Friday, May 31, 2013

The Internet is a Strange Place

The internet is just a heap of fun.  Check out this Sam Jackson story.  Yet more fun is when we can do some comparative analysis.  This list of the ten top controversial wikipedia posts by language has gotten some play, so I thought I would ponder it a bit.
You can read the paper.  I will get to that eventually, but I thought it would be fun to point out some stuff anyway.
  1. The obvious conclusion is that all of the language groups represented here have their own populations of people having way too much time on their hands.  Spending heaps of time editing and re-editing key posts online?  Enjoy yourself, I guess.  Of course, we would need stats to compare which countries have a higher rate of editing obsessives per capita (again, I should read the piece).
  2. The commonalities are focusing on leaders (Bush, Chavelz, Pinochet, Orban, etc); religion (Christianity, Scientology, Islam, Orthodox Church); xenophobia (race/intel, Islamophobia, Homophobia, gypsy crime, Hungary in multiple answers, etc); past conflicts, etc, and soccer (football).  
  3. The US is the only one to have a fictional sport (wrestling) in their top ten.  Also, global warming is only controversial in the US.... oy.  I think I prefer the wrestling obsession to the climate change doubters.  Also, Americans are more obsessed with circumcision apparently.
  4. Germany has Croatia as the top entry?  Really?  Project much?  Not surprised by the Hiltler and Scientology stuff but amused that only this country has minimum wage in its top ten.  
  5. The French are the only ones to have nuclear power debate or anything like it.  That and UFO's.  How gauche!
  6. Spain has more soccer than most with threee entires (at least) plus is the only language concerned with homeopathy so much as to make top ten status.
  7. The Czechs are into psychotronics (?) and telepathy.  As surprising is the focus on homosexuality--three times (!) with homsexuality, homophobia and sexual orientation change efforts. What does this say about the Czechs?  I am thinking either more beer or less beer...
  8. Hungary just reads as being in a particularly awful moment in its history: xenophobia, right wing parties, etc.  Let's move on before I regret my plans to go to Budapest at the end of June.
  9. Romania has the Disney channel as the third most controversial topic?!  Disney???  A bit less surprising and a bit more impressive is that the top ten includes a social scientist!  Woot? Ok, a social scientist who is not Freud.  It may be that some of the other countries have social scientists listed that I do not recognize.  I have read some of Tismaneanu's stuff.
  10. Arabic? Egypt and Syria are more controversial, which should not be surprising.  
  11. Farsi?  I don't know enough to figure this one out.
  12. Israel?  Chabad related issues hit 1 and 2 on the list.  So, there seems to be much controversy on the far end of the Judiasm spectrum.  Not a surprise.  
Anyhow, this table shows that countries are alike in many ways, but what fascinates the fringe (who have the time and energy to fight over wikipedia entries) varies just a bit.  Does any of this say that much about any of these places?  I am not so sure, as again, these folks are probably not that representative.  On the other hand, the folks who tend to engage in violence in most places these days are those on the edges and not in the middle.

Your thoughts?

No comments: