Community metrics: Size

I have seen many estimates of the size
of Wikipedia’s community; all of them too low.  And what surprises
me most of all is that noone cares much about the lack of real metrics
in their speech, their writing, their journalism, their research. 
Okay, that last is going a bit far; many researchers are very careful
about defining their metrics and terms.  But this is what makes
those which are not stick out so severely.

Here are some basic statistics, care of Erik Zachte’s scripts, the Wikimedia Foundation’s server farms, and over 100,000 active contributors over the past four years (user statistics often exclude the 15% of edits which come from editors without named accounts).

To the point of the user community: 

  • There are more than 15,000 active English-language editors, at least 1500 of them editing ‘very actively’ — 100 times a month.
  • There are 30,000 active editors, and 4,500 very active editors, in all languages combined.

Just to reiterate the casual power of thousands of zealous volunteers
with a variety of content-addictions, some of the scripted data above
has a hand-generated and hand-updated wiki cousin, with its own original additions.

As for where I personally draw the line at counting community size, I
would say the English Wikipedia has this year passed the
10,000-volunteer mark, and is currently around 20,000.  We would
know better if we counted not only edits but page-views
user… there are those who edit infrequently but keep up with all
aspects of the community; and also many who edit occasionally but
haven’t taken
time to learn the community policies or norms; which one might discount.

I would estimate 60,000 in the ‘copyediting’ community (active
readers, familiar with the interface, acting as typo and vandalism
monitors; and anonymous contributors), and ten times again as many
regular readers – around 500,000.  

For all languages combined : 40,000 volunteers, perhaps 120,000 in the
‘copyediting’ community (people in other langs are on average less
likely to understand that they can edit; which I would expect to grow more than linearly
with the size of the community and press coverage in that language),
and some 2M active readers.

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