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Wikipedia in 2012
December 29, 2012 1:00 AM   Subscribe

A list of the most viewed articles on Wikipedia in 2012 from many of the site's main languages.

Johan Gunnarsson's Wikitrends project identifies the wikipedia articles with the greatest uptrend in page views each day.

The surprising popularity of "cul-de-sac" on the German site may be explained by mistaken translation of the boy bad "One Direction". (German link)
posted by Winnemac (56 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Facebook

that's typing "Facebook" into google and hitting the first link

lol
posted by the noob at 1:15 AM on December 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


Google.

aka The Google.


Reminds me of when I accidentally entered my sister's name as a status update.


What's on your mind?

Margaret


wait i fucked that up


but i suppose it is technically true


hi maragret

posted by louche mustachio at 1:21 AM on December 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hua Shan is the most viewed article on Dutch Wikipedia in 2012, with over 12 million views. #2 has just over 1 million views. *mind boggles*

It's a magnificent mountain I guess.
posted by fatehunter at 1:23 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I always feel, as a person who has friends who are into BDSM, that the Fifty Shades of Grey wikipedia entry should include a section on how what it depicts isn't really what (to my knowledge) responsible, healthy practitioners of BDSM do. I'd add it but my knowledge of the subject is just enough to think that that entry should probably include that caveat.
posted by sendai sleep master at 1:31 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fascinating. A few common trends:
  • "Wiki" and Google (or local equivalent),
  • The name of the country that speaks the language, especially for one-country languages, like Dutch and Indonesian -- more widely spoken languages like English have the same thing, but it's dispersed across multiple countries (United States, India, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia are all in the top 100 for English, for instance).
  • Popular social networking sites (mostly Facebook, but VKontakte in Russian, Orkut in Portugese)
  • Pop-culture figures and allied; One Dimension, Lionel Messi, etc.
  • Current sporting events (mostly the Euro 2012 soccer tournament, but the 2012 hockey championships in Finnish).
  • Historical figures, including the Titanic (100th anniversary) as well as current political figures (ASEAN is #1 in Thailand, for instance).
  • Pornography or sex.
These all make sense to me.

But then, there's these oddballs -- Mount Hua in Dutch, cul-de-sac in German, Tea in Danish, people named Schrøder in Norwegian, John Dillinger in Swedish. A random holly tree in French.

Hua Shan on the Dutch wikipedia in particular, since it has 12x as many hits as the next one -- I'd assume some sort of exploit.

Perhaps our international readers can help explain some of these oddballs?
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:33 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Germans are really into American sitcoms, apparently?

Or maybe it's like France, frantically wiki-ing the United States in a desperate attempt to understand what is going on.
posted by The Whelk at 1:36 AM on December 29, 2012 [4 favorites]



I always feel, as a person who has friends who are into BDSM, that the Fifty Shades of Grey wikipedia entry should include a section on how what it depicts isn't really what (to my knowledge) responsible, healthy practitioners of BDSM do.


It is mentioned in the talk section, but few people look there.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:36 AM on December 29, 2012


Huashan has become a death trap for adventure-seeking western tourists and so they are putting up safety devices to keep people from falling off the trails.
posted by stbalbach at 1:42 AM on December 29, 2012




I wasn't necessarily surprised that the Japanese results were preoccupied with boy- and girl-bands and actresses of a certain genre, nor that the Germans were interested in cul-de-sacs (which seem suitably existential), Deutschland and Game of Thrones, that the Chinese were into Baidu or that the top Vietnamese page is "List of sex positions," or even that the entire goddamned world can't get enough One Direction.

However, someone's going to have to explain to me what the hell happened in France this year, that their number one Wikipedia choice was "Houx crénelé" - Japanese Holly - a shrubbery?!
posted by bicyclefish at 1:48 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well I'm glad people are going to a reputable source such as Wikipedia for information on One Direction.
posted by Jimbob at 1:57 AM on December 29, 2012


Remember these stats are relative to other articles. They don't represent objective popularity. Some of them just represent randomness in the system, some articles will just get more hits than others purely by chance rise to the top of the list. Flip a million coins a million times and one of those coins will come up heads an unusual number of times. I wouldn't read too much into some of them.
posted by stbalbach at 1:59 AM on December 29, 2012


The Whelk: "Germans are really into American sitcoms, apparently?

