The Signpost in 2020, our sixteenth year of publication, contained twelve issues and 161 articles, compared to the 155 articles of 2019. This article reports data on articles, contributors, pageviews, and comments from 2020 and compares them to data from previous issues.
The 161 articles of 2020, created by 88 Wikipedia users,[a] received a total of 330,911 pageviews.[b] Adding in views from the first page and the single-page edition, the total pageviews reached 354,786. This is a decrease of 110,574 views from last year. This is also a five year low. The twelve issues have seen comments totaling 122041 words.[c] This is a decrease from last year by 2,735 words. Despite the noticeable fall in views, the amount of discussion has remained relatively stable.
A sharp fall in views is seen in the view count from the third and fourth issues. This general fall remained visible until the end of the year. Further 2021 signaled a five year low in total view count.
Orange highlight represents pageviews of the top two articles while blue represents pageviews for the remaining.
Articles with the most discussion:
85% of Signpost views are from desktop devices: For the period 27 January 2020 to 18 February 2021 and considering all issues of volume 16, 85% of Signpost views came from desktop. The remaining 15% views came from mobile views (mainly mobile web views and relatively negligible mobile app views). For comparison Wikipedia articles get around 35% to 60% of views from desktop as per the sample I have taken. It is also interesting to note that out of a sample of ~62M edits on the English Wikipedia taken in a study by Ainali, 10% of the edits were from mobile devices. Do Signpost creators use mobile or desktop to create their articles?
Q. What do Signpost outliers have in common?
Ans. Here are a few observations related to outliers:
|Year||Article||Author||All- time pageviews||Comments|
|2020||How billionaires rewrite Wikipedia||Smallbones||20116||Is this an outlier? Why?|
|Jimmy Wales "shouldn't be kicked out before he's ready"||HaeB, Bri and Smallbones||11572||Pageviews spiked on December 7, 2020 when the article made the front page of Hacker News. --HaeB|
|Cryptos and bitcoins and blockchains, oh no!||David Gerard||11492||David, besides being a long-term Wikipedian, is also a professional journalist specializing in the crypto field. He has a tremendous following among crypto-skeptics so high pageviews were something I expected when I invited/arm-twisted his contribution to The Signpost. This isn't an argument to ignore the "extra pageviews" but it should probably be pointed out as a special case — Smallbones.|
|2019||The Curious Case of Croatian Wikipedia||GregorB||31171||This article saw a large inflow of views 101 days after it was published, apparently due to an article on the Croatian website Index.hr. Also a Meta-Wiki RfC about the same subject had more than 130,000 pageviews.|
|Humour: Pesky Pronouns||Barbara Page and SMcCandlish||16562||This article was highly controversial and discussed on multiple fora. At Miscellany for deletion (MfD), editors decided to blank, rather than delete, the article.|
|2018||NO OUTLIER (see massviews)|
|2017||Wikipedia has cancer||Guy Macon||603236||While the article was published in February 2017, the article received 483670 views on 8 May 2017, supposedly due to conversation on Reddit. Other than the absurd number of pageviews this article has got the fallout is also clearly visible in the form of increased views to other articles for the same month making February 2017 the only outlier month.|
|Wikipedia's lead sentence problem||Kaldari||15904||The RfC in response to this article attracted some response and discussion. Fallout of the Wikipedia has cancer article.|
|The chilling effect of surveillance on Wikipedia readers||Tilman Bayer||12701||Fallout of Wikipedia has cancer. I assume the title also had a chilling effect on readers, which in turn drew more views than other articles that were affected by the fallout.|
|2016||Shit I cannot believe we had to fucking write this month||Emily Temple-Wood||15066||Either this year has no outlier, or at least three (or more) outliers, depending on how you perceive outliers as compared to high pageview articles. See massviews.|
|The crisis at New Montgomery Street||WWB||13389|
|German Wikipedia ArbCom implodes amid revelation of member's far-right political role||Tony1||11212|
|(as on 20 January 2012)|
The following input from Smallbones helped explain some of the statistical attributes of the Signpost data. The distribution of any data related to Wikipedia pageviews is "normally highly non-normal", i.e. it's usually highly skewed to the right and non-Gaussian. The skew to the right - some unusually big numbers or "outliers" - makes some usual statistical tools - like average (mean) - difficult to interpret.
The cause of the skew might be: some rather very good or very bad journalism! Internal controversy - which was really good (or bad) for us to have brought up. We touched a nerve. Posting links on other platforms, which can be good - an indication of quality journalism and interest by the outside world, or bad - somebody is trying to manipulate our pageviews or trying to make some type of point. The concept of outliers was expanded to this report after it was suggested by Smallbones in 2019.
When conjuring up this article, I noticed that it inadvertently involved bingeing on the Signpost. I wonder if anyone else has done so. I have my reason, what was yours?