Aaron Swartz’s Wikipedia analytics

One less remarked upon contribution Aaron Swartz made as an engineer was his 2006 post Who Writes Wikipedia? Having heard that around 500 editors made over 50% of the edits to Wikipedia from Jimmy Wales, Aaron performed his own analysis and found that while a core group of editors made most of the edits, a much larger group of people did most of the actual writing.

In the days before it was common for every site to perform quantitative analysis user activity and publish the results, Aaron embarked on what was for its day a Big Data project, and published a surprising and interesting result that vastly changed people’s understanding of Wikipedia. This is the sort of work everyone in analytics aspires to do.

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