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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Science |

Football clubs and Politics: The most controversial articles of Wikipedia

Football clubs and Politics: The most controversial articles of Wikipedia

(Cc) giulia.forsythe / Flickr

Many articles have encountered that are controversial within Wikipedia: the chapter on Jesus , the Falkland Islands or Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador are some examples of “edit wars” in which the editors of the online encyclopedia struggle to keep the information safe vandalism.

A group of researchers published in arXiv a draft of what will be a chapter in a book, where they investigate controversial articles in different languages, to see if they could find matches in the areas of conflict. To find items controversial, is based on the “rollback”, that is, when an editor removed all changes made by another publisher, determining the level of controversy the article.

Thus, items are listed with as many “reversals”, finding that “Jesus” is in the top 10 for the Wikipedia in English, German, French and Czech. Meanwhile, a recurring theme of in the Wikipedia in Spanish are teams, geographical locations and conflicts with politicians. The authors created an interactive tool where you can see these differences by language.

It also created a table with some of the most contentious issues for language:

Football clubs and Politics: The most controversial articles of Wikipedia image 2 The researchers found that most disputes are language dependent, although there are a few issues of conflict “global” that are played in the Wikipedias in all languages. Items like Jesus, Islam, Muhammad, as well as articles related to Israel and anti-Semitism are controversial in all languages ​​and cultures.

“English is a notable exception, and the English Wikipedia occupies a unique role. The status of language as a lingua franca means that the English Wikipedia ends up being edited by a wide community beyond having that language as their mother tongue. As a result, it is expected that items are represented globally commonly played in this Wikipedia “says the study.

One of the authors, Yasseri Taha said in his personal blog that studies like this can help us better understand human societies on issues such as the emergence of conflict and its dynamics, universal characteristics and settlement mechanisms, which for the first time can be examined through digital tools like Wikipedia.

“Most of these theories in the could never have been confirmed with experiments in the real world (as opposed to the natural sciences). But now, thanks to our digital lives today, we are able to track and analyze all the actions and interactions in a huge society of individuals (in this case, Wikipedia editors), so why not test existing theories in social great “social experiment” of Wikipedia? “he says.

Links:
The most controversial topics in Wikipedia: A Multilingual and geographical analysis (arXiv)
Wikipedia, modern platform, ancient debates on Land and Gods (stories for Sunday morning)
The controversial topics of Wikipedia (Wired)

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