Because similar patterns are observed for many other
languages (but not all), it looks like R.Stuart Geiger explanation is correct: from
October 16 2014 Special:Random page is just not counted any more (with some not
That’s a pity because
we lost valuable source of info how Wikipedia users look for information. Random
search was (and is?) a major way users explore Wikipedias. In many languages
Special:Random was significantly higher than Main_Page count and certainly
higher than search with index.php.
(I do not want to
point finger, but maybe somebody at WMF considered this emotionally.)
IMHO, logs should be
logs and log actual activity. At least
such dramatic changes in logging user’s activity should be documented
somewhere. Betters in Read.me file that should accompany raw logs.
>Date: Mon, 11 May 2015 20:08:40 -0700
>To: Research into Wikimedia content and communities
>Subject: Re: [Wiki-research-l] Wiki-research-l Digest, Vol 117, Issue
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>Going from 86,000,000 a month to 31,000 a month is quite a drop, and the
>shift is pretty dramatic. It goes from 1.7 million one day to 715 the next
>I was also thinking there could be a bot or something that is scraping
>Special:Random, but the drop also happens for Special:Random/Talk -- which
>hardly anybody uses, but it still drops flat the same day (
>Special:Upload or Special:Log though.
>October 16th, 2014 is the day it changes. Anybody know of something that
>might have changed that day with logging? Also, there have to be way more
>than ~1,000 hits a day to Special:Random. Perhaps pageviews started to be
>counted for the page that it got redirected to, rather than the
>Special:Random page itself. But then why wouldn't it go to 0? What are
>those ~1,000 hits a day?
>👻 ~~ it is a mystery ~~ 👻
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