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What is the biggest wiki out there? How can you know and what do you count? The number of pages? The number of bytes? The number of users?

There are two popular ways to make "conservative" counts, i.e. counts excluding very short pages. The "comma count" is the number of pages with least one comma (,). This can be used with UseMod, and was previously used with WikiPedia. MediaWiki (the WikiPedia software) has now dropped comma count in favour of counting articles with at least one internal link. This works better with non-European languages, some of which don't use commas at all.

MediaWiki keeps two separate counts of size; the total number of pages, and a separate count of "real articles", excluding discussion pages, image description pages, meta pages about projects, help pages, and redirect pages.

See also WikiCommunityList, TourBusMap, StructureOfWikis

BiggestWikiOldTallies has the historical content. The most current figures can be found at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_wikis .

1. Reaction

Question: Is big better?

I doubt that anyone seriously thinks that, say, Wikipedia is somehow the "best" wiki simply because it is the biggest. Different wikis have different goals. If MeatballWiki suddenly ballooned to Wikipedia size over a couple of months, it would be a disaster. --StephenGilbert

Nobody said "bigger is better". But the bigger have probably a high contribution volume. Is high contribution volume better? I think a high contribution volume with a high quality really is better! --Max

Size (the number of pages or articles) is one measure for describing and comparing wiki websites. Some other quantative measures are the number of visitors, contributors, page views per month, number of links, average article size and PostsPerMonth. In addition to this, there can be a number of qualitative aspects or bases for comparison. I created this page only for comparing sizes, based on my assumption that comparing sizes can be interesting to some (though perhaps not to everybody). This does not imply that bigger is better in any objective sense. Other measures or aspects should probably have pages of their own. --LarsAronsson

I think this page make less sense year by year. In German we have a saying "Wer misst, misst Mist" which means: "who measures, measures trash". When Wikipedia started to hype their page count, they took the right road with respect to marketing, but the wrong road with respect to encyclopedia quality. Any US town became a page, any book may become a page. On the other hand, important pages are missing and nobody seems to care. WikiPediaIsNotAnEncyclopedia because there is no limit to its volume, nobody wants to strip unimportant pages or facts. With respect to BiggestWiki, I think "pedia"-like wikis and community wikis should be separated. It doesn't make sense to put them in the same pot. -- HelmutLeitner

It is true that in theory, almost anything can become an article, as long as the information in it is verifiable and factual. There's nothing wrong with that. There are about 30,000 auto-imported articles on the EnglishWikipedia from the US Census. That leaves us with about 270,000 human-written ones. The GermanWikipedia has not auto-imported any articles, to my knowledge. Important pages may be missing, but when I compare what is missing on the large Wikipedias with what is missing from the large print encyclopedias, then the print encyclopedias definitely lose on most counts. And I'm not talking about Pokemon characters, I'm talking about important events in history, famous scientific experiments, key literary works and their authors, subjects related to human sexuality which print encyclopedias tend to ignore, etc. Moreover, Wikipedians add a lot of multimedia as well - thousands of images, mathematical formulas, sound/music files, even graphical, clickable timelines generated with ErikZachte?'s EasyTimeline (e.g. [1]) or hieroglyphics created with Aoineko's WikiHiero?.

Really, what I am sensing here is just jealousy -- WikiPedia is a huge community. It really is. Thousands of people spend countless hours cataloging human knowledge to the best of their ability. The man hours put into this project far exceed any other wiki out there. That doesn't mean that WikiPedia is not a wiki. In fact, it is so successful because it is a wiki, and because it has eliminated some of the idiocies of the traditional wiki world (such as CamelCase and mixed DocumentMode / ThreadMode). Even if WikiPedia used more restrictive standards and kicked out what some snobs would consider worthless information, it would still be larger than any other wiki out there. Of course that's also because as an encyclopedia, it is almost unlimited in its topical scope by its very nature.

What I have done is group all the Wikipedias into one count, which I think is fair because WikiPedia is essentially a single project in many languages -- we wouldn't do separate page counts for other wikis if they exist in multiple languages. This also means that there are 29 non-WikiPedia wikis on this list, and the data on these wikis is quite interesting and far from "Mist". For example, the growth of DisinfoPedia in the last couple of years is amazing, given that its scope is far more limited than WikiPedia's. Other MediaWiki-based wikis are growing at a rapid pace as well -- I think in the not so far future, most wikis in the BiggestWiki list will be MediaWiki-based (15 of 30 already are). This, too, is a testament to the fact that MediaWiki is superior in functionality and design to most other WikiEngines.--ErikMoeller
A point of support: while techically the wikipedias may be different wikis, but as a community it is one, since (1) a very large number of editors contribute in several languages and (2) the articles are cross-language-referenced. -- mikkalai ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mikkalai )
''This was my initial thought when reading the recent activity. Wikipedia should count as one large community. - MarkDilley

I think the very problem with wikipedia is that it tries to "simplify" wikis by removing their idiosyncricies (CamelCase and mixed document/threading). But this creates two problems. Now the information cannot be the discussion, so you do not accrete knowledge among both the document and the participants, nor can you well capture dissent. Also the syntax itself becomes far more opaque, so it reduces trivial editability. All of this makes wikipedia more of a publishing engine with discussion on the side, instead of a wiki which explicitly combines the modes to great benefits. -- JoshuaRodman?

Three points. First, it has very little to do with the WikiEngine. LiveJournal has the worst design around, and it is the most popular DiaryCollective? by millions upon millions. Second, it would be unwiki to be jealous of other wikis; although it is intrinsically Wikipedian to be jealous of other projects; note the anti-Brittanica sentiment. The problem with comparing Wikipedia to other wikis is that it is a different culture with different goals, so the success metrics don't translate.

Finally, I have problems with these kinds of comparisons because they create useless conflicts. I think it's amazing that Wikipedia has been so successful, but I am more interested in my own community's success. What's of real value is what people did to be more successful, not who is more successful than the others. Scalarizing the comparison removes all the valuable information, like what is the story behind that success or failure, and what can we learn from that?

In any discussion where there is not enough information to make a decision, the debate gets sidetracked into fallacies and other pitfalls when people try to devalue each other, such as this U.S. Census data dumping example. A HealthyConflict demands more, detailed information, not less, simplified information. -- SunirShah


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