The “Listen to Wikipedia” project, which was created by Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi, plays soothing, ambient-style music whenever a Wikipedia pages is edited. The about page describes the process, which also uses a visual representation:
Bells are additions, strings are subtractions. There’s something reassuring about knowing that every user makes a noise, every edit has a voice in the roar. (Green circles are anonymous edits and purple circles are bots. White circles are brought to you by Registered Users Like You.)
Apart from being a hopefully-pleasant audiation, Listen to Wikipedia (L2W) also addresses a couple other inquiries we’ve gotten more than a few times:
- Whereas RCMap only displays anonymous edits, L2W presents all edits to the main namespace in real time, with special handling for new-user signups for good measure.
- L2W uses color a bit differently, too. By making edits from unregistered/anonymous users green, and edits from user-driven bots purple, we hoped to give a relative visual sense of traffic from those sources. (Spoiler alert: anon/bot edits represent less than a fifth of total edit traffic. L2W is a lot more active than RCMap.)
- Finally, because it used a world’s worth of border data, RCMap was a fairly heavy application. L2W’s more abstract approach to visualization should provide a lighter touch suitable for resource-constrained environments.