Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why Do People Say Wikipedia is Unreliable/Not Reliable/Not Trustworthy etc.?

The analogy finally came to me!  I realized this morning that wikipedia is exactly as reliable and authoritative as going down the street and asking a random person what they know about some subject.  This is not exactly the same as an article in The World Book Encyclopedia for trustworthiness.

So: if you use Wikipedia as a reference in a college paper and your professor rejects it, it's because your instructor knows that a source edited by random people without any sort of credentials is as only almost as good as the paper it's written on.


D. B. C. Jones said...

You said the same thing back in December 2008. Although well-moderated, impartiality, like all collaborative publications is difficult to maintain. But if it's accuracy you have problems with, check the citations at the end of the article. These provide sources for the comments made and the quality of the content stated. Read with caution. Remember that wiki stands for "what I know is" which underlines its not going to be 100% expert comment. However many experts do contribute and contribute regularly.

Vote For David said...

As I look through the archives I see that, in essence, I did. Well I suppose great minds think alike, even if they're both mine!

Not that the comparison holds up much farther than this, but Col. Cooper had the habit of repeating solid points as well, in his Commentaries. :D

Long-time readers with better memories than mine of what I write will please excuse the redundant point-making and chalk up my forgetfulness to ongoing parentage of very young children. Of course when the children move out, I shall have to come up with some new excuse! By then I suppose at this rate I will have come to this amazing realization about Wikipedia a few more times.

On a side note, during their recent begging-for-money session I actually donated to Wikipedia as (for the most part) it is at least a half-decent first stop to learn about . . . well, anything almost. Just don't cite it in your term papers eh.