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Revision as of 18:22, 7 August 2020 by Carl (talk | contribs) (→‎Codebook: Add underscores.)

Wikiq is our tool for building tabular datasets from raw mediawiki edit data. Mediawiki outputs xml dump files, but these files are not so easy to work with, particularly because they contain the full text of every revision to every page. This makes it quite computationally expensive to process large wikis and leads to other technical problems. Wikiq efficiently processes mediawiki xml dumps to produce much smaller datasets that only contain variables that will be useful in our research. Nate is working this summer on improvements to wikiq. Let him know if you have any requests!.

! New feature for Wikiq 2019

We have recently added a general-purpose pattern matching (regular expressions) feature to wikiq. The design doc can be seen here and more information is given in the Command Line Arguments and Codebook below.

! New Wikiq in 2018

If you want the new wikiq, with improved persistence measures, use wikiq_new . There will be some breaking changes to wikiq in summer 2018. Currently, the stable version of the new wikiq is called wikiq_new on hyak. At some point we will switch to calling the old version wikiq_old and the new version will be wikiq .

See Also: CommunityData:Dataset_And_Tools_Release_2018

Setting up Wikiq

Wikiq is a python3 program with dependencies. To run on Hyak, for now, you will need to install the dependencies using pip install --user mwxml pandas git+ mediawiki-utilities pymysql

Command Line Arguments

Some important command line flags control the behavior wikiq and change which variables are output.

--url-encode : *Recommended* pass this in to url-encode text fields (page titles, editor names). This is used to safely handle text which might contain unicode characters that conflict with other parsing systems. You will probably want to url-decode these columns when you read them.

--persistence : Compute persistent word revisions, a useful measure of contribution quality, for each edit. This is somewhat costly, and slow, to compute. You can specify segment, sequence or legacy methods of calculating persistence. Segment is the default, and recommended way, but it is somewhat slower than sequence. Segment persistence is a faster, but marginally less accurate, version of the algorithm presented in this [paper].

--collapse-user : Operate only on the final revision made by user a user within all sequences of consecutive edits made by a user. This can be useful for addressing issues with text persistence measures.

--help : Get help using Wikiq.

-n, --namespace-include Id of namespace to include. Can be specified more than once. For some wikis (e.g. Large Wikipedias) computing persistence for the project namespace can be extremely slow.

Pattern matching arguments

Users can now search for patterns in edit revision text, with a list of matches for each edit being output in columns (a column for each pattern indicated by the pattern arguments below). Users may provide multiple revision patterns and accompanying labels. The patterns and the labels must be provided in the same order for wikiq to be able to correctly label the output columns.

-RP --revision-pattern: a regular expression

-RPl --revision-pattern-label: a label for the columns output based on matching revisions against the pattern.

In addition to revisions, we also wish to support pattern matching against revision summaries (comments). Therefore we also have corresponding command line arguments.

-CP --comment-pattern: a regular expression

-CPl --comment-pattern-label: a label for the columns output based on matching revisions against the pattern.

A note on named capture groups in pattern matching

The regular expressions in -RP and -CP may include one or more named capture groups. If the `pattern` matches, it will then also capture values for each named capture group. If a pattern has one or more named capture groups wikiq will output a new column for each named capture group to store these values, with the column getting named: <pattern-label>_<capture-group-name>. Since a `pattern` can match a revision more than once it is possible that more than one value should go in this column (regardless of named capture group or not).

For cases in which the -RP or -CP have more than one named capture group and part of the searched string being searched matches for more than one capture group, only the first capture group will indicate a match because matching consumes characters in Python. For example, if a regular expression is r"(?P<3_letters>\b\w{3}\b)|(?P<number>\b\d+\b)" and the test string being searched is dog and 500 bits of kibble, we note that 500 works for both the 3_letters and number. However, the capture group listed first (3_letters) consumes '500' when it matches, so the 3_letters column will contain the list [dog, and, 500] while the number column will simple have None. As a result, one should consider the order of capture groups or create separate regular expression and label pairs.


The current version of wikiq provides one row for each edit (unless --collapse-user is passed, in which case each row corresponds to consecutive edits by the same editor), with columns for the following variables: anon articleid collapsed_revs date_time deleted editor editor_id minor namespace revert reverteds revid sha1 text_chars title token_revs tokens_added tokens_removed tokens_window

The meaning of the variables is:

anon : Whether the editor is anonymous

articleid : Unique identifier for the page

date_time : Timestamp of the edit

deleted : Whether the edit was deleted

editor : The user name of the editor

editor_id : Unique identifier for the editor

minor : Whether the edit is minor

namespace : Id of the namespace. (see

revert : The edit identity reverts one or more other edits.

reverteds : The ids of the edits that were reverted.

revid : Unique identifier of the revision.

sha1 : Hash of the article text of the revision

text_chars : Length of the article in characters following the revision

title : Text title of the page.

The following variables refer to persistent word revisions (PWR) and are only provided when wikiq is called with the --persistence argument:

token_revs : The number of "token revisions" contributed by the edit. This is the key PWR variable.

tokens_added : The number of tokens added by the edit.

tokens_removed: The number of tokens removed by the edit.

tokens_window : The maximum revisions examined in computing token revisions.

The following variables are output when wikiq is called with the --collapse-user argument:

collapsed_revs : The number of consecutive revisions the editor made that have been collapsed into the row.

The following variables are output when wikiq is called with the pattern matching arguments:

[label] from -CPl/--comment-pattern-label or -RPl/--revision-pattern-label : A list of the matches of the pattern given for this label found in that edit's revision text or comment (whatever specified). If none found, None.

[label]_[named_capture_group] : A list of the matches for the named capture group in the pattern given for this label in the edit's revision text of comment (whatever specified). If none found, None.


  • Not all anonymous edits get flagged as anon. Editor name being an IP Address seems to work (Not confirmed).