5 of the Most Informative Wikipedia Pages

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With access to Wikipedia so widespread, the door-to-door encyclopedia salesperson has found himself out of a job. As of July 2013, the site’s homepage boasts nearly 4,300,000 articles written in English. While the most popular Wikipedia articles tend to be about pop culture, according to the “Huffington Post,” the most informative are those that give you a peek behind the Wiki scenes.

5 Wikipedia Reference Desk

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If you seek information about a certain topic, have looked everywhere for an answer and still can’t find anything, check out the “Reference Desk” page. After choosing the topic that relates to your inquiry the best, like entertainment or history, you can try your own Wikipedia search (again) or look at the questions that others already asked. If you still can’t find the information that you need, fill out and submit an online form. After a Wikipedia staff member approves your question, he’ll post it for the public to see. You’ll have an answer from a staff person or a Wikipedia contributor within a few days.

4 Wikipedia News

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Wikipedia has so much external participation and a life of its own that it has its own “Wikipedia News” page. The site’s administrators use the page to let contributors know about issue-specific topics of interest and related headlines that the public can access. You can also find a collection of newsletters and blogs targeted at Wiki-minded individuals who want to keep up with the latest Wikipedia news, developments, debates and current events.

3 Discussions

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Wikipedia articles sometimes offer a wealth of hidden information, according to the “Wall Street Journal.” When you read an article, you’ll find a tab next to the search box that says “View history.” By clicking on the hyperlink, you may see a stream of comments from Wikipedia’s volunteer writers and editors. It’s not unusual to find editing-related notes about the use of a phrase or deletion of a word. (Boring.) The “View history” pages get juicy, though, when contributors argue about items that range from seemingly frivolous issues to scientific technicalities to historical facts. Reading the discussions can offer a look at cultural points of view, clashes of opinion, stray facts and little-known biographical tidbits from those who are experts in the respective topics.

2 Current Events

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If you have no time to skim newspaper headlines, don’t care for the biased reports of news agencies or don’t know how to set up an RSS feed, check out the “Current Events” Wikipedia page. This page offers you the top headlines from around the world. Topics include armed conflicts, the economy, disasters, crime, science and international relations. If you get a kick out the obits, you can even read about recent deaths. Click on any headline to read the related Wikipedia article and, hopefully, see references to the original stories.

1 Ownership

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When you type “WP: OWN” into Wikipedia’s search bar, you get a page regarding the ownership of the articles on the site. While those who don’t know any better take the information found in Wikipedia articles to be infallible and the word of God, the “Ownership of Articles” page offers information that proves why they’re wrong. Because Wikipedia is a collaborative endeavor, anyone with an account can edit the entries. This means that if you wrote an eloquent Wikipedia article about the latest Pope, any punk could edit your entry to say that the Pope’s name is, for example, Ricky Ricardo. Because contributors can get into an editing war over a single passage, Wikipedia recommends that you use the provided external links and your own research to make sure the statements written are accurate.

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