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AltWiki: Enterprising publications offer Wikipedia alternatives

The Washington Post and Canada's National Post, among others, are offering an "experimental, one-day Band-Aid" to users by fielding questions on Twitter. 


Jordan Valinsky


Posted on Jan 18, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 10:34 pm CDT

If you just finished printing out every article on Wikipedia to deal with today’s blackout, well, you might not want to hear what the Daily Dot just found: two Twitter-based replacements to help you cope.

The first alternative, sponsored by Washington Post, UK’s The Guardian, and NPR, encourages confused Web surfers to ask questions on Twitter using the hashtag #altwiki. Journalists from those news organizations will curate questions and ask their readers to help respond to your query.

“While we’re not in the Wikipedia business, this is an experimental, one-day Band-Aid to help out readers,” wrote Post’s David Beard.

For NPR’s part of the deal, they had one of their librarians, JoElla Straley, set up a Twitter account (@NPRAltWiki) to answer questions for the day. She appears to prepping herself by reading random Wikipedia articles. Whatever works!

The second alternative is sponsored by Canada’s National Post. The irreverent newspaper will answer questions starting at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday. Curious users can tweet to columnist Steve Murray at @NPSteve who says he will answer every question sent on their “Postipedia.”

So if you ever wanted to out smart a journalist and rub our smug faces into our incorrect information, today is your lucky day.

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*First Published: Jan 18, 2012, 11:16 am CST