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Deleted Wikipedia

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is a great resource for quick look up and input. In the internet world of linking and explaining it is together with Google one of the central elements. Earlier this year Wikipedia celebrated its 10th anniversary.

The platform of user contributed knowledge is constantly growing and changing with every internet user having the ability to ad a new article, amend an existing article or delete content. These actions however are subject to community discussion and are in some cases subject to heated debates.

Image taken from dataviualisation.ch

This dynamic has for quite a while attracted researchers to study different aspects, from user group interactions to the dynamics of growth and change. Since it offers a open source data set with millions of element it is a great field of massified research of online data, mixing social and technical aspects.

There are a lot of subjects that have been deleted overt the years and exactly these were subject to a 10th anniversary visualisation for Wikipedia content. The work notabilia.net was developed by Moritz Stefaner, Dario Taraborelli and Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia. The visualisation grows the 100 longest discussion treads about the deletio n of an article into a visual tree with branches for each article.

They explain “Like a garden, an online encyclopedia needs constant weeding. Unlike a garden, an online encyclopedia has thousands of potential gardeners. Over years Wikipedia has developed guidelines and policies to help editors collectively decide whether topics are suitable for inclusion or not.”

Image taken from Dave cullen’s blog

The visualisation assigns a colour, green for keeping and red for deleting, as well as an angle for each vote for or against deleting in the discussion branch. The length and the shape o the branch is therefore a visual representation of the dynamics of the discussion. As a result controversial topics tend to be straight with pro and contra keeping the balance, one sided discussions curl inwards and if the pros and cons are grouped the branch ‘swings’ in ‘s’ shape.

Image taken from Red Pepper Flakes