The Wikipedia Defense

A new practice I’m attempting:wikipedia-practice-crop

If you’ve read your favorite news sites in the last 24 hours, and feel an impulse to look at them again, look instead at Wikipedia.

Ignore any “recommendations” foisted on you by some versions of the site.  Instead, enter a few letters at random into the search bar, and scroll until you see something that isn’t obviously tedious to you.  (If you have an old version of the site with a “Random Article” button, just click that until you feel a twinge of curiosity.)

Read.  Learn something that’s at least as interesting as the news, if not more so.

In fact, this is news.

News isn’t all about the present.  All knowledge is news, if you haven’t discovered it before.  All of it sates curiosity, which is the reason you opened a browser or app at all.  And it’s all equally likely to be inspiring, intriguing, and useful.

9 Responses to The Wikipedia Defense

  1. Isaac Rabinovitch November 12, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

    You’re basically described my entire education.

  2. SounderBruce November 12, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

    And, if you’re interested enough, please help contribute to Wikipedia. Writing, photographs, a list of resources…in any field on any topic.

    There’s plenty of lackluster transit coverage (either agencies, rail/bus systems/routes, people, technologies, concepts, stations, places, etc.) that would be improved by a single contribution.

    In the meantime, I’ve written quite a few things on the site related to transit/urbanism, including the Seattle bus tunnel, my local transit agency (Community Transit), and a cancelled freeway proposal.

  3. Peter Laws November 13, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    My recipe has been no twitter and very, very little facebook (I have a friend who’s just had surgery and that’s the only way for me to keep up with him else I’d be off entirely).

    Also, Netflix. Yay. And books. And hobbies.

  4. Adam Tauno Williams November 14, 2016 at 3:12 am #

    Great advice. I finally gave up on “news” early in 2016 – and I do not feel like I have missed anything [especially now]. Nor do I feel less informed; I feel more informed. There are great RSS feeds [including yours], wikipedia, etc.. that make positive replacements for the vapid chatter of the “news”. It is actually possibly to fill one’s reading time one’s reading time with civil, informative, and nuanced content.

  5. ararar November 15, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

    heh, you might be onto something there, some religious people talk about spreading 1900 years old good news.

    Personally, I’m addicted to news for procrastination, not just curiosity. I also read a lot of wikipedia though.

  6. Eric November 20, 2016 at 1:20 am #

    That’s it, I’m not coming back to Human Transit for another 24 hours.

  7. Mitch November 22, 2016 at 6:52 am #

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Unusual_articles is a good place to start too. Im usually able to find something that peaks my curiosity and results in further research.

  8. Lauri November 25, 2016 at 6:52 am #

    As long as you don’t stumble too far into the problem with Wikipedia: https://xkcd.com/214/

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