Aaron Halfaker

Last updated
Aaron Halfaker
Halfaker, Aaron Sept 2013.jpg
Born (1983-12-27) December 27, 1983 (age 36)
Alma mater The College of St. Scholastica (B.S., 2006)
University of Minnesota (Ph.D., 2013) [2] [3]
Scientific career
Fields Human-Computer Interaction
computer-supported cooperative work
Institutions Wikimedia Foundation
Doctoral advisor John T. Riedl
Website halfaker.info

Aaron Halfaker ( /ˈhæfkər/ ; born December 27, 1983) is an American computer scientist and a principal research scientist at the Wikimedia Foundation. [4] [5] [6]


Education and career

Halfaker earned a B.S. in computer science from the College of St. Scholastica in 2006, where he started off as a physical therapy major but switched to computer science after taking a programming class with associate professor Diana Johnson. [7] He later earned a Ph.D. in computer science from the GroupLens research lab at the University of Minnesota in 2013. He is known for his research on Wikipedia and the decrease in the number of active editors of the site. [8] [9] [10] He has said that Wikipedia began a "decline phase" around 2007 and has continued to decline since then. [11] [12] Halfaker has also studied automated accounts on Wikipedia, known as bots, [13] and the way they affect new contributors to the site. [4] While a graduate student, he, along with Stuart Geiger, developed a tool for Wikipedia editing called "Snuggle", the goal of which is to eliminate vandalism and spam, and to also highlight constructive contributions by new editors. [14] [15] He has also built an artificial intelligence engine known as "Objective Revision Evaluation Service" (or ORES for short), used to identify vandalism on Wikipedia and distinguish it from good faith edits. [16] [17]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Hebrew Wikipedia Hebrew edition of Wikipedia

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Some edits to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia by staff of the United States Congress have created controversy, notably in early to mid-2006. Several such instances, such as those involving Marty Meehan, Norm Coleman, Conrad Burns, and Joe Biden, received significant media attention. Others, such as those involving Gil Gutknecht, were reported but received less widespread coverage.

Criticism of Wikipedia Overviews and criticism of Wikipedia

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Wikipedia Free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit

Wikipedia is a multilingual online encyclopedia created and maintained as an open collaboration project by a community of volunteer editors using a wiki-based editing system. It is the largest and most popular general reference work on the World Wide Web, and is one of the most popular websites ranked by Alexa as of January 2020. It features exclusively free content and no commercial ads, and is owned and supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization funded primarily through donations.

Conservapedia American conservative wiki encyclopedia

Conservapedia is an English-language wiki encyclopedia project written from an American conservative and fundamentalist Christian point of view. The website was established in 2006 by American homeschool teacher and attorney Andrew Schlafly, son of the conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, to counter what he perceived as a liberal bias in Wikipedia. It uses editorials and a wiki-based system for content generation.

Waray Wikipedia Waray edition of Wikipedia

The Waray Wikipedia is the Waray language edition of Wikipedia. It is hosted on servers run by the Wikimedia Foundation since 25 September 2005. As of March 1, 2020, this edition has 1,263,825 articles and is the 11th largest Wikipedia edition. Despite having very few active users (72), the Waray Wikipedia has a high number of automatically generated articles created by bots, most of them by Swedish Wikipedian Sverker Johansson's Lsjbot.

Vandalism on Wikipedia Act of editing Wikipedia in a malicious manner

On Wikipedia, vandalism is the act of editing the project in a malicious manner that is intentionally disruptive. Vandalism includes the addition, removal, or modification of the text or other material that is either humorous, nonsensical, a hoax, or that is of an offensive, humiliating, or otherwise degrading nature.

Wikipedia community community of contributors that create and maintain Wikipedia

The Wikipedia community is the community of contributors who create and maintain the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Individual contributors are known as "Wikipedians". OxfordDictionaries.com added the word "Wikipedian" in August 2012.

Conflict-of-interest (COI) editing on Wikipedia occurs when editors use Wikipedia to advance the interests of their external roles or relationships. The type of COI editing of most concern on Wikipedia is paid editing for public relations (PR) purposes. Several Wikipedia policies and guidelines exist to combat conflict of interest editing, including Wikipedia:Conflict of interest and Wikipedia:Paid-contribution disclosure.

