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Wikipedia article traffic statistics are hypnotics

I am trying to get offline, to the vacation mood, to read some good books in a hammock.

Wikipedia editor's rules

I took some notes in the WikiSym / Wikimania.

I take notes in rather unstructured way. I carry several paper notebooks with me: often an A5 size and a small A6 sketchbooks. Then I always have with me a laptop and a phone which I use for note taking, too. Sometimes I also write notes to some random Post IT notes, which I often have in the case.

My logics with this kind of note taking is that if something is not really important I may and will lose it. Also if I really need something later I should be willing to take the effort to search it.

So, what is there, couple of days after the Wikisym/Wikimania, in the top of my pile of notes? There are many things, such as:

From all these I have some random notes in here and there. I may write blog posts about them later.

The most hypnotic new thing I found during the WikiSym/Wikimania is probably the Wikipedia article traffic statistics. Actually it is not even new and I think it was not even presented in the conference, but with some free browsing on wiki-related things I happen to found it now.

With the service you can check the popularity of any Wikipedia article from more than 70 language versions. The latest statistics are from December 2009, but it is still la lot of fun. I have been playing with it now for several days.

For instance, I have been comparing the top 1000 articles of the Finnish, Swedish and Russian Wikipedias.

Here are the top-10 articles in the Finnish, Swedish and Russian Wikipedias in December 2009:

Finnish Wikipedia

  1. Suomi (Finland)
  2. Wiki
  3. Talvisota (Winter War 1939)
  4. Brittany Murphy (Hollywood celebrity)
  5. Irwin Goodman (a Finnish protest singer, rock and folk singer)
  6. Suomen itsenäisyyspäivä (The Finnish Independent Day)
  7. Joulu (Christmas)
  8. Twilight – Houkutus (Hollywood movie)
  9. Lady Gaga (American celebrity)
  10. Yhdysvallat (United States of America)

Swedish Wikipedia

  1. Sverige (Sweden)
  2. Brittany Murphy (Hollywood celebrity)
  3. Wiki
  4. Lucia (Saint Lucy’s Day)
  5. Anna Anka (Swedish Hollywood celebrity)
  6. Julkalendern i Sveriges Television (Christmas calendar in a Swedish Television)
  7. Kurt Wallander (character in Henning Mankell’s novels)
  8. Jul (Christmas)
  9. Wikipedia
  10. USA (United States of America)

Russian Wikipedia

  1. В Контакте (Russian social network service)
  2. Турчинский, Владимир Евгеньевич (Vladimir Turchinsky; Russian celebrity, bodybuilder, TV/radio, actor)
  3. Википедия (Wikipedia)
  4. Россия (Russia)
  5. Порнография (Porno)
  6. Мой Мир (free e-mail service)
  7. Аватара (Avatar concept of Hinduism)
  8. Москва (Moscow)
  9. BitTorrent
  10. Новый год (New Year)

Looking the top lists of English (I love The Beatles, too) German (and adore Elisabeth von Österreich-Ungarn) and French (and listen to Johnny Hallyday) Wikipedia’s and comparing them is also interesting and fun.

From the top 1000 lists we may already conclude some hypothesis / theories. All the lists show the actuality of using Wikipedias. For Finnish and Swedish people Christmas is important, whereas in Russia New Year is the Christmas (Orthodox Calendar). The Finnish Independent day is in December. In December 2009 it was 50 years from the Winter War.

Also the celebrities in the list were actual in December 2009. In Finland and Sweden people seems to follow Hollywood. In Russia they have their own stars. Brittany Murphy in the Finnish and Swedish WIkipedia and Vladimir Turchinsky in the Russian Wikipedia represent the celebrities who died in December 2009.

It looks that the Russian Wikipedia in December 2009 was still dominated by technology / internet people. The general public was not yet the main user of the Russian Wikipedia as it obviously was the case in the Finnish and the Swedish Wikipedias.

The high position of Irwin Goodman, a Finnish protest singer, rock and folk singer, in the Finnish Wikipedia could be a result of some new research about him that was published in December 2009, but why is the Hindu concept Avatar so high in the Russian Wikipedia? Could it be that people were looking for information about the movie Avatar but end-up to this page?

Then you may ask why the Twilight movie and Lady Gaga are in top ten in the Finnish Wikipedia but in the Swedish Wikipedia only in the places 43 and 36. In the Russian Wikipedia these great cultural products are in the places 60 (Twilight) and 352 (Lady Gaga).

I already started to copy paste the data to spreadsheet to do more analyses, but gave up. I know that there are people who really can do statistics. I am not very good with them, but I would love to do some cultural-historical analyses of the Wikipedias with someone with solid skill in statistics. Let’s do some hypothesis and see what the data tells us.

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