Wikipedia and Westminster: Quality and Dynamics of Wikipedia Pages about UK Politicians


Wikipedia is a major source of information providing a large variety of content online, trusted by readers from around the world. Readers go to Wikipedia to get reliable information about different subjects, one of the most popular being living people, and especially politicians. While a lot is known about the general usage and information consumption on Wikipedia, less is known about the life-cycle and quality of Wikipedia articles in the context of politics. The aim of this study is to quantify and qualify content production and consumption for articles about politicians, with a specific focus on UK Members of Parliament (MPs). First, we analyze spatio-temporal patterns of readers’ and editors’ engagement with MPs’ Wikipedia pages, finding huge peaks of attention during election times, related to signs of engagement on other social media (e.g. Twitter). Second, we quantify editors’ polarisation and find that most editors specialize in a specific party and choose specific news outlets as references. Finally we observe that the average citation quality is pretty high, with statements on ‘Early life and career’ missing citations most often (18%).

Proceedings of the 31st ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media
Pushkal Agarwal
Pushkal Agarwal
PhD Student working with the UK Parliament on Digital Citizen Engagement

I am a PhD Scholar in Computer Science at King’s College London under the supervision of Dr. Nishanth Sastry. My doctoral work focuses on online digital citizen engagement with the UK Parliament. I completed my Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Science and Engineering) from The LNM Institute of Information Technology, India. My professional experiences include an internship at Telefonica I+D (Barcelona, Spain) and with the Neilsen Group. My honours include a “Best research impact” award at the PhD poster competition of King’s College London, NMS and Chairman’s Gold Medal for best all-round performance in graduating class of 2017 (BTech. CSE).

Miriam Redi
Miriam Redi
Visiting Researcher, Wikimedia Research