Wikipedia Isn’t As Democratic As You Might Think
Jim Bush, 9 Nov 17

(Credit: Getty Images)

New research examines just who is adding to and editing the pages on the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Sorin Adam Matei, a professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University, and Brian Britt, an assistant professor in the journalism and mass communication department at South Dakota State University, sought to define just who is providing the massive amount of content. They had access to every edit made to every article from Wikipedia’s first 10 years, 2001-2010.

The top 1% of writers/editors on Wikipedia create about 80% of the content.

“What we saw is that a clear leadership has emerged,” Matei says, “but it’s a leadership that cycles. We have a group of individuals who shape the content by working the hardest and clocking the most hours. The agenda is shaped by these people, and they’re driven by a sense of mission, much like political or religious movements.”

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