This paper (first reference) is the result of a class project I was part of
almost two years ago for CSCI 5417 Information Retrieval Systems. It builds
on a class project I did in CSCI 5832 Natural Language Processing and which
I presented at Wikimania '07. The project was very late as we didn't send
the final paper in until the day before new years. This technical report was
never really announced that I recall so I thought it would be interesting to
look briefly at the results. The goal of this paper was to break articles
down into surface features and latent features and then use those to study
the rating system being used, predict article quality and rank results in a
search engine. We used the [[random forests]] classifier which allowed us to
analyze the contribution of each feature to performance by looking directly
at the weights that were assigned. While the surface analysis was performed
on the whole english wikipedia, the latent analysis was performed on the
simple english wikipedia (it is more expensive to compute). = Surface
features = * Readability measures are the single best predictor of quality
that I have found, as defined by the Wikipedia Editorial Team (WET). The
[[Automated Readability Index]], [[Gunning Fog Index]] and [[Flesch-Kincaid
Grade Level]] were the strongest predictors, followed by length of article
html, number of paragraphs, [[Flesh Reading Ease]], [[Smog Grading]], number
of internal links, [[Laesbarhedsindex Readability Formula]], number of words
and number of references. Weakly predictive were number of to be's, number
of sentences, [[Coleman-Liau Index]], number of templates, PageRank, number
of external links, number of relative links. Not predictive (overall - see
the end of section 2 for the per-rating score breakdown): Number of h2 or
h3's, number of conjunctions, number of images*, average word length, number
of h4's, number of prepositions, number of pronouns, number of interlanguage
links, average syllables per word, number of nominalizations, article age
(based on page id), proportion of questions, average sentence length. :*
Number of images was actually by far the single strongest predictor of any
class, but only for Featured articles. Because it was so good at picking out
featured articles and somewhat good at picking out A and G articles the
classifier was confused in so many cases that the overall contribution of
this feature to classification performance is zero. :* Number of external
links is strongly predictive of Featured articles. :* The B class is highly
distinctive. It has a strong "signature," with high predictive value
assigned to many features. The Featured class is also very distinctive. F, B
and S (Stop/Stub) contain the most information.
:* A is the least distinct class, not being very different from F or G. =
Latent features = The algorithm used for latent analysis, which is an
analysis of the occurence of words in every document with respect to the
link structure of the encyclopedia ("concepts"), is [[Latent Dirichlet
Allocation]]. This part of the analysis was done by CS PhD student Praful
Mangalath. An example of what can be done with the result of this analysis
is that you provide a word (a search query) such as "hippie". You can then
look at the weight of every article for the word hippie. You can pick the
article with the largest weight, and then look at its link network. You can
pick out the articles that this article links to and/or which link to this
article that are also weighted strongly for the word hippie, while also
contributing maximally to this articles "hippieness". We tried this query in
our system (LDA), Google (site:en.wikipedia.org hippie), and the Simple
English Wikipedia's Lucene search engine. The breakdown of articles occuring
in the top ten search results for this word for those engines is: * LDA
only: [[Acid rock]], [[Aldeburgh Festival]], [[Anne Murray]], [[Carl
Radle]], [[Harry Nilsson]], [[Jack Kerouac]], [[Phil Spector]], [[Plastic
Ono Band]], [[Rock and Roll]], [[Salvador Allende]], [[Smothers brothers]],
[[Stanley Kubrick]]. * Google only: [[Glam Rock]], [[South Park]]. * Simple
only: [[African Americans]], [[Charles Manson]], [[Counterculture]], [[Drug
use]], [[Flower Power]], [[Nuclear weapons]], [[Phish]], [[Sexual
liberation]], [[Summer of Love]] * LDA & Google & Simple: [[Hippie]],
[[Human Be-in]], [[Students for a democratic society]], [[Woodstock
festival]] * LDA & Google: [[Psychedelic Pop]] * Google & Simple: [[Lysergic
acid diethylamide]], [[Summer of Love]] ( See the paper for the articles
produced for the keywords philosophy and economics ) = Discussion /
Conclusion = * The results of the latent analysis are totally up to your
perception. But what is interesting is that the LDA features predict the WET
ratings of quality just as well as the surface level features. Both feature
sets (surface and latent) both pull out all almost of the information that
the rating system bears. * The rating system devised by the WET is not
distinctive. You can best tell the difference between, grouped together,
Featured, A and Good articles vs B articles. Featured, A and Good articles
are also quite distinctive (Figure 1). Note that in this study we didn't
look at Start's and Stubs, but in earlier paper we did. :* This is
interesting when compared to this recent entry on the YouTube blog. "Five
Stars Dominate Ratings"
I think a sane, well researched (with actual subjects) rating system
well within the purview of the Usability Initiative. Helping people find and
create good content is what Wikipedia is all about. Having a solid rating
system allows you to reorganized the user interface, the Wikipedia
namespace, and the main namespace around good content and bad content as
needed. If you don't have a solid, information bearing rating system you
don't know what good content really is (really bad content is easy to spot).
