Aaron Halfaker

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Aaron Halfaker
Halfaker in 2013
Born (1983-12-27) December 27, 1983 (age 40)
Alma materThe College of St. Scholastica (BS)
University of Minnesota (PhD)[5][6]
Scientific career
InstitutionsMicrosoft Research
Wikimedia Foundation
ThesisMaintaining the efficiency of open production systems at scale: A case study of wikipedia (2013)
Doctoral advisorJohn T. Riedl[3]

Aaron Halfaker (/ˈhæfkər/; born December 27, 1983) is a principal applied scientist at Microsoft Research.[1][7][2] He previously served as a research scientist at the Wikimedia Foundation until 2020.[8][9][10]


Halfaker earned a Bachelor of Science degree 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 Diana Johnson.[11] He subsequently earned a PhD in computer science from the GroupLens Research lab at the University of Minnesota in 2013.[3]

Career and research[edit]

Halfaker is known for his research on Wikipedia[12][13] and the decrease in the number of active editors of the site.[14][15][16] He has said in autumn 2013 that Wikipedia began a "decline phase" around 2007 and has continued to decline since then.[17][18] Halfaker has also studied software agents (bots) on Wikipedia,[19] and the way they affect new contributors to the site.[8] While a graduate student he developed a tool for Wikipedia editing called Snuggle with Stuart Geiger. Snuggle tackles vandalism on Wikipedia and highlights constructive contributions by new editors.[20][21] He has also built an artificial intelligence (AI) service called Objective Revision Evaluation Service (ORES) in 2015, used to identify vandalism on Wikipedia and distinguish it from good faith edits.[22][23]


  1. ^ a b Aaron Halfaker publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b "AARON HALFAKER PHD" (PDF). microsoft.com. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  3. ^ a b Halfaker, Aaron (2013). Maintaining the efficiency of open production systems at scale: A case study of wikipedia. umn.edu (PhD thesis). University of Minnesota. hdl:11299/162489. OCLC 1194828572. ProQuest 3607902. Free access icon
  4. ^ Halfaker, Aaron (31 January 2017). "Twitter status". Twitter.
  5. ^ "Wicked Smart: 5 questions with U of M PhD and Wikipedian Aaron Halfaker". TechMN. 11 December 2013. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Aaron Halfaker Curriculum Vitae".
  7. ^ "Aaron Halfaker at Microsoft Research". Microsoft.
  8. ^ a b Hicks, Jesse (18 February 2014). "This machine kills trolls". The Verge. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  9. ^ Simon, Matt (1 March 2017). "Internet Bots Fight Each Other Because They're All Too Human". Wired. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Staff and Contractors". Wikimedia Foundation. 12 November 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  11. ^ Clark, Valerie. "Computer science alum making headlines through work at Wikipedia". Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  12. ^ Halfaker, Aaron; Kittur, Aniket; Riedl, John (2011). "Don't bite the newbies". Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration. pp. 163–172. doi:10.1145/2038558.2038585. ISBN 9781450309097. S2CID 2818300.
  13. ^ Panciera, Katherine; Halfaker, Aaron; Terveen, Loren (2009). "Wikipedians are born, not made". Proceedings of the 2009 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. pp. 51–60. doi:10.1145/1531674.1531682. ISBN 9781605585000. S2CID 6286454.
  14. ^ Nosowitz, Dan (January 28, 2013). "Wikipedia is getting Worse as it gets Better". Popular Science. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  15. ^ 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. S2CID 144208941.
  16. ^ LeJacq, Yannick (2 February 2013). "Wikipedia Reaches 3 Billion Monthly Mobile Views Amid Concerns About Contributor Content". International Business Times. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  17. ^ Jacobs, Harrison (22 November 2013). "Wikipedia Could Degenerate If It Can't Fix One Big Problem". Business Insider. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  18. ^ Simonite, Tom (22 October 2013). "The Decline of Wikipedia". technologyreview.com. MIT Technology Review. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  19. ^ Kloc, Joe (25 February 2014). "Wikipedia Is Edited by Bots. That's a Good Thing". newsweek.com. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  20. ^ Baker, Katie (31 October 2013). "Wikipedia's Wobbling (Citation Needed)". newsweek.com. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  21. ^ Matias, J. Natian (8 June 2015). "The Tragedy of the Digital Commons". theatlantic.com. The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  22. ^ Metz, Cade (1 December 2015). "Wikipedia Deploys AI to Expand Its Ranks of Human Editors". Wired. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  23. ^ Simonite, Tom (1 December 2015). "Artificial Intelligence Aims to Make Wikipedia Friendlier and Better". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 22 February 2016.