"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 TV 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.Wikipedia has an entry on itself and its history, for further reading.Wikipedia also has an entry on us. It also lists us in its directory of alternatives, encouraging people to record their trope knowledge here, instead of there. See the We Are Not Alone Index for tropes that have Wikipedia articles.
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.
Cowboy Bebop At His Computer: 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.
Early Installment Weirdness: This can often be seen by checking the edit history of an older article. Early Wikipedia articles didn't have wikilinks, categories, images, or footnotes. Very early articles (dating back to 2001) actually used a CamelCase wikilink style akin to what TV Tropes uses instead of the now-widespread markup used on nearly every other wiki.
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".
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.
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.
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
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: As one of the oldest and largest wikis around, you can go on especially long walks there.
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".