Dec 17, 2004

Wiki as a portal

I believe I let you go over two weeks without hearing (err...reading) me talking about the virtues of Wikipedia. So for today's argument on 'why Wiki is so nifty':

Wiki main page as a portal

Wiki main page consists of several very useful tools, making it an accidental but extremly nice portal. Unlike the commercial portals, that shower you with adds and substandard services like 'free' (lol...) email or advertisers-friendly search engine, wiki sports no ads and has both the important utility and trivia features you may want to start your day.

Utility comes first, so here it is: In the news. Or as wikipedians call them - current events. Look to the right side of Wiki's main page. If something important is happening out there, wiki will have a note about it asap. For me it is much better to start my day checking for important global news on Wiki then going to a site like CNN and trying to see what is going on by browsing through dozen of US-centric dumbed-down news, half the time concerned with (let me check what is on CNN *now*) - oh yes, 'Slain mom's baby believed to be found.' Geez. Like I care. This is what is important for me: European Union leaders agree to invite Turkey to begin negotiations to join the EU from 3 October 2005. With a picture, it is one of the first things that hit me when I loaded Wiki page today. And suprise, to find it on CNN I had to scroll down one screen and check the tiny World news hyperlinks section. No comment :>

Then there is the wiki search engine. Sure, it is limited to wiki only, but if it doesn't find you what you want, it gives you the choice to search for the term on Google or Yahoo. Honestly, I find myself more and more often going first to Wiki site for search then to Google. The logic is simple: if I type whatever on Google, I get zillion hits, sometimes getting lucky and having relevant ones early. But if I go to Wiki, sure, I have a good chance of finding nothing and having to go to Google anyway - but more and more often Wiki nets me a releavant article, saving me having to sort Google pages. Btw, you can now have Wiki search in your Mozilla browser in addition to Google toolbar. If it is not near perfect, then what is?

After you know the news, then you can check the trivia. Althoug Wiki trivia is almost always useful. Sooner or later...knowledge is power. Behold, the left of Current Events: Featured Articles.

Featured articles are the heart of Wiki. Or at the very least, one of several heats. Each day they provide new article for the Main Page. With a nice picture. Btw, while I am talking about pictures, please take a look at Featured Picture section! Featuered section means that people have a good reason to visit Wiki every day, even if they are not looking for anything particular - they can read the short lead on interesting subject, and if they find it interesting, the entire article itself. Well, thats trivia for you :) Then there is of course more trivia like Selected Anniversaires and Did you know... section.

If you ever though encyclopedia is not fun (who didn't? :>), time to revise that. Off you go, have fun at wiki. :)

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