How You Can Travel Through Space and Time with Wikipedia as Your Flux Capacitor

As if Wikipedia being the world's largest encyclopedia wasn't amazing enough, the site has inspired a network of tools, companion sites and games that use volunteer-edited information to create new content.

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Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 1.04.16 PM

Slate's Reincarnation Machine uses birth and death dates on Wikipedia to produce a list of people you may have been in your past lives. When I typed in my birth date, I found out that I was an Indian film actor known for comedic relief in my previous life, which would explain why I fell asleep in front of the TV watching Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge the other night. (Sidenote: my entire lineage of past lives was made up of dudes, which made me want to join an edit-a-thon and write some biographical articles about kick-ass women.) This interactive infographic by the MIT Center for Civic Media shows how many women in history still don't have articles of their own.

"Listen to Wikipedia" creates a pinging sound evocative of yoga class whenever an article is edited in real time. You can leave it open in your browser for calming white noise powered by editors arguing about the Oxford comma.

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Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 1.05.35 PM

Wiki Galaxy represents all the articles on Wikipedia as small dots of light, or stars, in an encyclopedic universe. You can search for any individual page and click through the cluster of light around it. Hint: Hayao Miyazaki's films are fun to click through, because they're so densely interconnected.

If you're into Wikipedia purely for the facts, Yearly produces random historical events from any four digit years, and this site simply generates random facts from any article. (Sidenote: Did you know SpongeBob is the only cartoon still airing on Nickelodeon to debut earlier than the year 2000?). Xefer calculates in seconds how many articles you'd have to click through to get from any random input to the article for Philosophy, which capitalizes on the Wiki-phenomenon which states that clicking on the first link in any article long enough will eventually always lead to Philosophy. This site allows you to click through all the educational animated gifs currently hosted on Wikipedia.

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Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 1.06.30 PM

You can switch up the way Wikipedia looks by reading the minimalist-style site, or you can pretend you're a character in TRON and explore Wikipedia live using this stylized interface. (Hint: click the "Wikipedia" folder). This site will send you a weekly round-up of the most edited articles on Wikipedia if you sign up.

There are a ton of Wikipedia visualizations available online, including the ones on this list. This world map shows you the location of editors who are changing the site in real-time, and Green Honey uses color to illustrate the representation of world languages on Wikipedia.

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Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 1.07.34 PM

This web visualization shows interactions between editors on the site (notice how clique-y it is?), and Notabilia illustrates the length of discussions held by editors before deciding to delete any particular article (the straighter the line, the more controversial the topic). Wikipedia Gender illustrates which articles are more often edited by women (feminism, gender identity, Gilmore Girls) and which are typically edited by men (Avatar (2009 film), Linux, Saturday Night Live).

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Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 1.08.21 PM

As for actual apps, Wikipedia's own was recently updated to allow users to create "fact cards" to post on social media, and The Wiki Game commercializes the classic challenge you probably played in college: racing against your friends from a random Wikipedia page to Kevin Bacon, Hitler, or another dubious 20th century icon.

The best accessory to Wikipedia is the concise newsletter we put together each week. The Wiki world is complex, but don’t worry, we break it down for you with Wikipedia in 60 Seconds (WP:60). Sign up below!