When most people hear the word “wiki,” they think of Wikipedia. While it is one of the largest and best-known wikis, it’s not the only one out there.
So what exactly is a wiki? A wiki is a website that allows collaborative editing of its content and structure by its users. Fans use niche wikis to brush up on their favorite books and films. Businesses use corporate wikis to share company information with their team. Even universities and political organizations use wikis to share their history and values.
Basically, if it’s a person, place or thing, there is probably a wiki about it. Here are nine off-the-beaten path wikis to explore:
Have a question? “Answer” is literally in the name of this wiki, so you’re likely to find what you’re looking for here. Anyone can ask or answer questions on the site, making it a true collaborative space. Questions are organized by topic, making it easier to search the website and find what you’re looking for.
Because submissions are open to anyone, questions and answers range from serious to snarky. It’s a great wiki for both entertainment and learning a few things along the way.
If you have an interest in politics, or need to look like you do, this is the site for you! Learn about current government policy, the latest political news and even what will be on your ballot in the next election. It’s a one stop shop for American politics, and because it’s a wiki, it’s fairly unbiased due to the collaboration of its editorial team.
In a time when American politics are so divided, it’s good to have a resource to turn to that sticks to the facts with little to no opinion attached. The site also has an option to sign up for email updates to stay informed on the topics you care about most.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism has taken a major hit. To get your travel fix, check out Wikivoyage. Nestled under the Wikimedia umbrella, Wikivoyage is the travel guide written by people who love to travel. Use the Random Page link to discover new places, or the Nearby Me function to learn more about the area around you.
If you can’t find the travel information you are searching for, you can submit questions through their Tourist Office. You can also jump in and make edits yourself, if you’re interested in playing a more active role in the community.
If you notice patterns in the ways your favorite stories are told on screen, this is the wiki for you. Take a deep dive into the building blocks of storytelling, and learn why the same characters keep appearing in the media you enjoy. Though the site is called TV Tropes, it also covers movies, books and general media.
Beware that TV Tropes is a huge site, and can be overwhelming. A good entry point is to spend several minutes clicking the “Random Trope” or “Random Media” buttons at the top of each webpage. The articles are also all linked together, so you’ll be able to easily link surf from one trope to the next.
Digging into your family’s history is an exciting but daunting task. The FamilySearch wiki makes it a little easier by pointing you toward key resources with a simple location search. For example, if you know your family has origins in Brazil, you can select Brazil on the provided map and be directed to Brazilian genealogical research and resources.
If you need a little extra help finding what you’re looking for, you can use this wiki’s Guided Research feature. Family history is complex and lineages are long, so don’t be embarrassed if you struggle to find resources for, say, rural Iceland.
The internet has been around long enough to have a history, and Know Your Meme is the perfect site for reliving it. If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of Bad Luck Brian or the more recent “What Are Those?” memes, this is the wiki for you.
While not always safe to peruse at work, Know Your Meme is a good resource for internet memes and trends, as well as viral phenomena. In fact, depending on what you do professionally, it may be a good site to bookmark for reference.
Song lyrics have meanings that aren’t always obvious when you listen to them. Use Genius to explore your favorite songs’ annotated lyrics, and learn a little more about the music you love. You can also search poetry and historical speeches.
While Genius also provides music industry news, lyrics and annotations are where the site really shines. Users can share their annotations, which are then voted on and responded to by other users. Sometimes, the artists themselves will pop up in annotations, explaining their own works and interacting with fans.
From the super simple to the surprisingly complicated, you can learn how to do pretty much everything on wikiHow. Explanations are accompanied by wikiHow’s signature illustrations, which make the site a delight to scroll through.
Subject matter experts do often weigh in on the how-tos in their area of expertise, which is nice if you’re actually trying to learn how to do something. If you’re just looking for a fun way to spend time, though, there are plenty of silly how-tos to read through as well.
This wiki contains literally everything you have ever wanted to know about Star Wars, and then some. If you want to dive into fandom wikis, this is probably the best place to start. No character is left behind; no piece of Star Wars media undocumented.
Created in 2005, Wookiepedia is one of the oldest still-going wikis online today, and has more than 150,000 pages of information. In fact, content is still being added as new Star Wars projects are announced and released.
Wikis are an integral part of the internet. Whether you want to learn more about a subject, discuss something you like with other fans or explore things you never knew about, there is a wiki out there for you.