Wikipedia’s best content is mainly where its readers aren’t. For instance, the article about weddings is seen thousands of times every day, yet the community labels it “quite incomplete”, its prose “distinctly unencyclopedic”, and a call for additional sources to verify its content has been featured prominently at the top of the article for over four years. It turns out that this is not uncommon; each month Wikipedia’s articles are viewed billions of times, and over 40% of these views are to articles that would be of significantly higher quality if the encyclopaedia’s contributors followed their readers.
Author Archives: Morten Warncke-Wang
Say you want to contribute to Wikipedia. You sit down in front of your computer after dinner with a nice cup of coffee and wonder what you can do to help. English Wikipedia has an extensive set of cleanup templates that can help you find articles requiring specific improvements. WikiProjects or a tool like SuggestBot can help you find articles related to your interests. We want to combine these and give you a list of interesting articles while at the same time show whether there’s an opportunity for contribution and specific tasks for improving the article.
Some of the recent research examining what makes articles high quality in Wikipedia has taken an editor-based approach, looking at for instance diversity and coordination (Wilkinson and Huberman, 2007)(Kittur and Kraut, 2008), and editor reputation (Adler and de Alfaro, 2007)(Halfaker et al., 2009). While these models of article quality are informative about work practices, they won’t be able to give you straightforward suggestions of what you can do to help on any particular article. Instead we prefer actionable features, those which easily lend themselves to being acted upon by a contributor. Research has shown that the amount of article content has a strong relationship with article quality (see for instance Blumenstock, 2008). This means that “add more” is a reasonable suggestion for improving quality, but we prefer suggestions to cover a variety of tasks, what specific types of more is this article in need of?