- For years, “High School Musical” actor Corbin Bleu has had one of the most-translated Wikipedia pages of any person in history.
- His page has more translations than anyone else alive except for Barack Obama.
- It’s bewildered people for years, since MIT analysed Wikipedia data in 2016.
- A Reddit user may have found the culprit: a polyglot Bleu superfan who goes by the aliases “Chase Watson” and “Zimmer611” on Wikipedia.
- Corbin Bleu’s page has gotten 20 more translations since the 2016 MIT study, bringing up his total to 213 languages.
In 2016, MIT’s media lab conducted a study analysing the most popular people on Wikipedia. They found the people with the most translated pages on the site. The top results weren’t too surprising – Jesus Christ, Barack Obama, Adolf Hitler, Confucius – you know, the usual.
But sitting there at No. 3 was Corbin Bleu, the actor most famous for his supporting role in the 2006 Disney Channel movie “High School Musical.” With 193 languages, his page had more translations than those for Mozart, Hitler, Da Vinci, and Einstein.
As BuzzFeed News noted at the time, it was bizarre. Why was a minor celebrity such a big deal on Wikipedia? And why did his page have more translations than even Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, or Ashley Tisdale?
Bleu’s immense Wikipedia presence has been a mystery since. It recently became the subject of a post in the Unsolved Mysteries subreddit, where a Reddit user going by the name Lithide may have solved it.
According to Lithide, Wikipedia records suggest that a bulk of the Wikipedia translations were made and are maintained by a user using a handful of IP addresses based in Saudi Arabia. The user seems to have several different accounts on the site, and goes by the name “Chace Watson” in the English Wikipedia and “Zimmer611” in the Arabic Wikipedia.
It’s possible, Lithide said, that Chase Watson and Zimmer 611 are two different people. But the identity presented on Watson’s page – ostensibly a gamer in Germany – doesn’t add up. The user doesn’t use the account to edit Bleu’s German page, for instance.
“I actually think there’s a dedicated fan of Corbin Bleu from Saudi Arabia who wanted to make sure there were Wikipedia articles for their idol in every language possible and also spent a few dozen hours working on the Arabic-language article,” Lithide wrote.
In the years since the MIT Media Lab study, there have been 20 more translations of Bleu’s name on the site, bringing the total up to 213 languages, according to Wikipedia’s own records. (Wikipedia uses “interwikis” as a metric to record page translations.)
But he’s slid down in the rankings, now at No. 5. Ronald Reagan surged to the No. 1 spot of people with the most-translated Wikipedia page, with 248 different translations. In 2016, Reagan didn’t even rank in the top 100, having had only 107 translations. He’s now followed by Jesus (244 translations) and Michael Jackson (234 translations).
Barack Obama remains the person alive with the most translations and has the fourth overall, with 228.
Bleu would need 15 more translations to catch up to him, but he’s also at risk of being taken over by Leonardo Da Vinci, whose page has just one fewer translation than him.
A representative for Bleu didn’t immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.
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