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
to increase accountability and create more opportunities for course
corrections and resourcing adjustments as necessary, Sue's asked me
and Howie Fung to set up a quarterly project evaluation process,
starting with our highest priority initiatives. These are, according
to Sue's narrowing focus recommendations which were approved by the
- Visual Editor
- Mobile (mobile contributions + Wikipedia Zero)
- Editor Engagement (also known as the E2 and E3 teams)
- Funds Dissemination Committe and expanded grant-making capacity
I'm proposing the following initial schedule:
- Editor Engagement Experiments
- Visual Editor
- Mobile (Contribs + Zero)
- Editor Engagement Features (Echo, Flow projects)
- Funds Dissemination Committee
We’ll try doing this on the same day or adjacent to the monthly
metrics meetings , since the team(s) will give a presentation on
their recent progress, which will help set some context that would
otherwise need to be covered in the quarterly review itself. This will
also create open opportunities for feedback and questions.
My goal is to do this in a manner where even though the quarterly
review meetings themselves are internal, the outcomes are captured as
meeting minutes and shared publicly, which is why I'm starting this
discussion on a public list as well. I've created a wiki page here
which we can use to discuss the concept further:
The internal review will, at minimum, include:
Team members and relevant director(s)
So for example, for Visual Editor, the review team would be the Visual
Editor / Parsoid teams, Sue, me, Howie, Terry, and a minute-taker.
I imagine the structure of the review roughly as follows, with a
duration of about 2 1/2 hours divided into 25-30 minute blocks:
- Brief team intro and recap of team's activities through the quarter,
compared with goals
- Drill into goals and targets: Did we achieve what we said we would?
- Review of challenges, blockers and successes
- Discussion of proposed changes (e.g. resourcing, targets) and other
- Buffer time, debriefing
Once again, the primary purpose of these reviews is to create improved
structures for internal accountability, escalation points in cases
where serious changes are necessary, and transparency to the world.
In addition to these priority initiatives, my recommendation would be
to conduct quarterly reviews for any activity that requires more than
a set amount of resources (people/dollars). These additional reviews
may however be conducted in a more lightweight manner and internally
to the departments. We’re slowly getting into that habit in
As we pilot this process, the format of the high priority reviews can
help inform and support reviews across the organization.
Feedback and questions are appreciated.
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
Support Free Knowledge: https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
for those of you who do not watch the RecentChanges on the Foundation
wiki <https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Special:RecentChanges>, I
think it might be somehow surprising to see that in a top-level
decision, almost all volunteer administrators of the wiki have been
stripped off their adminship yesterday evening (UTC time).
As far as I know, community members have been helping out maintaining
this wiki for as long as 2006, spending countless hours of their free
time on categorising existing pages, importing translations from Meta,
and recently, deleting unnecessary and broken pages left over by WMF staff.
Apparently, this is something that not only isn't appreciated, but
unwelcome. Let me repeat that: the WMF does not wish volunteers to help
out with running their wiki, even if they have been helping out almost
since the very start of the wiki.
Some questions come to my mind right now:
1) Who made the decision to remove adminship from all community members?
(I'm assuming it was Gayle, but it could've be someone from the
Communications department for all we know.)
2) Why did you make this decision now? What changed?
3) Why did you decide to desysop people straight away instead of
discussing things with them first?
These are questions directed at the WMF—for you regular folks, I have a
riddle (I'll give a WikiLove barnstar to the first person to submit a
correct answer). There is /at least/ one community member who does not
hold any official position within the WMF, and who has not been
desysopped in yesterday's purge—do you know who this person is?
WMF researchers have agreed to participate in an office hour about WMF research projects and methodologies.
The currently scheduled participants are:
* Aaron Halfaker, Research Analyst (contractor)
* Jonathan Morgan, Research Strategist (contractor)
* Evan Rosen, Data Analytics Manager, Global Development
* Haitham Shammaa, Contribution Research Manager
* Dario Taraborelli, Senior Research Analyst, Strategy
We'll meet on IRC in #wikimedia-office on April 22 at 1800 UTC. Please join us.
As mentioned after Sue's announcement of her intention to depart the Foundation we will try to ensure transparency in the work of the Transition Team where possible (and respect privacy where necessary). To that end I would like to draw you attention to a set of recent changes made to the Transition Team pages on Meta:
These changes include a preliminary timeline, FAQ and an invitation to add people to the "connectors list". Please feel free to add more questions and other discussion points. We expect to add more information (such as the choice we made with regards to the Search firm that will assist us) in the coming week.
