bug or a feature, though.
Everything2 has this factor, too, only much worse.
- Doug

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Postby mattmacf » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:15 am UTC

It's just as fun to set your homepage to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random and clicking from there.

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Gordon
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Postby Gordon » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:17 am UTC

That actually is pretty cool.
Meaux_Pas wrote:
RealGrouchy wrote:I still remember the time when Gordon left. I still wake up in the middle of the night crying and screaming his name.
I do that too, but for an entirely different reason.
RealGrouchy wrote:
Gordon wrote:How long have I been asleep?!
Our daughter is in high school now.

benmcm
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Postby benmcm » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:21 am UTC

Only the other day I came across this program called pathway for mac that tracks your progress through wikipedia and displays this in a graphical network.

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Postby Hawknc » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:35 am UTC

It's...it's for mac.

//cries
ImageImageImageImageImage

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German Sausage
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Postby German Sausage » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:57 am UTC

i cannot count the times mac friends have been telling me about this great new thing they found on the tubes, then adding "but its a mac thing" and my eyes weep tears of anguish
Gordon wrote:I say we start a wiki on surviving raptor attacks. As I have never spent more than 3 minutes on the site someone else will have to start it.


Hear Hear!!!! but i cant use wiki either. and cant be bothered learning.
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Postby ohki » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:21 pm UTC

benmcm wrote:Only the other day I came across this program called pathway for mac that tracks your progress through wikipedia and displays this in a graphical network.


I'm no expert, but that sounds like the sort of thing that would make a fun firefox extension. (/me is not sure exactly how far one can go with a FF extension though).
But it raining and me peeing on your foot are NOT mutually exclusive.
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Postby Alisto » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:24 pm UTC

This is the most true comic I have ever read.

rik
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It's called...

Postby rik » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:43 pm UTC

.. a breadth-first traversal.

At least, the way I do it is. I'm reading, I see a link to another article, and so I middle-click it, opening it in a new, backgrounded tab. When I'm done with the page I'm on, i close that tab, and read the next one. If the tree is wide, then I lose track when I go from one tab to another that had different parent articles, but in the end, why wouldn't I want to know about the care and grooming of horses, when I started to look up how Mach diamonds are formed?

I recall getting to work early one day, and starting to read about BGP on wikipedia. The next thing I was aware of was a coworker asking me if I was joining them for lunch. I was reading about how to heat-treat steel. I don't know how I got there.
- rik

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Postby Joehaley » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:51 pm UTC

I must now do the steriotypical male thing:

My record is 4 windows at a total of 500 open tabs. (those are just the tabs i kept open. im a lazy person.)

I've started avoiding wikipedia like the devil. Also, howstuffworks.com is evil too. links at the end of every article linking you to more articles... from CDs to the mecanics of light to human hearing....

This truly is the information age.

... I want the dark ages back...

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Postby Tractor » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:25 pm UTC

Gordon wrote:As per the alt text or "tool tip text" as I find myself calling it, I say we start a wiki on surviving raptor attacks. As I have never spent more than 3 minutes on the site someone else will have to start it. Feel free to use my name though.


What alt text are you reffering to? The one I see says "'Taft in a wet t-shirt contest' is the key image here"

As for wiki, it always leads somewhere I never expect. I was looking up HTTP protocol header things at work the other day, and ended up at Wikispecies looking up extinct birds. How SOAPAction turns into Passenger Pigeon I will never know.
9 x 6 = 42

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Postby thomasjmaccoll » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:32 pm UTC

i always feel slightly unfulfilled when i start looking up something that i actually want to know about, open a whole load of tabs from there, move to the next tab, open a whole load from there... and by the time i get to the tabs from the first few articles that i was actually interested in, i've done too much reading to take them in :(. i do have pockets of knowledge on the most ridiculous things though, and wikipedia has always been a friend to me :)
slow down, you move too fast

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Postby Iluvatar » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:42 pm UTC

I guess I'll add my name to the list of "me too"'s.

I work in IT, and I often have to look up technology that I don't have much experience with. I was wiki-ing email protocols recently, and suddenly found that I'd spent 6 straight payed hours and was reading about the Zhou dynasty. It's ridiculous.

I have managed to limit myself to single-thread operation; that is, if I click a link, I take it. I'd die in front of my computer if I let myself use tabbed browsing.

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hyperion
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Postby hyperion » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:58 pm UTC

i found that program after some googling. it's called pathway.

the article comments didn't offer much help, so i will continue my search
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Postby bander » Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:03 pm UTC

Iluvatar wrote:I have managed to limit myself to single-thread operation; that is, if I click a link, I take it. I'd die in front of my computer if I let myself use tabbed browsing.


I still end up with a stack mentality. I click a link, read it through, click "back", and continue where I left off. And yes, I end up traversing half of human knowledge.

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Postby Westringia F. » Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:25 pm UTC

Hmmm. We need a word for this, and I've got one --

wikipedesis:
n.,the act of moving randomly through connected wikipedia pages [from wikipedia + pedesis (Brownian movement)].

