|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.|
|This page in a nutshell: Edit counters are a useful tool, but remember that it's the quality of edits that counts, not the quantity.|
Edit counts are a quick and crude aid when trying to measure a Wikipedian's experience in the Wikipedia community.
As a small protection against sock puppetry, certain community opinion processes—such as Articles for deletion—may discount comments made by extremely new users (those with very few edits or those accounts that were made very recently). However, Wikipedia tries not to base decisions on votes, but on consensus; decisions based on discussion and reasoning, so even very new editors who give good reasons for their stance can sway others to their side.
Some users partially base their Request for adminship votes on the edit counts of the candidates. Reasons for this may include protection against sock puppetry, and the fact that active admins are needed to help with admin backlogs.
"Quality, not quantity"
As edits can vary in size and quality, it is important not to put much weight into someone's edit count, and to avoid worrying about one's own edit count. Edit counts do not necessarily reflect the value of a user's contributions to the Wikipedia project. As the saying goes, "Quality, not quantity".
There are many reasons why a total number of edits usually does not indicate quality of work, quality of an editor, or significance of contributions. These include the following:
- Some editors use automated tools (bots and assisted systems) capable of fixing many simple errors per minute (spelling, links, etc.), or that place many informational and other notices in a short time, while others work on tasks where these tools are not useful, such as content creation and reworking, manual copyright review, and editorial dispute resolution.
- Some bot users route their bot edits through separate bot accounts while others include them in their own edits.
- Others may use one or more alternative accounts to segregate their contributions for various reasons.
- Many editors who are high on the list perform routine tasks that require less time per edit especially by reverting other editors or WP:SPAM; conversely, users who create a number of long new pages or make major additions might easily spend a week or more undertaking research before editing, and appear much lower on the list, if at all.
- Earlier versions of the list listed contributions to the article space separately. The current list counts the total number of edits, including to talk pages.
- Many people edit without logging in at all, and many anonymous non-logged in editors regularly make valuable and well-established edits and a huge contribution.
- Many Wikipedians work in areas where edits are less prominent such as Wikipedia's public mailing lists, the Volunteer Response Team, or services such as checkuser.
What is an edit count?
An edit count is a number stored for each user tallying the total times they have saved a change or changes to a Wikipedia page. The simplest method is to count each edit (regardless of whether it reflects a single change to a page or many) as 1; this is what the server does when generating the efficient counts shown in Special:Preferences. Note that this 'server count' also includes deleted edits; if an edit is deleted (for instance, the user tagged an article for speedy deletion and the article was subsequently deleted), the server count continues to reflect that edit having been made.
However, many edit counters that create more detailed results rely on looking through Special:Contributions and counting edits there. Because deleted edits are only visible to administrators, and even then only when they specifically request to see them, counting edits from contributions does not count deleted edits; therefore this 'contribution count' is normally lower than the server count. It does, however, count some actions the server does not as edits; for instance, if you rename a page, that adds a history entry on both the old and new names of the page to show that the page was renamed, and therefore counts as 2 towards a user's contributions count. If the page being moved had a talk page, which was renamed as well, that counts as 2 more, so a single move can add up to 4 to a user's contribution count, while it would add 0 to the server count. This explains to some extent why different edit counters will give different counts for the same user. (Note that counters which return contribution counts are generally heavy on the servers compared to counters which return server count, and so should be used infrequently.)
Some counters don't read Special:Contributions, nor query the server for the server count, but instead make use of a backup of the Wikipedia database stored on the toolserver or tool labs. The original edit counter was of this nature. Due to the way these counters can access the database, they can often give separate counts for deleted and non-deleted edits, giving more information of this sort than other counters; however, the toolserver copy of the database is not updated in real time, and therefore such counts are often slightly out of date (and therefore too low). The toolserver count can be higher than either of the others, though, because not all deleted edits are counted in the server count for users who have had an account for a long time (because the server counts have not existed forever and don't include some old deleted edits, although they should include all edits that have never been deleted, as well as edits that were deleted since the server counts came into existence).
- Related Wikipedia pages
- Wikipedia:WikiProject edit counters
- Wikipedia:Editcountitis, an essay
- Wikipedia:Wikipediholic, an essay
- Wikipedia:Edit density, a related statistic
- Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by article count
- Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by number of edits
- Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by number of most recent edits (compiled using data from August 28, 2004), ordered by the number of articles for which the Wikipedian is the most recent contributor
- Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by number of recent edits (period between 2011-03-01 and 2011-03-30 (UTC)), ordered by the number of contributions in the last thirty days