Meaningful estimates of popularity.

English Wikipedia Wikicharts for November 2007 (so far). The numbers are a sampling of raw page hit count.

The hits on “Main Page” will be people just going to the site. The hits on “wiki” will not (I would guess) come from a society-wide fascination with editable websites, but because people have typed “wiki” into a search engine. I suspect a lot of the sex-related hits will be disappointed porn searchers.

The question is what “popular” actually usefully means. Raw page hits demonstrably isn’t quite it. “Pages with most hits gone to by people looking for information” (whether starting from Wikipedia, a search engine or a link) is closer to what we’re after, but there’s the question of quantifying intent. When we ask what’s “popular,” what’s the question we’re actually asking?

(At least our charts are harder to rig than Conservapedia’s.)

4 thoughts on “Meaningful estimates of popularity.”

  1. Filtering by referer would be interesting: only look at clicks that come from inside wikimedia. This would probably be biased the other way around: it would ignore all single page views comming from google etc. In any case, I think it would be nice to compare the two stats.

  2. Yea, I know how it works, I helped Leon design it :) There’s a new version comming up, cased on the UDP log stream – that would no longer require sampling, but would count all hits accurately, for all wikis. I don’t know if the UDP log packets contain the referer though – would have to ask Mark I guess. Anyway, Leon isn’t online much lately (real life calling, maybe)… so no idea when this will be up.

  3. Summing up the time spent reading each page would be a good metric, but it would require advanced javascript trickery to get even remotely accurate numbers unless most visitors view several wikipedia pages in succession (wich is probably not the case).

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