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Wikipedia page views

A new beta program is going around that counts Wikipedia page views. I tried it on a really obscure page, and none the less found that the page was getting just over 1000 views per week! At first I chalked it up to theh global reach of Wikipedia. But then I started to think about it more. I have to wonder if that number doesn’t include hits from all of Wikipedia’s bots. Wikipedia employs a number of automated software programs (referred to as ‘bots – short for robots) that read through all the articles on the site looking for various problems. The most obvious are the ones that look for profanity and remove it automatically. But there are quite a few other automatic programs that read Wikipedia pages for various reasons. There are even several non-Wikipedia bots they read through all the articles, the Google spider (so named because it crawls through the Internet following the web of links) being just one of many. Probably every search engine on the net (and there are several hundred including some private ones) go through Wikipedia monthly, and possibly weekly. And then there are the various research projects that seek to understand how Wikipedia functions by taking frequent snapshots. So a thousand hits per week does not necessarily mean a thousand interested individuals searching for just that information. In fact there is probably some threshold amount, maybe even close to a thousand hits per week, that every single article on all of Wikipedia gets. It would only be hits above this threshold that would indicate genuine human interest. I am not sure what that threshold is. For non-Wikipedia pages, it seems to be about a thousand hits a month. That is, anything with a registered domain name will get a thousand hits a month just by virtue of being on the Internet. So it is only hits beyond that level are actually significant.

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