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Death and Donald Trump were the most edited Wikipedia pages of 2016

Death and Donald Trump were the most edited Wikipedia pages of 2016

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President Elect Donald Trump Holds Victory Rally In Pennsylvania
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Death wins Wikipedia pretty much every year. Since 2007, the page on everyone’s favorite online encyclopedia listing annual deaths has topped its yearly ranking of most-edited articles. (Pre-2007, that spot was taken by such non-controversial topics as “George W. Bush” and “Creationism.”) This year was no different, and “Deaths in 2016” has been declared the most-edited page of 2016, followed, somewhat predictably, by the article for “Donald Trump.”

Trump and the US election actually took up much of 2016’s most-edited rankings, claiming five of the top 10 positions. But while Trump took the second most-edited spot, the page for “Hillary Clinton” didn’t even crack the top 20. Instead, “List of Hillary Clinton presidential campaign endorsements” was the third most-edited page and Clinton’s highest placement. (A list of Trump’s own campaign endorsements was number eight.)

It’s tempting to read this ordering as a straightforward reflection of wider political and cultural trends. The page for Trump the person was the second most-edited because Trump’s campaign was dominated by his character, moral failings, and business deals. The narrative of Clinton’s nomination, by comparison, was shaped by her political lineage; her respectability and the mass of support she received from both Democrats and Republicans. But as we all know, while Clinton had the endorsements, Trump’s personality still took the election — as the rankings show.

But this isn’t a completely honest interpretation, as the amount of edits any Wikipedia page receives is as much a reflection of its format as the amount of “interest” in that topic. For example, the seventh most-edited page this year is “Bailando 2015,” which chronicles the tenth season of popular Argentine dancing competition show Bailando por un Sueño (literally “dancing for a dream”). The page is thorough, and lists each competitor each week, along with the songs they danced to and scores they received. All that takes a lot of editing, but it doesn’t make Bailando 2015 a bigger deal than the revelations of the Panama Papers, which hit number 13 on the list.

Wikipedia’s annual death tolls also benefit in these rankings from being, essentially, big lists updated nearly daily. But unlike Bailando, they deserve their placement. After all, what’s more consistent, more unavoidable, and more notable — day after day, year after year — than death? It’ll be the same in 2017, wait and see.

Most-edited Wikipedia articles of 2016

  1. Deaths in 2016 (18230 edits)
  2. Donald Trump (8933)
  3. List of Hillary Clinton presidential campaign endorsements (6527)
  4. United States presidential election, 2016 (6162
  5. Republican Party presidential primaries, 2016 (5715)
  6. 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting (5540)
  7. Bailando 2015 (5342)
  8. Donald Trump presidential campaign endorsements, 2016   (5328)
  9. 2016 in sports (5277)
  10. 2016 in South Korean music  (5074)
  11. Beverly Gray (4957)
  12. Statewide opinion polling for the United States presidential election (4743)
  13. Panama Papers (4659)
  14. 2016 in Philippine television (4600)
  15. 2016 Pacific typhoon season (4244)
  16. 2016 Atlantic hurricane season (3874)
  17. Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2016 (3736)
  18. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (3593)
  19. The Life of Pablo (3574)
  20. Vincent van Gogh (3551)