"At three in the morning I looked at my clock and thought, 'Good god! What on earth have I been doing for four hours?!' I looked at my screen. 'Plot summaries of Power Rangers episodes.' Damn."
—Anonymous Wikipedia addict
The Other Wiki. The wiki that most people are familiar with. The one that isn't us.
Wikipedia is the most famous wiki out there, and is mostly responsible for inspiring the creation of other wikis (although it was not the first). It presents its information as an encyclopaedia and focuses mainly on real-life information.
Given Wikipedia's role as a central information source, you can probably gain more info on the "what" of (for example) Star Trek from it than you can from actually watching the show, and that's nice. Here?
Here, you can get a glimmering of why the show is like that.
Here at All The Tropes, we only care about how things apply to fiction. Don't just tell us the facts; tell us the memes, tell us the archetypes, tell us the catchy ideas and symbolic roles that get planted in people's heads. Got the kernel of an idea bouncing about your head? Throw it down here and see what grows. If we're lucky, our Neologism for it will catch on. (And quite a few have already.)
See the We Are Not Alone Index for tropes that have Wikipedia articles.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Wikipe-tan, specifically Moe Anthropomorphism.
- April Fools' Day: Since the very beginning, April Fools' pranks have run rampant on Wikipedia, even by established editors. See a list of them here.
- Captain Obvious: Wikipedia's attempt to be a thorough information source presented in an easy, accessible format while maintaining a dry and formal tone of language sometimes leads to some unintentionally hilarious examples of this.
- Common Knowledge: The pop-culture version of Wikipedia is overflowing with ridiculously phony and inaccurate information. ("George W. Bush is a time-traveler from the year 3000 sent back in time to fight the Martians from the planet Venus!") Quite unlike the real-life version, it appears to have no blocking or vandalism policies whatsoever.
- Conversation in the Main Page: Averted hard and fast - this usually survives minutes at absolute most.
- Media Research Failure: Anyone can add anything, whether it's correct or not. Depending on the subject, it may be corrected within minutes or it may stay for quite a while before it's noticed and corrected.
- Darth Wiki: Downplayed. Here it is, The Devil's Dictionary of Wikipedia.
- Defictionalization: Wikipedia has proven itself correct at least once.
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: Apparently FBI threatened to sue Wikipedia for using its logo. National Portrait Gallery had 3000 claims.
- Copyright is Serious Business on Wikipedia. Text copied from a website without permission will be deleted in seconds. An image with invalid copyright information, or one which has not been released under an appropriate license, will be deleted unless it has a fair use rationale. Wikipedia doesn't really pursue copyrights of their own, however.
- Drive-By Updater: In an odd twist, even useful drive-by-edits are sometimes reverted.
- Dr. Pedia and Mr. Trope
- Edit War: Due to its size, these are just as likely to occur between administrators as between regular users.
- Encyclopedia Exposita
- Fancruft: Referenced by xkcd (again), and occurs in reality on some pages. The page for Earth used to have "DO NOT REPLACE THIS PAGE WITH 'Mostly harmless.' EVER." hidden in the markup. It still has "Humorous references to the Douglas Adams novel Mostly Harmless are inappropriate content for this article" on the talk page, and is semi-protected so that only registered users can edit it (for several reasons).
- Fannage: They have, for instance, plot summaries of every single Star Trek episode - all series. Their coverage of The Simpsons is also impressive, with about the half of the articles on that series rated either "good article" or "featured article". Though in a perfect example of serial deleting in action there's currently a discussion of the idea some guy had to 'merge' (delete) all the Enterprise episode pages so instead of the detailed summaries which currently exist there is a couple of sentences for each.
- Follow the Leader: The wiki craze started here, but this was not the first wiki. The Ur Example was Ward Cunningham's Portland Pattern Repository.
- Great Big Book of Everything: And how!
- Iconic Logo: The puzzle globe dates to 2003; its first iteration had the pieces in different colors and blocks of text, in different languages, on it. Shortly after that, the more familiar version of the globe debuted, with all of the pieces light gray, and each having a letter/glyph on it. It stayed this way until May 2010, when a new version (which, unlike its predecessors, was an actual 3D rendering), with a darker gray, bigger pieces and corrected symbols on two of them, debuted; this is the one pictured above. It was revised again later that month, when the shade of gray was lightened to resemble its predecessor.
- Kuudere: If anyone's curious, Wikipedia does have a fun side to it. Enjoy.
