Wikipedia 'edit wars': Jesus, George W Bush and other contentious topics


It seems there are some things the human race - or at least Wikipedia contributors - just can't agree on and Jesus, George W Bush and the Prophet Muhammad are just some of them. 

That's according to researchers from the University of Oxford and three other institutions who analysed page edits in 10 editions of the online encyclopedia, looking specifically at how quickly edits were reversed.

Religion proved controversial, with the Prophet Muhammad, Jesus and Christianity all featuring in the top 10 most debated topics in the English language edition.  

And it may be four years since he left the White House, but George W Bush remains a divisive figure, topping the list.

The United States was the only country to feature in the top 10.

An unexpected source of Wiki fights was World Wrestling Entertainment employees.

Across all 10 editions, the most controversial topics were Israel, Adolf Hitler, the Holocaust and God.  

In addition to the English language edition, Jesus appeared in the top 10 for the German, French and Czech Wikipedias.  

Articles on religion, cults and beliefs accounted for 15% of the most controversial articles, third after geographical places (17%) and politics (25%).

"Religion, politics and geographical places seem to be the common fields of editorial wars in all editions," the report's authors said.  

"Politics-related articles exceed one quarter of the whole population and in addition to 'geographical places' and 'religion' cover more than half of the most controversial articles." 

Some topics, like the Arab-Israeli conflict, caused controversy in several language editions, while others like the dispute over the Falkland Islands were "of more narrow interest".

The researchers concluded: "The data presented here therefore offers a window into not just the topics and places that different language communities are interested in, but also the topics that seem worth fighting about."

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