Jesus beaten to Wikipedia's most influential by Carl Linnaeus

Published 14 June 2014  |  
Botanist Carl Linnaeus

Carl Linnaeus may not be immediately obvious as the most influential figure on Wikipedia but think plant and animal names and the penny will probably drop.

Researchers at the University of Toulouse found from their algorithm study of Wikipedia that the 18th century Swedish botanist behind the biological naming system is the most influential person on the online encyclopaedia.

This in spite of the fact that most people probably wouldn't be able to say who he was, unlike many of those he beat to the top position like Jesus and Hitler.

The team of researchers, led by Young-Ho Eom, made the discovery by mapping incoming and outgoing web links in all 24 language versions of Wikipedia using Google's PageRank algorithm and a 2nd Rank algorithm.

They drew up their list by using the simple equation of the more links, the more influence the person has.

In terms of incoming links, Linnaeus was the most influential, followed by Jesus, Napoleon and Hitler.

The results were quite different for the outgoing links though, with Hitler proving to be the most influential. He was followed by Michael Jackson, Madonna and Beethoven.

There were also considerable variations in results when the links were broken down into the different language editions, with the three most influential people in the English version being Napoleon, Barack Obama and then Carl Linnaeus.

In the Chinese edition, by contrast, Carl Linnaeus once again came out on top, followed by Mao Zedong and Napoleon.

The English results for outgoing links were also surprising: Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Pope Pius XII.

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