Prompt: The Encyclopedia Game

In my writing, I love to toy with the idea of truth and tinker with facts.  Objectivity?  Historical accuracy?  These are things that I, honestly, throw out the window when I write.  They are much less capital-T True to me than the feelings behind things.

I do, however, use wikipedia often when I write.  It’s great fodder.  Often the articles show connections between things that I may not have thought of or give details about things that I didn’t know.  Honestly, I am one of those people who goes to wikipedia not only for my facts, but also for my inspiration.

I have heard many times about the dubiousness of wikipedia’s factual accuracy.  I have even seen articles on wikipedia say things that I am sure were incorrect.  So, I know that people twiddle with the articles.  Wikipedia vandalism is not something that’s a new idea for me.  But I had always thought of it as something playful and silly.  Never before as something subversive.

Some of my (very amazing) friends from university are in the process of making a film about the characters behind wikipedia vandalism.  Their research so far is incredibly interesting.  It touches on themes of objectivity, the control of information, and subversion.  They have started a kickstarter campaign to fund the project, and I, for one, am very excited about seeing it come to fruition.

In support of this project, I would like to start a wikipedia-based prompt.  If you go to the main page of wikipedia, on the left-hand side, there is a ‘Random Article’ button.  Flip through 10-15 random articles and see how many of them you can fit into one piece of writing.  Once you start randomly flipping through random articles, you really get a sense of how much information wikipedia holds.  From tiny towns in Europe to obscure sports participants, I am sure that you will mostly come across things you ordinarily wouldn’t write about.  It should be quite interesting.

Good luck and let me know what you come up with!



12 thoughts on “Prompt: The Encyclopedia Game”

  1. I THINK THAT I MAY TRY YOUR IDEA!!!!! WHY NOT,….VERY COOL,…THANKS!!!!!,….these are called what, “prompts???”,…which just means an idea to set things in motion???? i guess???

  2. I think your friends’ film sounds fascinating, and what a great idea for a prompt! Even if someone didn’t do 10 different things in one piece, it would be interesting to have 10 different pieces inspired by 10 different Random clicks, too. Very cool!

  3. You’ve reminded me about something I looked up this Christmas. I remembered a tv show from when I was a kid called Nestor the Christmas Donkey, and wanted information. Hence, a visit to wikipedia. But, there, the title was Nestor, the LUTHERAN Christmas donkey.

    I didn’t know donkeys had a denomination. A bit of mystifying but amusing sabotage…

  4. Like robincoyle I never noticed that button either – clicked on it a few times and yeah, very random stuff but extremely interesting. Would definitely help with story ideas. I learned about a small commune in France (Etaule), Philip Schuyler and the Pfeffer (Brenz) river in Germany. Etaule sounds interesting, a place I would use as a setting for sure. This is a great idea!

  5. Excellent idea your university friends have come up with. I only recently became engulfed with a story based off of a Wikipedia search, so this is rather interesting. And the prompt idea, a brilliantly new one. Thanks!

  6. I love the idea of looking things up randomly for story ideas. I also use wikipedia for basic checks for research in the two books I am trying to write. I have not found any articles that were too far off. If I am not sure I always check the discussion behind it and I like that there is discussion on accuracy usually that will help me decide how accuerateth informI read was. I will use the random button now that I know that it is there.

    Thanks for checking out my blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s