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Survey: Wikipedia Articles About Morris and Traditional Dance

About This Document

This survey reports on morris dance, sword dance and related traditional dance articles which are available in Wikipedia.

The aims of the survey are to gain a better understanding of (a) topics covered and (b) popularity of the articles. This information will be useful in identifying the potential benefits of (a) maintaining existing articles and (b) creating new articles.

About Wikipedia

Wikipedia is an online encyclopaedia which can be edited by anyone.

Wikipedia is also widely used: “It is the largest and most-read reference work in history and consistently one of the 15 most popular websites ranked by Alexa; as of 2021, Wikipedia was ranked the 13th most popular site“.

And although the ability for anyone to edit Wikipedia led to concerns about its accuracy and fears of vandalism, the Wikipedia community is successful in addressing such concerns, with automated tools able to detect and remove vandalised articles in a matter of seconds.

Increasingly Wikipedia is used in schools and higher education, with educators suggesting that it can have a valuable role as a starting point for research.

Survey of Wikipedia Articles About Morris and Related Traditional Dance

Overview of the ‘Morris dance’ article

The Wikipedia article on ‘Morris dance’ was created on 5 July 2011. Since then there have been over 700 contributors to the page (although this may include automated bots used to manage the page).

As can be see from the page views since 2015 the article has been very popular, attracting almost 950,000 views.

Figure 1: Page views for the ‘Morris dance’ article

Note the peaks seem to occur on 1 May every year with the most recent peak, on 1 May 2021, having 6,750 views and over 14,000 views during the week.

Survey of Articles about Morris, Sword and Related Traditional Dance

As can be seen if you click on the links in the above section it is possible to view a range of statistics about Wikipedia articles. The following table gives a similar range of statistics about various styles of morris and traditional dance for which Wikipedia articles are available.

Note the number of page views covers the period 1 September 2020 to 31 August 2021.

ArticleNo. of
No. of edits/
Morris dance135,46337133/2142,3285 Jul 2011
Sword dance 26,398 722/215,36214 Feb 2004
Rapper sword 6,861 194/311,53514 Feb 2004
Long sword dance 5,467 1513/9 5,80025 Feb 2004
Border morris 11,416 3118/11 9,90217 Jan 2004
Clog dancing 29,137 7323/1520,8022 Jan 2006
Table 1: Number of view for main morris and traditional dance articles (Sept 2020 to August 2021)

In Table 1:

  • The Article column uses the name of the Wikipedia article and links to the article.
  • The No. of views column shows the number of article views between 1 Sept 2020 and 31 Aug 2021.
  • The Daily average column shows the average number of views during this period.
  • The No. of edits/editors column shows the total number of changes made to the article in the year and the number of people (or bots) which made the changes.
  • The Size column shows the current size of the article (in characters). It is provided in order to help identify short articles, which may benefit for additional content.
  • The Created column shows the date the article was created and provide a link to how the article looked when it was created.

Note that the “Coltswold” and “North West” traditions do not have their own article, but are included as sections in the Morris dance article.


With over 200,00 views in the year with an average of over 580 views every day it seems clear that Wikipedia is an important resource used by many people, whether the general public, morris performers or researchers, to find out more about forms of morris dance.

There have been less than 100 people who have contributed edits to these articles over the past year, with many of the edits likely to have been made by automated bots (e.g. enhancing the format and structure of the articles) with only small numbers of people updating the content of the articles.

What Next?

This initial survey aims to provide a better understanding of the coverage and popularity of Wikipedia articles about morris and related dance styles.

Two further surveys will be published shortly which will look at associated media files (mainly photographs and videos) about traditional dance which are available on Wikimedia Commons and the ‘categories’ provided to help such media files to be easily found.

Once these surveys have been published, subsequent advisory documents will explore whether further articles should be published and how to do this, as well as how photographs, videos and sound recordings can be made available on Wikimedia Commons.

Page created: 10 Sep 2021

Page author: Brian Kelly

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