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Wikipedia Edits Around the World 85

Posted by timothy
from the get-your-edit-on dept.
billlava writes "Wikipedia continues on its inexorable march toward becoming the repository for the world's knowledge — to the tune of four and a half edits a second. Just who is doing all these edits? And where do they live? Erik Zachte compiled data from a day in May 2011 into an interesting set of animations and maps to show update activity as it occurred during the day."
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Wikipedia Edits Around the World

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    How can it be the repository for the world's knowledge when they are constantly deleting things?

    • by Elbereth (58257)

      Oh, shut up.

      Like anyone cares about your band.

    • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Interesting)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday May 23, 2011 @08:10PM (#36223414)
      "Knowledge" doesn't imply "a raw dump of data." There's some implication of important data being retained and trivial information, or untrue stuff, being weeded out. I've heard your brain dumps most incoming information, things like the sensation of your socks rubbing on your feet, but that obviously is your personal repository of knowledge. You can't possibly suggest that wikipedia shouldn't delete ANYTHING.

      I'm aware there are examples of petty little people letting the power go to their head, deleting more information than they should, but that's an unavoidable abuse, just as it's unavoidable that there are going to be people who spam Wikipedia with trivial information (and then whine about it on slashdot). From my perspective, the information I search for on wiki is always there, so it's not suffering from deleting too much.
      • by Macrat (638047)

        "Knowledge" doesn't imply "a raw dump of data." There's some implication of important data being retained and trivial information, or untrue stuff, being weeded out.

        Just because the WikiPedia overlords delete it doesn't make the content untrue.

        • Well there's still that "trivial information" bit...
        • by cellurl (906920) *
          I do think their evolution will favor the bold.
          I get "my page" trimmed down annually by the nameless-trimlords at wikimedia foundation.
          After they reduce-me, I usually just give up.
          Its like they want to see how convicted I am.
          They must improve on their moderation.

          Have a trim at it here. [wikipedia.org]
      • by Anonymous Coward

        > You can't possibly suggest that wikipedia shouldn't delete ANYTHING.

        Well... 3TB harddrives and ranking functionalities aside... Wikipedia is 99% in the hands of what netizens call "Super-Aspergers" or "Controlfreaks" because it attracts such people with it's very nature and how it works.

        "Super-Aspergers" are great in maintaining knowledge like (e.g.) laws where every sentence has a number.

        They suck at maintaining knowledge that emotional or historical value like (e.g.) articles about websites that had

        • Because we DO have 3TB harddrives we DESERVE "a raw dump of data."

          Was that ever the goal of wikipedia though? They have had rules concerning relevance since I heard about it. That implies the goal was not "all information."

          If you want an "all inclusive wiki" that will err more on the side of too much information rather than too much deleted information, and will be more secure against deletion abuses, then by all means, make your own wikipedia.

          The old man murray example is an abuse, yes, fine. There are going to be abuses no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT. And wik

      • In WP:SPEAK, "Sum of all the world's knowladge" means, effectively, around 3 million articles. That's it. That, according to Wikipedia, is as much information about the world as is deemed worthy of note.

        Pretty bleak world view when you think about it.

        • by tepples (727027)
          If you think a topic should be in Wikipedia, then have three different mainstream media outlets write an article about it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 23, 2011 @07:15PM (#36222948)

    How many of those edits are reverting vandalism?
    Furthermore, how many of those edits are overwriting legitimate, accurate content that the all-knowing editors deem to be "unsuitable" for article inclusion?

    I could imagine that these numbers are quite padded by the bureaucracy and drama that engulfs the Wikiworld.

    • Depends on the category. As a random example, in the Jane Roberts topics, they banned the guy who did a life study of the texts in favor of broader, more general articles.

    • by iteyoidar (972700)
      I'd guess that most of the edits at this point are on user talk pages and other partially hidden areas supporting the wiki-bureaucracy. Just based on looking at highly active users' contributions, there tends to be a few article edits for hundreds of edits to talk pages and arbitration pages and user pages that almost nobody ever sees.

      And of course, userboxes. Userbox edits probably make up the rest of them
    • by Mononoke (88668)

      How many of those edits are reverting vandalism?

      I know that the vast majority of my edits are vandalism reversion, but I would bet that of the 4.5 edits per second mentioned in the summary, probably 3 of those are pure vandalism.

      Furthermore, how many of those edits are overwriting legitimate, accurate content that the all-knowing editors deem to be "unsuitable" for article inclusion?

      Funny, the "suitability" guidelines are quite simple, and generally not subjectively applied.

      • Funny, the "suitability" guidelines are quite simple

        Not to me they aren't. There is no bright line rule for what makes a "reliable" source. When I asked on (I think it was) Wikipedia talk:Identifying reliable sources for some help on clarifying the rule for how a source is deemed to have established a reputation for fact-checking, I got accused of trolling.

