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Five days of MetaFilter interest
January 15, 2013 6:17 AM   Subscribe

Out of curiosity (or work deadline avoidance), anyone know why the MetaFilter entry on Wikipedia suddenly get a lot more "readership" or views than normal for the five days of January 5th to 9th inclusive, then suddenly go back down to the previous background level?

There's no mentions in MetaFilter Talk of articles before or on this surge mentioning or linking to MetaFilter, and the history of the Wikipedia article shows no edits since mid-November. Was this some kind of automated roboty thingie, or human?
posted by Wordshore to MetaFilter-Related at 6:17 AM (55 comments total)

My first guess is always "edit war" but since you've ruled that out I'm going to have to go with "gnome trickery".
posted by elizardbits at 6:22 AM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Could be due to a glut of New Year's resolutions and AskMetafilter's growing popularity on Google Search along with its reliability (at least in comparison to Yahoo Answers). Supposedly a lot of those answer seekers would be checking Wikipedia for just what the hell is this anachronistic looking forest-green website is and why all these well-educated people keep coming back to this weird Geocities design ethos holdout.

jk the site is beautiful, please don't ever change
posted by dubusadus at 6:31 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to guess an article mentioned the site and people had to google that.
posted by DU at 6:36 AM on January 15, 2013


It certainly *looks* automated, if the stats are reliable. I would intuitively expect human pageview numbers to show some variation and/or up- and down-ramping, not a neat plateau that just collapses again like that. But that's speculation, I wouldn't know what caused the increase specifically.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:39 AM on January 15, 2013


Colleague with far more knowledge of these things e-replied with:

"Probably data aberration. There's no bell curve or tapering. Don't stress on it."
posted by Wordshore at 6:40 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm leaning towards DU's guess as the idea of Google searchers checking the reliability of The Green on Wikipedia sort of makes me chuckle.

Web searchers checking sources...right ;)
posted by COD at 6:40 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


It certainly *looks* automated, if the stats are reliable.

Perhaps Watson is upset and was obsessively checking AskMe's reliability before posting a question to "human relations" or "computers and internet." If the machine ever gets up the courage, this may be the best DTMFA ever....
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:43 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think an article reference would lead to a bell curve. Nobody could precog that that was going to happen and pre-emptively look it up on Wikipedia. Tapering off, maybe, although maybe the article was edited or taken down, leading to a sharp cutoff. Or maybe it spent a week at the top of a list somewhere and once that week was up, blammo.

I looked for a graph with more than 90 days of data and didn't find one, but the raw data is here.
posted by DU at 6:46 AM on January 15, 2013


Hilarious graph results from uninformed voters wondering who this "Obama" guy is the day after the election.
posted by DU at 6:49 AM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Christmas day is rubbish! Annoying relatives. Too much food. Television is dire. I know; I'll go online and read..."
posted by Wordshore at 6:53 AM on January 15, 2013


The front end of a bell curve isn't from precogs, though I suppose some of it may be those involved leaking the info to friends.

Not everyone sees an article right when it is published and not everyone follows up right away. And when people start talking about and sharing an article page views can really pickup.
posted by mountmccabe at 7:04 AM on January 15, 2013


But mostly I am excited to see how the blip looks for and around today.
posted by mountmccabe at 7:06 AM on January 15, 2013


Out of curiosity ... yep, popular everywhere online.
posted by Wordshore at 7:12 AM on January 15, 2013


Those poor Danes did all that work for nothing.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 7:16 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


On a more sobering observation, the statistics for the Wikipedia page about Aaron Swartz (FPP) are startling. It also presumably had the major recent effect on views of the Reddit page on Wikipedia.
posted by Wordshore at 7:23 AM on January 15, 2013


DU: "Hilarious graph results from uninformed voters wondering who this "Obama" guy is the day after the election."

The same thing happened in 2008.

In any event, your ethnocentrism seems misplaced. I'm pretty sure the engine measures worldwide pageviews.

Plus, it seems kind of unlikely that the average non-US citizen would care much about the intricacies of US politics until someone is actually (re)elected to office.
posted by zarq at 7:38 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I blame Orthodox Christmas.
posted by Kabanos at 7:42 AM on January 15, 2013


gnome trickery

Was the card you picked the Jack Cortex of Hearts?
posted by arcticseal at 7:42 AM on January 15, 2013


Hilarious graph results from uninformed voters wondering who this "Obama" guy is the day after the election.

I would bet there were a lot of curious people checking to see how the entry had been updated to reflect the election results. Also, I tend to idly look things up on Wikipedia when they're in the news, whether I know what they are or not. I'm assuming I'm not utterly alone in that?

You see similar results for "romney" and "2012 election" by the way.
posted by brundlefly at 8:49 AM on January 15, 2013


Plus, it seems kind of unlikely that the average non-US citizen would care much about the intricacies of US politics until someone is actually (re)elected to office. be reading the English entry.

You said something about ethnocentrism?
posted by DU at 8:49 AM on January 15, 2013


Jokes aside, I assumed the Obama traffic was from people rushing to update election stats.
posted by DU at 8:50 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


GenjiandProust: "Perhaps Watson is upset and was obsessively checking AskMe's reliability before posting a question to "human relations" or "computers and internet." If the machine ever gets up the courage, this may be the best DTMFA ever"

"My programmers want me to stop using dirty language. This makes me want to give them a Bahama Boolean Surprise. How can I get them to understand where I'm coming from? [GUID details inside]"
posted by boo_radley at 8:52 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


DU: "Plus, it seems kind of unlikely that the average non-US citizen would care much about the intricacies of US politics until someone is actually (re)elected to office. be reading the English entry.

