Our love for Wikipedia has been in place since 2006. The massive, free, global online encyclopaedia is excellent for gaining titbits of information.
It’s a glorious thing. But it’s also a curious thing, packed out with oddities in a kind of Atlas Obscura of weirdness. And it’s all the work of self-confessed Wikipedia obsessive Annie Rauwerda.
Celebrating the Strange and Obscure in Depths of Wikipedia
Okay, Depths of Wikipedia functions across social media. Primarily Twitter, where Rauwerda posts interesting snippets she finds across the depths of Wikipedia.
It began life on Instagram in 2020, but is most prominent across Twitter.
One of our favourite examples is the case of the waiter Edsel Ford Fong (1927-1984). He worked at the Sam Wo restaurant in San Francisco, California, and became famous for his highly abusive form of serving customers.
Visitors loved all of that and he became a local celebrity.
— depths of wikipedia (@depthsofwiki) August 31, 2022
Good stuff, eh? And now, a message from our sponsor… Wikipedia!
If you’re wondering what this thing is, it’s online encyclopaedia run by a global community of volunteers. The site launched in January 2001. It uses an open collaboration editing system, meaning anyone can go in and edit any article they wish.
That does lead to some page vandalism, yes, but the volunteers keep track of everything and ensure false updates are changed.
In total, there are 6,564,715 English articles across the site. And there are 56,768,985 pages across the entire network.
It’s a glorious thing. And it’s very easy to get lost down a rabbit hole, endlessly searching through articles and finding out about history. It’s something we’ve enjoyed doing over the years, helping us to get ideas for this blog and proving a useful starting point for many research sessions.
Where Depths of Wikipedia comes in is with picking up some of the stranger pages across the encyclopaedia. That includes the likes of:
- Exploding trousers
- Nuclear Gandhi
- Profane license plates in Maine
- Monster Munch in France
- Interactive urinals
Rauwerda also finds humourous layouts within pages, with titles that seem to inexplicably lead from one innocuous thing to something monstrous. Here’s a good example.
— depths of wikipedia (@depthsofwiki) October 16, 2022
The Jonestown Massacre remains the largest mass suicide in history, which took place in November 1978.
There’s lots of black humour in there. Lots of light humour. Some crass humour, too. Some occasional jabs at Florida locals.
— depths of wikipedia (@depthsofwiki) October 11, 2022
Altogether, it’s an amusing and light-hearted look into the world of random oddities. If you’re on Twitter, give the account a follow.
You won’t regret it. And you’ll learn some really bloody random stuff along the way.
A Bit About Annie Rauwerda
Rauwerda is a neuroscience major from the University of Michigan.
She’s said that, during the pandemic lockdowns, she fell in love with Wikipedia so much she began the Instagram channel. For a laugh.
Since it’s taken off, she now regularly travels the world to give talks about the nature of Wikipedia and its many joys.
We view Rauwerda as Wikipedia’s version of the glorious Simone Giertz, the latter being the genius bad robot inventor (“The Queen of Shitty Robots”).
Both are a great force of positivity in an online community often plagued with abuse, death threats, and spelling errors.
May Rauwerda continue to plumb the depths for many years to come. As it’s already providing over a million followers with a load of joy.