Critical issues presentations/Which parts of a Wikipedia article do readers read?

From Wikimania 2016 • Esino Lario, Italy
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Submission no. 215
Title of the submission

Which parts of a Wikipedia article do readers read?

Author of the submission
  • Tilman Bayer
Country of origin

United States of America


Projects, Research

  • Wikipedia
  • Readers
  • Research

What do readers want from Wikipedia, and what do they actually read? For years now, many Wikipedia editors and researchers have found answers to these questions in pageview data, which tells us which topics get accessed how often. But little is know about what happens after a reader clicks on the link to a Wikipedia page. For example: Do people read articles in their entirety, or are they content with just skimming the introduction (lead section)?

In the past year or so, we have learned a bit more about such questions. This presentation will summarize some existing research and present some new data on how readers interact with articles, especially on the mobile version of Wikipedia (recently, Wikipedia’s traffic from mobile devices surpassed desktop views for the first time). One example is the frequency with which different sections of an article are accessed. I will argue that some of these insights can help editors make Wikipedia more useful for the hundreds of millions of people that rely on it every month, and enable volunteers to focus their limited time on those aspects of an article that are most likely to make a difference for our audience.

Target audience: This presentation is aimed at editors who are interested in new data and research that might inform their work on Wikipedia articles, and at people who are interested in better understanding Wikipedia readers in general.


Not accepted