For 7 years, Wikipedian fixed the same error 47,000 times

1 min

59 points

Do you think you know what obsession and perfectionism are? This is probably not entirely true.

Meet the Wikipedia editor nicknamed Giraffedata, his real name is Bryan Henderson. From 2007 to the present, he has made over 47,000 edits on Wikipedia.

Henderson is a bit of a cult character in the Wikipedia community. When they talked about him at a community conference, the audience greeted the hero with applause.

The 51-year-old programmer from the United States is among the 1000 most prolific editors. But, unlike the others, he did not use bots: all edits were carried out exclusively by hand.

More surprisingly, Bryan Henderson focused on the same grammatical error that he corrected article by article, week after week, for more than 7 years. His attention was attracted by the phrase-parasite “comprised of”, which he deleted again and again.

Henderson says he set to work every Sunday before bed. For an hour of work, he managed to correct 70-80 errors.

It should be noted that the work of the programmer was not completely manual labor. First, he searched for incorrect phrases through Google, and then used an HTML parser, written independently, to search for matches in articles. The program generated a list of articles to change on Henderson’s website, so it was relatively easy to follow links and correct texts.

It must be admitted that not all professionals praised Henderson’s work. For example, in 2009, someone complained to him of Jimmy Wales, the founder and leader of Wikipedia, about the editor’s abnormal activity. One way or another, but Henderson continues his work to improve the world.

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