Wikipedia: Thank you Jimbo Wales!

November 18, 2009 queenbeedc1983

In recent weeks, I’ve given the concept of Wikipedia some good thought.  But, to be honest, I hadn’t questioned the authenticity and trustworthiness of Wikipedia until the controversial topic was introduced in last week’s class.  I’ve been using Wikipedia for years now and I’ve had minimal issue with it.  Yes, I have found questionable information and felt the need to do fact checking on my own, but that doesn’t mean that Wikipedia isn’t a great starting point.  But, this is precisely why I’ve never had an issue with Wikipedia- because I use it as a starting point and not as a primary source for research material!  As far as I’m concerned, the main issue with Wikipedia is the users themselves and the lack of knowledge surrounding the intended role of Wikipedia.
We all know that Wikipedia has been a target for good reasons.  It definitely has inaccurate   information and is vulnerable to vandalism and unverified information.  But, at the same time, where is the role and responsibility of the user during all of this?  In my eyes, the accountability lands directly in the lap of each and every Wikipedia user.  Of course, contributors are also held responsible for the information they add, but I think more emphasis and onus should be put on the consumer.  As of right now,  Wikipedia provides a general disclaimer in big black letters that states, “WIKIPEDIA MAKES NO GUARANTEE OF VALIDITY.” Check it out people!   To this end, I do not feel that using verified “experts” to make contributions will make much of a difference.  In fact, a study by the scientific journal Nature found that the errors and misleading statements between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica were not so different.  In all, Wikipedia contained 162 errors and Britannica had 123.

So, in terms of accuracy,what more can Wikipedia really do?  Not a whole lot.  If I had one piece of advice for founder Jimmy Wales and his team, it would be to possibly beef-up their content editing team.  I don’t think it would hurt for them to do a bit more scanning and patrolling.  But, then again, too much control really ruins the entire point of crowdsourcing and an open-access encyclopedia.  For me, exerting more restriction and control is a slap in the face to the intended originality of Wikipedia.  Moral of the story, if you’re going to use Wikipedia do your due diligence people!



Entry Filed under: BEE's BLOG ENTRIES.

One Comment Add your own

  • 1. I have information that I&hellip  |  December 1, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    […] and convert them.  This site shows a lot of good stats on how many people edit Wikipedia.  Many people think it is a great source of information.  If these millions of people are editing articles, […]

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