Stephen Hawking leads Wikipedia’s most popular articles of March

Photo by Jim Campbell/Aero-News Network, public domain.

This month’s list of the most popular English-language Wikipedia articles is dominated by the death of theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking. Various film-related topics fill much of the remaining nine slots, but you’ll also find a K-pop band and a holiday as well. See the notes below for why they were so popular, a larger full list, and why some articles have been excluded.

  1. Stephen Hawking, 12,189,039 pageviews
  2. Black Panther (film), 4,437,589
  3. Deaths in 2018, 3,283,408
  4. The Shape of Water (film), 3,076,441***
  5. Exo (band), 2,424,130
  6. Saint Patrick’s Day, 2,178,334
  7. Annihilation (film), 2,078,944
  8. List of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, 2,009,032
  9. 90th Academy Awards, 2,006,424
  10. Avengers: Infinity War, 1,980,954

Notes on popularity in order of popularity

  1. Stephen Hawking, who passed away in the middle of the month, was one of the most influential scientists of all time. Over ten million of these views came in the week of his death. Note also that if you add up all the pageviews across all language Wikipedias, this total goes above 27 million. Indeed, Hawking’s article was the  most popular of the month on the Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Polish, and Farsi Wikipedias (and probably more).
  2. Black Panther has had a pretty extraordinary level of popularity at the box office and on Wikipedia. Random trivia fact: It will be the first film released in Saudi Arabia in 35 years.
  3. Deaths in <year> is a perennially popular article. You’ll see it again on our year-end roundups of articles with the most views and the most edits.
  4. ***The Shape of Water: I’ve added special asterisks due to a bit of strange situation. This article was located at “The Shape of Water (film)” until 7 March. If you click that link, you’ll note that it now redirects to “The Shape of Water.” Between a week’s worth of regular views, plus many internal Wikipedia links, the link with (film) picked up 2,065,694 views. The link without (film) got 1,010,747. To give a true count above, I’ve added the figures together for this top ten list—but they’ll still be separated in the autogenerated full list. Beware!
  5. Exo has a passionate, no matter how much of an understatement that is, online fanbase.
  6. Saint Patrick’s Day was on 17 March. Wikipedia’s article on the Irish holiday was called “so good” by Slate. One professor wrote to the Slate columnist that “[The Wikipedia article] separates history from legends well. No suggestions on my part.”
  7. After Annihilation underperformed at the US and Canadian box offices, it was released straight to Netflix in March.
  8. The list of Marvel Cinematic Universe films will soon be able to add another film to the “Phase Three” section, as #10 Avengers: Infinity War will be released later in April.
  9. The 90th Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, were given out at the beginning of March.
  10. Avengers: Infinity War: See #8, but let’s emphasize that the film has not even been released yet.

Honorable mentions

  1. Stormy Daniels, a key player in an ongoing controversy in the United States, comes at #11.
  2. Exo’s rival(?) K-pop fanbase BTS hit #13.
  3. Sridevi, an Indian actress and the subject of second-most-popular article of February, was #13 in March. She passed away on 24 February.
  4. Stephen Hawking’s ex-wife Jane and daughter Lucy, herself a notable children’s novelist and science educator, were #28 and #29, respectively.
  5. Fred Rodgers, the famed television personality, came in at #51. March 2018 would have been his ninetieth birthday, along with the fiftieth anniversary of his eponymous television series, and as such were the subject of a primetime television special and a US postage stamp.

Need more?

Note on exclusions

  • We remove articles with above 90% or below 10% mobile views, as this is usually an indicator of being a false positive. You can read more about this, and see the percentages for yourself by ticking the “Show mobile percentages” checkbox.

Ed Erhart, Senior Editorial Associate, Communications
Wikimedia Foundation

You can also read this post on our Medium publication.


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