Wiki-walk to philosophy

According to today’s XKCD, “if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at ‘Philosophy.’”

I just did it in 27 links starting with William Shatner.

Anyone else want to try?

I did it with the article of the day: “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.

I’m sure at some point it breaks down, likely in a circle of links. But it’s pretty funny, nonetheless.

Started at “The Twilight Zone” and ended up in a loop (mathematics) after 14 clicked links.

Yeah, tried it with yesterday’s topic (Tiny Thompson) and ended in a loop:

Fact -> Information -> Sequence -> Mathematics -> Study (Research redirect) -> Knowledge -> Fact

ETA: Looks like Winston found the same Mathematics loop

Dragon Age got me into the Mathematics Loop in 18 clicks.

F.G. “Teddy” Oke Trophy to Philosophy in 15.

Yep, there’s a “science” loop, that I found from the Cecil Adams page, of all places. (The Dope will get to philosophy though). Once you get to science, you end up going through a loop that will just lead you right back to it.

Clicked “random article”, ended up with Wilhelm Mauseth, a Norwegian speedskater.

13 clicks took me into the dreaded “Knowledge” loop (knowledge, fact, information, sense, organism, biology, natural science, science, knowledge). Very close to philosophy, but not quite there, and it’ll never get there barring edits.

Speaking of - I wonder if editors will start deliberately repairing looped paths in order to clear a wiki-walk to philosophy, now that XKCD has pointed this out.

Nitpick, but I think it’s more correct to call this the “knowledge” loop. The mathematics page sends you to “knowledge”, which eventually loops back on itself - but not on mathematics.

ETA: You could also name this loop after anything else in it, of course - “science” is part of the same loop, as is “knowledge”. But mathematics isn’t.

It worked for me, surprisingly quickly. I started with “Bastille Day” since my son had asked about it this morning.

Bastille Day -> France -> unitary state -> sovereign state -> state -> social sciences -> scholarly method -> philosophy

Only 7 links.

And thus, the danger of Wikipedia:

As of last night, you could get from mathematics to philosophy. “Study” wasn’t a link, so you went to quantity -> property (which has also been changed) -> modern philosophy -> philosophy.

“Raymond Carr House” (random article) brought me to “sovereign state” in 4 clicks, which I have already shown is 4 clicks from Philosophy.

You know, this could actually be the basis for a game: wiki-racing. Each contestant loads a random wikipedia page, and they all need to click their way to a destination selected by a judge. The random starting point means there’s an element of chance to the game, but since the players could click any link in the article text (not just the first), there’s also skill: players with a greater sense of how subjects relate to one another will do better.

Goal is to reach the destination page in as few clicks as possible.

ETA: Maybe the game should be called wiki-golf.

And apparently, this is actually a thing:

I started from ‘noncommutative quantum field theory’, and ended up in a loop on ‘mathematics’ (which is funnily enough quite analogous to how my actual reading of that article went), but apparently, that loop is now gone… Though I did eventually end up on a disambiguation page for ‘group’, whose first link is ‘group (mathematics)’, which again links to mathematics. I’m now trying to see if I can repeat that loop… Yes, it worked again. That’s a big loop!

Mathematics -> Study -> Knowledge -> Fact -> Information -> Symbol -> Numeral -> Writing system -> Symbolic system -> Anthropology -> Humanities -> academic disciplines -> Academia -> Community -> Group -> Group (mathematics) -> Mathematics

We’ve played something like it a few times before; one person posts two pages, the next person has to get from the first to the second in as few links as possible, then posts the next challenge.

Damn, I got caught in a small loop. Civil Law > List of country legal systems > Civil Law. How boring.

You need to leave the Information page via sequence, not symbols. You seem to be missing a link

:smack: Right, I think I just missed that the second time around because sequence by then was marked as a read link, and I reflexively clicked on the first bright blue word… That’s why I at first thought the loop had disappeared. Interesting, though, that you get back to mathematics either way…

I wonder what kind of load all those link chasing xkcd readers are putting on the server…

Also, starting from philosophy, you apparently get stuck in a mutually back referring rationality-reason mini loop.

I’ve done 10 more walks starting with random articles. Nine of them led to knowledge:

Friendly Persuasion (1975 film)
Dorothy Allen
Animal migration
Great Flood of 1951
Independence, West Virginia
Pizza Express
A Little Love (album)

And only one, “John Blythe,” led to philosophy.

“Philosphy,” by the way, leads to a consciousness-awareness loop.

ETA: and who wants to be trapped in a consciousness-awareness loop, I ask you? It sounds like a problem for a New Age seminar.

I tried it with barefoot running and ended up in a loop about 9 links deep, so I moved on to the second word in the article that started the loop and ended up in a different loop. On to the third word, different loop.


I can’t win. I don’t like this game. :: throws ball to ground and stomps off ::