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Research on moving sections in Wikipedia article edits
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»How are parts of wikitext moved (cut/paste) in articles« (including: longer/shorter distances, longer/shorter fragments moved etc.)


  • Sample of 10 random articles and 5 more-or-less random excellent articles.
  • Exported the the most recent 1000 revisions.
  • Used WikEdDiff’s JavaScript implementation to find subsequent revisions between which text fragments were moved (at least according to the algorithm)
  • display the moves, informal assessment


  • A large part of the moves concerned list items (e.g. item was added at the end and was in the next edit put to the proper position in alphabetical order) and images (e.g. moved image below or above some near paragraph)
  • most moves were over short distances
  • Some moves were seemingly misrecognized by the algorithm like a common word that it suspected to be moved
  • Only a few cases were actually complicated restructuring of text with things like splitting and/or moving paragraphs while changing some words inside the paragraphs.

Event Timeline

@Lea_WMDE: Here is the summary of the research I did.

@Jan_Dittrich cool, thanks! Do you still have the displayed moves and could you add some exemplary pictures for the moves you describe? ( I don't seem to be good at picturing cell table moving in a diff)

@Lea_WMDE: I would love to add some pictures, but the visualization is currently very obscure; I can send you the file with the (obscure) visualizations though, if you like too,