[p2p-research] the wikipedia decline

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Fri Nov 27 01:42:24 CET 2009

Paul D. Fernhout wrote:
> Wikipedia has about three million articles in English.
> I'm guessing (is there some analysis somewhere?), following the usual an 
> exponential distribution with a "long tail" that articles fall into some 
> categories of more "notable" to less "notable":
> 1% of articles are really important to a lot of people.
> 10% of articles are fairly important to quite a few people..
> 30% of articles are interesting to some people.
> 50% of articles are interesting to a very few people.
> 9% of articles are of no interest except to people who made them and 
> maybe their friends.
> Those are just guesses (anyone here know?), and they assume deletionism 
> has been going strong for a while, and they may even be skewed toward 
> too much interest. Maybe 50% of articles are of little interest -- I 
> don't know for sure. But I can guess at least 10% of articles are 
> probably fairly interesting, so probably at most 90% of articles are 
> probably not that "notable".

I figured out a way to test this. I clicked on "random article" a whole 
bunch of times, and I'm thinking my original guess was correct. In fact, the 
number of articles of no interest was even lower than I expected. I was 
surprised how high the "notability" was.

Anyway, people can try that themselves a hundred time to get some sense from 
statistical sampling of what the articles might be like (as seen filtered 
through our individual perspectives).

By the way, with wikipedia having an autofill in mode when you type in the 
search box, that is another place that having many articles with similar 
names would be distracting. I'm not saying that is and overwhelming issue, 
but one example of where large numbers of trivial articles might be distracting.

--Paul Fernhout

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