Associated Press

What makes for a controversial topic on Wikipedia.org, the online encyclopedia that anybody can edit? As people try to make an article conform to their own views, they justify their edits with citations in the footnotes. A controversial topic will see footnotes and citations multiply as people fight for every word and phrase. The more footnotes there are, the more the controversy. Here are ten of the most controversial topics on Wikipedia as measured by footnote numbers gathered in Nov. 2010. See a more in-depth article: Wiki Wars: In battle to define beliefs, Mormons and foes wage battle on Wikipedia

10 Abortion
Associated Press

Wikipedia introduction:

"Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from the uterus, resulting in or caused by its death."

Controversy level: 128 footnotes

9 Global Warming
Associated Press

Wikipedia introduction:

"Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation."

Controversy level: 136 footnotes

8 Glenn Beck
Photo by Dan Klores Communications

Wikipedia introduction:

"Glenn Edward Lee Beck (born February 10, 1964) is an American conservative radio and television host, author, entrepreneur and political commentator."

Controversy level: 200 footnotes

7 Bill Clinton
Associated Press

Wikipedia introduction:

"William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III, August 19, 1946) served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001."

Controversy level: 201 footnotes

6 Jesus
Deseret News archives

Wikipedia introduction:

"Jesus of Nazareth (c. 5 BC/BCE - c. 30 AD/CE), also referred to as Jesus Christ or simply Jesus, is the central figure of Christianity. Most Christian denominations venerate him as God the Son incarnated and believe that he rose from the dead after being crucified."

Controversy level: 246 footnotes

5 Constantine the Great
Wikipedia.org

Wikipedia introduction:

"Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus (c. 27 February 272 - 22 May 337), commonly known as Constantine I, Constantine the Great, or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine reversed the persecutions of his predecessor, Diocletian, and issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of Christians throughout the empire."

Controversy level: 275 footnotes

4 Michael Jackson
Associated Press

Wikipedia introduction:

"Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009) was an American recording artist, dancer, singer-songwriter, musician and philanthropist."

Controversy level: 325 footnotes

3 George W. Bush
Associated Press

Wikipedia introduction:

"George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) was the 43rd President of the United States, serving from 2001 to 2009, and the 46th Governor of Texas, serving from 1995 to 2000."

Controversy level: 362 footnotes

2 Iraq War
Associated Press

Wikipedia introduction:

"The Iraq War, Second Gulf War or Operation Iraqi Freedom was a military campaign that began on March 20, 2003, with the invasion of Iraq by a multinational force led by troops from the United States under the administration of President George W. Bush and the United Kingdom under Prime Minister Tony Blair."

Controversy level: 366 footnotes

1 Joseph Smith, Jr.,
Deseret News archives

Wikipedia introduction:

"Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 - June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader who founded the Latter Day Saint movement, a group of churches whose adherents regard him as a prophet."

Controversy level: 448 footnotes

See a more in-depth article: Wiki Wars: In battle to define beliefs, Mormons and foes wage battle on Wikipedia