Wikipedia:Pageview statistics

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Page view statistics (or Pageview stats) is a tool available for Wikipedia pages, which allows one to see how many people have visited an article during a given time period. However, like the Search engine tests, there are limitations to it. Before using such statistics to make 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 them, both from inside and outside Wikipedia. Typically, the item which ranks first 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 the Main Page of Wikipedia.

It refers to the number of times a particular page has been requested. Using toollabs:pageviews, it is possible to see statistics on how often Wikipedia pages have been viewed during various times. These figures do not reflect the number of unique visitors a page has received.[1]

The pageview stats tool is available from any page, in two ways: 1) see the toolbox in the sidebar, which shows page information; the external link is in the last section of page information; and 2) look behind the page's history tab and select page view statistics.

Page stats can help determine how popular a page is, but are not an indication of a topic's notability. Wikipedia's inclusion guidelines are based on coverage found in reliable sources. If a page's stats are low, it is not a reason to consider it for deletion, and if high it is not a reason to save it from deletion.

Accuracy of the tools[edit]

Pageviews Analysis[edit]

The present tool for pageview analysis can be found at toollabs:pageviews, or via external link here.

  • It only includes data back to July 1, 2015. To get older data, you will need to use stats.grok.se (See below).
  • Pageview stats for the previous day will usually be available by 5 a.m. UTC, although this varies considerably depending on how long it takes to clean the data.
  • In order to get an accurate reading of stats for a page, you must enter the page's actual title in the correct case in which it appears, not a redirect or shortcut to the page. However, you can see how often a targeted redirect to a section of a page or a shortcut to a project or Help page (or a section thereof) is used by entering the shortcut.
  • The statistics do not consider how long people have stayed at the article. Whether 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 reasons. 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, or perhaps they were doing maintenance.

stats.grok.se (deprecated)[edit]

An older tool, stats.grok.se, has stopped being updated as of January 2016. It can still be used to find page view data for prior times.

  • This tool will work even for a non-existent page. So if there is a subject well-known to everyone (such as from a current event) but no article has been created (which is often justified per WP:NOTNEWS and various other guidelines), if you enter that subject's name, there is a good chance there will be at least some views in absence of an actual article.
  • An occasional glitch will result in no results being recorded on certain days. This does not mean the page was not read at all. It just means the results cannot be determined for that day. Note also that, as of July 2012, the rankings "The article ranked <n> on <site>" may be for a different period from the number of hits, as shown at [1] or [2].

What factors can increase a page's viewing?[edit]

There are many factors that affect the popularity of a page. These include:

  • General popularity: A subject well known to most people will probably get more views than one that is naturally more obscure. For example, an article about a head of state is likely to get more views than one about the mayor of a small town. An article about a star athlete is likely to get more views than one about a minor league athlete. An article about a musician with one of the top hit songs in the country is likely to get more views than that of a local street performer.
  • Current events: The subject of or related to a current event will likely get many more views during a time when it receives media coverage than a time when it is little discussed by the public. This sometimes explains spikes in statistics during periods of time when such an event is taking place. For example, most Olympic athletes will get many more views during the Olympics than at other times. Articles on topics pertaining to a particular holiday may get more hits around the time of year that holiday takes place. And during an election year, anything somehow related to that election may be read more than at other times.
Even without a fixed schedule, a subject with an already existing article on a subject that previously laid low but has been thrust into the spotlight by a sudden, unexpected event may get readership spikes from the amount of media coverage that may continue as long as the news does or even for a long period of time thereafter. For example, Costa Concordia had an article dating back to 2006, but its readership greatly grew on January 13, 2012, the date of its sinking that became front page international news. Previously, the article was receiving around 1000 hits a month, but it passed 1 million in January 2012.
  • Current, unrelated events. Auburn (color) received a spike in views immediately following a significant football game involving the football team of Auburn University, even though the two articles have no direct link at all (other than the hair color being prominently located on top of the disambiguation page Auburn). All articles listed on America (disambiguation) see a noticeable spike in pageviews on July 4th, the Independence Day of the United States of America.
  • Incoming links from other Wikipedia pages. A page is more likely to get viewed when other Wikipedia pages link to it. These include links found in the text itself, in a see also section, or in navigational templates. Readership may fluctuate as other articles are edited, and links to the page are increased or reduced.

Relationship to numbers of edits[edit]

Increased readership has the potential to increase editing. But having a high level of pageviews does not necessarily mean the page will receive more editing, while having a lower level does not necessarily mean it will receive less editing.

If a page you created or contributed to is receiving little or no editing, it is nothing to take personally.

A page may be read a lot, but receive little or no editing for a long time simply because no one feels any editing is needed during that time. Some topics are of interest to many to read, but few have the expertise to write about them. Protected and semi-protected pages get less editing while they are protected because fewer people are able to edit them. Some pages may simply be "complete" and not need any editing at the time.

Influence[edit]

Influences within Wikipedia[edit]

  • 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 prominent item of the blurb, but also to links in them which are not self-evident. As the selection process is 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 an award) 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 and make minor edits in them.
  • When a vandal vandalizes, and a user notices and reverts, that makes two views to the article. Even more if it is a highly watched article, and many people notice the vandalism at the same time.

Influences from outside Wikipedia[edit]

  • 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 is a rise in the interest in Hindu philosophy.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]