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Research:Productive edit

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

This page documents methods to measure whether an individual wiki action (edit) contributed productively to a wiki's "product". For a more nuanced discussion, see editor productivity.


An edit is productive if it changes an article (i.e., namespace zero) and is not quickly reverted by another editor.


Revert detection is a nuanced topic. Reverts on Wikipedia are commonly detected by identity due to the fact that the vast majority of reverts can be captured this way[1] and it is relatively fast to compute.

When identifying which revisions were reverted, it's necessary to wait a reasonable amount of time for another editor to perform a revert (or not). In the English Wikipedia, most revisions that will ever be reverted are reverted within minutes of the original edit, and nearly all are reverted within 24-48 hours[2].

WMF standardization[edit]

A revision to an article is considered productive if it is not identity reverted within 24 hours of when it was originally saved.


Prior to this standardized definition, the notion of a productive edit has been used to identify the user class of productive new editors by identifying those newcomers who make at least one productive edit in their first day or week of editing.

See the following research reports for examples of this type of usage:


  1. Aniket Kittur, Bongwon Suh, Bryan A. Pendleton & Ed H. Chi (2007). He says, she says: conflict and coordination in Wikipedia. In Proceedings of the CHI'07. 453-462. DOI=10.1145/1240624.1240698
  2. R. Stuart Geiger & Aaron Halfaker (2013). When the Levee Breaks: Without Bots, What Happens to Wikipedia's Quality Control Processes? In Proceedings of the WikiSym'13.