Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wikiconnecting, or, 10 degrees of relation

The challenge: pick any two random Wikipedia articles. Then, try to get from one to the other in ten clicks of less.

Easy: you pick two random articles that don't seem related
Hard: pick the two articles with the 'random article' button
Adult variant: end with the 'Human sexual intercourse' page

A few examples:

Easy (4 clicks):
pencil to Mt. Hood
1: Juniperus virginiana
2: Missouri
3: Oregon
4: Mount Hood (finish)

Hard (7 clicks)
Geoff Southby (random article), going to Neufchâtel-sur-Aisne (second random article)
1: Australian rules football
2:World War I
3: Harbonnières
4: Picardy (region)
5: Aisne
6: Cantons of the Aisne department
7: Canton of Neufchâtel-sur-Aisne (finish)

Frequently, a game will start out with a few clicks between seemingly unrelated subjects to get closer to the subject matter. For example, Pencil jumps to the red cedar tree, which gives states as geographic markers. From there it's simply a jump to oregon, then Mount Hood.

The 'hard' example is actually more formulaic, and works well with organized subjects like towns and athletes. I went immediately to the broadest category - Aussie rules football - which under the history section linked to WWI. There I clicked on the location nearest my target, then just went up and down administrative divisions to the target.

I conjecture that any pair of Wikipedia articles can be connected by no more than a dozen clicks due to the sheer number of internal links.

Go ahead, waste 10 minutes and try playing.

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