Visualizing Activity on Wikipedia with Chromograms

  • Martin Wattenberg
  • Fernanda B. Viégas
  • Katherine Hollenbach
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4663)


To investigate how participants in peer production systems allocate their time, we examine editing activity on Wikipedia, the well-known online encyclopedia. To analyze the huge edit histories of the site’s administrators we introduce a visualization technique, the chromogram, that can display very long textual sequences through a simple color coding scheme. Using chromograms we describe a set of characteristic editing patterns. In addition to confirming known patterns, such reacting to vandalism events, we identify a distinct class of organized systematic activities. We discuss how both reactive and systematic strategies shed light on self-allocation of effort in Wikipedia, and how they may pertain to other peer-production systems.


Wikipedia Visualization Peer Production Visualization 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Wattenberg
    • 1
  • Fernanda B. Viégas
    • 1
  • Katherine Hollenbach
    • 2
  1. 1.IBM ResearchUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUSA

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