Summary: There are times when this job is hard. As an analogy, imagine navigating in fog at night, except you don't know where you are, you don't know where you want to go, and your flashlight keeps dying on you. Wikipedia, in the understandable desire to protect users' privacy, has left me with precious few tools to find my way (Bounce rate and HTTP referers would be nice) and so there are times when it is impossible to determine why something is or is not on the list. The hour-by-hour viewing tool I made such a fuss about two weeks ago, and which would at least have suggested which spikes were natural, is currently down; so I'm back to erring on the side of exclusion. Although only two articles were removed from the top 10, six articles—roughly a quarter—have been removed from the top 25.
I'm asking: does anyone know of a way to track down these occasional one-day spikes if they don't appear on Reddit or a Google Doodle? And why is important information like view counts outsourced to volunteer servers liable to crash or lose functionality?
For the full top 25 report, plus exclusions, see WP:TOP25
For the week of 19–25 January, the 10 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the report of the 5,000 most viewed pages* were:
Why is he on this list? Could it be his various indiscretions in Latin America? The lawsuit he was saddled with after egging a neighbour's house? Or, perhaps, his arrest after drag racing a Lamborghini drunk on a beach in Florida? Truth be told it's probably that.
The contemporary-set revamp of the Sherlock Holmes mythos has become a surprise global hit (and turned its star, Benedict Cumberbatch, into an international sex symbol) and is now watched in 200 countries and territories (out of 254), so it's not surprising that its much ballyhooed return from a two-year hiatus was met with feverish anticipation.
Disney's de facto sequel to Tangled has become something of a sensation. It reclaimed the top spot in the US charts on its sixth weekend (a feat only matched by Avatar and Titanic) and has already outgrossed its predecessor both domestically and worldwide, with a total of nearly $820 million. It won a Golden Globe for Animated Feature and seems a shoo-in for the Oscar.