Wikipedia isn’t exactly the best place to get in-depth knowledge about a particular topic. If a topic has suddenly become newsworthy, it’s possible that some of the information on its Wikipedia page has been exaggerated. That said, information on Wikipedia isn’t useless. Sure, you can’t quote it on a paper but you can definitely check out the references in an article and use those to further your understanding. If you aren’t looking for details on a particular topic though, a summarized version of an article is better. Many articles on Wikipedia have a summarized version however, you’re never taken to it by default. In order to get a summary for a Wikipedia article, you need to edit the article’s URL.
Wikipedia Article Summary
Open the Wikipedia article you want to get a summary for. Look at the URL. The first two letters of the URL will show you the language you’re viewing the article in, for example, you will see en.wikipiedia.* if you’re viewing it in English.
To get a summary for a Wikipedia article, you need to remove the language part from the URL, and replace it with the word ‘simple’.
This will greatly reduce the amount of information that the article gives you.
Usage & Limitations
This method is best used when you need to extract dates from an article. If the article features a series of events, you can get them all in chronological order in a table format via this little trick. Some articles may have a very concise summary while others may still be substantially long even in their summarized or simplified form.
Not all articles have a summary. You can try this trick on just about any article in Wikipedia but it won’t always work. When an article doesn’t have a summary and you change its URL, Wikipedia simply tells you that no such article exists. You can create the page in this case i.e. write a summary of the article yourself since Wikipedia is basically crowd sourced information gathering and the summary can be your contribution to it. The summaries are all written by people and aren’t summarized using AI. In some cases, this will simply give you the same article explained more simply.
This feature might just be exclusive to articles in English. We tried our hand at a few articles in Portuguese but no summary was available for any of them. It’s possible we didn’t find an article that had a summary and it does work regardless of language so give it a try just the same.