Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Reverted Wikipedia Edits


  • Johannes Kiesel Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
  • Martin Potthast Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
  • Matthias Hagen Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
  • Benno Stein Bauhaus-Universität Weimar


Little is known about what causes anti-social behavior online. The paper at hand analyzes vandalism and damage in Wikipedia with regard to the time it is conducted and the country it originates from. First, we identify vandalism and damaging edits via ex post facto evidence by mining Wikipedia’s revert graph. Second, we geolocate the cohort of edits from anonymous Wikipedia editors using their associated IP addresses and edit times, showing the feasibility of reliable historic geolocation with respect to country and time zone, even under limited geolocation data. Third, we conduct the first spatio-temporal analysis of vandalism on Wikipedia. Our analysis reveals significant differences for vandalism activities during the day, and for different days of the week, seasons, countries of origin, as well as Wikipedia’s languages. For the analyzed countries, the ratio is typically highest at non-summer workday mornings, with additional peaks after break times. We hence assume that Wikipedia vandalism is linked to labor, perhaps serving as relief from stress or boredom, whereas cultural differences have a large effect. Our results open up avenues for new research on collaborative writing at scale, and advanced technologies to identify and handle antisocial behavior in online communities.




How to Cite

Kiesel, J., Potthast, M., Hagen, M., & Stein, B. (2017). Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Reverted Wikipedia Edits. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 11(1), 122-131. Retrieved from