Click Tracking on Edit Toolbar deployed

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After many a hearty SQL battle, we finally have click tracking deployed on the wikimedia projects!

Data on button usage
Data on button usage

What’s being tracked?

Which buttons are clicked on the toolbar during editing

What information is being recorded?

The button clicked, the time of the click, total edit count of the user clicking, and edit count for the last 1, 3, 6 months

What information is NOT being recorded?

Individually identifiable information of any sort (eg who exactly clicked what) and anything that would violate our privacy policy in general


As we revamp the UI, rather than randomly throwing buttons up there we think are pretty (we think they’re all pretty), we thought we’d put buttons up and features that people actually use. Novel, right?

What about the edit history and stuff?

We figure the way a novice editor uses the toolbar is different form a ‘power’ editor, and that there’s probably some gradation in between. Is there? Well, that’s what we hope to find out…

Nimish Gautam, Research Analyst

Archive notice: This is an archived post from, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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For some people with lots of edits, their total edit count is individually identifiable information, especially when combined with their recent edit history and the time when they were making an edit.
Could the total edit count either be binned or cut off at some maximum?

Binning should work just fine (basically rounding the counts off); all we really need out of the counts is the relative magnitude to distinguish editing activity classes.

Aren’t you forgetting that the toolbar is not used by novice users? First group is those that just registered and don’t know what’s going on yet. Second group is those that don’t have accounts at all and so cannot use the new toolbar at all. I think there is also something else that needs a careful thought – some people won’t click some of the buttons not because they don’t need it, but because they didn’t saw it or didn’t know what it’s for. That’s why I think making controlled studies would be more fruitful.

Binning’s not a bad idea; we’d want to keep it logarithmic though, because there’s (probably) a world of difference between a user with 1 edit and 10, but not between a user with 1000 edits and 1010.
There will also be some noise in the data from users clicking and just wondering what the buttons do, but that should be minimal, especially over time.

@Nux #3: We do do controlled studies (I’m seeing one being conducted right now), this click tracking is just an addition to that.