Browsing through Wikipedia pages offers good possibilities for expanding your knowledge, but the quality of what you encounter can vary widely. Making a daily habit of reading Wikipedia’s featured article ensures that you experience the best of what the community-generated encyclopedia has to offer.
Using Wikipedia’s random page is an obvious strategy for encountering new information, but you’ll often run into poorly-written articles and stubs that don’t engage your interest. A better strategy is to check out the daily featured article, which is selected by a longstanding administrator. Featured articles only get that designation after going through a review process to ensure that they offer a thorough, verifiable and unbiased overview of their topic.
If you’d been checking out the featured articles this week, you’d have ranged across topics from television to science to history. Although it doesn’t highlight articles which are the subject of active “edit wars”, the featured topics list doesn’t shy away from controversy: Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard recently appeared.
I’ve been making a point of reading the featured article every day on my train journey home (using my BlackBerry and Wikipedia’s mobile page). As well as expanding my general knowledge, doing that has given me a fresh appreciation of how well the Wikipedia process can work. If you react similarly and feel that you should more actively contribute to Wikipedia, check out our 101 guide to contributing to Wikipedia.