James Heilman Emergency physician and Wikipedia editor

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Edit-a-thon Term to describe a wikis in-person editing collaboration on a specific topic

An edit-a-thon is an organized event where editors of online communities such as Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, and LocalWiki edit and improve a specific topic or type of content, typically including basic editing training for new editors. They often involve meetups, but can be distributed as well. The word is a portmanteau of "edit" and "marathon".

Gender bias on Wikipedia reflects findings that a dominant majority of volunteer Wikipedia editors, particularly on the English-language site, are male. Also, there are fewer and less extensive articles about women or topics important to women. It figures among the most frequent criticisms of Wikipedia, sometimes as part of a more general criticism about systemic bias in Wikipedia. The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, agrees with these criticisms and has made an ongoing attempt to increase female editorship of Wikipedia. Edit-a-thons have been held to encourage female editors and increase the coverage of women's topics.

CongressEdits was an automated Twitter account created in May 2014 that tweeted changes to Wikipedia articles that originated from IP addresses within the ranges assigned to the United States Congress. The changes could have been made by anyone using a computer on the U.S. Capitol complex's computer network, including both staff of U.S. elected representatives and senators as well as visitors such as journalists, constituents, tourists, and lobbyists. Previous to this, the best information about what congressional staffers were editing was found in the articles U.S. Congressional staff edits to Wikipedia and Wikipedia:Congressional staffer edits, which are manually updated. CongressEdits has been called a watchdog by NBC News. Twitter suspended the account in October 2018.

Emily Temple-Wood American Wikipedia editor and medical student

Emily Temple-Wood is an American Wikipedia editor who goes by the name of Keilana on the site. She is known for her efforts to counter the effects and causes of gender bias on Wikipedia, particularly through the creation of articles about women in science. She was declared a joint recipient of the 2016 Wikipedian of the Year award, by Jimmy Wales, at Wikimania on June 24, 2016.

Predictions of the end of Wikipedia

Various publications and commentators have offered a range of predictions of the end of Wikipedia. As soon as Wikipedia became well-known—around 2005—one scenario of decline after another has appeared, based on various assumptions and allegations. For example, some claim a degradation in quality of Wikipedia's articles, while others say potential editors are turning away. Others suggest that disagreements within the Wikipedia community will lead to the collapse of Wikipedia as a project.

Artificial intelligence is used in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects for the purpose of developing those projects. Human and bot interaction in Wikimedia projects is routine and iterative.

Wikipedia bots are Internet bots which perform tasks in Wikipedia.


  1. Halfaker, Aaron (31 January 2017). "Twitter status". Twitter.
  2. "Wicked Smart: 5 questions with U of M PhD and Wikipedian Aaron Halfaker". TechMN. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  3. "Aaron Halfaker Curriculum Vitae".
  4. 1 2 Hicks, Jesse (18 February 2014). "This machine kills trolls". The Verge. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  5. Simon, Matt (1 March 2017). "Internet Bots Fight Each Other Because They're All Too Human". Wired. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  6. "Staff and Contractors". Wikimedia Foundation . 12 November 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  7. Clark, Valerie. "Computer science alum making headlines through work at Wikipedia" . Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  8. Nosowitz, Dan (January 28, 2013). "Wikipedia is getting Worse as it gets Better". Popular Science . Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  9. Halfaker, A.; Geiger, R. S.; Morgan, J. T.; Riedl, J. (28 December 2012). "The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System: How Wikipedia's Reaction to Popularity Is Causing Its Decline". American Behavioral Scientist. 57 (5): 664–688. doi:10.1177/0002764212469365.
  10. LeJacq, Yannick (2 February 2013). "Wikipedia Reaches 3 Billion Monthly Mobile Views Amid Concerns About Contributor Content". International Business Times. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  11. Jacobs, Harrison (22 November 2013). "Wikipedia Could Degenerate If It Can't Fix One Big Problem". Business Insider. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  12. Simonite, Tom (22 October 2013). "The Decline of Wikipedia". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  13. Kloc, Joe (25 February 2014). "Wikipedia Is Edited by Bots. That's a Good Thing". Newsweek. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  14. Baker, Katie (31 October 2013). "Wikipedia's Wobbling (Citation Needed)". Newsweek. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  15. Matias, J. Natian (8 June 2015). "The Tragedy of the Digital Commons". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  16. Metz, Cade (1 December 2015). "Wikipedia Deploys AI to Expand Its Ranks of Human Editors". Wired. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  17. Simonite, Tom (1 December 2015). "Artificial Intelligence Aims to Make Wikipedia Friendlier and Better". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 22 February 2016.