Joseph Reagle wrote:
Given all the bots, both in terms of vandals and in
repulsing them, I am not sure the following question even makes sense: but how can we
characterize the ratio of productive to unproductive contribution/edits on the English
Wikipedia? Has this changed over time? I do have figures from the literature on
percentages (and their deltas) for administrator activity, policy edits, time to revert
vandalism, etc. The only data point I can find is a single one: the "Bush article had
28,000 revisions, one-third were reverts and, conceivably, another third vandalism"
(Spinellis, Louridas 2008).
While the definition and discussion of "(un)productivity" are
fascinating, what about a simpler question:
How many editors are active?
A major issue is to decide on a time frame. Do we mean activity within 1
hour? 1 day? 1 week? 1 month?
It should be possible to develop this little tool to provide information
on this metrics:
It would be nice if we had a tool that would be running this on a
constant basis (and preferably log past results in a downloadable form);
it seems like a nice addition to all those wikirages, dashboards and such :)
Or those with appropriate capabilities could just run a database dump
analysis for historical patterns (I am sure it was done in the past, but
the advantage of a real time monitoring tool versus results in published
work (usually older than a year) should be pretty obvious).
Some results from the time I run this tool in July are reported here
But it would be nice to have better numbers.
Activity, of course, is a larger subset of productivity, as it includes
vandals - but it should also be easier to measure. And perhaps by
analyzing a sample of active editors and establishing a number of
obvious vandals*, we can find out the numbers of productive editors,
using the simple arithmetic of
active - vandals = productive
*regarding counting only "obvious vandalism" for vandalism: as others
pointed out here, anything more complex that obvious vandalism may in
fact be productive. Of course, this is erring on the side of
productivity (just like discarding all revert edits is erring of the
side of unproductivity - WP:BRD and so on...).
"The problem about Wikipedia is, that it just works in reality, not in