Who’s Bigger ?: Where Historical Figures Really Rank is a 2013 book by the computer scientist Steven Skiena and the Google Engineer Charles Ward which ranks historical figures in order of significance. [1]

Methodology

The authors used the English Wikipedia as their primary data source, and ran the data through algorithms . [2] According to the authors, a higher ranking indicates greater historical significance . [3]

Skiena and Ward Compared all English Wikipedia Articles contre five criteria: two That draw is Google page rank , and three That draw is internal Wikipedia metrics: the number of times the page has-been viewed, the number of edits to the page, and the size Of the page. The concept is that these criteria measure the current fame of the subject. This is then manipulated by other algorithms to compensate for a recent significance. [3] In addition to the main list, various sublists are included.

While the authors claim that their purely quantitative approach to the question of individual historical significance is a virtue, questions about whether the book is more than “a lot of fun” [3] and an “entertaining exercise” [1] include doubts whether an Skew it towards the history of the English-speaking world, whether fame over time is a good measure of significance, and whether attention to a subject in Wikipedia is a good proxy For overall fame. [3] [4]

While acknowledging the bias against non-Western figures and disavowing any special authoritativeness, [4] the authors make the case that their methods are both novel and useful – for instance, that historical fame and historical significance are intertwined In common with the fading or staying power, in which, in addition to the other, [1]Skiena described: “We do not answer these questions as historians might, through a principled assessment of their individual achievements.” Instead, we evaluate each person by aggregating the traces of millions of opinions in a rigorous and principled manner … Measure meme strength,

The top five entries on the list are Jesus , Napoleon , Mohammed , William Shakespeare , and Abraham Lincoln . [3]

Regarding the relative paucity of women on the list [2] (only three of the top 100 figures are women), [6] the authors point out past barriers to women assuming historically significant roles. [7] HOWEVER, critics-have aussi postulated a bias in the Underlying data source, [3] [4] [7] since only 15% of English Wikipedia editors are female. [7] The authors acknowledge that the authors allow that “[T] he English-language Wikipedia is inherently culturally biased … The Wikipedia authors did not leave their prejudices at the door, Gender reflect attitudes as well as accomplishments “) [8] and in fact Skiena notes that, Statistically speaking, in order to gain a Wikipedia entry a woman has to be somewhat more accomplished than a man. [4] Skiena stated: “Our methods show that for historical figures from the past 300 years, the average significance of women appearing in Wikipedia was more than that of the average man. Analogous to being about 4 IQ points smarter in the mean. “Fortunately, this significance gap has closed and essentially eliminated in modern times.” [4] The average significance of women appearing in Wikipedia was more than that of the average man. Wikipedia, the analogous to being about 4 IQ points smarter in the mean. Fortunately, this significance gap has closed and essentially eliminated in modern times. ” [4] The average significance of women appearing in Wikipedia was more than that of the average man. Wikipedia, the analogous to being about 4 IQ points smarter in the mean. Fortunately, this significance gap has closed and essentially eliminated in modern times. ” [4]

See also

  • The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History

References

  1. ^ Jump up to:c Kevin Hartnett (November 29, 2013). “The most important people who ever lived” . Boston Globe . Retrieved December 4,2013 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:b Sara Malm (December 11, 2013). “Jesus Christ tops list of world’s most important people EVER (according to Wikipedia)” . Daily Mail . Retrieved December 22, 2013 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:f Cass Sunstein (December 3, 2013). “Statistically, Who’s the Greatest Person in History? Why can not measure quants historic significance” . The New Republic . Retrieved December 4, 2013 .
  4. ^ Jump up to:e Hope Leman (September 25, 2013). “Interview with Author Steven Skiena” . Critical Margins . Retrieved December 4, 2013 .
  5. Jump up^ Ryan O’Hanlon (December 9, 2013). ” Jesus Christ: History’s Most Successful Meme ” . Pacific Standard . Retrieved December 22, 2013 .
  6. Jump up^ Christopher Middleton (December 16, 2013). “Aristotle or Britney – who’s the most famous of them all?” . The Telegraph . Retrieved December 22, 2013 .
  7. ^ Jump up to:c Cathy Lynn Grossman (December 12, 2013). “Jesus, Elvis, and Aristotle: Who’s bigger?” . The Washington Post . Religion News Service . Retrieved December 22, 2013 .
  8. Jump up^ Skiena, Steven; Ward, Charles (2013). Who’s Bigger ?: Where Historical Figures Really Rank . Cambridge University Press. ISBN  978-1107041370 . , Quoted inAlex Bogomolny (December 11, 2013). “Who’s Bigger Where Historical Figures Really Rank” . MAA Reviews . Mathematical Association of America . Retrieved December 22, 2013 .

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