1. Anonymous said: Hi, my name is Valéria, I'm a graphic designer and I'm doing Masters in Visual Arts - Art and technology. We're doing a festival of art, science and technology in southern Brazil where it will have an exhibition of web art. I really enjoyed your work and would like to know if you allow me to enter the Hatnote this exhibition? thank you.

    Sure! For details and future inquiries of this nature, feel free to email mahmoud@hatnote.com and stephen@hatnote.com.

    — Mahmoud

  2. akatonbo said: This is pretty sweet! I don't suppose anybody's grabbed any recordings of it for offline use? It's very soothing, kind of like lying in a hammock listening to windchimes playing in a fickle breeze while someone occasionally screws around with a harp, and if my sound card were more cooperative about letting me capture things through it, I'd record a few hour-long chunks of random play to put on my (ancient) iPod for falling-asleep purposes.

    There are a couple short recordings on Soundcloud (and this sweet glitched out one: https://soundcloud.com/wdenton/listen-to-wikipedia-1253), but no long ones that I know of. Feel free to record and remix, though! That’s the beauty of creative commons and free culture :)

    — Mahmoud

  3. Anonymous said: is this project still active? the interface is blank and - sad face - silent.

    For all those out there in wiki-radioland wondering similar things, know that Listen to Wikipedia is always up! (99% of the time over the last few months anyways).

    If you can’t hear the sounds and DON’T see any bubbles, then it’s probably the result of the internet connection you’re using. Many routers will filter traffic on nonstandard ports like those used by L2W. If you’re in a hotel, university, corporate, or “guest” wifi, your browser probably just can’t connect to our server. If you’re on your neighbor’s wifi and can’t connect, make them some Apple Brown Betty and see if they’ll open up their firewall.

    If you can’t hear the sounds but DO see the bubbles, then it’s probably a device incompatibility. If you’re on iOS, consider downloading our app? :)

    — Mahmoud

  4. The Wikipedia Typography Refresh

    The Background

    Last week, Wikipedia launched a typography refresh. This is a big deal for a variety of reasons, especially given that Wikipedia may well be the most content-focused mainstream website out right now. No ads, no “likes”, reblogs, or comments; Wikipedia is a lovably no-nonsense site that serves its purpose well.

    The Change

    The change was subtle, but noticeable, like a good typography change should be. Mainly, headings were now serif, and the body remained a sans-serif. The contrast between the headings and body are used to inject subtle visual interest. This is a widely-recognized typographic technique, and it’s not hard to find examples of it in print and web journalism, from blogs to mainstream news outlets.

    (In a nutshell)

    The Rub

    Wikipedia not only puts content front and center, but it also gives content creators unparalleled control over the look of the page. In fact, it’s surprising how well most pages have maintained their internal stylistic consistency. Up until the change, text was kept simple and neutral, embodying the core values of Wikipedia itself. More importantly, when a page required special visual elements in the shape of an infobox or a timeline, the neutral styling let that visual element tell its story.

    The old style was the spiritual peer of Helvetica, with no intrinsic statement or meaning of its own. On many pages, the new style’s added visual contrast creates a clash between default styles and unpredictable user-created content.

    An arbitrary infobox article. Which version of the the thrice-repeated title doesn’t belong?

    The (In)Conclusion

    Jared Zimmerman, Wikimedia’s Director of User Experience, said that this effort is far from done. I think this is an excellent way to approach the challenge. It’s hard enough designing one page at a time, let alone the millions of articles and pages spread across hundreds of wikis. Congratulations and kudos for getting this first iteration out the door so quickly.

    The goal of making the typographic experience more consistent is a very worthy one, just please make sure the consistency is aligned with the content, and not just the platform.

    — Mahmoud (@mhashemi)

  5. Listen to Wikipedia iOS App Released!

    A couple of months ago, we partnered with friend of Hatnote, Bryan Oltman, to finally build our most-requested feature: an iOS mobile app version of Listen to Wikipedia. Today, we’re proud to announce that it’s ready!

    The Listen to Wikipedia App

    It’s free, has all the Listen to Wikipedia features you know and love, and a few bells and whistles specifically designed for mobile. Not to mention support for all 30+ languages! The app’s specially designed for iOS 7, but we’ve tested it on a variety of versions. If you encounter any issues, definitely get in touch with Bryan.

    It’s been a busy few months for Hatnote, both on and off the wiki court. Still, hopefully this week (or maybe even just this post) will make it all worthwhile. Go grab the app now, and, if you’ve got a moment, do us a favor and help others discover Wikipedia by submitting a well-deserved review on iTunes.

    — Mahmoud (@mhashemi)

    PS If you’re an Android developer and would like to develop a similar app, definitely get in touch.

  6. A beautifully prepared video-wall installation playing Listen to Wikipedia at the Hunt Library at North Carolina State University.

    (awesome interface, wonderfully shot and edited video, too, btw)

  7. Weeklypedia

    Are you curious about the interesting topics being written about on Wikipedia, but too busy to constantly check the Recent Changes or even listen in? Wish someone would just summarize it all in an easy to read format? Subscribe to Weeklypedia to receive an email update of the top articles and discussions every Friday. We will send Volume 1 on January 24, 2014.