Or maybe it's like France, frantically wiki-ing the United States in a desperate attempt to understand what is going on.
"

I torrent 80% of my TV shows from the UK/AU/NZ and I live in Oregon. When the credits roll there are promos for everything. I just watched a show from AU that had Bones and CSI:Miami promos while the credits rolled.
posted by johnpowell at 2:12 AM on December 29, 2012


I was just going to ask why all these French people were looking up Ilex Crenata. Surely this is a bug in the results?
posted by third word on a random page at 2:14 AM on December 29, 2012


However, someone's going to have to explain to me what the hell happened in France this year, that their number one Wikipedia choice was "Houx crénelé"
It seems completely bogus (the stats reported here show 10-20 hits per month until the FFP article today).
posted by elgilito at 2:17 AM on December 29, 2012


I am very suspicious about this list. Johan Gunnarsson, who assembled it, also does Wikitrends, which is probably the source for the 2012 list. And he got his info from Stats.Grok.se.

But comparing France most visited articles this week with the most visited this month the numbers for the 1st place are not equal, with the number for this month even lower than for this week.

Last but not least the Pont Suspendu (probably a mistranlation for "fiscal-cliff"?) didn't even make it to the top 20 in 2012 although its numbers might suggest so and assuming that they are really sorted by count view as the lists suggest. To be fair it only started to gain in popularity on december 22nd.

Last note on the german Sackgasse: A better translation for One Direction would be Einbahnstraße, and I hope even the german kids don't get this wrong.
posted by KMB at 2:18 AM on December 29, 2012


citation needed
posted by aerotive at 2:52 AM on December 29, 2012


This seems like a mix of common sense and nonsense. There's no way that many Norwegians are wiki-ing rather obscure people named "Schrøder", for instance. But it makes sense that people would be searching for pornography, popular social networks, their mother country and celebrities. Given this mix of the very expected and the completely unexpected and inexplicable, I'd guess the data is heavily doctored, or simply made up.
posted by simen at 2:52 AM on December 29, 2012


Or that people are far, far stranger than we expect them to be. Which would be my preferred result.
posted by 1adam12 at 3:30 AM on December 29, 2012


Koreans are really into measure theory? Really?

Kids these days. It starts out there and before long they're mainlining the continuum hypothesis.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:46 AM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Given the complete lack of sources for this "data", I really doubt it's a case of "reality is stranger than fiction."
posted by simen at 3:49 AM on December 29, 2012


Jääkiekon maailmanmestaruuskilpailut 2012

It is beyond remarkable that nearly three hundred thousand cats could fall on keyboards in just such a way.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:50 AM on December 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


that's typing "Facebook" into google and hitting the first link

omg where do i even
posted by DU at 3:59 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Source checking is a good idea. Johan's site says that the Wikitrends numbers are based on raw data from Domas Mituzas' wikipedia page counts dumps, "a long-time volunteer db admin for WMF". The info from 2007-2011 is on the wikipmedia dumps page. I don't see 2012 yet.
posted by Winnemac at 3:59 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or that people are far, far stranger than we expect them to be. Which would be my preferred result.

Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, thrice is enemy action. Some of these oddball pages may be command and control vectors for botnets. An innocuous but carefully phrased edit could indicate to the code examining the page to switch to a new, predefined control server or channel if the old one is compromised or otherwise unavailable. Something for the hyperparanoid infosec researchers to dive into, I suppose.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:10 AM on December 29, 2012


I read about this "Wikipedia" thing in the Encyclopedia Britannica, which unequivocally states that some highly publicized problems have called attention to Wikipedia’s editorial process.

Then I read about this "Encyclopedia Britanica" thing on Wikipedia, which says that the Britannica is occasionally criticized for its editorial choices.

To avoid this conflict, I now get all my information from Snapple lids.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:30 AM on December 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Are these the raw number of visits? Because the numbers don't really seem that high for English. Fewer than 5% of Americans visited Wikipedia for info on either Obama or Romney this past year, really?
posted by KGMoney at 4:51 AM on December 29, 2012


I live in France and actually own a Japanese Holly ("Houx crénelé") bush. I had always wondered if it was really more exciting than François Hollande. Now I know.
posted by rongorongo at 5:51 AM on December 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just to add to the chorus, I'm also very suspicious about these numbers. Hua Shan hasn't been in the news here in NL that I know of, and I follow the news closely.

It's ridiculous how these numbers keep being repeated by various media (here and in English-speaking countries at least). Personally, I wonder what Wikimedia has to say about it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:04 AM on December 29, 2012


However, someone's going to have to explain to me what the hell happened in France this year, that their number one Wikipedia choice was "Houx crénelé"

It seems completely bogus (the stats reported here show 10-20 hits per month until the FFP article today).


