Talking about the Wiki Compare Feature in a “Matter of Fact” Tone

Funny things can happen when you start comparing things or people. From my University days, I remember reading a story in a study book that compared US criminals to Japanese criminals and I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to find it back. It turns out that Japanese criminals score 10 to 15 points higher than their American counterparts in basic skill tests. The conclusion of dr. Smyk, of the Ohio Valley Educational Council is hilarious: "For all their acumen," he says, "Japanese criminals wind up sacrificing a lot of the joie de vivre you see in our guys."

If you’re wondering how it’s possible that US criminals score lower on skill tests, read the following story:

“In Bent Forks, Ill., kidnappers of ice-cube magnate Worth Bohnke sent a photograph of their captive to Bohnke's family. Bohnke was seen holding up a newspaper. It was not that day's edition and, in fact, bore a prominent headline relating to Nixon's trip to China. This was pointed out to the kidnappers in a subsequent phone call. They responded by sending a new photograph showing an up-to-date newspaper. Bohnke, however, did not appear in the picture. When this, too, was refused, the kidnappers became peevish and insisted that a photograph be sent to them showing all the people over at Bohnke's house holding different issues of Success magazine. They provided a mailing address and were immediately apprehended. They later admitted to FBI agents they did not understand the principle involved in the photograph newspaper concept. "We thought it was just some kind of tradition," said one.”

I can totally recommend reading the entire article here:

Now that I’ve stressed and proven how important comparisons are for their entertainment value, it is noteworthy to mention that they have other uses as well. As you’re writing and contributing to Wiki articles, if everything goes well other people start contributing too. In the past, when this happened, I used to click on the History tab and checked out the  comments to try to figure out what the author of the last revision did. This only gets you so far, and I’ve wished multiple times that a comparison feature would be available.

One day, I was e-mailing Ed Price about an upcoming interview, and in his response he mentioned in a “Matter of Fact” tone that he made a change to one of the Wiki pages I’ve started and he sent me a URL that allowed me to compare multiple versions of a Wiki page. This was the Comparison feature I had been looking for! I thought that this feature  would make for an excellent Wiki Life article (unless everybody out there already knew about it and I’m the only one who didn’t???), so here’s how it works:

  1. Go to a Wiki page, for example:
  2. Remove the .aspx suffix from the URL. This results in
  3.  Add the following suffix to this URI: /compare.aspx?revB=[latest version]&revA=[previous version] . The current version can apparently be referred to as RevB=0, the previous version is revA=[revision number]. In my case, I did: /compare.aspx?revB=0&revA=37

The end result, again in my case, is this:

The compare.aspx page contains a Comparison feature that displays additions and deletions, like this: