Hi Fabian,

That's interesting. When you say you stripped out the html did you also strip out the other parts of the references? Some citation styles will take up more bytes than others, and citation style is supposed to be consistent at the article level.

It would also make a difference whether you included or excluded alt text from readable material as I suspect it is non granular - ie if someone is going to create alt text for one picture in an article they will do so for all pictures.

More significantly there is a big difference in standards of referencing , broadly the higher the assessed quality and or the more contentious the article the more references there will be.

I would expect that if you factored that in there would be some correlation between readable length and bytes within assessed classes of quality, and the outliers would include some of the controversial articles like Jerusalem (353 references)

Hope that helps.


On 2 August 2013 18:24, Floeck, Fabian (AIFB) <fabian.floeck@kit.edu> wrote:
to whoever is interested in this (and I hope I didn't just repeat someone else's experiments on this):

I wanted to know if a "long" or "short" article in terms of how much readable material (excluding pictures) is presented to the reader in the front-end is correlated to the byte size of the Wikisyntax which can be obtained from the DB or API; as people often define the "length" of an article by its length in bytes.

TL;DR: Turns out size in bytes is a really, really bad indicator for the actual, readable content of a Wikipedia article, even worse than I thought.

We "curl"ed the front-end HTML of all articles of the English Wikipedia (ns=0, no disambiguation, no redirects) between 5800 and 6000 bytes (as around 5900 bytes is the total en.wiki average for these articles). = 41981 articles.
Results for size in characters (w/ whitespaces) after cleaning the HTML out:
Min= 95 Max= 49441 Mean=4794.41 Std. Deviation=1712.748

Especially the gap between Min and Max was interesting. But templates make it possible.
(See e.g. "Veer Teja Vidhya Mandir School", "Martin Callanan" -- Allthough for the ladder you could argue that expandable template listings are not really main "reading" content..)

Effectively, correlation for readable character size with byte size = 0.04 (i.e. none) in the sample.

If someone already did this or a similar analysis, I'd appreciate pointers.



Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute of Applied Informatics and Formal Description Methods

Dipl.-Medwiss. Fabian Flöck
Research Associate

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KIT – University of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg and
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