Grants:IdeaLab/Percentage of abandoned articles metric

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Percentage of abandoned articles metric
It would be great to be able to track what proportion of the articles in a wiki haven't had a single edit in the last year (or last 6 months, or 2 years, etc). The health of a community should be measured not only by its content creation, but also the capacity of the wiki to maintain existing articles.
themeediting statistics
contact email•
idea creator
FDans (WMF)
Linus Godwin korah
this project needs...
created on07:20, 10 July 2018 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What Wikimedia project(s) and specific areas will you be evaluating?[edit]

Is this project measuring a specific space on a project (e.g. deletion discussions), or the project as a whole?
This metric could be computed in all wikis

Describe your idea. How might it be implemented?[edit]

Provide details about the method or process of how you will evaluate your community or collect data. Does your idea involve private or personally identifying information? Take a look at the Privacy Policy for Wikimedia’s guidelines in this area.
We maintain a large dataset that documents a timeline of every edit and article creation performed in every wiki. For a lot of columns, we have data from 2002. We would need a job that generates the concrete data we need (time period, project, percentage of abandoned articles), an API endpoint (probably in the Analytics Query Service), and a website to visualize these (Wikistats).

Are there experienced Wikimedians who can help implement this project?[edit]

If applicable, please list groups or usernames of individuals who you can work with on this project, and what kind of work they will do.

How will you know if this project is successful? What are some outcomes that you can share after the project is completed?[edit]

This metric will be successful if the Foundation and the chapters find value in it to better inform where to deploy resources, where to run editathons, and in which cases a project might be getting more than enough support.

How would your measurement idea help your community make better decisions?[edit]

After you are finished measuring or evaluating your Wikimedia project, how do you expect that information to be used to benefit the project?
See question above

Do you think you can implement this idea? What support do you need?[edit]

Do you need people with specific skills to complete this idea? Are there any financial needs for this project? If you can’t implement this project, can you scale down your project so it is doable?
Maybe we'll need help from the research team or a community consultation to know what at threshold of time with no edits would an article be considered abandoned (there might be already Wiki guidelines for that).

Get Involved[edit]

About the idea creator[edit]

I'm a software engineer in the WMF analytics team.


  • Volunteer If it would possibly to review edited and created articles, and confirming their citations Linus Godwin korah (talk) 23:22, 28 July 2018 (UTC)


  1. I support this idea. As Coordinator of WikiProject Germany, I'd be very interested in having this as a tool for looking even deeper behind the scenes in order to track abandoned articles and keep the WikiProject healthy. However, I would like to see the tool filter out Good, A-class, and Featured articles, as those are recognized content. If they aren't, for whatever reason, then they can be independently nominated for review or, preferably, improved by an editor. –Vami IV (talk) 12:14, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
  2. Endorsed, although you would preferably be able to see articles that haven't been edited recently, instead of just a number (this shouldn't technically be much more difficult). I have ~4,000 pages on my watchlist due to new page patrolling, but only about 200-300 of them are edited in a given 24 hours. There's some degree of variation each day, but I'll conservatively estimate a full 1500 of those pages haven't been edited in the past three months. This is especially problematic because pages receiving little attention are also, unsurprisingly, often not notable. A tool like this would immensely help with "cleaning up the crud" in addition to routine maintenance of good articles. Compassionate727 (T·C) 13:00, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
  3. Endorse. I'd be curious to see a dynamic list of the "oldest" articles on Wikipedia i.e. longest amount of time since last edit, with some kind of tool for showing all articles with over X time since last edit, as potentially something unedited for a decade might fail notability tests. I'm sure a lot of outdated material would come up, too.
  4. Yes. Fully agreed and strong support for this project. Its will be nice as filter tool so we can add and track the articles that not so active or less attractive. Joseagush (talk) 02:54, 21 July 2018 (UTC)
  5. I support this proposal. However, to be of much value, it also needs to consider the role of IP editors in the maintenance (or ruination) cycle. English Wikipedia is beset by a fusillade of trifling, unsourced, poorly written IP "contributions". How many articles have been abandoned by all the good users and now exist as little more than a derelict space made available for IP users to smear their shit wherever they please? To clarify, I'm not talking about "proper" vandalism here, but rather bad faith "good faith" edits from people who deliberately ignore the rules. Gareth (talk) 18:08, 22 July 2018 (UTC)
  6. This may be of some value but all articles without edits for a long period of time are not necessarily abandoned. Indeed, some such articles have outdated information. But others may be short articles, even stubs, on notable encyclopedic topics, about which there is nothing more to add or that is important and can be easily be found. I agree with Gareth that worthless edits, edits that do not confirm to guidelines and other problematic additions, and deletions, exist. However, I think this proposal would not necessarily list the article, in part because many of the poor or disruptive edits may be recent, or necessarily highlight those problems. More encyclopedic articles are not immune unfortunately from invalid or erroneous edits - including those based on someone's "personal knowledge" or "common knowledge" or just personal opinion. Also, global changes or scripts may make the only edits to articles over a period of time; would these edits eliminate otherwise "abandoned" articles from consideration for the list? Filtering out just Good, A-class, and Featured articles would be a good idea but there are thousands (probable underestimate) of good and important B-Class articles. Many of these may be on watch lists for maintenance but this cannot be guaranteed. Still, for the English Wikipedia at least, adding those articles to a list could result in an overwhelming number of articles being classified as abandoned or outdated which would be a gross overestimate. Perhaps I underestimate what a bot or code can do and what people might look at it even in a long list but I thought a few of these thoughts might be of some interest. Donner60 (talk) 04:52, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
  7. I'm a newbie and Eger to learn more about this kind of things. Is there any possible way for me to give help? Or be helped instead? Thanks😊 Pogincent (talk) 05:29, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
  8. This sounds good, but I prefer editing done not because an article has been brought to one's attention as being apparently abandoned, but editing done because one notices an error, or something missing. I suspect not only would such a proposal lead to the gross overestimates discussed by talk, but also to the kinds of edits discussed by Gareth I therefore Oppose Oppose this suggestion. MargaretRDonald (talk) 01:16, 27 July 2018 (UTC)
  9. Oppose Oppose. I am afraid, the usefull abandoned articles will get lost among the hugh amount of robot-created abandoned articles. --Havang(nl) (talk) 12:26, 28 July 2018 (UTC)
  10. Support Support a few have been going through rescuing abandoned drafts, but metrics would be better. need to systematize article creation, rather than automatic article rejection and 6 month deletion. there is a failure to communicate between the censorious gatekeepers, and the "only edit at annual editathon" editors. Slowking4 (talk) 19:03, 8 August 2018 (UTC)

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No funding needed?[edit]

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