Our 25 Most Social Stories of 2015

These 25 are the top stories we published in 2015 in terms of the number of people who came to them via sharing on social media — mostly Facebook but also some Twitter and a dash of other platforms. The main lesson is that it's hard to generalize about what people will share. But not a single story is about Trump. http://bit.ly/1mlZlJ7
  1. 1.
    Australian comedian perfectly sums up why other countries think US gun laws are crazy http://bit.ly/1mm1RPq
    The post of the year notes a Jim Jefferies comedy routine about the differences between US and Australian approaches to gun violence. The comparison has been weighing on the minds of American liberals because in so many other ways the two countries appear to be very similar. But the Australian political system responded to mass shooting with a huge political campaign against guns — led by a conservative prime minister — while in the US, nothing changes.
  2. 2.
    Deaths from gun violence vs. deaths from terrorism, in one chart http://bit.ly/1P2WZoX
    Vox's two highest-performing social posts of 2015 were both about gun violence. In this one, Zack Beauchamp took up a challenge to the media from President Obama to put terrorism deaths in context alongside gun deaths.
  3. 3.
    "I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me" http://bit.ly/1P2X6B3
    "Political correctness" on college campuses was a huge hot-button topic in 2015, and this first-person account by a college professor of the intersection of left-wing politics, student entitlement, and increasingly precarious academic employment arrangements was one of our most widely shared stories of the year. Amanda Taub's response piece was good, too.
  4. 4.
    "I’m Latino. I’m Hispanic. And they’re different, so I drew a comic to explain." http://bit.ly/1mm2rwz
    Terry Blas's cartoon does a great job of breaking down these terms, which are often used interchangeably but have subtly important differences.
  5. 5.
    Here's how a Texas school explained arresting a 14-year-old Muslim boy for making a clock http://bit.ly/1P2Xi2Z
    Islamophobia really boiled over as a mainstream story in the United States in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino that came paired with political attacks on Muslim refugees and, at times, all Muslims. But the story of Ahmed Mohammed earlier in September showed that the phenomenon was already alive and well.
  6. 6.
    Melinda Gates has the perfect response to the anti-vaccine movement http://bit.ly/1P2XwY3
    "Perfect responses" were big in 2015, and Melinda Gates's was a really good one: "Women in the developing world know the power of [vaccines]. They will walk 10 kilometers in the heat with their child and line up to get a vaccine, because they have seen death. [Americans have] forgotten what measles deaths look like."
  7. 7.
    Every Serena Williams win comes with a side of disgusting racism and sexism http://bit.ly/1mm2Sal
    Serena Williams is very good at winning tennis matches. She's also an African-American woman. That means her wins end up revealing a lot of the dark side of American society.
  8. 8.
    Re-reading is inefficient. Here are 8 tips for studying smarter. http://bit.ly/1P2XHTb
    Study these tips on how to study more effectively, and you could maybe get into Stanford and pay no tuition.
  9. 9.
    Stanford just made tuition free for families earning less than $125,000 per year http://bit.ly/1P2XLlN
    One of the big lessons of the social internet is there's extensive reader appetite for "good news" stories even on hard news subjects like college tuition dynamics. Libby Nelson's coverage notes that most universities don't have the financial resources to go as far as Stanford did, but argues there are some important lessons that could be learned elsewhere.
  10. 10.
    Barack Obama is officially one of the most consequential presidents in American history http://bit.ly/1mm38Gc
    Dylan Matthews's argument on this score is convincing, whether you like Obama or not. Of course there's nothing literally official about it, but since the meaning of "literally" has changed there's no reason "officially" can't change too.
  11. 11.
    Chart: the 12 actors that voice over 100 Simpsons characters http://bit.ly/1P2XXl3
    If you like The Simpsons, you will like this chart.
  12. 12.
    I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery. http://bit.ly/1mm3lcp
    The historical memory of slavery in the United States is still deeply contested territory, as seen by everything from a statue in the US Capitol honoring Jefferson Davis to the remarks Margaret Biser recounts in her story about leading plantation tours.
