Wikipedia’s Longest Deletion Debates, in Infographic Form
The graceful arcs of this interactive infographic carefully track the longest debates within Wikipedia about whether or not to keep an article.
The creators of the site offer two graphics, one tracks conversations that ended in deletion and another following debates that ended in keeping the article in question. Each discussion begins at the line in the center, and can move between “keep” on the left and “delete” on the right. As the conversation progresses, sometimes for days, the line moves left or right depending on the opinions expressed. The end result is two gracefully curling tufts on either side, that signal a general consensus of conversation, with wiry controversies that flare upward.
And that’s where the artistry ends, because as soon as your mouse hovers over the lines, you’re treated to a glimpse of the most bizarre and horrible topics within the annals of Wikipedia. I laughed and cringed as my mouse wandered through a forest of forgotten memes, proper nouns, and generalized internet insanity.
Moving from left to right through the Deleted tree is a map of the ridiculous human consciousness.
“Michele Obama’s Arms” criss-crosses “List of Playboy Playmates with D-Cup or larger breasts,” which rubs against “Similarities between Canada and New Zealand,” that borders “List of songs containing covert references to real musicians,” which is catty-corner to “list of interracial couples,” adjacent to “prime number sh—— bear.”
The infographic’s creators have some interesting insights into the Wikipedia process, and the graphics stand on their own as relevant and elegant artistic representations of a website that has come to define the internet age. But its real success might be it’s status as a hilarious Burroughs-esque cut-up poem.