As we have known for some time, global warming zealot and green party member William F. Connolley edited 5428 Wikipedia articles, mostly about climate. It seems some researchers have taken notice of this and other topics that are ruled by similar zealotry.
Scientists analysed page edits in 10 editions to find topics fought over by contributors to the open encyclopaedia.
While some topics were locally controversial, many religious subjects, such as Jesus and God, were universally debated, they found.
Further research is planned to log how controversial topics change over time.
Researchers from the University of Oxford and three other institutions analysed logs of the changes made to Wikipedia pages to identify those in the throes of an “edit war”. Such a conflict involves editors of pages making changes that are almost instantly undone by another editor.
Finding the pages over which editors scrap about such changes was a better guide to controversial subjects than simply picking out those that changed a lot, wrote the researchers in a paper describing their work.
Pages that get updated a lot might just be about a rapidly changing field or topic, they said. By contrast, a topic page in which words and phrases are constantly removed and reinstated gave an insight into the depth of feeling it evoked among contributors.