Fluctuations in Wikipedia access-rate and edit-event data
Internet-based social networks often reflect extreme events in nature and society by drastic increases in user activity. We study and compare the dynamics of the two major complex processes necessary for information spread via the online encyclopedia ‘Wikipedia’, i.e., article editing (information upload) and article access (information viewing) based on article edit-event time series and (hourly) user access-rate time series for all articles. Daily and weekly activity patterns occur in addition to fluctuations and bursting activity. The bursts (i.e., significant increases in activity for an extended period of time) are characterized by a power-law distribution of durations of increases and decreases. For describing the recurrence and clustering of bursts we investigate the statistics of the return intervals between them. We find stretched exponential distributions of return intervals in access-rate time series, while edit-event time series yield simple exponential distributions. To characterize the fluctuation behavior we apply detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA), finding that most article access-rate time series are characterized by strong long-term correlations with fluctuation exponents α≈0.9. The results indicate significant differences in the dynamics of information upload and access and help in understanding the complex process of collecting, processing, validating, and distributing information in self-organized social networks.
Volume (Year): 391 (2012)
Issue (Month): 23 ()
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