The battleground: Wikipedia.
The war: What page should appear when you type in “Worcester.”
Worcester News (UK) is reporting on a major online battle between Wikipedia users in America and in England who want their “Worcester” to be the one that shows up when you type in “Worcester.” Currently, a search lands you on the UK page, with a “disambiguation” link up top to our Worcester, MA.
That’s not good enough for some people. One editor, under the name Raime, writes in a page discussion, “given that Worcester, MA has over 5,000 more readers than Worcester, UK, it is fairly clear that a vast majority of readers (which would be the requirement for “Worcester” to be located here) are in fact not seeking the city in Worcestershire. A disambiguation page is the optimal solution here.” A disambiguation page would be a stop-over page, allowing users to choose which of the Worcesters they are looking for.
But not everyone agrees. One user writes, “The dilemma here seems to be the population and traffic factors. However, these shouldn’t be considered major catalysts. I live on the West Coast (U.S.) and wasn’t aware of the existence of the Massachusetts Worcester until now. I do however know the English Worcester as the city in which the famous sauce originates and the home of Worcester cathedral. It seems as if the Masssachusetts Worcester dosn’t show any more notability over the orignial Worcester besides population (which may be a catalyst in the many more hits considering people looking for their home town). Nevertheless, population is not a prime factor, especially when the American city is no more notable. The status quo is fine.”
So far, dozens of readers have weighed in, and a print out of the discussion hits 10,000 words and 34 pages.
They’re taking it pretty serious in the real world too. Worcester News quotes Worcester(UK) mayor Lucy Hodgson as saying, “Worcester in Massachusetts goes back a long time in United States history but we go back further, to 1189.
“As far as history is concerned we’re first but we share a common bond and while I agree we should be first, Worcester Massachusetts should not be far behind.”
And Richard Lockett, of the Worcester Civic Society told the paper, “I think it’s a close run thing.
“But when you’re looking up Worcester on the internet you should come to the first place to have the name.”