Wiki Real Time Analytics

Something caught my eye as I was checking out the Discover magazine homepage today (the article is here if you don't want to bother with my insight into this topic.) Predicting the success of movies has been a notoriously difficult process as most indicators have proved ineffective at doing so, especially as compared to the predictability of some other trends. What they have recently though is that the popularity (and therefore financial success) of a movie can be linked to the amount of time and the number of edits on their wikipedia page in the weeks and days leading up to the premiere. Essentially the idea is that people take a certain amount of ownership for certain works that they associate with, and that for every person that is doing this that it correlates to a certain fixed amount that aren't.

This of course refers to comic book movies as well, in fact probably more so, as comic movies are at the moment pretty much box office gold for movie studios. It is also reasonable that this same rule applies to other wikis. I am sure that it applies to the movies on Comic Vine as well (even when we have no firm rules as to what constitutes a movie which should be added to the wiki). What is interesting for me though is the absolute inaccuracy of this as it would be applied to comics themselves. Whereas there might be some individual issues or volumes that are more edited than others, it is also likely that those volumes have been added in a serial behaviour to the wiki, because they themselves are in a serial format. I suppose in certain case though that such information could be used to predict the success of comics, but only in an extended manner. For instance, one might be able to tell the success of comics by the number of concepts associated to them, or the number of key characters, or even if people consistently break site rules to add certain issues early.

This wouldn't always hold though, as for instance I once added this cover and issues early, and nobody that I know read this issue, even not me.

9 Comments
9 Comments
Posted by Renchamp

Movies: I recall the opposite focus when Redlamp was around. He got excited for comic book movies to come out and would make wiki tasks to beef up certain characters and books to benefit those people looking for more information after having seen a movie. The movie influenced the wiki. (Spider-Man 3 is why I have so many points for Venom. I don't care about that guy, but it was a hefty wiki bonus.)

Comics: Allow me to gingerly state that I don't see comic readers as being as passionate about other forms of media as movie fanatics. Wikis are a form of media and there are some of us who love getting into the details. Look at the majority of top wiki editors on this site: they are basically just putting in data with some smatterings of substance. (And that is not a negative remark, this site needs those people.) Then there are others who strive to fill out every issue they read or pimp out every character they love.

I think most of the people, however, are content to read their books and discuss their views, at most, in a forum (and it's usually only the irate ones you see). This is an incredibly broad generalization, but I think it has some weight to it.

Posted by RazzaTazz

@renchamp: Oh yes, well most wikis don't (didn't) have the wiki task system which would add a lot of chaos into the system. For a while I was running a lot of the wiki tasks and the characters I added them for were not really all that important from a site traffic standpoint. There is of course a human factor, but as a generalization the flow of traffic should hold for movies here as well. What you are saying is an extension of that (which I alluded to) that interest in movies can also be determined by the number of edits of characters in those movies :)

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Posted by etragedy

I would be highly skeptical about putting too much stock in this correlation - either for film or comics.

Posted by Renchamp

@razzatazz: I agree that it should, but I don't think that it does, generally speaking. How much beefier did the Groot page become upon hearing a potential actor? And this is a bad example because you referred to activity right before the movie released. As an extension, I look forward to seeing how much Groot is expanded when the movie is released. Being a Kirby creation, there should probably be more than eight paragraphs under Major Story Arcs. We shall see.

Posted by RazzaTazz

@etragedy: Well ti works with movies at higher traffic sites.

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Posted by pikahyper

There is one big reason why this works better as an indicator for films then comics, much more is known about films before they come out then is known about comics. Films have multiple trailers, scripts are usually seen online, actor interviews, full synopsis and the fan community, even with comic movies most of the time there is already pre-existing source material in comic form to compare too/speculate on. With comics we get a very small solicit, occasionally a few tid-bits in interviews or maybe a vague poster and then a 3-5 page preview sometimes up to a week before, not as much to go on.

With most comic sites it also seems like speculation is more frowned upon then in movie or even video game communities, I'm sure if speculation wasn't as frowned upon here lots of pages would get edited early more often (mostly character pages probably) but luckily the wiki focuses more on known fact that possibilities and speculations as that would lead to inaccurate data.

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Posted by RazzaTazz

@pikahyper: Well I don't believe that wikipedia really relies on much speculation, aside from listing possible rumours to casting and sequels. I see what you mean though.

I wasn't really trying to make a strong point with this, just as I thought it related to the field of wiki editing that I would share it.

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Posted by pikahyper

@razzatazz: it is interesting, I was tricked by the title though, I was expecting some interesting CV wiki statistics :/

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Posted by Renchamp

@pikahyper said:

@razzatazz: it is interesting, I was tricked by the title though, I was expecting some interesting CV wiki statistics :/

Wiki statistics sound sexy. Another reason to miss Redlamp.