[Foundation-l] [Junk released by User action] Re: Another look a bot creation of articles

Andrew Su asu at gnf.org
Thu Jul 24 17:04:45 UTC 2008

> -----Original Message-----
> From: foundation-l-bounces at lists.wikimedia.org [mailto:foundation-l-
> bounces at lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf Of Chad
> Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 5:23 AM
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
> Subject: [Junk released by User action] Re: [Foundation-l] Another
look a
> bot creation of articles


> Assuming the English Wikipedia has (more or less) a few thousand
> dedicated contributors (let's say 3500), that approximates to about
> 705 articles per person. Now, balloon that number up to 4 million
> articles,
> and you now have 1142 articles per person.

Last point I wanted to bring up.  Yes, the few thousand "dedicated
contributors" are very important to article growth.  But so are the
hundreds of thousands (millions?) of infrequent contributors, the people
who make individually small but collectively large contributions.  From
our article (http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0060175):

"A recent study found that the number of contributions from new editors
(less than 100 total edits) in total equals the number of contributions
from the most established editors (greater than 10,000 edits) [7],
illustrating the collective importance of the Long Tail."

Of course, this doesn't argue that we should maintain a page on every
chemical compound (which by definition is infinite).  But I think it
suggests that bot article creation on the scale of a few thousand will
not substantially increase maintenance burden or decrease quality.


[7] Kittur A, Chi EH, Pendleton BA, Suh B, Mytkowicz T (2007) Power of
the few vs. wisdom of the crowd, Wikipedia and the rise of the
bourgeoisie. 25th Annual ACM Confernce on Human Factors in Computing
Systems (CHI 2007). 28 April-3 May 2007; San Jose, California, United

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