The top of the most consulted articles on the Wikipedia encyclopedia on the day of the first round is almost exclusively composed of subjects related to the 2022 presidential election. There are a few particularities, such as the fact that the most consulted Wikipedia page during the 1st turn of the 2022 election was… that of the 2017 election.
Wikipedia, mirror of the concerns of French women and men? It is in any case a ready-made base for those who want additional information on current events. This has not been denied in the past 24 hours, since the most consulted pages on the French version of Wikipedia were almost all related to the presidential election of 2022.
This is Pierre-Yves Beaudouin, administrator of the Wikimedia France association, who reported on Twitter this tidal wave of pages relating to polling among the top 20 most viewed articles on the online encyclopedia. 18 entries relate to this major election of the fifth republic, its participants or thematic pages around this deadline.
We observe that the page concerning Jean-Luc Mélenchon (178,000 views) was consulted almost twice as much as that of Marine Le Pen (97,000 views). Also surprising: the page addressing the 2017 presidential election took first place (278,000 views), well ahead of that of 2022 (144,000 views).
The two exceptions also turn out to be related to current events, but are not related to politics: they are the entrance on Palm Sunday, a Christian celebration taking place a week before Easter and The House of Spiritsa film broadcast on April 10 on Arte with Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons, Winona Ryder and Antonio Banderas in the cast.
The other entries in this ranking concern the previous presidential elections (2017, 2012, 2007 and 2002), the candidates present in the first round, the results, the polls and certain public figures revolving around the election, such as Marion Maréchal, niece of Marine Le Pen who had called for Éric Zemmour to vote, and Brigitte Macron, wife of the president.
If the graph only targets the top 20 of the most consulted articles on French Wikipedia, it turns out that the first round occupied a large number of places in the Wikiscan ranking. The most posted articles are not the only enlightening indicator: the first round also imposed itself on the most active articles (recent modifications) and the discussion pages.
Given the very recent occurrence of the first round, and the results that emerged on the night of April 10 to 11, it was expected that these three categories (the most viewed pages, the most modified pages, the most active) are essentially occupied by political entries, in order to reflect the most recent events as faithfully as possible.
Wikipedia, essential passage for information and space for struggle for influence
Wikipedia has long served as a side step for seeking context on information. It is a good complement to the media, which despite the multiplication of angles and the verification of facts, cannot necessarily cover all aspects, due to the pressure of the news. This is true beyond the media, as evidenced by research on a film and a religious holiday.
These editions and these numerous discussions can also be the testimony of disagreements between volunteers to transcribe, precisely, the objective news, but also of wars of edition, even of vandalism – one can moreover sometimes cross revocations in the history of certain pages, such as the one on the detailed results of the French presidential election of 2022.
It should also be noted that several sensitive pages (such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Éric Zemmour, Marine Le Pen, Valérie Pécresse, Emmanuel Macron, but also the list of polls on the French presidential election of 2022 or the general page on the French presidential election of 2022) benefit from more or less extensive protection measures to avoid ransacking.
These provisions thus prohibit people registered for less than 3 months and having less than 500 contributions (in the case of extended semi-protection) from intervening on these pages, to avoid degradations which are not encyclopaedic. There is also simple semi-protection, to prevent certain modifications for an account created less than 4 days ago.
These restrictions are obviously an obstacle to the general principle of Wikipedia, which wants to be as free and open as possible. But they are necessary to avoid distorting the encyclopedia by militant actions. The site is indeed a target of choice, given its huge audience in France – it is one of the most visited sites, regularly in the top 10, even 5.
Therefore, attempts to make up political personnel are not very surprising – initiatives to identify these changes have emerged in recent years, for example if they come from Parliament. Lately, Éric Zemmour’s teams have been caught red-handed, but the presidential majority has not been exemplary elsewhere.