[Foundation-l] Is random article truly random

Tim Starling tstarling at wikimedia.org
Fri Oct 21 00:29:17 UTC 2011

On 19/10/11 02:15, Domas Mituzas wrote:
> Short answer: no
> Long answer:
> we have uneven chances for different pages to show up. It is based
> on the idea that every page gets inserted into discreetly random
> position in a certain linear space, so you end up with [[Poisson
> distribution]], which from a distance seems to return stuff
> randomly enough, but one page can have 1000x higher chance to be
> returned than other.

There's no bias towards or away from porn, however. The distributions
of page_random gaps are independent of any variable you might want to
study, like quality or age.

If you try to get a lot of random pages from Special:Random,
eventually you will notice that some pages are missing and some pages
come up more often. But if you are only fetching a small fraction of
the total number of articles, then the statistics of the returned
sample will look more or less the same as a true random sample.

-- Tim Starling

More information about the foundation-l mailing list