[Wikitech-l] Some statistics I wish I had... (fwd)

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[Wikitech-l] Some statistics I wish I had... (fwd)

Jeremy Tobacman

I think this was intended for wiki-research-l@wikimedia.org...

See also the many replies already in the wikitech-l archives, starting with http://mail.wikipedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2006-June/036044.html.

Jeremy

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jimmy Wales < [hidden email]>
Date: Jun 4, 2006 3:53 PM
Subject: [Wikitech-l] Some statistics I wish I had...
To: English Wikipedia <[hidden email]>,
[hidden email], Wikimedia developers
<[hidden email]>


(Sorry for the cross posting, but there are several groups who might
find this interesting.)

For years now, it has been common for people to claim that "all the good
editors are jumping ship" or "we are losing our best people".
Generally, this has not proven to be true: people come and go, to be
sure, but as some people drift away, others have drifted in.  Whether
the rate of burnout is "too high" or "too low" or "just right" is quite
hard to say.

However, it ought to be possible to at least quantify what that rate
actually is, by using the Erik Zachte statistics or a modification of them.

I would be fascinated if we could figure out such statistics as

"For any given edit, what is the average length of service of the
editor?"  "For any given edit, what is the median length of service of
the editor?"  These could be measured by either time since first edit,
or total number of edits or (perhaps best) some weighted average of the
edit history.

It would be nice to track that number over time... are we becoming
"younger" as a community, "older" as a community?  Staying about the
same?  Are old-timers sticking around longer than they used to, or
jumping ship faster?

There are also a whole set of related questions around newbies:

Are newbies more likely to stick around, or less likely to stick around,
than they were a year ago.  Some people feel we are being overrun by
newbies, others feel that we are becoming a more closed and cliqueish
community which does not welcome newbies.

I would measure this by saying "Of people who made at least 100 edits a
month ago, how many of them made at least 100 edits this month".  And
similar stats for "at least 10 edits".  (Merely looking at "new
accounts" would not be right, because we had a huge spike in new account
creation when it became necessary to have an account to create a new page.)

--Jimbo


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