Thursday, July 23, 2020

Why does everyone Care who's Jewish?

I actually wrote this over 2 years ago, but just found it in my drafts. I think I might have tweeted about it though. When formatting this as bad HTML, I noticed some mistakes in the ratios, so I fixed them. I assume the data is still good. Anyone can try to verify if they're interested.

Anyway...:

I've wondered for a while, based on probably flawed confirmation bias, that Wikipedia might have a bias of people wanting to know if other people are Jewish.
My brain made the connection that the "early life" heading was really the "is this person Jewish?" heading.

So, I've done some Google-fu to try to get a reasonable answer, the lazy way.

Search terms vs results on Wikipedia:

Search terms"Jewish"-"Jewish"
"Early life"1.08m14.2m
-"Early life"61.6m866m

That's a ratio of 57:1 of Wikipedia pages mentioning the term "Jewish" having no Early Life section to those that have an Early Life section, and 61:1 for non-Jewish-mentioning pages. That's probably not statistically significant. Let's assume it's not.

Ok. That's not too bad. Oh wait... That also includes lots of pages that aren't even about people.
Now let's filter out some noise by adding the search term "living people" which is a category for... living people.
Search terms"Jewish"   "living people"-"Jewish"   "living people"
"Early life"53.3k141k.
-"Early life"217k12.3m

That's a ratio of about 4:1 of Wikipedia's "living people" pages mentioning the term "Jewish" having no Early Life section to those that have an Early Life section, and 87:1 for non-Jewish-mentioning pages.

So, what's up with that? People really seem to want to know if people are Jewish.

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