:* My Wikimania talk was all about gathering data from people about articles
and using that to train machines to automatically pick out good content. You
ask people questions along dimensions that make sense to people, and give
the machine access to other surface features (such as a statistical measure
of readability, or length) and latent features (such as can be derived from
document word occurence and encyclopedia link structure). I referenced page
262 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to give an example of the
kind of qualitative features I would ask people. It really depends on what
features end up bearing information, to be tested in "the lab". Each word is
an example dimension of quality: We have "*unity, vividness, authority,
economy, sensitivity, clarity, emphasis, flow, suspense, brilliance,
precision, proportion, depth and so on.*" You then use surface and latent
features to predict these values for all articles. You can also say, when a
person rates this article as high on the x scale, they also mean that it has
has this much of these surface and these latent features.
= References =
- DeHoust, C., Mangalath, P., Mingus., B. (2008). *Improving search in
Wikipedia through quality and concept discovery*. Technical Report.
- Rassbach, L., Mingus., B, Blackford, T. (2007). *Exploring the
feasibility of automatically rating online article quality*. Technical
I have asked and received permission to forward to you all this most
excellent bit of news.
The linguist list, is a most excellent resource for people interested in the
field of linguistics. As I mentioned some time ago they have had a funding
drive and in that funding drive they asked for a certain amount of money in
a given amount of days and they would then have a project on Wikipedia to
learn what needs doing to get better coverage for the field of linguistics.
What you will read in this mail that the total community of linguists are
asked to cooperate. I am really thrilled as it will also get us more
linguists interested in what we do. My hope is that a fraction will be
interested in the languages that they care for and help it become more
relevant. As a member of the "language prevention committee", I love to get
more knowledgeable people involved in our smaller projects. If it means that
we get more requests for more projects we will really feel embarrassed with
all the new projects we will have to approve because of the quality of the
Incubator content and the quality of the linguistic arguments why we should
approve yet another language :)
NB Is this not a really clever way of raising money; give us this much in
this time frame and we will then do this as a bonus...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: LINGUIST Network <linguist(a)linguistlist.org>
Date: Jun 18, 2007 6:53 PM
Subject: 18.1831, All: Call for Participation: Wikipedia Volunteers
LINGUIST List: Vol-18-1831. Mon Jun 18 2007. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.
Subject: 18.1831, All: Call for Participation: Wikipedia Volunteers
Moderators: Anthony Aristar, Eastern Michigan U <aristar(a)linguistlist.org>
Helen Aristar-Dry, Eastern Michigan U <hdry(a)linguistlist.org>
Reviews: Laura Welcher, Rosetta Project
The LINGUIST List is funded by Eastern Michigan University,
and donations from subscribers and publishers.
Editor for this issue: Ann Sawyer <sawyer(a)linguistlist.org>
To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at
From: Hannah Morales < hannah(a)linguistlist.org >
Subject: Wikipedia Volunteers
-------------------------Message 1 ----------------------------------
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 12:49:35
From: Hannah Morales < hannah(a)linguistlist.org >
Subject: Wikipedia Volunteers
As you may recall, one of our Fund Drive 2007 campaigns was called the
"Wikipedia Update Vote." We asked our viewers to consider earmarking their
donations to organize an update project on linguistics entries in the
English-language Wikipedia. You can find more background information on this
The speed with which we met our goal, thanks to the interest and generosity
our readers, was a sure sign that the linguistics community was enthusiastic
about the idea. Now that summer is upon us, and some of you may have a bit
leisure time, we are hoping that you will be able to help us get started on
Wikipedia project. The LINGUIST List's role in this project is a purely
organizational one. We will:
*Help, with your input, to identify major gaps in the Wikipedia materials or
pages that need improvement;
*Compile a list of linguistics pages that Wikipedia editors have identified
"in need of attention from an expert on the subject" or " does not cite any
references or sources," etc;
*Send out periodical calls for volunteer contributors on specific topics or
*Provide simple instructions on how to upload your entries into Wikipedia;
*Keep track of our project Wikipedians;
*Keep track of revisions and new entries;
*Work with Wikimedia Foundation to publicize the linguistics community's
We hope you are as enthusiastic about this effort as we are. Just to help us
get started looking at Wikipedia more critically, and to easily identify an
needing improvement, we suggest that you take a look at the List of
Many people are not listed there; others need to have more facts and
added. If you would like to participate in this exciting update effort,
respond by sending an email to LINGUIST Editor Hannah Morales at
hannah(a)linguistlist.org, suggesting what your role might be or which
entries you feel should be updated or added. Some linguists who saw our
on the Internet have already written us with specific suggestions, which we
share with you soon.
