[Wikipedia-l] IBM analyzing Wikipedia page histories

Fernanda Viegas fviegas at media.mit.edu
Fri Aug 29 14:03:44 UTC 2003


It's great to see this discussion on the mailing list. We were planning to post a link to our project after we got all of the survey results but you guys beat us to it!  Basically, we didn't want your answers on the survey to be impacted by the visualizations we had posted on our site. As the site says, it's a preliminary report at this point.

To address a couple of points people raised...

1. We'd love to work more closely with the Wikipedia community! It's a great model of dissemination and gathering of knowledge. Certainly we'd love to discuss whether there's any way our technology might be useful to you, or that we could collaborate.

2. One person questioned our use of Wikipedia text in our screenshots. We do link to Wikipedia (the site, the archival database, and the Wikipedia entry on Wikipedia) but we could also either (a) alter the text so it is unreadable; or (b) since readable text makes the diagram more understandable: with Wikipedia's agreement, we could put a note on our gallery page saying "Article text (c) 2003 Wikipedia, reproduced by permission." Sorry for any confusion, this is a confusing area! (in fact, wasn't there recently a whole thread on fair use on this mailing list?)

3. Another poster asked about our diff method: I think the main difference between ours and yours is that ours is operating at a finer granularity (roughly at the sentence level, rather than the paragraph level). We'd be happy to talk in more detail, if you want!

4. We have been finding some fascinating patterns about the different ways in which people collaborate in Wikipedia. We are currently writing a paper about this and would be happy to share it with the community after we are done.

Again, it is great to hear all the excitement about the project here and it would be great to figure out ways to collaborate and hear more feedback from you.


Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg

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