Lostpedia is a wiki-powered online encyclopdia of information regarding the American television drama Lost. Launched on September 22, 2005 by Kevin Croy,[2] the site uses MediaWiki software to maintain a user-created database of information. The site's content is under a Creative Commons license (by-nc-nd), which means that it is available free to the public, but cannot be used for commercial purposes and should not be modified by people who are not part of the community of the website. Lostpedia is supported by revenue from advertising; the site has not made information regarding financial details public. As of May 9, 2008, the site contained an estimated 4,003 articles created and edited by the 27,172 registered users, with over 148 million page views.[3] Tom Lowry of Business Week called the site "a replica of online user-generated Wikipedia, that is dedicated solely to all things Lost."[4] David Kushner of Rolling Stone called the site "the best example of how an online community can complement a series."[5] Lostpedia topped Wired's list of best non-Wikipedia "pedias" in June 2008.[6]

Subject matter[edit | edit source]

Lostpedia provides detailed episode synopses, character biographies, cultural references and themes, as well as a range of other articles. The site's main page features an international episode airing schedule, recent news related to Lost, as well as a featured article of the week.

Examples of articles in Lostpedia include a compilation of appearances of the show's infamous 4-8-15-16-23-42 number sequence, a breakdown of the blast door map seen in the episode "Lockdown", including translations of the Latin text, and documentation of what the Lost producers call "crosses": events in the show where characters cross paths with each other, often unknowingly. The site also features maps of locations in Lost, derived from the limited views visible in the TV show. The site also includes information on the tie-ins associated with Lost, including Lost novels, the Lost Experience and other web content.

Lostpedia lists Lost related websites, which includes official websites affiliated with the show and its producers, websites used in the Lost Experience, fan sites and other notable unofficial sites. It also lists and discusses notable hoax websites which are often misconstrued by fans of the show as official. Lostpedia added a discussion forum in July 2006.[7]

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Lostpedia's homepage as seen using an alternate layout available to members.

In June 2008, Lostpedia began holding interviews with members of the Lost cast and crew.

Facts and speculation[edit | edit source]

The Lost series has a complex and cryptic storyline which spawns numerous unresolved questions.[8] Encouraged by Lost's writers and stars, who often interact with fans online, viewers and TV critics alike have taken to rampant theorization in an attempt to unravel the mysteries.[9]

In order to remain a reputable source, Lostpedia follows a "theory policy",[10] which discriminates between canonical and non-canonical sources, and the various canonical sources are ranked to determine which supersedes which in the case of a contradiction. In each article, canonical facts are listed under a "Facts" heading, while speculation, provided it is logically consistent and not discredited or disproved, is listed under a "Theories" heading. Erroneous information is not permitted at all. From November 15, 2006 onwards, Lostpedia requires the theories to be on a separate sub-page.[11]

Spoilers and rumors about episodes that have not aired in North America are generally not allowed by the site in the main article pages, although there are designated spoiler pages where rumors are allowed to be included as long as they are marked as such. For example, the site does not allow the creation of pages with the rumored episodes names; such pages may only be created when an official announcement is made by ABC or the writing team behind the show.[11]

Role in The Lost Experience[edit | edit source]

As part of the alternate reality game The Lost Experience, which ran from April 24, 2006 to September 24, 2006, a series of images called "glyphs," were released on numerous websites and in physical locations in cities across the world. The glyphs, once entered into an in-game website, would unlock a short video clip. Lostpedia was chosen by the game producers to host the 42nd glyph.[12][13]

During the course of the game, Lostpedia was also mentioned on the official ABC show blog,[14] as well as its UK and Australian equivalents.[15][16] A "DJ Dan" podcast also quoted an article from Lostpedia.[17][18]

Additionally during the game, Lostpedia was continually updated by its users to include the latest game clues and solutions as they were found.[19] In the aftermath of the game, Hi-ReS!, the company which designed all in-game websites for the Lost Experience, links to Lostpedia on its homepage as a detailed analysis of the franchise.[20]

Criticism[edit | edit source]

In September 2006, Lostpedia received some comment in the Stuttgart newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung.[21] In October 2006, Lostpedia was criticized for insufficiently crediting and providing copyright information on images. In response, the site began enforcing its policy to add copyright and licensing information for all images.[22][23]

International sites[edit | edit source]

Lostpedia has set up ten sister projects for non-English language contributions in Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The policy of not providing spoilers until an episode has aired extends to these sister projects, and is based on local air dates rather than the North American air dates. This is not the case in English speaking countries (UK, Ireland, Australia in particular) where they share the main site with North America. There are however spoiler warnings. The UK, Irish and Australian audiences now see episodes within a week of U.S. airing.[24][25]

Awards[edit | edit source]

Lostpedia was SciFi.com Site of the Week on July 5, 2006.[26] Lostpedia also won Jay and Jack's 2007 Hugo Cup, an award for the best Lost fan website.[27] Lostpedia was number 3 in EW.com's 25 best fansites of 2007.[28]

References[edit | edit source]

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External links[edit | edit source]

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  1. lostpedia.com - Traffic Details from Alexa
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  8. Carabott, Chris & Goldman, Eric & Iverson, Dan & Moriarty, Colin & Zoromski, Brian, (November 13, 2006) "Top 50 Lost Loose Ends," IGN. Retrieved on August 22, 2007.
  9. Bancroft, Colette, (January 10, 2006) "Web Ensnares Lost Souls," St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved on August 22, 2007.
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  13. Lost Ninja Official Blog confirming that Lostpedia was the location of glyph 42
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  21. Stuttgarter Zeitung.[1] (Sept. 11, 2006). Sieben Dinge, die man zum Start der zweiten Staffel der Mystery-Serie "Lost" wissen sollte (translation: Seven things which one should know for the start of the second season of the mystery series "Lost"). Radio and television section, page 14.
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  24. "Channel 4 Loses Lost to Sky One," BBC, October 19, 2006. Retrieved on August 27, 2007.
  25. "Lost," RTÉ, February 6, 2007. Retrieved on August 27, 2007.
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