Wikipedia page edits, a global perspective


In January 2010 I published reports on the global distribution of Wikipedia page views. The reports have different aggregation levels: by country or by language,  yearly average or quarterly trends.

A week ago I published a similar set of reports for page edits. Both sets, page views and page edits, now also show totals per global region. Note that in this context edit means page update, not opening a page in edit mode.

Counts exclude bot and crawler requests. See my earlier blog post for additional comments on filtering process and potential anomalies.


Some insights that can be gleaned from the new reports:

  • In general the breakdown of activity per global region is quite similar for views and edits. Most striking exceptions: Europeans contribute 51% of all edits, 35% of all views. North Americans contribute 23% of all edits, 38% of all views.
  • The English Wikipedia receives 51% of all page views, but only 41% of all page edits.
  • The ‘Global North’ (as defined on Wikipedia) contributes 81% of all page views and edits, with just 19% of the world population, and 46% of the internet population.
  • Not unexpected: monthly requests per internet user from China is more than 10 times lower than the Asian average (views 1/10, edits 1/14).
  • 94% of page views from India is for the English Wikipedia. For edits this is considerably less: only 78%.


A major difference between page view and page edit reports is the accuracy. Both reports are based on a 1:1000 sampled squid log. With 13 billion page views per month for all Wikipedias combined 1/1000 th or 13 million log records is all one would hope for in terms of accuracy.  For every 2000 page views Wikimedia receives one page edit (*). This leaves rougly 6.5 thousand edit requests per month in the sampled squid log. Enough for a breakdown per country, less than ideal for a reliable breakdown per language per country, let alone percentual quarterly shifts in breakdown per language per country. So treat with caution.

Clearly sampling is an issue here. We intend to capture all edit requests in a separate file (depends on server update), and thus improve the accuracy with a factor 1000.

* This ratio has climbed steadily from approx. 1800 to 1 in 4th quarter 2009 to 2000 to 1 in July 2010.

Allocation by continent, global region was done manually, please help me to find input errors.

Update Sep 9: moved Russia to Europe (see comments). Percentages above have been updated.

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6 Responses to Wikipedia page edits, a global perspective

  1. Darkoneko says:

    if bot edits are counted, I think the toolserver’s position in europe help understand europe’s has a percentage that high

  2. Erik says:

    Bots edits are filtered out. I will add a note on this blog.

    See for details ‘Dirty details’

  3. It is strange that Russia is in a Asia world group. 80% of russian population live in the European part of the country. see

  4. Joe D says:

    Interesting. The EN WP is presumably by far the most “complete” WP — the most comprehensive in topics covered, and the most developed and polished in individual articles. Therefore there is less need and less compulsion to edit an EN WP article. The other European language WPs presumably are more likely to still be back in the rapid-development phase. Would be interesting to see whether the UK looked more like the US or the rest of Europe, and how the ratio for the US has changed over the development of the EN WP.

    That said, this conclusion didn’t leap out from the data tables (though I only glanced at them).

  5. Erik says:

    @Alexander: you’re quite right. Probably the distribution of wealth means even more than 78% of internet connections are in European part of Russia. So I moved Russia to region Europe. (I also considered making Russia a region of its own, or dividing numbers pro rate over Europe and Asia, but with all uncertainties on where Russian requests come from that would probably be just more confusing).

  6. Pingback: Blue Oxen Associates » Wikimedia: What Is It? Where Is It Headed?

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