I heard that Joel Spolsky recently said Stack Overflow has more monthly active users than Wikipedia. Is that true? What are the trends? What about other Stack Exchange sites and all SE combined?

The comparison was on a seemingly reasonably number, that is users who made at least five contributions in a month. See Edit activity levels of registered users for all Wikimedia projects: about 75k active editors per month, or over 200k considering any activity, or 12k with power users only. All excluding unregistered users.

At How many users does Stack Overflow actually have? there is some information on the total number of accounts and I read some interesting analysis on Server Fault, but not much on 5+ active users/active editors/active contributors/active posters or however you may prefer to call them.

At Wikimedia all edits to articles are equal (actually, edits to pages in content namespaces), but what's the equivalent of the community-accepted version in the main namespace here? Questions and the most upvoted answer to them in non-meta sites? What about comments and edits?

  • Someone pointed out that the sentence «The network as a whole has more monthly 5-time posters than English Wikipedia has 5-time monthly editors» is included in blog.stackoverflow.com/2015/09/… .
    – Nemo
    Commented Nov 14, 2015 at 7:23

2 Answers 2


It's possible some of the terms got mixed up (SO vs. the SE Network?), but Joel's intended point is correct:

In September, there were 32,025 generous users who posted five times or more on the Stack Exchange network (including, SO, SF, etc.)

In September, English Wikipedia* had 29,434 five-time editors. These numbers bounce around some, but that month isn't an outlier in any way.

And note that we're comparing actual posts only to Posts and Edits. If we included users whose posts plus edits exceeded four, our numbers would likely be a lot higher.

* English wikipedia seems like the fair comp to use, since 99+% of our activity is on English-language sites.
  • Thanks. I guess this is probably how that statement was reached. Did you exclude deleted, closed, downvoted, meta posts or anything? Wikimedia wikis delete a good portion of contributions (for good or bad) and those aren't counted. As for what sites to include, Wikimedia has 7 more English projects and 3 multilingual with some 1500 and 17k active users resp..
    – Nemo
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 18:51

A first approximation on Stack Overflow finds 14594 distinct users having over five questions and answers in the last 30 days with non-negative score, not closed and not deleted.

So it would seem that Stack Overflow is still quite far from Wikipedia, or even just the English Wikipedia, as far as this simplistic metric goes.

  • 2
    It seems to be 11212 right now. Does somebody have graphs about trends?
    – Nemo
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 6:04
  • Nowadays the same query gives 9123 rows, I wonder if something changed in the schema or in the deletion patterns to cause this or whether it's a genuine slowdown (would be quite dramatic).
    – Nemo
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 10:46

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