    Wikipedia constantly changes and grows with the world around us, and you’ll be surprised at the way a simple summary of a single week’s edits can correspond to significant news and controversies. And of course, Weeklypedia comes with 100% of your weekly recommended dosage of obscure topics.

    Some technical details

    Weeklypedia loads Wikipedia’s Recent Changes list for each week, and finds the topics with the highest edit counts. Each edit is a single change to an article — either adding or removing some amount of content from an article. If you are curious about which articles are the most popular (based on traffic statistics, instead of edits), I recommend subscribing to the Signpost’s Traffic Report.

    We currently include a six languages for Weeklypedia, and you can contact us if you wish to receive others. This project relies on Wikimedia’s Tool Labs, and is built using MailChimp’s official Python API library. Of course, you can find our source and more technical details on GitHub.

  8. superdrivel:

    It’s me and Stephen LaPorte!

    (drawing by Jesse of Completely Serious Comics)

    Happy Holidaze from Hatnote!

    (Source: completelyseriouscomics.com)

  9. Anonymous said: Hi, just a quick question. Why are all the notes either sharps or flats? I've been listening for a while, and I've noticed that there seem to be no "pure" notes. There are A flats, A sharps, B flats, B sharps, but no A or B notes. Why is this?

    That’s just the nature of the pentatonic scale we happen to be using :)



  10. Beholden, Information is Beautiful

    via superdrivel:

    So, Listen to Wikipedia won a Kantar information is Beautiful award (Silver in the Interactive Visualization category), which is pretty awesome!

    There were a lot of really amazing entries, so you should check them out. (Seriously, a lot of great stuff there; it’s an honor to be featured next to them.)

    I couldn’t help but notice one thing, though: the Kantar IIB Awards are described as “Open, non-profit awards celebrating excellence in data visualization and information design.” But, the winningest entry, the overall “Most Beautiful” award (also took gold in our category), went to Bloomberg, for Bloomberg’s Billionaires, a visualization of the world’s top 100 billionaires, their net worth, and how much money they “made” or “lost” in the last day. More concerning, the description of the methodology is notably rough and hand-wavy, and the data used isn’t even made open. Finally, the visualization designers aren’t credited by name, just Bloomberg Visual Data.

    I guess it just struck me as ironic that the top open, non-profit award could go to a for-profit project exalting massively for-profit individuals, featuring opaque data, methods, and authors.

    (If you read this far, you’re now a 2-centinaire, which will be donated on your behalf to Wikipedia, courtesy Kantar IIB prize money. :D )

    (And if you’re wondering how to do it right, look to Bostock. Dude’s an inspiration, borderline infallible, it’s wacky.)

  11. brb

    Update: Service was restored around 5AM PST. Hatnote’s new home is twice as big, twice as fast, and hopefully more than twice as reliable :D

    It would appear our hosting service is suffering some catastrophic-level networking issues. Suffice to say a migration to a new host is already underway. See you in <24 hours (DNS providing).

    — Mahmoud (November 7th, ~2:30AM)

  12. designatwikipedia:

    Ever read a Beyonce article on Wikipedia? Jivesh, a teenager from Malaysia played a big role in the quality of your content. He started and helped write 14 featured articles about Beyonce, simply because he is really passionate about the subject.

  13. See, also


    We started a collection of a few favorite visualization projects built on Wikipedia data, including:

    These projects take an interesting or artistic perspective on how we collaborate to write an encyclopedia. It’s a small gallery of some of the possibilities of Wikipedia’s open data.

    - Stephen 

  14. designatwikipedia:

    Why Humanize?

    These two data points illustrate that a community of volunteers strives hard to keeps articles updated. Articles are practically living breathing entities, that change fast and frequently. Through our articles, we want to do a better job of showcasing the architects that create this knowledge, so people feel that contributing to Wikipedia is something anyone with the right intent can do.

    This is a great idea!

    I wish that an article’s edit history page had more color and illustrations. If we look at a graph of Barack Obama’s article, we see a few cool stories: there was a spike of edits in 2007, 2008, and 2009 — only 9% of the editors made 5 or more edits to the article — much of the article was written by a user named Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters.

    - Stephen

  15. ixtli13 said: How did this come to be? What was the inspiration behind it? I am just terribly curious about the origins of the project.

    Stephen and I are longtime Wikipedians (I think I started using Mediawiki in 2006) who’ve known each other since 2005. I’m a programmer by trade, and Stephen is more-recently a legal counsel at Wikimedia. Last year, he invited me to a hackathon, and we had a great time. While he’s a lawyer, he wanted to learn more about programming, so we started coding on weekends, and Hatnote was born.

    In terms of “why” (as opposed to “how”), I’d say it was some combination of:

    • increasing awareness of/involvement in the editing process
    • introducing a passive form of monitoring
    • open-source projects made it easier
    • sounds are fun
    • makin stuff is also fun

    Plus, Adventure Time and Shingeki no Kjoyjin put together only makes for, what, 30 minutes a week of quality entertainment? (That’s probably the realest reason of all.)