When WikiWarriors get religion

WikipediaNow here is something that is either fun, maddening, insane, brilliant or all of the above.

A friend of this blog who pretty much lives on the Web sent me this link that points to a list of the “top 20 most hotly revised articles on Wikipedia.”

Now, before you dig into this lovely list, here is some info about how and why the list was created.

You really need to see the interesting graphic that goes with that article, which I elected not to use because I could not tell its copyright status.

How do you keep track of the bubbling mass of information that is Wikipedia?

… It’s a mind-boggling task. About 4 million “Wikipedians” have made over 130 million edits, and the English-language version alone contains 1.7 million articles. Every second a new edit is made, and every day 2000 new articles spring up.

To make sense of it all, Bruce Herr and Todd Holloway of Indiana University, Bloomington, created clusters of 300 or so articles that touch on a related topic, such as a religion or a famous person. For each cluster they took one picture from the most popular article and laid them out in a circular grid.

Atop the grid are coloured dots showing how often and how recently each article has been edited. The larger, darker dots mean more intense activity. The list of blitzed articles reveals the idiosyncratic priorities of Wikipedians: Jesus, Adolf Hitler, Nintendo, Hurricane Katrina, Britney Spears and Albert Einstein.

So with no further ado, here is the list.

Note the central role of religion and even of personalities — heck, from Adolf Hitler to Britney Spears — who often tend to get linked to religious debates in the minds of some people. Was Hitler a Christian or an anti-Christian? Is Britney still a Southern Baptist?

Jesus
Adolf Hitler
October 2003
Nintendo revolution
Hurricane Katrina
India
RuneScape
Anarchism
Britney Spears
PlayStation 3
Saddam Hussein
Japan
Albert Einstein
2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake
New York City
Germany
Muhammad
Pope Benedict XVI
Ronald Reagan
Hinduism

What a world, huh?

I have never understood why many people think that it would be boring to be assigned to the religion beat, broadly defined (and I do mean broadly defined).

Does anyone have any favorite religion ghosts that they see lurking in this hot-button list?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Hans

    Awhile ago, I found an article on wikipedia that offered a list of famous Lutherans. I can’t express my joy at discovering that, at least according to the god of wiki, The Hoff is a Lutheran.

  • Jerry

    That has been updated. The article now says:

    Although Hasselhoff was raised Roman Catholic, he and his family attended non-denominational church services

    It can also be fun to look at the talk pages such as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Jesus and the review criteria that resulted in that being called a “Good” article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Good_articles

  • Hans

    Although Hasselhoff was raised Roman Catholic, he and his family attended non-denominational church services

    Thanks alot, Jerry. Next you’re going to tell me that Bruce Willis, Loni Anderson and the Cosby Show’s Cousin Pam were never Lutherans either.

  • Steven Andrew Miller

    Could you find a bigger copy of the Wikipedia logo? I can’t quite see it from across the room.

  • Todd

    Thanks alot, Jerry. Next you’re going to tell me that Bruce Willis, Loni Anderson and the Cosby Show’s Cousin Pam were never Lutherans either.

    That depends on whether or not I choose to edit them off the list in the next few minutes. Muahahahaha!


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