When the Levee Breaks: Without Bots, What Happens to Wikipedia’s Quality Control

This presentation is part of the WikiSym + OpenSym 2013 program.

R.Stuart Geiger and Aaron Halfaker

In the first half of 2011, one of Wikipedia’s most prolific counter-vandalism bots (or automated software agents) went down for four distinct periods, each period of downtime lasting from days to weeks. In this paper, we use these periods of breakdown as naturalistic experiments to study Wikipedia’s heterogeneous quality control network. Our analysis showed that the overall time to revert an edit was almost doubled when this software agent was down. Yet while a significantly fewer proportion of edits made during the bot’s downtime were reverted, we found that those edits were eventually reverted. This suggests that other agents in Wikipedia took over this quality control work, but performed it at a much slower rate.

A PDF file will be made available on August 5, 2013, through the WikiSym + OpenSym 2013 conference proceedings.

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