This update project will take major time and effort on all our parts. The
result will be a much richer internet resource of information on the breadth
depth of the field of linguistics. Our efforts should also stimulate
students to consider studying linguistics and to educate a wider public on
we do. Please consider participating.
Editor, Wikipedia Update Project
Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable
LINGUIST List: Vol-18-1831
[I am crossposting this announcement to two mailing lists, feel free to
pick up the topic on either of them.]
I am--yet again!--delighted to announce that Wikimedia Polska, the
Polish chapter of the WMF, is organising a travelling exhibition of the
winning POTY contest pictures. 16 images chosen by Wikimedians from all
over the world in the annual POTY contests from 2006 onwards are going
to be shown at exhibitions in various places around Poland.
As some of you may recall, the exhibition premièred during the 10th
anniversary of the Polish Wikipedia conference, having been visited by a
few hundred visitors in just two weeks; some images from the pubic
viewing of the exhibition are available on Wikimedia Commons at
Our first stop is Przystanek Książka (a Polish wordplay for "Book
Break"), a media library of the Public Library of the district of Ochota
in Warsaw. The exhibition starts on Monday, November 28, and will remain
until the end of the year. 16 pictures, the best of the best of the
Wikimedia movement, will be shown in an exhibition open for the public,
with descriptions available in Polish, English and German.
For those of you currently living in Warsaw or going to visit the
capital in the upcoming weeks: the library is located at 42 Grójecka
Street, just two tram stops (and 8 minutes) away from the Warsaw Central
railway station (tram lines "9" and "25"), and is open on working days
from 10 AM until 7 PM (2 PM-7 PM on Wednesdays).
We are still looking for more organisations and institutions willing to
hold the exhibition--if there's anyone from the neighbouring (European)
countries willing to get involved or just looking for some information,
feel free to approach me at <tomasz.kozlowski @ wikimedia.pl>.
We hope to have a great event, and even if you can't visit the
exhibition, please keep your fingers crossed that it goes well, and
spread the news!
PS For those going to take a peek at the exhibition _in real life_,
there's also a Facebook event:
Tomasz Kozłowski | [[user:odder]]
There are an increasing number of organisations which have indicated
that their output is Creative Commons by default, however there are
not as many that have a public IP policy which clearly allows staff to
publish "their" work.
i.e. We have moved from the IP policy being the stick used to prevent
openness, and the "work for hire" and "publish process" are the next
A few staff at University of Canberra (UC) have written an IP policy
proposal which clearly gives staff ownership of their work, and
requires CC licensing if their staff use organisational infrastructure
to create their work.
Otago Polytechnic adopted an IP policy like that in 2007.
Are there other examples, within or outside academia, where the
organisation empowers its staff by providing a policy which clarifies
when "work for hire" principle is enforced in this murky world of
Does the WMF have an intellectual property policy for works created by
Employees edit and upload using free licenses under their own name,
but does the copyright belong to the employee or to the WMF?
Is anyone in our community going to:
Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest
Washington College of Law
American University, Washington, DC
August 25-27, 2011
*I happy to announce that all the videos from Wikimania 2011 in Haifa are
now available on our channel in YouTube!: http://www.youtube.com/WikimediaIL
Next week I will send a HDD with all the footage and the edited videos to
the WMF so they will have a copy for archive and so they can upload it to
*Don't forget also to check our Flickr stream!:
On the schedule you will find links to the videos:
Also, on each submissions page there is a links to the video, slides and
Etherpad (if available). *For the presenter who didn't upload their slides
yet, please do so and update your submissions page.*
*** Bonus! - a video clip that we made after Wikimania to summarize the
(amazing!) beach party: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1-MzHGA6fc ***
It was harder than we thought - to record 3 days, in 5 simulation
High-Definition cameras, and than edit, upload and tag them - really not an
easy thing. What we thought will take us few weeks, took about 2 months -
but I'm happy that we finish with that finally :)
I think now we've made this step, we finished our commitment to the
community and to the conference participants. I Hope everyone will enjoy
and will found our (hard) work useful. I personally going to find time to
watch some of lectures... (a tip for Wikimania organizers - don't plan to
attend session during the conference, you will fail :).
