Wikipedia Goes 3D

Only Wikipedia, the massively collaborative online encyclopedia, would want its users to know what’s on the other side of its logo…in three dimensions.

For those of you who still doubt the ability of Wikipedia to get the facts straight, the latest update should be a case in point for exactly how things work when everyone gets a say about what’s wrong, what’s right and what’s somewhere in-between.

Wikipedia announced a number of new changes last March, including a major redesign with the intention of getting even more users to join in on the creation and editing of content.

According to Moka Pantages, spokesperson for the WikiMedia Foundation, the new logo and redesign is part of a broader initiative to increase participation and in turn the quality of the encyclopedia.

“By lowering the barriers of participation and making the site easier to use,” Pantages said, “we hope this will also increase the diversity of contributors to all of our projects.”

According to a blog post today by the Wikimedia Foundation, the now-familiar globe logo was found in 2003 in a logo design contest and the editing immediately began. As errors in the Wikipedia logo were found by users, it was slowly touched up. A year ago, the effort began “to resolve some minor typographic errors found by our volunteers, and to develop a high-resolution version with gradient qualities (it is a sphere, after all) that could be used in a variety of new settings. It was a perfect opportunity to build a new model that would be completely 3D in its design.” This effort would involve determining what would be on those 52 other, yet unseen puzzle pieces.

The new logo incorporates a number of languages, though no longer Klingon, and now uses an open-source Linux Libertine typeface, in order to make the Wikipedia wordmark recreateable in hundreds of localized editions.

And for those of you who are curious about how this all happens, just take a a look at this one page of discussion to get a glimpse of what’s going on in the background of what looks to most like a neat and orderly product. This is how the new logo was born, with proposals and votes and more proposals and histories of prior votes and…it could make you dizzy if it weren’t all so organized and, well, encyclopedic.

And as the new logo looks to replace the old, the discussion has already begun over what could be done for the next incarnation.

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