What are the most important dates on the English Wikipedia?
TL;DR: 6th of July 2005, 1st of April 2010, 11th of September 2001
Wikipedia in recent years has become a collection of the Earth’s knowledge to many that is both peer-reviewed and accessible to a sizeable quantity of the Earth’s inhabitants. Stories and events are recorded for later searching by whoever wants to know.
Naturally, around certain events we gauge how important an event is to the time it is in by how much it is talked about, such as with provocations of world leaders, large sporting events or even starts and ends of conflicts. Inherently, the importance of a date really is relative to what context you are looking into; with the English Wikipedia it is quite surprising. What we record versus what is talked about and when is a very interesting difference. What have we collectively, perhaps even without consideration, marked as important days for our history.
Due to the choice of English Wikipedia, the below highlights are what I believe to be the most important English-speaking territory related events for the reasons of these particular dates, however it appears that the reasons might be deeper than: “this day one important thing happened in English history” or “this day an exceptional amount of things happened in English history”. I will likely explore the reasons further in another article.
The chart above marks the occurrences of a date on all English Wikipedia articles, not contributions or traffic but how many times that date is mentioned. The best effort was taken to remove dates that are more about the content of Wikipedia (References etc.) than the dates within Wikipedia.
1. 6th of July 2005
- London announced as the location for the 2012 Summer Olympics
- Patent law for Software is rejected by European Parliament
- Judith Miller is Jailed for refusing to reveal sources of a Central Intelligence Agency (of America) Leak
- United Nations Troops raid one of the poorest communities in Haiti
2. 1st of April 2010
- India puts into place free and compulsory education for children between 6-14 years old
- India announces a plan to create their 2011 Biometric census
- 25,000 people lose electricty in their homes in Northern Ireland (UK, not Éire/RoI)
- Government of Nigeria asks for charges to be dropped against Anti-corruption official Nuhu Ribadu
3. 11th of September 2011
- A series of suicide attacks using airplanes are taken out in the United States of America killing almost 3000 people.
A number of patterns can be seen by looking at the chart, overall 2005 is where we move from not much being recorded to a lot of things being recorded. This matches roughly the growth in Wikipedia search trends from Google.
New Year’s day/eve often crop up due to laws ending and starting on these days, same with the last and first days of months and weeks, resulting in rise and falls that happen regularly.
The drop off in August 2017 is when the backup was taken showing a handful of important planned dates in the future (for example, 30th of June 2018 being the end of a lot of football players contracts with various football clubs).
Notes on collection:
The data was take from the 20170820 articles dump of the English Wikipedia, looking just wordy dates “DD Month YYYY” & “Month DD YYYY”, this was chosen to stop as much cross-pollination of dates.