[Wikipedia-l] IBM analyzing Wikipedia page histories

Erik Moeller erik_moeller at gmx.de
Fri Aug 29 16:38:47 UTC 2003

> 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.

I think it would definitely be useful to be able to generate this kind of  
history flow for articles. Perhaps we could make use of your technology  
without the tech itself necessarily being open source (by just having a  
copy on our servers). One problem for us right now is our limited hardware  
(especially since this is a Java application), but this should be  
addressed in coming months. In order to have some of the interactive  
features of the application, it would be necessary to run it client side,  
but it would already be great to have just a server side rendered history  
flow graphic for each article.

Why would it be useful? Not only because of the information it gives about  
the persistence of specific contributions, but also because it is of high  
emotional value. Think of SETI at Home -- many people like to watch it just  
because of the nice screensaver that shows the amount of "work" their  
computer has done. A beautifully rendered history flow for our articles  
would be a strong motivational factor. Remember that our long time goal is  
to make Wikipedia more addictive than crack.

> 2. One person questioned our use of Wikipedia text in our screenshots.

Ignore that, your use is clearly allowed. Thanks for the link to  
Wikipedia, even though we normally spell it "Wikipedia" and not  

> 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.

Please do. Most research on Wikipedia so far has focused on the content  
and not on the collaborative patterns. This would also be of interest to  
the larger wiki community.



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