In existence for only 21 years, Wikipedia is the world’s most popular internet information source, with 1.8 billion people visiting the site every year. Because its 58+ million articles are written by unpaid contributors, edited by other contributors, it is not considered a fully credible research tool and is much maligned by the academic community, which generally forbids students from relying on its content.
Nevertheless, Wikipedia is the go-to source for quick reference. It is a godsend for those who remember chasing down data or resolving a trivia dispute by spending time in the library, or, with luck, getting the reference librarian to do the work. And unlike the set of encyclopedias many people used to have in their homes, Wikipeidia is constantly being updated by its volunteer editors, and is able to tell you what has happened this week. (Libraries are still vital, of course. These are the best states for public libraries.)
To determine the most popular Wikipedia page every week for the past year, 24/7 Tempo reviewed Wikipedia’s Top 25 Report, a curated weekly report of the 25 most popular articles on the site. The tally, says Wikipedia, “exclude[s] articles for which high view counts appear to be overly influenced by non-human views.”
As it turns out, the most popular Wikipedia articles mostly relate to pop culture. Of the past 52 weeks, the most popular topics for 23 weeks were about TV shows, films, and actors – often following their deaths – and, for ten weeks, about sports figures and sports events, mainly relating to soccer. The popularity of the site in India may be seen from the fact that for eight weeks the No. 1 search was for an Indian celebrity or film.
Hard news rarely took precedence, with the exception of three weeks dominated by Putin and his war against Ukraine, two relating to the Black Lives Matter movement, and one about the Taliban. None of the most popular pages in a given week addressed Covid, climate change, immigration, abortion, inflation, or U.S. politics. (These are 32 famous people you didn’t know were born in Ukraine.)
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