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Listen to Wikipedia

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Listen to Wikipedia
Developer(s)Stephen LaPorte, Mahmoud Hashemi
Written inJavaScript and HTML
License3-clause BSD license
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

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, by Maximillian Laumeister.[2][3]


Listen to Wikipedia exhibited at the University of Virginia


Each edit produces a note in the pentatonic scale.[4] The bell-like sounds of a celesta correspond to edits with a net addition of content to Wikipedia, and the strums of a clavichord correspond to net subtractions of content. The pitch is inversely proportional to the size of the edit (lower pitched notes are produced by larger edits).[5] Newly registered Wikipedia users are welcomed by a string chord.[6][3]


Each edit creates a circle of one of three colors: white for registered users, green for unregistered users, and violet for Wikipedia bots. The size of a circle is proportional to the magnitude of change executed by the edit; larger circles are produced by larger edits.[3] The name of the article edited is displayed in the center of the circle. Clicking on the text opens a Wikipedia page in a new tab in the user's browser, showing the revision. A blue bar at the top of the screen will appear whenever a new Wikipedia user is registered, listing their username. At the bottom left corner, there is a bar showing the amount of edits per minute.


  1. ^ "Listen to Wikipedia". {{Hatnote}}. August 30, 2013. Archived from the original on August 30, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  2. ^ "Listen to Wikipedia – Wikimedia blog". July 30, 2013. Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Hashemi, Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud. "Hatnote Listen to Wikipedia". listen.hatnote.com. Archived from the original on January 11, 2017. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  4. ^ Wilson, Mark (August 23, 2013). "Listen To The Orchestra Of Users Updating Wikipedia". Fast Company. Archived from the original on August 10, 2016. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  5. ^ "Listen To Wikipedia: Engineers Translate Edits Into Sound". NPR. Archived from the original on June 11, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  6. ^ Seifert, Dan (August 9, 2013). "Fall asleep to the sound of Wikipedia". The Verge. Archived from the original on December 24, 2019. Retrieved December 23, 2019.

External links[edit]

Listen to this article (2 minutes)
Spoken Wikipedia icon
This audio file was created from a revision of this article dated 18 September 2023 (2023-09-18), and does not reflect subsequent edits.