The Wiki Game is a website/game that asks the players to find a specific Wikipedia article (randomly generated) from another Wikipedia article (also randomly generated) only by clicking on the internal links of the Wikipedia pages. This activity allows participants to understand the principle of redirection from one article to another in online free encyclopedias.
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The activity starts with a simple idea: it is possible to access the majority of all Wikipedia articles from a given Wikipedia page in less than 10 clicks. For information, the longest chain of clicks necessary to go from one article to another that has ever been required was 16 clicks. The Wiki Game is a site/game that requires players to find a particular Wikipedia article (chosen randomly). It first randomly chooses a starting Wikipedia article on which the player must start – they must then navigate to the target using only internal Wikipedia links. This helps participants to understand how interlinked articles are on free online encyclopedias. The site uses a modified and integrated version of Wikipedia, that, amongst other elements, blocks the use of Ctrl+F and removes the categorisation at the bottom of the page. When the player begins they are automatically linked to a starting article and the game will indicate which article should be found. They will now have 120 seconds to find the article using a minimum number of clicks. If they succeed, they get points depending on the number of clicks and the time they took. If they don’t succeed, the game will immediately suggest other starting and objective articles.
- Explain the idea of the game and its purpose (experience the depth and reach of Wikipedia)
- Have participants go to the computers
- Go to thewikigame.com
- Explain the site’s interface
- Start a round, assisting where required
Here is the homepage:
Click on ‘Play Now (as guest)’ to start the game:
We get to this screen where you need to click ‘Play Now’:
Now we’ve finally gotten to game’s first page (the game will reset every 120 seconds):
1. Start and objective + time remaining
2. List of players and points
3. Playing field (Wikipedia)
Note: it’s impossible to go backwards. Once you’ve clicked on a link, you have to work from that page.
Following the activity, discuss with participants. Ask them if they learned anything interesting. Talk about the game and their thoughts on it. If you have time, you could moderate a debate on Wikipedia and its reliability.