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Wikipedia’s Lamest Edit Wars

I found this Wikipedia page to be very humorous – and many items debated really had some valid points. Basically, these are issues which been debated over and over again on what would be correct for that Wiki page. For example, the spelling for the chemical element sulfur… is it “sulfur” or “sulphur”? I checked, and they both come up, but “sulphur” points to “sulfur” so apparently the “f” spelling won out, but both spellings are recognized in the page.

Here are some other wars which have occurred on Wikipedia:

Arachnophobia: Is it appropriate to include a huge pictures of a tarantula on a page about the fear of spiders? Although I find this is hilarious (I have no fear of spiders), it does have a very valid point. I checked and there is not a picture of a spider but rather a mild cartoon (left).

J.K. Rowling: Is it pronounced “rolling” or does it rhyme with “howling”? Rowling is on record claiming she pronounces her name like “rolling”. An irate editor argues that this is a “British” pronunciation and the “American” pronunciation of her name should also be noted. This is slightly ridiculous as she is English, and therefore of course will pronounce it in an English manner. Cue endless spats on talk pages over whose arguments are “more cogent”, and multiple reversions. Issue finally resolved (sort of) by very, very, very obliquely implying that she pronounces her name “rolling”, rather than stating that that is how her name is pronounced. Edit war was brief, but, astoundingly, other people have since logged on and made the same complaint. Perhaps it rhymes with “Trolling”?

Cow Tipping: Appropriate ot include a picture of a cow with the caption “An unsuspecting potential victim”? Wikipedia did not. They have an image of a cow laying on it’s side (below) and the caption says, “A cow lying on its side.” (yawn) I like the other caption better.

A cow lying on its side

U2: Is it relevant that Bono plays the harmonica? Should it be mentioned in the lead paragraph along with vocals and guitar? Does this mean that we should also state in the same sentence that The Edge also plays piano, organ, and bass, in addition to background vocals, guitar, and keyboards? As an anonymous IP user kept adding “harmonica” as one of Bono’s instruments, other editors kept removing it. A discussion on the talk page took place and was closed, with the consensus that “harmonica” will not be included. Of course, the addition of “harmonica” continued. A second discussion was created following the first one, and the anonymous editor eventually got the hint after “harmonica” was removed following six previous attempts.

Preteen: Are they 8-12 years old? 9-12? 10-12? 8-13? Even 17 years old? Well, I don’t agree with 17 at all, but Wikipedia currently has preteen listed as two age ranges:

“…dictionary definitions generally designate it as 10–13 years.[5] It may also be defined as the period from 9–14 years.[6][7]

House, MD: Should we mention the show’s lack of asian diversity? What are they talking about with this one? I mean, should Wikipedia editors mention that “Seinfield” lacked Egyptian diversity? Why are they debating “asian diversity”? Seriously, it would be impossible for every show, any show for that matter, to properly represent every ethnicity of the planet.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: Are Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader considered one character or two separate ones? Do they deserve separate listings in the “credits” section? This seemingly trivial disagreement degenerates into a full-fledged revert war, complete with allegations of vandalism, 3RR violations, aggressive edit summaries and a week long page-protection.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope: Site of an edit war over whether Star Wars Episode III should be listed as the ‘preceding film’ in the infobox. Opponents argue that it’s crazy to say a film released in 2005 ‘precedes’ one released in 1977; supporters argue that it’s equally crazy for a series to begin with Episode IV! After an WP:RFC, consensus settles on listing the films in production (rather than in-universe) order. Much blame is placed on George Lucas for creating the mess in the first place. This one has always bothered me, too.

And there are plenty more. Feel free to check them out on the Wikipedia page Lamest Edit Wars.


  1. Sounds like some of the folks at “Wiki” are very picky, picky, picky! Lol

    And not just a little bit ridiculous as well… The one that really had me rolling my eyes was someone trying to validate the “American” pronunciation of an English woman’s name. Uhh… what??? Lol – But most of these kerfuffles were pretty stupid and ridiculous – in an amusing way. 🙂

  2. Ridiculous, and a fun read, but such discussions are the life blood of Wikipedia. I once wrote about the Wikipedia editing of some politician’s bio (Palin, as I recall), and noted that my son calls such editing wars “Wikiwars.”

    • I’ve seen some stuff appear before that some hater put in, then when I go back it’s gone. That’s the downfall to open community. But overall, the pro’s far outweigh the con’s. Information is kept up to date- pretty much immediate. Plus it’s a compilation in agreement (for the most part), thus the accuracy increases. That’s the first place I go for info. And the Wiki hosts the largest volume of PhD’s as well.

  3. A few years ago I looked up the Wiki bio page for Elvis Presley and found an unbelievable entry: actress Cybil Shepherd claims that she introduced Elvis to the joys of oral sex in 1972. Read that again: Elvis Presley got his first blowjob sixteen years after his first million-seller! I thought, all of those women all of those years and not a taste?

    Does that mean that Ann-Margret is not, gasp, a cocksucker? Or Priscilla? Or god only knows how many others along the way? Then I stopped ruminating on all of the beautiful women who literally threw themselves at the ol’ Pelvis, each ready willing able to do anything—anything!!!!—for the king and each and everyone withholding her head-giving skills from him.

    I stopped thinking that each and everyone blew it by not blowing it and thought, “Why is this piece of drivel on this page? Why is someone making me read this? Why is a too forthright Ms. Shepherd (for whom I would crawl over a beach full of broken clam shells to to introduce to the joys of oral sex) being made to look like a fool? Who at Wikipedia made the decision to include this? Was this allowed in to make a point? Did someone there have a dry or sophomoric or mordant sense of humor? Or was the point being that the Wiki ‘team’ is incapable of exercising editorial control?”

    Ho hum. All that aside, Wikipedia is an interesting site, valuable, and a good source to launch any research on the net by providing a general—and generally accurate—background on thousands of subjects. (But, every now and then, when I least expect, a wee thought pops into me wee head: “Did anyone ever get around to introducing Ann-Margret to the joys of oral sex . . .)

    • LMAO! Too funny! Thanks for sharing. I’ve seen some strange things pop up, too. But when I go back, they’re gone. So I’ve decided my rule of thumb is if it seems to weird, check back in a week. If it’s gone, it was too weird.

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