Wikipedia’s 10 Most Controversial Pages

The bloodiest edit wars of them all.

A study conducted by Oxford University researchers has revealed Wikipedia’s most controversial pages, according to tallying up instances of edit warring. Put simply, these are the topics whose editors keep reversing each other’s changes.

ID: 1388191

10. Christianity.


How’s it contentious?
Mostly because of the syntax in this sentence regarding the Church’s historical definition of orthodoxy and heresy: “Theological disputes about the correct interpretation of Christian teaching led to internal conflicts and Church authorities condemned some theologians as heretics, defining orthodoxy in contrast to heresy, the most notable being Christian Gnosticism.” They keep switching the order of the words “orthodoxy” and “heresy”.

Did you know…?
The word “Trinity” doesn’t appear in the Bible.

ID: 1388202

9. Race and intelligence.

How’s it contentious?
Although pretty much everyone agrees that there are systematic differences between average scores in IQ tests of different population groups, edit warriors can’t decide whether this is primarily due to environmental or genetic factors.

Did you know…?
South Koreans typically have higher IQs than people from Western nations.

ID: 1388205

8. Jesus.

How’s it contentious?
Wikipedia’s troublemakers keep bickering over when it’s right to say “B.C.Jesus” and when they should be using “A.C. Jesus”.

Did you know…?
In its account of Jesus’ birth, the Qu’ran doesn’t mention Joseph.

ID: 1388207

7. United States.

Jared Wickerham / Getty Images

How’s it contentious?
So many reasons. Things like, loads of places in America are called Devil’s Lake, and they keep changing which one is featured. They like removing and replacing its apostrophe too.

Did you know…?
The average American watches five hours of television every day.

ID: 1388209

6. Circumcision.

How’s it contentious?
A man called Robert Brooks spent his entire (one-month) Wikipedia career removing any anti-circumcision comments from the site.

Did you know…?
Circumcision is the world’s oldest planned surgical procedure.

ID: 1388220

5. Global warming.

How’s it controversial?
A bunch of scientists who oppose the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming keep changing the facts that are published.

Did you know…?
By 2100, while the population of three billion is expected to double, rice and maize yields in the tropics are expected to decrease by 20–40%.

ID: 1388221

4. List of WWE personnel.

How’s it controversial?
Is Rey Mysterio, Jr. 5’2”? 5’3”? 5’5”? Did he debut at 5’4” and later grow to be 5’5”? Is he actually 5’6”? Some people really care about questions like this.

Did you know…?
WWE refers to its male performers as “Superstars” and its female performers as “Divas”.

ID: 1388228

3. Muhammad.

How’s it contentious?
Dates. No one can agree on when anything happened.

Did you know…?
Muhammad is thought to have had 13 wives or concubines.

ID: 1388232

2. Anarchism.

How’s it contentious?
Haters keep adding in vitriolic adjectives. Anarchists don’t love this.

Did you know…?
Anarchism stems from 6th century BC Taoist philosophy.

ID: 1388234

1. George W. Bush.

REUTERS/Larry Downing

How’s it contentious?
Most of its edits come from vandals. Its most extreme period of edit warring preceded America’s 2004 presidential elections. The battle was covered by the New York Times; and became so intense that the article was protected from editing for the last portion of that campaign (as was John Kerry’s).

Did you know…?
In 1976, George W. Bush was fined $150 when he was found guilty of drink driving.

ID: 1388235

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Tabatha Leggett is commissioning editor at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.
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