Tools: Always find the longest Wikipedia article in a language you know

November 22, 2007, [MD]

So I updated my tools, first adressing a silly bug in the redir script

(Update 23.11.2007: Fixed the code so that article names with spaces work again)

and also by changing the GET method in my bigger script (which I’ve had lying around for ever) to HEAD, so that it wouldn’t cause to much impact on Wikipedia, and I wouldn’t feel unethical releasing it. So, lo and behold:

Wikipedia: which language has the longest article\ I, and many of my friends, speak more than one language. Wikipedia sometimes has surprising gems in some of the smaller languages, yet I find myself always going automatically to the English one (or the Norwegian one for Norwegian topics), thus missing out on the cases where other language versions (which I can read) have better articles.

Example:,da,sv,de,it/Democracy (will automatically redirect to the longest article about democracy in any of Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, German and Italian)\ Explanation: bigger/language-from/languages-to-comma-separated/article-name

As the above, this is also supposed to be used for a Firefox shortcut, where you pre-program the languages you can understand. Of course size is not a perfect measure of the quality of an article, but it’s a quick proxy for where there is most interesting content.

I was initially reluctant to release this, as I was worried about the impact of WP’s servers (it has to hit every single language version once to get the size), however I now changed it to use HEAD to make its requests, so each request is just a few byte. Through my experience with redir, I know that not many people will use this, and if they do, that’s just an incentive for Wikipedia to implement something similar natively.

This and more, on the tools page.

(Update: I added the source code files on the tools page.)**

Stian\ (thanks to hugovk @ flickr for the picture)

Stian Håklev November 22, 2007 Toronto, Canada
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