And some statistics:
We have about 2TB of footages, 135GB of edit videos, all of them are in HD.
During the confrtence we produce 3 summaries video clips (and one more
Until now the videos on our YouTube channel had been watched more than
16,000 times and our Flickr stream, who have 1,425 photos been seen more
than 83,000 times!
Thanks everyone for the great opportunity to have this conference in Haifa,
and good luck to the great guys in D.C next year!
Wikimania 2011 local team
(probably the last time i'm going to use this title...)
> ... but -if we want to reach consensus- what we really need to be
> discussing is: screwdrivers.
> Kim Bruning
No, we need to harden the wall agaist all attacks by hammers, screwdrivers and drills.
We have consensus: Wikipedia should not be censored.
> Scattered pieces of the puzzle globe.
The WMF is still trying to scatter it in favour of ???
I am using the free version of SPAMfighter.
We are a community of 7 million users fighting spam.
SPAMfighter has removed 4955 of my spam emails to date.
Get the free SPAMfighter here: http://www.spamfighter.com/len
The Professional version does not have this message
We are currently discussing an evolving image filter proposal on the Meta
brainstorming page* that would give users the option of creating personal
filter lists (PFL). The structure and interactivity of these personal
filter lists would be comparable to those of editors' personal watchlists.
The way this would work is that each project page would have an "Enable
image filtering" entry in the side bar. Clicking on this would add a "Hide"
button to each image displayed on the page. Clicking on "Hide" would then
grey the image, and automatically add it to the user's personal filter list.
Any image added to the PFL in this way would appear greyed on any
subsequent visit to the page. It would also appear greyed on any other
project page where it is included, and (given an SUL account) any page
containing the image in any other Wikimedia project such as Commons itself
– including Commons search result listings. In each case, the user would
always retain the option of clicking on a "Show" button or the placeholder
itself to reveal the picture again, and simultaneously remove it from their
PFL. Of course, if they change their mind, they can add it right back
again, by clicking on "Hide" again. It would work like adding/removing
pages in one's watchlist.
Apart from enabling users to hide images and add them to their PFL as they
encounter them in surfing our projects, users would also be able to edit
the PFL manually, just as it is possible to edit one's watchlist manually.
In this way, they could add any image file or category they want to their
PFL. They could also add filter lists precompiled for them by a third
party. Such lists could be crowdsourced by people interested in filtering,
according to whatever cultural criteria they choose.
It became very clear during the discussions over the past few months that
tagging files for the personal image filter, or creating image filter
categories, was not something the community as a whole wanted to become
involved in – partly because of the work involved, partly because of the
arguments it would cause, and partly because it would not be possible to do
this truly neutrally, given different cultural standards of offensiveness.
Various people suggested that the Foundation do nothing, and leave the
creation of image filters to third parties altogether.
This proposal occupies a middle ground. The Foundation provides users with
the software capability to create and maintain personal filter lists, just
like it enables users to maintain watchlists, but it is then up to a
separate crowdsourcing effort by those who want to have a filter to find
ways of populating such lists. This is consistent with the overall
Wikimedia crowdsourcing approach, and a natural extension of it. Even if
this crowdsourcing effort should unexpectedly fail to take off, readers
will still gain the possibility of hiding images or media as they come
across them with a single click, with the assurance that they won't ever
see them again anywhere on our projects unless they really want to. That in
itself would be a net gain. Users who don't want to have anything to do
with filtering at all could switch any related screen furniture off in
their preferences, to retain the same surfing experience they have now.
Under this proposal, the entire informational infrastructure for filtering
would reside in readers' personal filter lists. The data structure of the
wiki itself does not change at all, just like adding pages to a personal
watchlist affects no one apart from the user whose watchlist it is. There
are no filter tags, no specially created filter categories, and no one has
to worry about defining, creating or maintaining them. The filter users do
that for themselves.
For unregistered users, their PFL could be stored in a cookie. However,
they would be encouraged to create an SUL account when they first enable
image filtering, so they can retain the same surfing experience even after
changing computers, or after accidentally deleting the cookie.