Something Awful wrote an article talking about Wikipedia, discussing that if you take two articles that are similar (the example they give is Knight and Jedi Knight), then you would see that the article that is more related to nerds, which is the latter in this case, is longer and more comprehensive than the former.
TechCrunch also picked up on this, and Michael agreed with Something Awful and the claims that it makes. He says that “People contribute to articles they care about. And Wikipedia’s community cares about light sabres, fantasy characters, video games and acne.”
The examples that are given include the following:
I will analyze the first two examples, below.
For the first example, we’ve got Modern Warfare v. Lightsaber Combat. It’s true the the latter article is longer than the former, BUT, take a look at underneath EACH heading from the former article, and you’ll see that all SIXTEEN sub-sections each have their OWN articles. The Lightsaber Combat article, on the other hand, crams all of the information into one page instead of splitting it up into separate articles.
Secondly, take a look at Prime Number v. Optimus Prime. Again, the latter is longer than the former. Why’s that? Unlike the first example, where both articles contain information that is fairly easily accessible (a lot of people know quite a bit about war and modern warfare, especially with the times that we live in today), this current example contains a subject that is simply not as interesting and not as easily accessible (the article about Prime Numbers). But, keeping that in mind, the Prime Number article actually leads to other articles that are related, and yet long enough that they deserve their own article. Also, the Optimus Prime article is long because it simply contains summaries of stories that include him; this does not require much skill beyond being able to type, since other people will eventually summarize your text so that it’s easier to read. We also have to keep in mind that the new Transformers movie that will be released in a month has given articles such as this more attention.
Finally, if we are comparing articles primarily on a matter of length, then take a look at New York City and Vice City. You’ll see that the former article is longer than the latter. Some of the sections in the New York City article even contain links to other, complete articles that expand on related topics. If we are assuming that nerd-oriented articles are naturally longer than similar ‘normal’ comparisons, then this is a surprise. If we aren’t assuming that, then this is completely normal. And that’s what I’m assuming.
On a side note, I recently met Simon Pulsifer, a Wikipedia contributor who is constantly in the top 5 list of users with the most edits, while attending the mesh conference, and I learned what it meant to be truly dedicated to Wikipedia’s goals. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch was among the participants at the conference.