Every day thousands of new entries are added to Wikipedia. While many contain useful information, a large fraction is about content that does not meet Wikipedia’s inclusion standards. Examples include spam, copyrighted content, and vandalism. However, since the encyclopedia tries to cover the sum of all human knowledge, often it is hard to decide whether the content at hand should be deleted or not. In this cases, Wikipedia editors and contributors try to reach a consensus by discussing on a special board called Articles for Deletion, or AfD. These discussions represent a sophisticate form of crowdsourcing which, for its own nature, may be subject to a number of socio-cognitive biases.
In this project we explored the shape of the most enduring AfD conversations. We looked at two types of conversations: those in which the final consensus was to delete (above), and those in which it was to keep.
The project was released in celebration of the tenth anniversary from Wikipedia’s creation. In 2012 it received the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards for best interactive visualization. The awarding jury included – among others – MoMA curator Paola Antonelli and Brian Eno.