November 2015 to January 2016 in review

After October 2015, I decided to switch away from monthly reviews to quarterly reviews. Depending on whether I feel I have clearer, more substantive updates at a quarterly level, and whether my readers agree, I will maintain this review frequency. This post reviews the past quarter (November 2015 to January 2016) while also offering a preview into the current quarter (February to April 2016).

Things have been busy on the job front in a variety of ways, but are now getting more stable (our company hired a bit more). I expect to not get a lot of time for the other activities but I do expect that the time I get for these will come in a more steady stream than it has in the past few months.

Wikipedia editing

For background information, see my site page about Wikipedia

I made one page in November, two pages in December, and four pages in January. You can see the lists of pages I created by month using the tags in Wikipedia Views. In particular, you can get the data at these respective links for the three months: November, December, and January.

I intend to create somewhere between 3 and 10 pages a month for each of the months of February, March, and April. So far in February, I have already created 5 pages, and have some more drafts ready to be pushed out.

The pages I am creating right now are not as optimized for pageviews as pages in the past have been. Rather, they are pages in domains where I want to acquire a deeper understanding and believe the research process involved in creating the page will help me. At present, my focus is on key aspects of migration laws, migration forms, and migration procedures in the United States. I intend to branch out more to other countries and to return to migration history (that I worked on in October and November) after finishing up a few more articles on migration procedures.

I do still hope to facilitate the creation of pages that are generically popular and underprovisioned. In recent months, I have successfully done so through sponsored Wikipedia editing. The people I have been paying include:

  • Alex K. Chen (updated page list here): Alex worked on timeline pages in January and has been working on pages about investors starting February.
  • Issa Rice (updated page list here): Issa created many great pages on important forms related to taxation in the United States, and is now transitioning to work on migration forms. See for instance the pageview counts in January for pages Issa created in January.
  • Ethan Bashkansky (updated page list here): Ethan is starting out with tax forms.

Measurement changes: With some help from Issa, I switched my data source for Wikipedia Views from (which had stopped updating) to the Wikimedia API, which is probably a better and more stable option going forward. One consequence of this change is that it is now possible to exclude obvious bots and spiders from the view counts, and data from January 2016 onward excludes those numbers. Hence, there is an artificial drop from December 2015 to January 2016 arising directly as a result of that exclusion. The drop mostly affects the “long tail” pages that get very few monthly views.

Impact: Here are the pageview counts for pages I have created over my lifetime in the three months of the quarter: 180,352 in November, 196,227 in December, and 172,159 in January. The total across the three months was 548,738. New content I created has gotten under 1000 views per month. The drop from December to January is explained by the data source change. The low pageview count of newly created pages is explained by the focus on maximizing my learning rather than creating pages with a huge amount of interest.

Forecast for future impact: I expect the pageview counts in the next quarter to come out a little lower than the previous quarter, primarily due to the data source change. My estimate range for pages I created is as follows:

  • 2.5th percentile: 275,000 views.
  • 10th percentile: 340,000 views.
  • 25th percentile: 410,000 views.
  • 50th percentile: 495,000 views.
  • 75th percentile: 640,000 views.
  • 90th percentile: 725,000 views.
  • 97.5th percentile: 880,000 views.

The estimates are a little lower than the past because of the bot-filtering, as well as the shorter length of the forthcoming quarter: 89 days as opposed to 91-92 days for most quarters.

The dispersion of the estimates is similar to that for a month. This is because the greater centrality arising from summing up over more data points is balanced out by the greater uncertainty arising from looking farther out into the future.

Subject wikis

For background information, see my site page about the subject wikis

I did active work on the subject wikis for a few segments of a few hours, but not in any systematic way that would affect the overall level of content or change the experience of typical visitors. The subject wikis have been doing well traffic-wise, but this is not due to any additional effort on my part.

Groupprops got a total of 254,100 pageviews this quarter compared to 232,786 for the corresponding quarter last year. The seasonal pattern in traffic was very similar between quarters, so much so that it is visually striking when you look at the graphs in Google Analytics. Market declined (47,429 compared to 58,823) and Calculus stayed stable (56,258 versus 54,466).


For background information, see my site page about WikiHow

I wrote two new WikiHow articles: How to Use Amazon Route 53 and How to Use Git Effectively. The latter of these articles appears to be the fastest of my WikiHow articles in acquiring pageviews, though it’s still early days to know just how far it will rise.

EA Forum blog post making forecasts about GiveWell money moved

In December 2015, I published a blog post in the Effective Altruism Forum with an analysis of the amounts of money moved to GiveWell top charities and forecasts about money moved for 2015, based on the information available at the time. I also published a follow-up blog post and some comments on my own posts. The actual money moved turned out to be at around the 90th percentile of my estimate, as I noted in a later update at the bottom of the post.


I have continued to watch the Korean TV series Remember: War of the Son on Viki, which is finishing up in February. Other Korean TV series I have been watching include Madame Antoine. Thanks to these TV series, I have picked up many words and phrases in Korean, and can generally understand a decent fraction (excluding some nuances) without subtitles if I am also watching the video alongside (so I can see people’s facial expressions and other contextual cues).

I also watched the Bollywood movie Jazbaa, which I later discovered was a remake of a Korean film Seven Days (something that is not quite surprising, given that some of the themes seemed distinctly reminiscent of the Korean TV series I had watched).

I also found a blog, E Drama Clouds by Evelyn Lee, that offers high-quality commentary on Korean TV series.

On the music front, I bought a few MP3 songs and listened to some more. My recent purchases include Hello, Wake Me Up, and Dark Horse.