Aggressive edit wars aren't always destructive to the final article.
Often articles improve dramatically when editors are forcing each
other to document every assertion and push forward. The best ways to
measure the progress of editting algorythmically are in
1. The number of links out. Growing articles, even hostille ones,
tend to have increasing link density, as new concepts are added in.
2. The number of links in. Growing articles, even hostile ones, tend
to have increasing traffic in from the article space.
3. Number of links from non wiki pages. If an article is getting a
large number of links from talk pages which also have recent
conjugate edits, this is a very good sign that discussion has broken
down on the page.
4. Edit wars generate RFCs, talk page comments and so on. Also
measure on the talk page the "chili ranking" of what is on the talk
page. Destructive edit wars are accompanied by links to wiki policies
or citations there of. Or in otherwords, the more often NPOV is
mentioned in close proximity to other wiki policies, the more likely
discussion has broken down. People who are editting well generally
have better things to talk about, even if they are arguing about them.
The best way to find out if you don't have enough RAM, is to measure
hard drive thrash. The best way to measure edit wars is by the amount
of "thrash" that is being generated: disappearing links in or out,
talk page links with conjugate edits, high correlation to mailing
list in references, mentions of wikipolicies on talk page.
On Jul 29, 2005, at 9:27 PM, Jimmy Wales wrote:
Andrew Lih wrote:
Hope to see many of you at Wikimania next week (yes, it's only one
I want to propose some time is carved out for a BOAF session for wiki
researchers. Seems Friday and Sunday eves are free, or it could be
Thursday before things get started.
Here are some issues I'd love to talk to other folks about, please
free to add:
1. Heuristics for recognizing patterns in edit histories. Most
is an algorithm to determine what constitutes an edit war,
any other type of "noise" in the system if one's measuring
edits. (This is hard - even the "I'll know it when I see it"
problematic, as evidenced by the recent dispute with and departure
of RickK.) Much of the research myself, Jakob Voss, Cathy Ma and
do depend on analyzing edit histories and drawing conclusions about
article quality. So far, none of the research I've seen has "factored
out" the effect of edit wars and vandalism.
Revert wars and near-revert-wars are probably easier to
identify than other types of edit wars. How do we distinguish between
the case of two very active editors working very pleasantly
a back and forth session of mutual improvement and reinforcement
two very active editors working unpleasantly together in a back and
forth session of mutually reinforcing downward spiral of useless
I think it's pretty hard to do... algorithmically.
As Andrew suggests, we all do this all the time in our own private
evaluations of what is going on. We know that person X is a jerk,
problematic editor, and so is person Y, so when we see them going
on an article, we know it is bad news. But if we see Angela and
Lih both quickly and repeatedly editing an article, we know it is
probably good news.
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