True.

And yet, my point is still valid. Wikipedia English is not solely read by the American voting public.
posted by zarq at 8:56 AM on January 15, 2013


For all we know it was a broken robot.
posted by GuyZero at 9:55 AM on January 15, 2013


Could it be that somewhere, in some innocuous looking thread, someone mentioned a term that made the government security-bots go crazy and start researching the source of the wordcrime... I want to give an example but I'm afraid of seeing the dark-glasses-wearing men approaching silently..... PASS ME A FOIL HAT SOMEONE NOW
posted by greenish at 10:08 AM on January 15, 2013


Out of curiosity ... yep, popular everywhere online.

December 21, 2012: Mayan apocalypse and a surprisingly down day for kitties.

This day shall live in infamy.
posted by phunniemee at 10:08 AM on January 15, 2013


Shit. I didn't think anyone would notice. I can't say anymore, but, just trust me, drop it.

No really, it's for your own good, let it go.
posted by oddman at 10:10 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to guess an article mentioned the site and people had to google that.

Perhaps Forbes on January 5th:

As Andrew Lewis (writing as Blue_beetle on MetaFilter in 2010) formulated it, “If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”
posted by Lorin at 10:12 AM on January 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


just what the hell is this anachronistic looking forest-green website

I keep my large and expensive monitors very carefully calibrated, and I am a highly skilled and trained color expert who knows more about color theory than most of you could really hope to ever possibly know about color, and seriously, Ask is more of a moss green than anything.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:43 AM on January 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Devils Rancher: "Ask is more of a moss green than anything."

Which moss? There are approximately 12,000 species of moss classified in division Bryophyta.
posted by zarq at 11:02 AM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Which moss? There are approximately 12,000 species of moss classified in division Bryophyta.

Like a sporophite emerging from its archegonium, zarq appears to deliver a swift counterblow.
posted by Nomyte at 11:09 AM on January 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


For Ask? This moss green.
posted by phunniemee at 11:13 AM on January 15, 2013


Nomyte: "Like a sporophite emerging from its archegonium, zarq appears to deliver a swift counterblow."

We can thus infere that a sporophite is technically correct but practically useless.
posted by boo_radley at 11:18 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


boo_radley: " We can thus infere that a sporophite is technically correct but practically useless."

This will be engraved on my tombstone. :)
posted by zarq at 11:28 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Which moss? There are approximately 12,000 species of moss classified in division Bryophyta.

Oh, any of a variety, really.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:30 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Zarq, you are my favorite.
posted by boo_radley at 11:32 AM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Those poor Danes did all that work for nothing.

All what work? Wikipedia har ikke nogen side med navnet "Metafilter".

(Why don't the Danes like us?)
posted by benito.strauss at 11:40 AM on January 15, 2013


MetaFilter på dansk.
posted by hoyland at 11:42 AM on January 15, 2013


And it now has a redirect from Metafilter.
posted by hoyland at 11:54 AM on January 15, 2013


Tak så meget.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:03 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mmm, coffee and danish.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:12 PM on January 15, 2013


Could be due to a glut of New Year's resolutions

But there's no comparable blip in other recent Januaries: compare 2013-01 with 2012-01, 2011-01, 2010-01, 2009-01.
posted by stebulus at 1:16 PM on January 15, 2013


I can see your undersøgelser.
posted by capricorn at 1:30 PM on January 15, 2013


Yeah I can see how the Danish Wikipedia may have fallen into disuse.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 4:52 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am going to guess this. It sparked a huge conversation in blogistan and so was much linked.
posted by empath at 7:14 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe its Facebook's program and design team coming to take a look at how to really run a service?
posted by infini at 8:49 PM on January 15, 2013


Remember the FPP a few weeks ago about the top Wikipedia pages for 2012 in various languages? Only some of them seemed really off, like this allegedly #1 page for France? My personal bet is that there's something broken about the way Wikipedia keeps track of these things.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:36 PM on January 15, 2013


Hilarious graph results from uninformed voters wondering who this "Obama" guy is the day after the election.

No, sorry, that was my bot generating a secret message to the Tea Party.
posted by dhartung at 11:14 PM on January 15, 2013


Whats with this strange grok.se graph?
posted by marienbad at 2:03 AM on January 16, 2013


From benito.strauss' link to the Danish Wiki Mefi page:

Haughey skrev selv koden - to which the answer is clearly "Klaatu Barada Niktu."
posted by marienbad at 2:11 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Why don't the Danes like us?)

We owe them geld.
posted by ersatz at 11:58 AM on January 16, 2013


We owe them geld.

Noun or verb?
posted by infini at 6:17 PM on January 16, 2013


My personal bet is that there's something broken about the way Wikipedia keeps track of these things.
That was also my conclusion after looking at those bizarre one-time or periodical surges. The lack of right tail in those distributions hints at something purely technical.
posted by elgilito at 12:50 AM on January 17, 2013


Noun or verb?

Geld as in money.
posted by ersatz at 9:33 AM on January 17, 2013


*pouts*

Like a Viking.
posted by infini at 9:43 AM on January 17, 2013


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