Chapter��4.��Contribution Visualization

Or, thanks but what did you do last year

Description. Provides graphic visualization of content contributions to a wiki environment. Per page visualization shows summary of content growth by contributor by time. How and when each current sentence, title or image was added is also presented through a visualization.

Site wide growth in content over time and content contribution by individual is also presented as a visualization.

Solves. Tracking who is effectively contributing to a collaborative environment such as a wiki.


The Internet has greatly increased opportunities to get more expertise contributing to the knowledge and know how documentation. However, two new issues have emerged:

  • Who is adding value. One of the issue with the new collaborative technologies or any efforts at Knowledge harvesting from those closest to the clients is understanding who is making significant contributions.

  • Who made this change. When reviewing material authored by a number of contributors it is often desirable to know who and when specific part of the document were added or modified.

These issues in a collaborative business environment are just emerging. However, this exact problem has been part of large scale software development for a number of decades. Here you see very sophisticated source code control systems. Who contributed each line of code is tracked. When it was modified is tracked. And the number of lines each developer contributes is tracked

4.2.��User View

There are two major aspects of Content visualization. The first is the understanding gained by visualizing the content on a single Wiki page. The second is understanding in the broad sweeping view provided by visualization on content contributions site wide. Each of these is discussed in the following two sections.


When discussing content for a Wiki page we can look at the page as it currently exists or we can view the content as it grew and changed over time.

Figure��4.1, ���Page Content by Who and When��� shows the main view of page content in which the contributor and date is tracked for each sentence and heading. In the figure the User has put the cursor over the heading Ticket Meta Data and sees that it was contributed by jeff on 08/11/07. By moving the cursor over the page content one can see when and who contributed each piece.

Figure��4.1.��Page Content by Who and When

Page Content by Who and When

A very common usage of the feature is to assess the expertise of the contributor of specific content. For example, if a configuration recommendation is question in a technical document it is important to know if it was made by one of the lead developers, and thus probably correct, or by a field engineer that my not have seen all the cases that need to be addressed. Thus, by knowing who contributed the content can influence how much effort to commit.

Figure��4.2, ���Page Contributors��� gives another view on the page content. This visualization presents how active different contributions are and the time period of contributions.

Figure��4.2.��Page Contributors

Page Contributors

A common usage of this information is to assess which of the knowledge holders, such as developers or field engineers, or willing to make the effort to share their knowledge.

Figure��4.3, ���Page History Flow��� show the visualization of the content additions, deletions, and modifications over the time line of the page. Each contributor is color coded. The recent modifications are in light shades with content over 6 months old in the darkest shade for a contributor.

Figure��4.3.��Page History Flow

Page History Flow

The History Flow is commonly used to see an overview of the stability and contributor activity of the web page. The following could be triggers to force a closer review of web page content:

  • Old, stable content in a dynamic area. If you know the technology has been improved or updated lately and the darkness of the content flow shows it is all over six months old a review is needed.

  • All of one contributors content edited out. If the flow shows all the contributions on one staffer have been edited out a review of his or her work is needs to be reviewed.

  • Content churn. If the History Flow shows a page with lots of contribution churn in an area of the firms technology tate is fairly stable a review is needed.

4.2.2.��Site Contributors

The second set of History Flow graphics provide visualizations, and statistics, for content contributions over the whole web site. These provide a view of the active contributors and the growth of the Knowledge Capital on the site.

Figure��4.4, ���Site History Flow��� shows the growth of content on the site over a two year period of time. The left hand chart shows content by month. And, the right hand chart is a visualization of the total site content growth with color ribbons for each contributor.

Figure��4.4.��Site History Flow

Site History Flow

Figure��4.5, ���Site Content Stats��� presents site content statistics. The number of Tokens, a block of text such as a heading or a sentence, ever contributed and currently existing are presented. Also, the total number of Words ever contributed and currently existing are presented.

Figure��4.5.��Site Content Stats

Site Content Stats

Site History Flow is commonly used to:

  • Track growth of Knowledge Capital. High-tech firms rapidly increase and enhance the functionality and capabilities of their products. If the knowledge transfer infrastructure - documentation, know-how, application notes, use case examples, etc - does not also rapidly grow User will not know how to leverage this new functionality.

  • Track Knowledge Contributors. The growth of Knowledge Capital is critical to the success of high-tech firms. Thus it is critical to be able to track who is contributing knowledge and make sure they are rewarded.



Authors Add. Get technology overview from Steve.


Authors Add. Jeff ToDo. Get the algorithm for how to parse change and include the reference.

InfraComps/ChapVisualization (last edited 2015-03-06 18:11:27 by localhost)