Jan-Bart de Vreede
Chair Executive Director Transition Team
I noticed that when I'm searching on Google, many Wikipedia results are in the form of lang-code.zero.wikipedia.org, perhaps just since a day or two ago.
I'm not sure what items are indexed this way, but it would really be a trouble - there is no link on the page that jumps you to the standard site (even the notice links to main page of m.wikipedia.org, not the corresponding article on m.wikipedia.org)
Benjamin Chen / [[User:Bencmq]]
The developer team at Wikimedia is making some changes to how accounts
work, as part of our on-going efforts to provide new and better tools
for our users (like cross-wiki notifications). These changes will mean
users have the same account name everywhere, will let us give you new
features that will help you edit & discuss better, and will allow more
flexible user permissions for tools. One of the pre-conditions for
this is that user accounts will now have to be unique across all 900
Unfortunately, some accounts are currently not unique across all our
wikis, but instead clash with other users who have the same account
name. To make sure that all of these users can use Wikimedia's wikis
in future, we will be renaming a number of accounts to have "~” and
the name of their wiki added to the end of their accounts' name. This
change will take place on or around 27 May. For example, a user called
“Example” on the Swedish Wiktionary who will be renamed would become
All accounts will still work as before, and will continue to be
credited for all their edits made so far. However, users with renamed
accounts (whom we will be contacting individually) will have to use
the new account name when they log in.
It will now only be possible for accounts to be renamed globally; the
RenameUser tool will no longer work on a local basis - since all
accounts must be globally unique - therefore it will be withdrawn from
bureaucrats' tool sets. It will still be possible for users to ask on
Meta for their account to be renamed further, if they do not like
their new user name, once this takes place.
A copy of this note is posted to meta  for translation. Please
forward this to your local communities, and help get it translated.
Individuals who are affected will be notified via talk page and e-mail
notices nearer the time.
 - https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Help:Unified_login
 - https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Single_User_Login_finalisation_announcement
James D. Forrester
Product Manager, VisualEditor
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
jforrester(a)wikimedia.org | @jdforrester
On July 11th at the next WMF Metrics & Activities meeting, myself, Erik
Möller, Howie Fung, Maryana Pinchuk, and Dario Taraborelli are going to
deliver a short update on the state of Wikimedia editor communities. (For
those not familiar:
This is the beginning of the new fiscal year for the WMF, and we'd like to
use this time to recap what we know about the decline or growth of
Wikimedia communities. We're focusing on the following set of questions...
* Are Wikimedia projects as a whole in decline?
* Is English Wikipedia in decline?
* Which WMF projects have been successful in driving growth?
* Which non-WMF trends have driven growth (e.g. community projects)?
* How does data/measurement enable us to drive growth?
* Which future changes are expected to drive growth?
I'm reaching out to this list on behalf of the team, so that we can get a
list of the non-WMF projects that have had a measurable impact on the size
or diversity of Wikimedia projects.
One obvious example that comes to mind is Wiki Loves Monuments. Others are
the Wikipedia Challenge in Kiswahili and Setswana, and edit-a-thons, such
as this year's fashion edit-a-thon put together by Wikimedia Sverige.
What am I missing from this list?
Thank you very much for everything you and the volunteers are doing. You
people do rock.
WMF is getting professional translations in German, French, Spanish, and
Japanese, and will post by Tuesday. We are doing this because of the fast
timing situation and our desire to hear international voices. We are
asking for translations by volunteers in the other languages. If the
community says that we need to push out the dates, we will listen of
course. My competing consideration is that we don't miss opportunities if
the right course is to proceed forward as recommended in the blog post.
Apologies for any confusion here. Any fault is mine.
Again ... many thanks.
*Date: Sat, 15 Jun 2013 03:19:55 +0200
From: "Tomasz W. Kozlowski" <tomasz(a)twkozlowski.net>
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] PRISM, government
surveillance, and Wikimedia: Request for community feedback
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed
I'm a bit lost here now that I've read that translation notice more
carefully — are you really saying you want to have this post translated
into German, French, Spanish and Japanese by Tuesday, June 18, and then
for the local communities to comment on it by Friday, June 21?
There is just no way that this can scale in this world.
FYI, I posted a message asking for translations at
and I'm sure that our amazing volunteer translators can get it
translated into those four languages (and more) by noon on Sunday (PST).*
(And again—doing this kind of things on a Friday is a Very Bad Idea[TM].)