Now it's just a matter of spreading it. Use it everywhere!

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Postby Pseudonym » Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:33 pm UTC

Same thing happens to me. I also somehow always reach articles related to WW2 and physics, no matter where I start from.

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Brownian movement

Postby space_raptor » Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:37 pm UTC

Now I have to go look up Brownian movement on wikipedia. See you in three hours!

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Postby EvanED » Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:45 pm UTC

Tractor wrote:As for wiki, it always leads somewhere I never expect. I was looking up HTTP protocol header things at work the other day, and ended up at Wikispecies looking up extinct birds. How SOAPAction turns into Passenger Pigeon I will never know.


Maybe you went through IP by carrier pdgeon? ;-)

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Postby space_raptor » Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:46 pm UTC


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Postby XaviarCraig » Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:57 pm UTC

Greetings all I am kinda new here and to the greatness that is XKCD.com!

And yea I noticed I get off topic alot when i use wikipedia... like look what happened last night:

Depleted uranium-> Kinetic energy penetrator-> Tungsten-> Bullet-> Armor piercing round-> Incendiary-> Arson-> Accelerant-> Explosive limit-> Explosion-> Supernova-> Black hole-> Hawking radiation-> Thermal radiation-> Electric heating-> Resistor-> Integrated circuit-> Microprocessor-> x86 architecture-> Microsoft Windows-> Microsoft-> Peer-to-peer-> Terrorism-> Jihad-> Al-Qaeda-> Aqidah-> Islamic Holy Books-> Allah-> Monotheism-> Neoplatonism-> Evil-> Homosexuality-> Bisexuality-> Popular music-> Heavy metal music-> Metalhead-> Metalcore-> Melodic death metal-> In Flames-> downloading Inflames music!

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Postby offput » Wed Jan 24, 2007 4:05 pm UTC

Hey there, I'm a long time lurker, first time poster.

Just had to say that I've been looking for a project to sink my teeth into to help me escape the endless drudgery that is learning engineering, and this wikipedia tree-based analysis firefox extension sounds like it'll do. I'll update you on this when I've given up because of my procrastination.

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Postby Iluvatar » Wed Jan 24, 2007 4:28 pm UTC

[quote=bander]I still end up with a stack mentality. I click a link, read it through, click "back", and continue where I left off. And yes, I end up traversing half of human knowledge.[/quote]
Oh, I didn't say it eliminated the stack behavior (if anything, the back/forward nature of it further enforces it). It just means that I don't kill quite as much time as I would otherwise.

I would imagine that any number of utilities and trackers could be made revolving around Wikipedia. Hell, Streza can do it with youTube, it should be easy to improve the wiki experience with things like Pathways and various other apps.[/quote]

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Postby 6453893 » Wed Jan 24, 2007 4:47 pm UTC

For those of you who are interested, I tried out that Pathway program (Yay for macs) for half an hour. I started with Aeon and ended with Casual Determinism, in just thirty minutes. I imagine if I spent two hours or so, which is closer to a normal session for me.

My Wikisurfing

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Postby Nomic » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:05 pm UTC

This always happens to me. Usually when I go to Wikipedia to look for something I see all the links in the opening page and just have to click em

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Gordon
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Postby Gordon » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:17 pm UTC

What alt text are you reffering to? The one I see says "'Taft in a wet t-shirt contest' is the key image here"


Ya I just noticed that too.. when it was first uploaded the alt text said something like "I couldn't find any pages on surviving raptor attacks".

I think he changed it just to make me look foolish!
Meaux_Pas wrote:
RealGrouchy wrote:I still remember the time when Gordon left. I still wake up in the middle of the night crying and screaming his name.
I do that too, but for an entirely different reason.
RealGrouchy wrote:
Gordon wrote:How long have I been asleep?!
Our daughter is in high school now.

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Tractor
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Postby Tractor » Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:37 pm UTC

6453893 wrote:For those of you who are interested, I tried out that Pathway program (Yay for macs) for half an hour. I started with Aeon and ended with Casual Determinism, in just thirty minutes. I imagine if I spent two hours or so, which is closer to a normal session for me.

My Wikisurfing


My last program design looked like that...before 20 minutes of re-arranging tables so all the connecting lines made sense and it could be viewed reasonably. Rounding the nodes to ~50 (I kept losing my place when I was counting), that would mean approximately 200 nodes for your 'typical' 2 hour session. Assuming one uses the back button, perhaps tabbed browsing, and other circumstances, the complication of the diagram grows exponentially. That, or to view it well you would need a giant screen and/or an interactive node interface.

Also, paprika and satoshi kon look lonely. Or like they're about to sneak off for some alone time :P
9 x 6 = 42



Note: Randall kicks ass.

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Postby akpak » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:22 pm UTC

The other problem with wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Seger

Actually, that's not really a problem. That's just hilarious. I'm just pissed the guy didn't link MAN or COCK.
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hansonc
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Postby hansonc » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:18 pm UTC

here's the persistent link to the Bob Seger article that akpak saw.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?tit ... =102478539


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