    • by drb226 (1938360)
      Oh, shut up and hold hands. Numbers may be padded but it's awesome to see so many people all around the globe trying to work together to record human knowledge.
    • by crossmr (957846)

      How many of those edits are by butt-hurt cry babies upset that their special snowflake got deleted?
      You know, since you want to break it down and all

    • by Stellian (673475)

      ...legitimate, accurate content that the all-knowing editors...

      Dr. Original Research Troll, I presume ?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Chinese edits were interesting. Mostly from Taiwan ....

    The English edits look pretty much balanced between the English speaking countries - I don't see as a huge difference between the US, UK and Australia as I do between China and Taiwan.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I like how the second map has a significant number of edits coming from the geographical coordinates zero degrees north/south by zero degrees east/west. I guess geolocation by IP doesn't work perfectly. Or there's a very busy boat somewhere.

    • by Stellian (673475)

      On the same vein, there's a seems to be an edit war going happening right now over the entry for Vodka in the Russian Wikipedia. The hostilities have completely engulfed an unmapped Siberian outpost.

  • did they leave them out just to annoy them?
  • by Megahard (1053072) on Monday May 23, 2011 @07:26PM (#36223062)
    The English map shows a significant amount coming from the area of Nunalla, CA, on the western shore of Hudson Bay. But there's nothing there except two historic buildings from the Hudson Bay Company. So either the geolocation algorithm is off, or maybe it's the entrance to a secret underground organization such as Aperture Science.
  • Needless to say, there are many Wikipedias dedicated to each language. Think how much richer each entry would be if all that time and energy was concentrated into the one or maybe two languages. That always makes me sad.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No hablo Engles, you insensitive clod...

    • by koxkoxkox (879667)

      Oh, and which language would that be ? You are not supposing that everyone has English as a mother tongue, are you ? Esperanto maybe ?

      On the contrary, Wikipedia can now double as a wonderful dictionary for some specialized vocabulary (math notions, proper nouns, etc.) by looking at the interwiki links.

      • by Twinbee (767046)

        English?? Now why ever would I think of using that language out of the hundreds that happen to exist? Surely that would be incredibly biased of me?

        Seriously, many countries are using English now as their second language, so I'll admit that seems the sensible choice here. However, my point was a unified language that we can all use universally. Sure, Esperanto can fit that bill, though obviously it lacks the momentum that, I don't know, say.... English perhaps?,... has gotten so far.

        To be fair, I always thin

        • by koxkoxkox (879667)

          English as a second language is good enough to do business, maybe not to write articles and discuss philosophy.

          See, English is not my mother tongue (bonus point if you can guess from my writing where I come from). I have a decent English, can read without any problem, but it is much more cumbersome and slow for me to write in English than in my native language. Don't think that the Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Chinese contributors to Wikipedia would contribute the same amount if they had to write in E

        • And for the languages and concepts and cultural ideas that just don't translate?  Have you never studied a foreign language or lived abroad?
          • by Twinbee (767046)

            I don't think you understood the gist of my post. The goal should be to eventually unify the languages, generally, not just on Wikipedia. Of course that'll mean adding to new words etc. to each one. Obviously, that's going to be a heck of an undertaking, and they each currently have their advantages and disadvantages.

            Standards are good things, and promote easier cooperation and sharing of culture.

            • spoken like a programmer... :-)

              I for one think that the race to "one world" is great in many ways--but there a lot of losses along the way to uniformity.  As a fellow nerd, I should think you would appreciate the beauty of non-conformity. :-)

              Take care, chau.
              • by Twinbee (767046)

                Yeah, the losses would concern me. We'd have to be careful - so that maybe the unified language borrows lots of these subtle words/concepts that aren't otherwise fully catered for.

      • On the contrary, Wikipedia can now double as a wonderful dictionary for some specialized vocabulary (math notions, proper nouns, etc.) by looking at the interwiki links.

        I second that. I use wikipedia a lot to translate words from Dutch to English. If I look the dutch word up I can check whether it's the right explanation, so I'll get the correct translation once I change languages.

    • I agree. From now on, Wikipedia should only be in French and Japanese.

    • by jc42 (318812)

      Think how much richer each entry would be if all that time and energy was concentrated into the one or maybe two languages. That always makes me sad.

      Nah; that would make most of the world a lot poorer. It would only mean shutting down the wikipedia sites for all the "minor" languages. It would probably add nothing at all to the English wikipedia, and very little to the French or Chinese versions (whichever was allowed to continue alongside English). This would be a major loss of knowledge to most of the world's population.

      The minor-language editions have probably added more value for their speakers than the English-language edition has for us Engl

      • by Twinbee (767046)

        I'm thinking more of the major languages here, or of the cases where I see an article in two different languages, and they're both really different, and better (or worse) in different ways. I always think it would be nice to combine the best features of both, and have the wisdom of both articles merged to make a 'super' article.

    • Not to mention all the inherent inaccuracy of natural languages, their countless possibilities for subtle bias and misrepresentation, as well as the potential to misread some when there are none and thereby trigger an edit war...

