In the instant aftermath of the Newtown shooting last Friday, reporters worked to confirm details, investigators looked to investigate leads, misinformation was spread, and conspiracy theories were hatched, but what was happening on Wikipedia? Post-doctoral research fellow Brian Keegan examined how Wikipedia editors responded to this and other mass shootings at Nieman Lab through a series of graphs, like the one below plotting article revisions against time. Keegan explains: "Wikipedia articles certainly do not break the news of the events themselves, but the first edits to these article happen within two to three hours of the event itself unfolding. However, once created these articles attract many editors and changes as well as grow extremely rapidly." As evidenced in the graph below Keegan notes that while the article on Virginia Tech had the most revisions, articles on the Oak Creek shooting of August and the Binghamton shooting of 2009 "attracted substantially less attention from Wikipedians and the news media in general, likely because these massacres had fewer victims and the victims were predominantly non-white." In further graphs Keegan goes on to analyze how many users the articles attract, how each article grows in size, who is doing significant edits to each of them, and more. Read the rest of his analysis right here.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.