05/13/2013 03:44 pm ET

'Wikipedia Recent Changes Map' Shows Edits To Wikipedia Articles In Realtime

Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi

A new site based on Wikipedia has proven to be quite addicting. Wikipedia Recent Changes Map, released earlier this month by programmers Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi, streams all changes made by unregistered users to the English version of the site (or, if you change the settings, the site in six other languages). Every time an edit is made, a map shows where it was made from and a text box reveals which article was edited.

When you open the site, a list of changes also appears below the map with updates like: "someone in Northfield (Minnesota, United States) edited Homosynaptic Plasticity" and "someone in Tel Aviv (Tel Aviv, Israel) edited Grand Theft Auto (series)." The sheer frequency of edits to the English version of Wikipedia alone is stunning, especially when you consider that only about 15 percent of edits made to the site are from unregistered users.

The map only tracks unregistered editors because they are identified by their IP addresses, which allows them to be pinpointed by location. No such information is publicly available for registered Wikipedia editors.

However, the project authors also point out that "unregistered users are less likely to make productive edits to the encyclopedia," according to a 2007 study. So maybe it would be more accurate to call the "Wikipedia Recent Changes Map" the "map of people messing up Wikipedia pages in realtime."

You can check out the Wikipedia Recent Changes Map here.

[H/T Ars Technica]