Come listen to Wikipedia making sweet, sweet random music

30 Nov 2015

While not sounding like the most in-tune band in the world, two developers have turned the thousands of Wikipedia edits happening right this second into a musical number of twangs.

Every second, 10 people around the world edit an article on Wikipedia, putting up to 1GB of pure text into the online encyclopaedia, on top of the 20,000 articles created each month.

Knowing that this open source knowledge and live information was available, one young programmer called Mahmoud Hashemi and his friend Stephen LaPorte decided to put their skills to use and create a musical programme to promote the vast online resource.

Every time someone makes an edit on Wikipedia, they say, the twang will play, showing what article was just edited, and if the edit was particularly extensive a deeper sound will play.

Speaking of the project, Hashemi said that while he is now working in Silicon Valley with PayPal, the project was a welcome respite from the culture that exists there, which, he says, is all about the business side of things rather than technology.

“It’s absurd,” Hashemi said in an interview with KQED News. “We programmers by and large end up doing a lot of things because we can, not because we should.

“I see so many promising kids, not unlike myself, coming into these big organisations, and they’re very eager, energetic. And frankly, these sorts of companies are built on the backs of these kids and it’s messed up.”

Either way, it’s a cool little bit of datavis from the pair that they feel brings it in line with some o the other cool datavis ideas that many other Silicon Valley companies have taken on board.

Click on the image below to listen to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia edits

Gigglebit is’s daily dose of the funny and fantastic in science and tech, to help start your day on a lighter note.

Musical notes image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic