Jaap van Ganswijk wrote:
Hi Neil and Ray,
I know what exponential behaviour is, I was just hoping you'd
give the figures in a clearer way instead of as a formula.
It's usual to give the growth per year as a percentage and/or
to give the amount of time in which the amount doubles.
I did use an annual growth rate in my previous response, and Neil's
comments seem to have answered the second approach. I'm sure that some
of ou more mathematically challenged Wikipedians will run the other way
at the sight of any mathematical formula, bu it was only fair for those
who might want to pursue the matter further to know how I arrived at my
view.
It looks
exponential to me, with a kink for the Great Slowdown of the Phase II software. Recent
growth is about 217 articles/day for a size of about 42000 articles, and that's about
0.5% / day.
Looks very linear to me.
And I think anyway, that the process will be more linear than exponential.
My projection was a hypothesis that is as subject to the constraints of
the scientific method as any other.Choosing another data set could have
given different results.
- When the number of people contributing stays fixed
and
they write a fixed number of articles per time unit
the growth will be linear.
Yes, but is the number of people contributing really staying fixed.
People who only make a single contribution (including vandals) to
Wikipedia are also contributors. What is the relationship between the
number of such people in the last thirty days with the number of such
people in the preceeding 30 days. Any growth there is a function of
finding out that Wikipedia exists.
- People may get bored or frustrated however and
produce
less articles. They may also lack the knowledge to write
about other than their favorite subjects. Even if they
would write about non-favorite subjects it would go
slower because they would have to do more research.
I suspect that the proportion of people who have a 500 article
exhaustion level will be relatively constant.
- People will also spend time on improving articles
instead of writing new ones and this get worse the
more articles there are.
Probably another relative constant. Improving articles includes
splitting off sections into "new" articles when they get too long.
- However, new people will join the club and therefore
super linear behaviour could occur, but I think that the
new people will at most counteract the amount that the
other start writing less articles.
Subject to verification. See my comments above re one-time contributors.
- Even when people don't have to write articles
themselves
but can copy and edit them, the sources that they can
easily copy them from may dry out over time.
This is one of our limits to growth in the long run, but I don't see it
as a factor in the near future.
- And a major argument against super linear behaviour
of
the growth is, that the bigger the data base becomes,
the more complicated and time consuming the
interrelations will get. Which with a fixed staff would
let the growth tend to logarithmic behaviour.
Given all these factors and the current graph, I think that
the growth is more likely to be linear (and we should be
happy enough with that).
Indeed we should be happy with it.
In the spirit of compromise, perhaps the growth rate is now exponential
but in the long term the rate of growth will be asymptotic to a linear
function.
Eclecticology