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Trust Wikipedia – Response #9 November 17, 2009

Posted by girliegirl1965 in Uncategorized.
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Here’s my truth, I’m a big fan of Wikipedia.  Since discovering it a few years ago, I’m on the site all of the time.  Celebrity gossip is my thing, and Wikipedia is the place I go to quench my thirst. 

On any given day, I might be reading Oprah’s biography or an entry on Corazon Aquino.   When I use the site, I’m not looking for hardcore information or researching anything significant.  I’m simply using it for the enjoyment of snooping into someone’s life.  For me, it’s cheaper than buying a “National Enquirer”.  By the way, have you ever seen the looks people give when you buy a rag magazine?

My issue with Wikipedia is that so many students and even many leading authorities rely on it.  Traditional, old research is a class most students hate, but it’s a class everyone should be required to take.  Research is the investigation, collection, and interpretation of facts. It’s conducted in many ways depending on the subject and its accepted methodology.  For example, legal research studies previously decided cases and compiles material that will support or disprove a case.  I think I’d loose my freak’n mind if my attorney told me he used Wikipedia to research my case–wouldn’t you?

Should we trust Wikipedia or an expert-led encyclopedia more?  Honestly, I’m more inclined to trust an expert-led encyclopedia.  I’m comfortable using encyclopedias because they are for the most part “proven”.  I don’t know, perhaps it’s a generational thing. I grew up in an era where you always referred to the encyclopedia Britannica when you wanted to know something.  Before the Internet, social media, and Wikipedia, we use to trust encyclopedia Britannica. For that matter, there was a time when we only seemed to trust Walter Cronkite.   Now, all of our trust lies in Wikipedia.  We’re an interesting bunch of folks.

I think a way to better setup Wikipedia might be to institute a flagging system that detects suspect or dubious data when it’s entered into the system.  I’m not certain how Wikipedia would implement this, but rather than waiting for someone to come along and change an erroneous entry, a flagging system would catch it long before it is viewed by the masses. 

In the end, maybe it’s best to have everybody (experts and all of us) weigh-in on the accuracy of Wikipedia.  In the end, it’s still crowd-sourcing.

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Comments»

1. Wiki Wiki Woo « MuldoonSix - November 18, 2009

[…] the end, I’ll stick to my guns and with that of a fellow super-smart student and say that Wikipedia is just the beginning to one’s research.  In matters of importance, […]

2. girliegirl1965 - November 18, 2009

Guns loaded and ready to draw. Except, we won’t look toward Wikipedia for accurate and complete instructions on how fire our guns. Thank you for the response.


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