Analyzing the creative editing behavior of wikipedia editors through dynamic social network analysis

Takashi Iba, Keiichi Nemoto, Bernd Peters, Peter A. Gloor

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyzes editing patterns of Wikipedia contributors using dynamic social network analysis. We have developed a tool that converts the edit flow among contributors into a temporal social network. We are using this approach to identify the most creative Wikipedia editors among the few thousand contributors who make most of the edits amid the millions of active Wikipedia editors. In particular, we identify the key category of "coolfarmers", the prolific authors starting and building new articles of high quality. Towards this goal we analyzed the 2580 featured articles of the English Wikipedia where we found two main article types: (1) articles of narrow focus created by a few subject matter experts, and (2) articles about a broad topic created by thousands of interested incidental editors. We then investigated the authoring process of articles about a current and controversial event. There we found two types of editors with different editing patterns: the mediators, trying to reconcile the different viewpoints of editors, and the zealots, who are adding fuel to heated discussions on controversial topics. As a second category of editors we look at the "egoboosters", people who use Wikipedia mostly to showcase themselves. Understanding these different patterns of behavior gives important insights about the cultural norms of online creators. In addition, identifying and policing egoboosters has the potential to increase the quality of Wikipedia. People best suited to enforce culture-compliant behavior of egoboosters through exemplary behavior and active intervention are the highly regarded coolfarmers introduced above.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6441-6456
Number of pages16
JournalProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event1st Collaborative Innovation Networks Conference, COINs2009 - Savannah, GA, United States
Duration: 2009 Oct 82009 Oct 11


  • Wikipedia
  • coolfarmer
  • dynamic Social Network Analysis
  • egoboosting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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