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Submissions/Expanding the encyclopedia: trends in article creation on Wikipedia

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom
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This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2014.

Submission no. 1035
Title of the submission
Expanding the encyclopedia: trends in article creation on Wikipedia
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Steven Walling, Aaron Halfaker
E-mail address
swalling@wikimedia.org, ahalfaker@wikimedia.org
User:Steven (WMF) and User:Halfak (WMF)
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Wikimedia Foundation

Creating new articles is at the core of Wikipedia. 13 years ago, when Wikipedia was first unveiled, it was created as a way to feed new articles in to the more traditional "Nupedia" online encyclpedia. Quickly it overtook Nupedia, because the wiki model was so much more efficient at creating new articles.

So how are we doing today? Recent research suggests that, at least in English Wikipedia, process of creating articles is becoming increasingly difficult for new users due to increasingly restrictive criteria[1] and the speed at which their articles are tagged and deleted[2]. This trend is concerning because new users tend to leave the wiki when their work is deleted[3][4].

This presentation will be split into two sections -- one discussing background research and another discussing relevant new features.

Background: Wikipedia article creation research

We will discuss a longitudinal analysis of article creation patterns in the top 10 Wikipedia projects and answer the following questions:

  • Who creates most of articles in Wikipedia?
    • How many articles do new and anonymous editors create?
  • How does the workflow for creating an article affect it's retention/deletion?
    • How does creating an article as a userspace draft affect article retention?
    • How has the Articles for Creation WikiProject affected newcomer article retention and Wikipedian workload in the English Wikipedia?

New Features: Drafts Namespace

Next we'll discuss new article drafting features developed by the m:Growth team at the Wikimedia Foundation. Recently, the English Wikipedia passed an RFC to created a "Draft" namespace in which editors can work on articles before incurring the scrutiny of the new page patrol.


  1. Lam, S. T. K., & Riedl, J. (2009, May). Is Wikipedia growing a longer tail?. InProceedings of the ACM 2009 international conference on Supporting group work (pp. 105-114). ACM. pdf
  2. m:Research:The Speed of Speedy Deletions
  3. Halfaker, A., Geiger, R. S., Morgan, J. T., & Riedl, J. (2013). The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System How Wikipedia’s Reaction to Popularity Is Causing Its Decline. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(5), 664-688. pdf
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2011-04-04/Editor_retention

Technology, Interface & Infrastructure, WikiCulture & Community
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
60 minutes (for two sections) including Q&A
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  1. B25es (talk) 14:02, 18 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Gnom (talk) 19:14, 20 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Slashme (talk) 08:19, 22 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Jane023 (talk) 08:29, 25 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  5. This is an important topic for anyone who cares about Wikipedia. MartinPoulter (talk) 16:01, 29 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Jaredzimmerman (WMF) (talk) 06:29, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Ironholds (talk) 14:12, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  8. --Ziko (talk) 18:49, 31 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Sjgknight (talk) 08:51, 1 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Ocaasi (talk) 23:04, 6 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 17:54, 7 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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  14. the wub "?!" 22:50, 13 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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