Yep - it had some crazy numbers of hits in April, for no apparent reason.
posted by creeky at 6:07 AM on December 29, 2012


The French Gizmodo is just as baffled as we are about why Houx crénelé was the most searched term on fr.wikipedia.org.
posted by Kattullus at 6:32 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've never heard of this band One Direction before, surely they cannot be notable. We must nominate their article for deletion.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:40 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd want statistics on the country of origin for the page views. Anglophones occasionally try using French words, maybe all the Houx crénelé visits came from North America after some gardening magazine tried sounding posh. I'm disturbed that One Direction scores so highly across so many languages, but maybe their rank was intentionally inflated by promotors or something.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:53 AM on December 29, 2012


Note that it's not the Houx crénelé page that has so many hits but the Ilex crenata one, which is strange since Ilex crenata redirects to Houx crénelé. On April 8 at 3 pm, Ilex_crenata was downloaded 35379 times vs 1 for Ilex%20crenata and 1 for Houx_cr%C3%A9nel%C3%A9. On the English language WP the Ilex crenata page was downloaded one time too, which is consistent. I'd say that it's a either a glitch in the Wikimedia stats (the 2012 dumps are here) or some rogue bot (but the latter would not explain the redirect discrepancy), or some sort of internal stress test of the Wikimedia servers.
posted by elgilito at 7:14 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I type "Facebook" into Google, the first listing is Facebook itself, not the wiki page for Facebook.
posted by escabeche at 7:31 AM on December 29, 2012


I honestly believe I have never heard of "One Direction" before. Not "am not familiar with", but literally "have never heard of".
posted by Flunkie at 7:35 AM on December 29, 2012


Who'da thought the Magnavox Odyssey was so big in Poland?
posted by anagrama at 7:51 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always feel, as a person who has friends who are into BDSM, that the Fifty Shades of Grey wikipedia entry should include a section on how what it depicts isn't really what (to my knowledge) responsible, healthy practitioners of BDSM do.

It is mentioned in the talk section, but few people look there.


Looks like its in the article under "controversies". Wikipedia being Wikipedia I bet there are long arguments over whether it should be covered in the lede.
posted by Artw at 7:53 AM on December 29, 2012


Here are some quick translations of the non-obvious Finnish ones for the curious. This is just for people who don't believe the explanation Wolfdog offered for how these sequences of letters ended up on the net. :)

1. Suomi : Finland
2-5. Proper names or otherwise obvious.
6. Alastonsuomi.com : The name translates to Naked Finland. A personal picture gallery site for adults that allows nudes.
7. Salatut elämät : A Finnish TV show / soap opera
8. Jääkiekon maailmanmestaruuskilpailut 2012 : World Ice Hockey Championship 2012
9. Yhdysvallat : United States
10. Alpit : Alps
posted by tykky at 8:00 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the second most popular result in Turkish is Go. Unlikely
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:05 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia being Wikipedia I bet there are long arguments over whether it should be covered in the lede.

there is truly no one on earth more grim and humourless and uptight than a hardcore wikipedia editor.
posted by elizardbits at 8:15 AM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Greek ones are entirely reasonable, here's a rundown:

1. Greece
2. Golden Dawn (the neo-fascist political party, not the occult weirdos - major increase in publicity in 2012)
3. Suleiman the 1st (Ottoman ruler, mildly controversial serial historical drama about him on TV)
4. The golden rule (1.618..., either students or idiots looking for the Golden Dawn)
5. Odysseas Elytis (poet, probably students)
6. Alexis Tsipras (opposition party leader)
7. Sex positions
8. Europe
9. International dialing codes
10. Thessaloniki
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:32 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


However, someone's going to have to explain to me what the hell happened in France this year, that their number one Wikipedia choice was "Houx crénelé" - Japanese Holly - a shrubbery?!

If you don't have enough herring, you're just going to have to learn to live with the shrubbery.
posted by jonp72 at 9:04 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was struck by the differences in the numbers betwen the Japanese #1 and #2-9 spots. I don't read Japanese though, so my curiosity led me to g.translate the #1 en-jp page. It's a master list of lists of Japanese porn actresses.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 9:04 AM on December 29, 2012


And why are the Turks researching the Illuminati?
posted by Windopaene at 9:07 AM on December 29, 2012


Why are over a milion Poles reading about Vikings?
posted by jeudi at 9:08 AM on December 29, 2012


Random things:

(1) Just to chirp in on the "seems wrong" front, I think it's unlikely that the Chinese are all that interested in the favicon article.

