Quantifying Conflict


New Scientist created the above graphic, which tracks the number of violent events per day in Syria since the beginning of 2011 as calculated by the Global Data on Events, Location and Tone dataset:

As Western leaders ponder intervention, the resulting view suggests that the violence has subsided in recent months, from a peak in the third quarter of 2012.

Jay Ulfelder pushes back:

The reason GDELT’s count of violent events has diverged from other measures of the intensity of the violence in Syria in recent months is probably something called “media fatigue.” Data sets of political events generally depend on news sources to spot events of interest, and it turns out that news coverage of large-scale political violence follows a predictable arc. As Deborah Gerner and Phil Schrodt describe in a paper from the late 1990s, press coverage of a sustained and intense conflicts is often high when hostilities first break out but then declines steadily thereafter.