  13. 13.
    This tweet perfectly captures why it's appalling to blame refugees for the Paris attacks http://bit.ly/1mm3r3T
    Refugees and attitudes toward refugees have roiled politics on both sides of the Atlantic, and many readers strongly embraced the pro-refugee message of this tweet.
  14. 14.
    12 powerful political cartoons responding to the Charlie Hebdo attack http://bit.ly/1P2YeEP
    The cartooning community rallied around the French satirical publication after it was viciously attacked.
  15. 15.
    The scariest fact about the Disneyland measles outbreak http://bit.ly/1mm3FIl
    Six of the kids who got sick were too young for the measles vaccine. We count on children getting age-appropriate vaccines to create herd immunity in the population in order to protect the lives of those who are too young for vaccination. When parents opt their kids out of vaccination, they take risks not only with their own kids' health but also with the health of lots of other children.
  16. 16.
    Obama just tweeted the perfect message for Ahmed Mohamed http://bit.ly/1mm3JaY
    Clock kid content was huge this year.
  17. 17.
    "Living in Switzerland ruined me for America and its lousy work culture" http://bit.ly/1mm3OeO
    Bernie Sanders has repeatedly put the Nordic social mode of Sweden and Denmark on the US political agenda, but Switzerland — which is considerably closer to the United States in terms of overall tax burden and hours worked — arguably offers a more plausible vision for transforming the United States in a more humane direction. Certainly Chantal Panozzo's account of the good Swiss life struck a chord with many readers.
  18. 18.
    "I love the Victorian era. So I decided to live in it." http://bit.ly/1mm3RHq
    This was one of our more polarizing articles of the year. Just from the headline you're probably already either intrigued or deeply annoyed.
  19. 19.
    Will Smith's new movie Concussion terrifies the NFL. Here's the trailer. http://bit.ly/1mm3Zqu
    Joseph Stromberg leveraged Vox's evergreen publishing model to make a trailer aggregation post that is much bigger and deeper than a trailer aggregation post, offering 1,000 words of science and history on football and concussions mostly drawn from his earlier coverage of the issue.
  20. 20.
    "I spent 2 years cleaning houses. What I saw makes me never want to be rich." http://bit.ly/1mm48KA
    Stephanie Land's powerful first-person account of what she learned cleaning rich people's houses: "The bigger the house, the more they worked to afford it, the more prescription bottles they had. I started to see the fact that I couldn't afford to buy my daughter fancy electronics as a luxury. We went to the beach and looked for crabs under the rocks instead. We spent rainy Saturdays doing a 25-cent puzzle."
  21. 21.
    Common Core math, explained in three minutes http://bit.ly/1P2YTpA
    This video demystifies new Common Core approaches to math problems that have befuddled many parents around the country.
  22. 22.
    25 maps that explain the English language http://bit.ly/1mm4twG
    People love maps. And people who read things in English are interested in the English language. Put them together and it's a no-brainer.
  23. 23.
    "I lost 100 pounds in a year. My 'weight loss secret' is really dumb." http://bit.ly/1P2ZbwO
    It's no secret that lots of people are interested in content about weight loss, and as you'll see Vox consistently had success with our First Person narrative section in 2015. Alasdair Wilkins's account of his weight loss experience is a vital counterpoint to the mumbo jumbo that dominates most media on the subject.
  24. 24.
    Democrats are in denial: Their party is actually in deep trouble http://bit.ly/1mm4Ebq
    Donald Trump and the generally shambolic Republican presidential primary process was the dominant political story of 2015. But in this feature-length argument, I make the case that the truly important political story is the dominant position the Republican Party has achieved in Congress and state government.
  25. 25.
    Watch: a 5-minute history of Syria's war and the rise of ISIS http://bit.ly/1mm1Wma
    Vox's most-watched videos of the year were mostly seen natively on Facebook or through our YouTube page, but this video explainer of the Syrian civil war by Johnny Harris and Max Fisher was so compelling that the article page for it cracked our top 25.