Notabilia: Wikipedia Memorabilia

January 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

We mentioned earlier the fast reflexes of Wikipedia editors. Sometimes, though, discussions on article deletion last forever. Notabilia is a visualization exercise that keeps track on the longest discussions that eventually lead to article deletion.

It is notable both for its aesthetic beauty and its informative results:

This spiral pattern signifies an (almost) unanimous decision to delete an article. These are, obviously, the shortest discussions of the lot, when a conclusion is reached fast and easy. An ideal discussion of this type, in which there is a total agreement among participants, will approximately look like a logarithmic spiral.

This S-shaped pattern signifies discussions that alternate between relatively long periods of “delete” votes and “keep” votes. The line appears dotted, with green and red areas alternating. Apparently, there seems to be a tendency of editors of the same view to flock together – or for people to change their mind as new information on the issue emerges.

This almost-straight-lined pattern signifies a truly controversial discussion. Both views have strong advocates and a decision is reached with great difficulty. These are the longest discussions of the lot.


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