Joseph, as someone who doesn't follow every discussion in this thread, I am curious as to how you are defining "productive"?
I'm thinking right now that the addition of concepts and ideas cannot always be reliably measured in terms of word count, for example. So how does one measure productivity? Also, what is the "product," of productivity? Is it text? Is it greater understanding?

Said Hamideh
President and Co-Founder 

On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 12:26 PM, Reid Priedhorsky <> wrote:
On 11/06/2009 12:20 PM, 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).

Forgive me for the self-promotion, but I wonder if our paper:

  Priedhorsky et al., "Creating, Destroying, and Restoring Value in
Wikipedia", GROUP 2007.

might be helpful. We did some analysis on the impact of damage (i.e.,
vandalism and other damaging edits) and that code could certainly be
revived, modernized, and extended. I can put you in touch with our
Wikipedia team if you are interested in pursuing that or collaborating.


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