      Yes, you're absolutely right - we need One True Wikipedia, and it should be written in Lojban. ~

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Yes, delete them all except for the Standard Chinese and the Hindi ones.

  • I notice that many of the edits to Simple Wikipedia originate in the American South. Just sayin'.

    • Hmm... I'd be interested in where most of the edits to conservapedia originate from, organized by length of edits and blue or red district. My hypothesis would be that most of the short, trollish edits were from blue states.

      While I'd like to think ALL of it is trolling, I don't have that much faith in humanity.
      • I often read simple Wikipedia myself, sometimes brevity and reduced jargon make a challenging topic easier to digest. Sometimes not :). [wikipedia.org]

        Conservapedia is somewhat schizophrenic to read. Setting up an article with a "Conservative" bias, has shown that Conservatives have a more diverse rainbow of opinion than any other political group. Not that they would be happy to be described with those terms.

      • by Cwix (1671282)

        The entirety of conservapedia is trollish.

    • I would expect that is because there are more non-native English speakers in the South - such as Mexican expats.

  • Map seems to show technologically advanced nations around major population centers make the most wikipedia edits. Surprised? After awhile they all look the same.

  • Compared to other developed nations Canada barely registers any edits at all. Whats going on up there?
    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      That bubble map is a fairly accurate representation of Canadian population densities. Those two blots in the left-middle are probably Calgary and Edmonton, and the rest are crammed mostly into Vancouver-and-area and southwestern Ontario.
  • I've watched wikipedia edits where there has been a legal battle, like over "patent exhaustion principle" (where owners of copyrights and patents try to extend the lives of their patents over time or across parallel markets). If the maker of a disposable camera is willing to spend millions on lawyers to file depositions to fight, and lose, case after case chasing its claim of extended rights (you cannot fix and resell something I have a patent on) to the Supreme Court, and sees a rare UNANIMOUS Supreme Cou
  • "Wikipedia continues on its inexorable march toward becoming the repository for the world's knowledge"

    Clearly not an objective statement.

    There may be a lot of articles on Wikipedia. However, the average quality is not high, and it certainly must never ever be treated as a repository of knowledge. It is nothing of the kind.

    Here's what everyone needs to do... do what you rarely ever do -- go to any wikipedia page on a subject in which you are expert or very knowledgeable. In all likelihood, you will th

    • by Mononoke (88668)
      Why not take the time to improve and correct the articles? It's not that difficult.
    • by jc42 (318812) on Monday May 23, 2011 @10:49PM (#36224452) Homepage Journal

      Here's what everyone needs to do... do what you rarely ever do -- go to any wikipedia page on a subject in which you are expert or very knowledgeable. In all likelihood, you will then realize that this page is riddled with errors, bad writing, glaring omissions, bias and probably other things too.

      Actually, I've done that a number of times. What I found was more complex than that.

      When I've looked at pages on highly technical topics, I've generally found that the information was quite accurate, and often fairly detailed. On the other hand, when I look up non-technical topics, I've usually found sketchier information, and a lot of opinion passing for fact.

      Of course, in both cases, the information has usually been fairly basic. It's ok for a quick introduction, but for the real story, you have to start following links. That's about what I'd expect wikipedia to be: A useful first stop for topics that I know little about, with useful links if I want to learn more.

      Actually, I tend to go to google first. This is because you have to guess the title fairly accurately for wikipedia, but for google, you only need to guess the keywords. Then you hope that something in the first few pages of ghits will actually be on the topic you want.

      And if google shows a wikipedia link, I usually read it first.

      (One of my favorite examples for wiki-skeptics is to suggest that they read the "Evolution" page. It has long been a very reasonable introduction to that tendentious topic, summarizing the scientific history, and giving links to both technical articles and religious pages that are relevant. I do wonder how often that page is vandalized, but the editors do a reasonably good job of keeping it stable. ;-)

      • by evilviper (135110)

        If you want an example article, instead of Evolution, try Fractal Antenna. The namesake company is working hard to keep it pure propaganda, removing all critiCism of fractals, and all mention of competing companies. Check the talk page, look at the edit history, and trace route those IP addresses... Administrators have been repeatedly notified, the vandals have patience to wait anyone out, and the money and vested interest in keeping it biased.

    • by drb226 (1938360)
      I dare you to name 3 articles in your area of expertise that you find deeply flawed.
    • Why then should anyone EVER trust ANY page on wikipedia?

      Because they can verify [wikipedia.org] the reliable sources [wikipedia.org] that all good articles have.

  • The summary is misleading - only the second of the screenshots in the article claims to be from May; the first is dated 14th February which, it could easily be argued is not a "random" or typical day in the Western world.
    I'd be far more interested to see a screenshot of deletions rather than edits, if only to find out exactly who is committing the annoying, unnecessary and downright malicious deletions of interesting scientific articles but leaving the FUD about D-list celebrities.

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