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Section: New Results

Keywords : Visualization, Wikipedia.

Visualizing Wikipedia for Occasional Users

Participants : Jean-Daniel Fekete [ correspondant ] , Stéphane Huot.

Figure 4. WikipediaViz visualizations on the left of a standard Wikipedia page.
wikipediaviz

In seven years, Wikipedia has become one of the top ten most visited web sites in the world, consulted by 36% of US adult internet users. It is made of more than 5 million articles in 250 localized versions. This popularity mainly comes from its availability and coverage: Wikipedia is defined as “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit”, with “thousands of changes an hour”. This fundamental Wikipedia concept is pointed out as a good way to continuously increase the coverage, accuracy and up-to-dateness of information.

Conversely, this fast changing and volatile content is prone to unverified information, contrary to classical encyclopedia where author selection and peer-reviewing is performed before the information is published. This is considered as the Achilles' heel of Wikipedia as unreliable or incomplete information and vandalism become serious threats to the quality of Wikipedia. Controversies about the relative quality of Wikipedia compared to standard encyclopedia have recently surged and vandalism has become a main concern for Wikipedia administrators. Since more and more people rely on Wikipedia, the cost of unreliable information increases for the society. Helping Wikipedia readers, especially occasional ones, spotting erroneous or bad quality articles is thus becoming increasingly important. This requires some assessment of the quality of articles.

We have designed four visualizations with four thumbnails to keep occasional Wikipedia readers aware of the profile of the article they read (Fig.  4 ). We asked Wikipedia frequent writers and administrators to give us a list features the considered as important for assessing the quality of the articles. They mainly reported the number of contributors, the evolution of the article across time and the activity of the discussion associated with the article. Our four visualization summarize these features to quickly assess whether the article can be read safely or if it should be double checked. We are currently running experiments to test the effectiveness of these visualization for occasional Wikipedia users.


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