Editing O.J. Simpson: Charting Changes to His Wikipedia Page

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Crime, Sports

I’ve just finished watching ESPN’s fabulous O.J.: Made in America, a five-part documentary about the Hall of Fame football player.

Somewhere in the process of digesting this latest — and, perhaps, best — telling of O.J.’s story, I scoured Wikipedia for details about his life. I discovered that the page has been edited more than 4,000 times since it went up in 2003, back when Wikipedia user “Vera Cruz” posted the first biographical snippet.

Since then, users have slowly edited — and vandalized — the current bio’s 5,000 words, a process I’ve charted below.

This is, by far, my favorite edit. Hint: OJ Did It. Later, this user got right to the point in the first sentence. And this user clearly wasn’t a fan (and should have his or her mouth washed out with soap).

The largest spikes in editing activity came in 2006, after O.J.’s controversial book proposal that flirted with a confession, and following his 2007 arrest in Las Vegas after an armed robbery scheme involving sports memorabilia.

First, we look at edits by year:

And then by month:

And, finally, this heat map shows edits by week and year. The spike in the fall of 2007 corresponds to O.J.’s arrest in Vegas:

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