Tech

Watch Wikipedia Edit Itself In Real Time

A glimpse into the world’s most impressive user-powered information network.

The sheer size of Wikipedia’s network of volunteer editors and casual contributors is difficult to comprehend. Thankfully, Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi created this hypnotic Wikipedia edit map, which tracks unregistered user edits as they happen, to give us a real time glimpse into the one of the world’s most powerful information networks.

In part due to time of day (about noon, EST), most edits seemed to come from the US, Europe. There were a fair share from India, and very few from the African continent. While some edits we saw had geographical ties to the IP addresses — an unregistered user from Indiana updating the page of Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller, for example — very few of the posts were obviously relevant to the user’s geographical location.

While the edits scroll by at an impressive clip, they only reflect a fraction of Wikipedia’s actual manpower. The map only tracks unregistered users’ edits, which account for only about 15 percent of total Wikipedia contributions. Below, we’ve sped up a 5 minute video to roughly reflect what the speed of edits would look like in real-time. It’s pretty staggering.

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Charlie Warzel is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Warzel reports on and writes about the intersection of tech and culture.
Contact this reporter at charlie.warzel@buzzfeed.com
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