Listen to Wikipedia

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Listen to Wikipedia
Screen Shot Listen to Wikipedia.png
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Listen to Wikipedia, also known as L2W or Hatnote: Listen To Wikipedia, is a multimedia visualizer developed by Mahmoud Hashemi and Stephen LaPorte, which translates recent Wikipedia edits into a display of visuals and sounds. The open source software application creates a real-time statistical graphic with sound from contributions to Wikipedia from around the world. To accomplish this, L2W uses the graphics library D3.js.[1]

The concept of Listen to Wikipedia is based on BitListen, originally known as Listen to Bitcoin, an application by Maximillian Laumeister.[2][3]


Listen to Wikipedia exhibited at the University of Virginia


Each edit produces an orchestral sound in the pentatonic scale.[4] The bell-like sounds of a celesta correspond to additions of content to Wikipedia, and the strings of a clavichord show subtractions. The pitch is inversely proportional to the size of the edit (higher pitch notes are produced by smaller edits).[5] Newly registered Wikipedia users are welcomed by a violin chord.[6]


Each edit creates a circle of one of three colors: white for registered users, green for non-registered users, and violet for bots. The size of a circle is proportional to the size of the edit (larger circles are produced by larger edits).[3] Clicking on the display text will open a new page in the user's browser showing the revision.


  1. ^ Listen to Wikipedia,, Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Listen to Wikipedia – Wikimedia blog". Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  3. ^ a b Hashemi, Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud. "Hatnote Listen to Wikipedia". Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  4. ^ Wilson, Mark (August 23, 2013). "Listen To The Orchestra Of Users Updating Wikipedia". Fast Company. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  5. ^ "Listen To Wikipedia: Engineers Translate Edits Into Sound". NPR. Retrieved 2016-06-15.
  6. ^ Seifert, Dan (August 9, 2013). "Fall asleep to the sound of Wikipedia". The Verge. Retrieved December 23, 2019.

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