Poor little article – a glimpse to our future?


From time to time I notice odd artefacts in our encyclopedic playground. Articles that exist for years but have hardly been altered. One example is Regionalrat in German Wikipedia.

The article has been createad in May 2006. In the beginning there was an uncertainly whether to use the lemma for a redirect to the regional councils of Namibia or those of France. A view edits and one year later, the present day text appeared in one edit, by an user who later did not alter the article again and indeed after 2007 only rarely uses this account anymore. Since then, the article is about the regional councils of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (17 million inhabitants).

The text is okay in general, but entailed bold letters for a few key words. Only today I deleted the bold markers. In total, there have been 14 edits, and, as far I can see, 13 different editors. A similar number of other pages link to this article, some of them actually to the French councils. But the article is visited relatively often, 150-200 times a month (comparable to “Nick Clegg” in January 2010).

In three years time, nobody made an essential edit, nobody deleted the unwanted bold markers.

Is this a glimpse to Wikipedia’s future? Of course, popular and controversial articles will always be edited and altered significantly or even radically. But what about that huge number of other articles?

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