The topic I chose to analyze Wikipedia editorial activity is Rihanna. While some might think she is just another everyday pop star, I happen to disagree. I would argue that she is one of the most famous singers/songwriters of today as she has had numerous number 1 songs on the charts and generates hit after hit. She has won countless awards for her songs and music videos over the last decade or so and does not seem to be planning on slowing down anytime soon. I decided to investigate her on Wikipedia and to analyze the Wikipedia activity revolving around her due my interest in her as an artist and my admiration for her as a strong and successful woman.
The topic of Rihanna was started on Wikipedia on July 30, 2005. The permalink to the first ever version of her page is https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rihanna&oldid=19926276. This date makes sense because Rihanna was first thrust into the public sphere in 2005 after she signed a contract with rapper, Jay-Z. The original edit/creation of her Wikipedia page is rather bare, due to the fact that there simply was not as much interest or access to information about her available yet. If you’re interested in reviewing her most current Wiki page, however, the permalink for the updated page is https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rihanna&oldid=750027434.
The top editor for Rihanna’s Wikipedia page is Jimaray. He has edited the page 643 times, which accounts for 4.4% of the overall edits. When I went to investigate his own page, I found out that it is no longer available because the user has been blocked indefinitely for being suspected of abusively using multiple accounts.
The second editor in the top 5 is Acalamari, who has edited Rihanna’s page 511 times and accounts for 3.5% of the overall edits. This user has been editing Wikipedia pages since 2006. They have made hundreds of edits on all types of celebrities, but also on families of topics such as locations in a city. This user enjoys editing pages because they are able to correct grammatical errors and inaccuracies in order to help tidy up the pages. When I clicked on a link they had embedded into their page about what time-zone they live in, I was taken to the Wikipedia page for the United Kingdom. Therefore, I think it is safe to assume that this user resides in the UK.
The editor with the third-largest number of edits to her page is Tomica, with 326 edits. This user accounts for 2.2% of the total edits to the page. This user’s page seems to be much more developed than the page of the last user. Not only does it have a personalized theme, but there is also quite a bit of personal information on it. The user includes information such as their gender (male), sexual orientation (straight), and age (24 years). The page did not, however, say exactly where the user lives, but it included the local time of where they live.
The fourth editor in the top 5 is THudson24. This user has contributed 314 edits to the page, which makes up 2.16% of the total edits. This user has also been suspended due to an abusive use of multiple accounts.
Finally, the fifth editor in the top 5 editors of Rihanna’s Wikipedia page is Alexrace. This user has edited the page 283 times, which accounts for 1.9% of the total edits. This user’s page appears to be relatively bare, but it does include some information about themselves such as their gender (male), citizenship (American), and musical preference (rap).
All of these top 5 editors seem to edit Wikipedia pages consistently, but tend to focus on their favorite topics. They all have obviously contributed a great amount of edits to Rihanna’s page, as she is one of their shared interests. The most recent edit was made by Mat 1997 on November 17th, 2016 at 12:40pm.
This activity has been very eye-opening for me. While I, like most, know about Wikipedia and use it from time to time, I did not realize that many people who edit pages edit them so frequently. I previously thought that random people would edit pages where they saw an error from time to time, but I came to learn that people make edits on different pages every day because they enjoy it. I also learned more about how Wikipedia goes to lengths to ensure that editors do not abuse their open system. As you read before, a couple of the top five editors of Rihanna’s page have had their user pages suspended because they have abusively used multiple accounts. It is good to know that there are people enforcing rules on the site. I could tell from looking at the user’s talk pages that people check their edits. On some of the talk pages I read some comments that were correcting the user on flawed edits that they may have made. Not only does Wikipedia provide accountability for the users, but the editors themselves are also constantly checking each other. I also learned how to use Wikihistory and how to navigate Wikipedia pages in general. This was a very useful exercise and I would recommend that everyone do the same with a topic that they are interested in.
Keywords: Wikipedia, Wikihistory, Wikipedia User, Editors, Users, Permalink