Understanding the Signature of Controversial Wikipedia Articles through Motifs in Editor Revision Networks

Abstract Wikipedia serves as a good example of how editors collaborate to form and maintain an article. The relationship between editors, derived from their sequence of editing activity, results in a directed network structure called the revision network, that potentially holds valuable insights into editing activity. In this paper we create revision networks to assess differences between controversial and non-controversial articles, as labelled by Wikipedia. Originating from complex networks, we apply motif analysis, which determines the under or over-representation of induced sub-structures, in this case triads of editors.We analyse 21,631 Wikipedia articles in this way, and use principal component analysis to consider the relationship between their motif subgraph ratio profiles. Results show that a small number of induced triads play an important role in characterising relationships between editors, with controversial articles having a tendency to cluster. This provides useful insight into editing behaviour and interaction capturing counter-narratives, without recourse to semantic analysis. It also provides a potentially useful feature for future prediction of controversial Wikipedia articles.
  • James Ashford (Cardiff)
  • Liam Turner (Cardiff)
  • Roger Whitaker (Cardiff)
  • Alun Preece (Cardiff)
  • Diane Felmlee (PSU)
  • Don Towsley (UMass)
Date May-2019
Venue The Web Conference 2019