Wikipedia:About page view statistics
|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
The page view statistics is a tool available for Wikipedia pages, which allows to see how many people has seen an article during time periods. However, like the Search engine tests, there are limitations to it. Before using such statistics to take conclusions about an ongoing discussion, there are things that must be considered. There are software limitations (or, more exactly, conclusions that may not be taken from the provided data) and circumstances that may influence on them, both from inside and outside Wikipedia. Typically, the item which ranks one in the Wikipedia Page View Statistics is Special:Export/SynchronizationStartTime:.
However, the article which would actually qualify as an article in the English Wikipedia which typically has the highest page view statistics is Wikipedia: Main Page.
- The statistics do not consider how much time people have stayed at the article. Either if they load the article and read from begin to end, or if they leave it in seconds, it will count as one view.
- There is no way to know why people have seen the article. Perhaps they wanted to read about it, but there are other options. Perhaps they were seeking something else with a similar name, perhaps the name was interesting or similar to something else and called their attention, perhaps they were browsing articles seeking some specific information, perhaps they were doing maintenance...
Influences within Wikipedia
- The most influential thing is, of course, the main page. Articles listed in the main page are sure to increase their page view. However, this does not apply only to the bolded item of the blurb, but also to non self-evident links in them. As the selection process are tied to the bolded article, it may be difficult to notice later that an article was linked this way at the main page
- Of course, an article being edited or expanded has more views than an abandoned article, specially if there is a wikiproject or team of editors working together in it. Article nominations (to whatever) increase the number of views, both from the actual reviewers and from those who considered making a review but gave up before saying anything.
- There are maintenance activities that do not impact on the article directly, but may need people to edit it, such as some activities related to categories, files or templates. Sometimes bots can help, but in cases involving few articles, or which need a human to do it correctly (such as correcting spelling mistakes), a user will view a number of articles andmake minor edits in them.
- When a vandal vandalizes, and a user notices and reverts, that's two views to the article. Even more if it's a highly watched article, and many people notice the vandalism at the same time.
Influences from outside Wikipedia
- As expected, all topics which are in the news are likely to get more visits.
- Wikipedia has a policy of naming the articles under the most common name. This means that when multiple topics share a name, the basic name is used for the most mentioned one. Most of the time, this works without problem. However, a potential problem is when a topic is in the news and gets a burst of interest from the public, likely to fade away after some time. In this cases, Wikipedia aims for stability, so people may seek the topic in the news and find the general topic instead. For example, imagine that some former members of Nirvana (band) decide to reunite the band, with a new vocalist, and produce new songs and go on international tours. There will be a huge number of people seeking the "Nirvana" article, but that will not mean that there's a rise in the interest in Hindu philosophy.