Wikipedia:Top 25 Report

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Top 25 Report: Most Popular Wikipedia Articles of the Week (January 18 to 24, 2015)[edit]

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Summary: It is pretty clear what the theme is this week: people. With the media on hiatus during the January dead zone (except for the astonishing performance of American Sniper) Wikipedia readers turned to their other main focus of interest: celebrity. More specifically, dead celebrity. Three of this list's subjects died this week, while three more either died fairly recently (Chris Kyle, Whitney Houston) or had their lives commemorated (Martin Luther King Jr.). Wikipedia readers' tendency to reduce Super Bowls to duels between rival quarterbacks meant that both New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Seattle Seahawks quaterback Russell Wilson appeared in the Top 25. Altogether, 19 of the top 25 slots went to people, or to articles related to them.

As prepared by Serendipodous, for the week of January 18 to 24, 2015, the 25 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the report of the most viewed pages, were:

Rank Article Class Views Image Notes
1 Chris Kyle B-class 5,275,697
Chris Kyle January 2012.jpg
America needs heroes it seems, because when Clint Eastwood gave her one, she embraced him for all she was worth. Viewing numbers for this murdered US soldier have pretty much doubled each of the last three weeks. It's hard to imagine a more perfectly formed hero; a man of superhuman ability (the most successful sniper in military history) and fatal compassion (his murderer was a PTSD-affected veteran whose pain he was hoping to ease on a shooting range) who now, in death, can never be corrupted or betray his own ideals. It is not surprising that America found her hero in a movie; after all, if the US Congress were a movie, it would have the second-lowest score on IMDb, only beating Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas.
2 American Sniper (film) Start-class 1,511,250
Clint Eastwood has always had astute commercial instincts as a filmmaker, instincts that appear only to have sharpened with age. But even he must have been flabbergasted at the commercial reception given to his latest film, American Sniper. The biography of sniper Chris Kyle has earned over $200 million in just 11 days of wide release, and that in January, usually considered Hollywood's financial graveyard. There hasn't been a phenomenon like this since Frozen. Adjusted for inflation, the film has already eclipsed Unforgiven as Eastwood's highest grossing film as a director in the US, and shows no signs of slowing down.
3 Martin Luther King, Jr. Good Article 1,088,233
Martin Luther King Jr NYWTS.jpg
It is Martin Luther King Day this week, and, with public awareness of police killings of black men spiking, and claims that blacks are being blocked from voting by new voter fraud laws, it's fair to say the civil rights pioneer's life has more resonance than ever. On top of that, a mild controversy has also emerged concerning the exclusion of his biopic Selma from most major Oscar categories. You'd think that would be enough for him to top the list, but apparently not.
4 List of Super Bowl champions Featured List 799,871
Superbowl Trophy Crop.jpg
This list invariably pops up once a year, as Americans scramble for facts to determine which team will win the Super Bowl; the foremost of all football fiestas (at least in the US- most of the rest of the world has never heard of it).
5 Tom Brady B-class 727,008
Tom Brady 2011.JPG
The New England Patriots quaterback with the all-American name has led his team to the Super Bowl six times in the last thirteen years, and won thrice. His high position on the list implies readers expect him to do so again.
6 Abdullah of Saudi Arabia B-Class 726,736
King Abdullah bin Abdul al-Saud January 2007.jpg
Thanks to the "pass the parcel" mode of succession practised in Saudi, which hands the crown not down the generations but between the sons of the country's first monarch, Ibn Saud, its now-late ruler was 81 when he assumed the throne, and held it for less than a decade before his death this week handed it to his brother Salman, who, at 79, is the youngest surviving son of Ibn Saud. After him, the grandchildren will finally be let in. Such a system ensures that Saudi Arabia will be a gerontocracy for the foreseeable future.
7 I (film) B-Class 726,736
Chiyaan Vikram Raavan.jpg
The Phantom of the Opera-esque Bollywood film starring Vikram (left) opened this week to reasonable reviews and fairly spectacular box office, netting ₹1.84 billion ($30 million) worldwide in its first 12 days.
8 Greg Plitt Start-Class 713,992 The fitness model and actor died this week after running between the rails of the Metrolink (Southern California) Antelope Valley Line in Burbank, California. His death was recorded on video and, while it hasn't been released, it apparently suggests he was trying to outrun a train.
9 Lil Wayne B-Class 692,652
Lil Wayne in Concert.jpg
A suspiciously high mobile count (93%) implies that this week's release of Sorry 4 the Wait 2, the latest mixtape from Lil Wayne, composer of such masterpieces as "B***s Love Me", might not be generating solely human interest, and that his views may be being artificially inflated. I'll leave it to you as to whether we should drop him.
10 Amber Rose Start-class 668,488
Amber Rose - 2014 People Magazine Awards (cropped).jpg
The hip-hop singer and former stripper caused a minor Internet storm this week when she released some revealing images of herself online, to much attention and a fair amount of criticism.
11 Stephen Hawking B-Class 649,303
Stephen Hawking.StarChild.jpg