(2) Holy crap, Japan apparently has a very popular music group which currently consists of either 65 or 91 members (depending on which part of the article you believe, I guess), four "subgroups", a bunch of "trainees", a bunch of "graduates", and a bunch of "sister groups" organized along the same lines. They play Rock Paper Scissors to determine who gets to be in the video.
posted by Flunkie at 9:29 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the Odyssey, the Polish article declares it the world's first video game, but I'm sure that only applies to commercial development, there were video games before that, just most people didn't have access to them.
posted by JHarris at 9:44 AM on December 29, 2012


Looking at the stats, the unusual pages have weird visiting patterns. The Ilex crenata French page was visited massively for only 7 days in April. The Hua Shan Dutch page was visited for only 13 days in July and August. The German Sackgasse page has been visited massively since February 15, 2011 but only 4-5 days per week, never on the week-end (if the One Direction theory is right, why would German fans of the band stop visiting that page on the week-ends?). The Danish Te page (Tea) is also odd, with isolated sudden "attacks" (about 10 per month) from November 2011 to August 2012. The visits to the Japanese list of porn actors almost stopped for a month (dropping from 80000-10000 daily to 6000 between Feb 15 and March 15). I'm not sure what to make of this but it does not look like normal visiting patterns. For instance, there's no distribution tail, just sudden peaks (or group of peaks) coming apparently from nowhere and disappearing as suddenly.
posted by elgilito at 10:31 AM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can we blame Reddit somehow?
posted by dabitch at 10:35 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am not certainly not proposing that this is the cause of the strangeness, but: It would be an interesting (albeit very slow) way to get a secret message to someone.

Pick random articles and hash their titles down to a single byte each, using a hashing key known only to you and the recipient, until you find one that matches the next byte you want to transmit. Flood that page with an absurd number of requests. Next day, rinse and repeat. The recipient periodically checks the Wikipedia access stats.
posted by Flunkie at 10:40 AM on December 29, 2012


This would be fascinating IF I had any confidence in the data. Not one but two countries (Spain and Turkey) have "Go" in their top 10 - could my favorite game be increasing in popularity? (Best guess from reddit: people misusing autocomplete...)

This might explain the single "G" result being so high in Germany, too.

Flunkie: the trouble with your idea is that it's extremely slow, very low bandwidth, easy to track down, and prone to error. You'd be much better off using steganography and uploading an ostensibly better image that secretly contained the data.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:06 AM on December 29, 2012


Yes, I know it's extremely slow. That's why I said it would be very slow.

"Easy to track down", maybe that something's happening, but not the message.

"Prone to error", not really. You could have multiple redundancy (i.e. multiple pages hashing to the same byte) on any given day to give confidence that the received byte is the transmitted byte, rather than a random byte that happened to cross the page hit threshold of what's considered data. And even in the worst case scenario, the transmitter has access to the potential data too, and can just check if there's any question as to what the transmitted byte is. If there is some question, that day's data doesn't count, and the correct byte is retransmitted (via new pages) the next day, instead of the next byte being transmitted the next day.

"Better off with steganography", yes, I'm aware that there are quicker ways to transmit coded data.
posted by Flunkie at 11:42 AM on December 29, 2012


Was it predictive that Barack Obama was in the top 100 and Mitt Romney was not?
posted by humanfont at 11:48 AM on December 29, 2012


The G in Germany and Go in Turkey exploded both on May 23, with very similar numbers (20000). Go also rose sharply this day in Polish, Spanish and Catalan so that's probably not a coincidence. However, the Turkish Go died abruptly on July 2 while the German G and the other Gos are still popular. The autocomplete theory seems interesting.

On the other hand, the Vietnamese do love the wiki page on sex positions: no strange pattern here, it's visited 6000-8000 times per day, every day...
posted by elgilito at 12:11 PM on December 29, 2012


The One Direction theory for Germany makes very little sense. Not least because they're called One Direction in German and have a Wikipedia page. It would make sense if people were sort of stupidly linking from the English One Direction page to the Sackgasse page as the relevant German page, but it looks like that's handled largely by bots in this case. (Sometimes the links between different Wikipedias go to pages whose titles aren't, as in this case, identical or even translations of each other. I assume this is handled by people.)
posted by hoyland at 8:31 AM on January 17, 2013


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