User:Opabinia regalis/Article statistics

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Random article survey[edit]

I was bored waiting for my very slow program to run, so I clicked "random article" 250 times and kept track of what kinds of articles popped up. 48 articles (19.2%) were stubs or had at least one cleanup tag. (I tried to count "citation needed" as a cleanup tag but may have missed a few.) The results as of 11 Nov 2006:

Type of article Number Percent of sample
Biography 60 24%
Places/geographical locations 34 13.6%
TV shows/movies 17 6.8%
Disambiguation 15 6%
Music/bands/albums 14 5.6%
Company/product/service 13 5.2%
History/war 12 4.8%
Politics/government 9 3.6%
Sports 8 3.2%
Organisms 8 3.2%
Definitions/common phrases/common objects 7 2.8%
Architecture/buildings 7 2.8%
Mythology/religion 5 2%
Astronomy/physics/space science 5 2%
Software/computing 5 2%
Games (including video) 4 1.6%
Literature/publications 4 1.6%
Biology/medicine 3 1.2%
Food/drink 3 1.2%
Schools 3 1.2%
Math 2 0.8%
Nonsense/unclassifiable 2 0.8%
Visual arts 2 0.8%
Philosophy/ethics 2 0.8%
Linguistics/languages 2 0.8%
Charities/nonprofit organizations 2 0.8%
Economics/finance 1 0.4%
Deleted and protected 1 0.4%

"Biography" is probably a bit overinflated because I classified everything about an individual real person as a biography, including historical figures. Articles about fictional characters went in the category of the corresponding fiction (TV, myth, etc.)

Obviously this is a lousy way to determine Wikipedia coverage - 250 articles is a tiny sample. But the advantage over, say, counting category populations is that this avoids duplicate-counting of articles in multiple categories and can find articles that are un- or miscategorized. Special:Random also (as far as I know) excludes recently created articles that haven't yet been indexed, which filters out lots of nonsense speedy candidates. I don't think Special:Random would exclude deletion candidates, but none of these had prod or AfD templates.

First-glance observations:

  • I didn't find a single chemistry article. Biology and medicine had one clinical feature, one cell biology article, and one disease, so not even any biochemistry showed up. Physics as such was also missing; the articles in that category were almost entirely about NASA missions and observations.
  • Similarly, nothing I'd classify as sociology or psychology.
  • The literature and publications category contains a comic book, a newspaper, and two contemporary novels. No classic/canon literature.
  • I admit I'm a bit surprised at the low volume of school articles, which judging from AfD are infesting the place like weeds.
  • Somehow I don't think that 14% of the sum of all human knowledge is TV, movies, games, and bands. I admit I was surprised at the low percentage of video game cruft. The music articles were almost exclusively contemporary popular bands or their albums (with reasonably diverse geographical coverage) - nothing about musical theory and nothing about classical music.

Recent mainspace changes survey[edit]

Inspired by Wikipedia:Wikipedia is failing and User:Worldtraveller/Wikipedia is failing (NB: leaving the redlink, in case further moves occur), I looked at a sample of 250 mainspace edits covering a time span of 04:43 to 04:46 UTC on 18 Feb 2007. (It would be interesting to gather these statistics again at a time when US schools are in session.) In this sample there were 159 edits by registered users, 89 edits by anonymous users, and 2 edits to a subsequently deleted image description page. Thus the percentages below take 248 edits as the total sample.

Change type Percent of total sample (n = 248) Percent by registered editors (n = 248) Percent by anonymous editors (n = 248) Percent of all registered edits (n = 159) Percent of all anonymous edits (n = 89)
Substantial content changes 5.2% 4.0% 1.2% 6.3% 3.4%
Minor content changes 28.6% 17.3% 11.3% 27.0% 31.5%
Copyediting/formatting/wikilinking 40.7% 27.4% 13.3% 42.8% 37.1%
Tagging/maintenance 8.5% 6.5% 2.0% 10.1% 5.6%
Vandalism reversion 8.9% 7.3% 1.6% 11.3% 4.5%
Vandalism 8.1% 1.6% 6.5% 2.5% 18.0%

Other than determining whether an edit was vandalism, I did not make any value judgments. Thus, 'minor content changes' contains considerable amounts of unsourced material and original research that will certainly be reverted.

Other observations:

  • I saw two ongoing edit wars and one addition of an inappropriate unfree image.
  • Of the ten examples of substantial content changes by registered users, five were new-page creations. The single largest content change was on a Digimon article.
  • One of the four examples of vandalism by registered users involved the creation of a nonsense page.
  • I excluded bot-flagged edits (the default). The registered-editor set contains two edits by a known-bot account without a bot flag.
  • The percentage of copyediting and formatting done by registered editors is probably inflated by AWB users.

General thoughts:

  • I suppose it's a good sign that the rate of vandalism and the rate of vandalism reversion are about the same. However, that could be a function of the time of day.
  • Substantial content addition occurs at a quite low rate. It's possible that this is due to editing patterns: if an editor uses many 'progressive saves', no one change will appear on this sort of survey as substantial, and if an editor uses a single save for a large change, that editor's edit rate will be low and his change will be unlikely to appear in such a small sample. I didn't see much evidence of the first pattern, in that no series of edits to the same article by the same person occurred except to manipulate formatting; however, a series of content-creating edits will likely be separated by more than three minutes.