The former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, black hole theorist and latter-day science icon makes his 12th straight appearance in the Top 25 this week, thanks in large part to his biopic, The Theory of Everything, which opened in the United States on November 7. The film has so far netted $70 million worldwide and this week won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Eddie Redmayne, who portrays him in the film.
12 Anne Kirkbride Start class 553,810 One of the more idiosyncratic differences between Britain and America is that, while Americans prefer their soap operas to spin tales of the rich and beautiful, Britain's concern themselves with everyday, working class folk. And actress Anne Kirkbride's character Deirdre Barlow epitomised that for 40 years on Coronation Street; Britain's and the world's longest running soap. Sadly, Anne's death this week means Deirdre's plotlines won't be resolved.
13 Alan Turing Good Article 533,419
It is sobering to recall one who accomplished so much, only to be so utterly destroyed for so little. After laying the foundations for the philosophy of artificial intelligence, essentially inventing the programmable computer, and shortening World War II by an estimated two years by cracking the Enigma code, he was outed as a homosexual and forced to undergo a chemical castration, an ordeal which eventually drove him to suicide. As an added insult, his life's work became the subject of two films, U-571 and Enigma, neither of which saw fit to mention him. So the Oscar buzz Benedict Cumberbatch has received for portraying him in his first true cinematic biopic, The Imitation Game, carries some fairly historic undertones. The film has proven popular, earning $120 million worldwide to date.
14 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Start-Class 512,453
Martin Luther King press conference 01269u edit.jpg
The third Monday in January is set aside in the US to commemorate the life, death and legacy of the civil rights leader. Many of our younger viewers might be surprised to learn just how recently Americans began celebrating this holiday. It was signed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1983, first celebrated in 1986, and only adopted by all 50 states in 2000. There are still six serving Congressmen (including John McCain) who voted against instating it.
15 Deaths in 2015 List 479,681
The viewing figures for this article have been remarkably constant; fluctuating week to week between 450 and 550,000, apparently heedless of who actually died.
16 Facebook B-class 473,912
Ad-tech London 2010 (5).JPG
A perennially popular article.
17 Russell Wilson C-class 467,560 Russell Wilson at Seahawks vs Redskins on October 6, 2014.png The quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, who, despite only signing on in 2012, led his team to their first ever Super Bowl victory last year, squares off against three-time-winner Tom Brady (above) when they meet in...
18 Super Bowl XLIX C-class 436,408
Superbowl Trophy Crop.jpg
... which this year will be held on February 1 at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
19 Whitney Houston Good Article 414,569
Whitney Houston Welcome Home Heroes 1 cropped.jpg
The renowned singer, who rose to become one of the best selling musicians of all time, only to fall into a morass of drug use and an early death at just 48, had her turbulent life chronicled (or, according to most critics, travestied) in the Lifetime biopic Whitney, produced by her Waiting to Exhale costar Angela Basset, who rose to fame playing another troubled singer, Tina Turner.
20 Conor McGregor Good ArticleC-class 393,591 The mixed martial artist and former featherweight champion defeated his opponent Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 59 this week.
21 Sia (musician) B-Class 380,024
Sia Seattle.jpg
The Australian singer caused a storm this week with the video for her song "Elastic Heart", which featured a nearly naked Shia LaBeouf wrestling with 12-year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler in a cage. Yes, it is off-putting.
22 Birdman (film) C-class 376,654
Michael Keaton by Gage Skidmore.jpg
This film by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu is about a onetime star who rose to fame playing a superhero named Birdman but who hasn't made a movie in years. As such, it proved an irresistible draw for Michael Keaton (left) whose career has followed a remarkably similar narrative. Now with 9 Oscar nominations in the bag, it has gained immense interest, and has earned $50 million worldwide to date.
23 American Horror Story: Freak Show C-class 375,676
Ecran Titre d'American Horror Story.png
The fourth season of the American Horror Story series concluded on January 21.
24 Bradley Cooper Start-class 370,956
Bradley Cooper avp 2014.jpg
The conventional wisdom has Eddie Redmayne competing with Michael Keaton for the Best Actor Oscar this year, but it's pretty clear who the people are interested in: Chris Kyle portrayer Bradley Cooper, who has been lifted up along with everything else American Sniper-related.
25 Yaodong Start-class 365,400
Cave houses shanxi 1.jpg
Yaodongs, or traditional Chinese cave houses, house up to 40 million people, as noted in a Reddit thread this week.


  • This list excludes the Wikipedia main page, non-article pages (such as redlinks), and anomalous entries (such as DDoS attacks or likely automated views). Since mobile view data became available to the Report in October 2014, we also exclude articles that have almost no mobile views (2% or less) or almost all mobile views (95% or more) because they are very likely to be automated views based on our experience and research of the issue. Please feel free to discuss any removal on the talk page if you wish.
Note: If you came here from the Signpost article, please take any discussion of exclusions to this article's talk page.

Specific exclusions this week:

  • Script kiddie: random bits of computer jargon often appear on this list for no real reason, but (and I may be stereotyping here) I assume hackers are responsible.