August 17, 2016

The Wikiverse lets you explore Wikipedia as a spaceship

Comprising more than 40 million articles in over 250 languages, Wikipedia is both a trusted resource and a massive time sink.

In 2014, French programmer Owen Cornec upped the time suck factor when he released WikiGalaxy, a three-dimensional virtual universe with associated articles grouped together like individual galaxies. Users could navigate these "galaxies" like a spaceship capable of reaching light-speed.

When WikiGalaxy launched it held 50,000 articles. Now, Cornec has released Wikiverse, a bigger chunk of virtual outer space with 250,000 Wikipedia entries. Additionally, similar topics like art, music, and politics, are now bunched together.

"The articles are mapped depending on how closely related they are, you can see related articles near by [sic] or hop around by browsing through links,” Cornec told The Creators Project back in 2014. "I wanted to create something beautiful with technical prowess, using evocative imagery to visualize humanity's collective knowledge. I also wanted to present something people take for granted in a new way. Wikipedia is now making a hard push to get users to donate, but I believe they should do more to present the immense work of their userbase in a more engaging way."

Wikipedia is Massive, but Sometimes Inaccurate

While Wikipedia is the most popular online general reference site, it is far from the most accurate, as shown by a 2014 study that found inaccuracies in 90 percent of its health-related entries.

The study authors arbitrarily assigned a pair of researchers to independently evaluate each article, figuring out implications and assertions passed off as fact in those entries. The reviewers then carried out a literature search to locate out if there was an actual study to back up those claims.

The scientists discovered several articles with factual errors, mostly due to the fact that anyone can produce and edit entries. For instance, the hypertension article said that for the condition to be properly diagnosed, high blood pressure readings have to be acquired on three separate occasions; incorrect information that could prevent medical care and put patients at an increased risk.

The study team did say that Wikipedia has quite a number of systems in place to manage unverifiable data that comes to their attention.


Image credit: Wikiverse/Screenshot