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Submissions/Wikimetrics for a maturing encyclopaedia

From Wikimania 2013 • Hong Kong
See also: Submissions/The UserMetrics API: Measuring participation in Wikimedia projects, Submissions/Datafying Wikimedia

After careful consideration, the programme committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2013 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this August.

Submission no.
Subject no.
Title of the submission
Wikimetrics for a maturing encyclopaedia: How to measure progress in a time of structural change?
Type of submission
presentation or workshop
Author of the submission
Country of origin
E-mail address
Personal homepage or blog


The English Wikipedia is twelve years old, but many of the key measures used to assess progress are still those of its first years, focused on growth: number of articles, number of edits per user and number of views per article. The challenges facing the largest encyclopaedia of all times shifted however, with the ever growing number and length of articles being increasingly difficult to maintain by a decreasing number of active and committed editors, while also failing to attract more in-depth readers. This paper looks at what we need to be measuring to monitor and drive qualitative improvement.

Detailed proposal


One of the key advantages of the electronic encyclopaedia is that many of its aspects can be measured, enabling a constant monitoring of how it changes and how it is used. The most common metrics in use are those in place since Wikipedia's early years, focused on monitoring growth: the total number of articles, number of edits per user and number of views per article.

But after twelve years, many of the challenges facing the incontestably largest and most read encyclopaedia of all times shifted. The ever growing number and length of articles is increasingly difficult to maintain by a decreasing number of active and committed editors. More importantly, Wikipedia continues to fail to attract in-depth readers, being little used by academics, and with the common reader spending less than 5 minutes on site, while readers spend on the commercial site Amazon 10 minutes and on the social site Facebook 30 minutes in average.

This paper, based on participative observation and literature review, discusses what would need to be measured to monitor and drive qualitative improvement. Is it time to shift the emphasis from measures of spread to measures of depth? Should article quality assessments become more prominent? Is the current guideline for article length appropriate, or is there a need for tighter limits to facilitate quality improvement?

This draft proposal is a work in progress until the submission deadline of 30 April 2013, and I would be happy to receive any feedback or proposals for collaboration.

Useful links

Analysis and Public Engagement
Length of presentation/talk
20 Minutes
Language of presentation/talk
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  1. Sounds interesting --Thuvack (talk) 19:43, 12 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  2. So far a 100% South African audience. --Slashme (talk) 19:27, 7 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  3. This is very important to me. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:19, 21 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  4. CT Cooper · talk 00:45, 29 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  5. DarTar (talk) 21:21, 29 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]