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Wiki What?

News and notes from around the world

Author Jacqueline Detwiler

Though its web pages appear as static as the entries in the print version of the Encyclopedia Britannica (which went the way of the dinosaur in 2012), Wikipedia is actually updated close to 550 times every minute. Changes to Wikipedia entries might even be a smarter measure of breaking news than Twitter updates, which is the idea behind a new web app, Wikipedia Live Monitor, created by a Google engineer. But Wikipedia editing isn’t always fun and games—the website’s breadth often gives rise to the perennial “too many chefs” dilemma. Above, a few of the site’s most absurd edit wars.

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dispatches1Entry: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Total Page Edits: 6,885
Is it accurate to say that the 2005 Star Wars Episode III was the “preceding film” to the original 1977 Star Wars just because it was a prequel? The conclusion: List them in production order, and this is all George Lucas’ fault.


dispatches2Entry: Feces
Total Page Edits: 5,596
After more than 12,900 words of impassioned argument, the moralists appear to have won—the entry currently contains no photos of the human version of its subject matter.


dispatches3Entry: The Beatles
Total Page Edits: 21,616
A fight that would make a copy editor blush: Should John, Paul, George and Ringo be listed in the traditional order instead of alphabetically? The answer: “yeah yeah yeah.”


dispatches4Entry: U2
Total Page Edits: 12,376
Does anyone care that Bono plays the harmonica? Several days of revisions, reverts and heated discussion say yes. (Also, no.)



dispatches5Entry: Aluminium
Total Page Edits: 6,432
This battle was almost as big as the American Revolution. Aluminum or aluminium? Currently, the Brits are winning: “Aluminum” redirects to the version with the extra “i”.

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