- Lumper vs. Splitter: Or Mergist vs. Separatist.
- Locked Pages: Several forms, often involving different levels of user access required to edit.
- Medium Awareness: Defied — each article is supposed to stand on its own, and references to "this website" are discouraged.
- Meido: The various maintenance bots are sometimes personified as such.
- Moe Anthropomorphism: Yes, they have their own one. In this case: Wikipe-tan.
- Orwellian Editor: Purges eventually became something of a Running Gag. Occasionally, it's fiefdoms of exiled editors purged - like that zoophilia related content. Other times, politics and/or lack of adoration toward wikipedia itself - for example, Daily Mail and El Reg are purge-at-will, and The People's Cube became an un-site.
- Alicia Machado biography whitewashing.
- Pothole: Called a "piped link" over there, and discouraged.
- Schmuck Bait: Defied.
- Serious Business: The major two factions on Wikipedia are the Inclusionists and the Deletionists, as mentioned in the introduction. Deletionism was, for some time, the primary school of thought of Wikipedia--even against the wishes of its founders. Just look at the flame war that kicked up when Jimbo Wales tried to start an article about a South African restaurant, only to have it deleted almost immediately. In addition, reading discussion pages on any topic is likely to result in a lot of Serious Business.
- Unfortunately, besides the serial deleters, there's also a phenomenon of 'page hoarders' who will sit on a certain page and revert and delete any changes made to it, and will spend all day arguing about it until the admins give in to them. Forget Wiki Vandals, these guys are Wikipedia's biggest problem. Counter-Vandalism Unit, seriously, just... take a look at what they made up.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Played straight in some more technical articles and inverted in Simple English Wikipedia.
- Small Reference Pools: One of the major underlying causes for conflict between Inclusionists and Deletionists, as well as systemic bias (see We All Live in America below and Serious Business above). If a Deletionist hasn't heard of something, it's obviously non-notable.
- Wikipedia's insistence on using freely licensed/public domain material often results in this. For example, photographs of living people must be freely licensed or they get deleted. It also introduces some bias — screenshots of software will show it running on Linux, unless it's Windows-only. Media player screenshots are usually shown playing either Big Buck Bunny or Sintel (since they are Creative Commons-licensed). Web browsers are shown displaying Wikipedia (as mentioned under Medium Awareness). What is different about this example is that the editors are quite often aware that the material exists — they just aren't allowed to use it.
- Someday This Will Come in Handy: Has been known to cause attempts to invoke this trope.
- Strong Language Usage Rules: Similar, minus funny being acceptable. And much more detailed.
- There Is No Such Thing as Notability: Utterly inverted — at least in principle, because enforcement varies.
- Thread Mode: The bullet points version is averted hard in articles, but played straight on talk pages and deletion process pages. The inline version, not so much.
- Trope Codifier: The MediaWiki software developed for Wikipedia and the style conventions set there have set audience expectations for reference wikis.
- Troll: Some people put either totally irrelevant things on the page (sometimes wiping the whole page in the process) or mess it up by doing the summary wrong.
- We All Live in America: Many pages can turn into this, deciding that only information pertaining to America is useful. Especially jarring on pages meant for other countries entirely. Amusingly, there's a template specifically for flagging a page as being Americacentric (or Britaincentric, or other part of the world-centric). This can be applied to pages specifically written in reference to the country.
- They have a phrase for this: Systemic bias. It's not a problem limited only to English Wikipedia articles on North America, Great Britain, and Australia. Any sufficiently developed country with widespread use of English will have a significantly larger group of contributors than its non-English speaking neighbors. Hong Kong, Singapore and India being notable examples
- Weasel Words: They hate it when it shows up.
- Wiki Magic: Sometimes played straight, sometimes inverted with an editor's pet page. Inversions of this have rapidly become a common criticism as Wikipedia's tendency to focus on cutting as much content as possible, instead of adding new content, has increased.
- Wiki Vandal: Overt vandalization is reverted rapidly - but subtle vandalization has been known to last months on less-travelled pages. One of the common complaints about accuracy aimed at Wikipedia. Some really outrageous claims in articles are often supported by nothing but the "citation" tag.
- Wiki Walk: See Archive Binge above.
- Wikipedia Syntaxer: The original and trope namer.
- Wikipedia Updater
- Xenofiction: Well, except the "fiction" bit. The Human article reads as though it was written by alien scientists observing us. It even lists the conservation status according to the IUCN red list: "least concern".