Wiki Wiki Woo

My sage social media profs, my Obi-Wan and Yoda, have asked us to look at Wikipedia and other crowdsourced sites and ask whether or not we should trust them.

I touched on this in my previous post, but it is easy to dig deeper.  Wikipedia is the most prevalent and used encyclopedia-like source, period.   Anyone with an internet connection, using any of the various search engines, will likely get a Wikipedia hit in the top five of their search.

Regardless of Wikipedia’s high ranking and usage, it still does not answer the main question of whether or not to trust the information found within.  Several people have asked this same question.  Wikipedia gives compelling reasons “Why you should use Wikipedia” and there are studies that show Wikipedia is as accurate as traditional encyclopedias.  There is even a forum dedicated to Wikipedia review.

However, this is the problem: Wikipedia can never become a complete, accurate encyclopedia of human knowledge. Why? There are three simple reasons by a guy who sounds really smart.

Wikipedia lacks: (1) Accountability, (2) Reliability, and (3) Truth.

Even with all the props from the study mentioned above, there is still a dark side of Wikipedia.  So much so, that many teachers today prohibit students from using Wikipedia as a source in reports and research due to the anonymity and possibility for unconfirmed (or even falsified) information.

Red Team Journal suggests Wikipedia is already moving in the right direction. What crowdsourced reporting needs is a better (crowdsourced) means of controlling white noise and organizing information. Wikipedia, to some extent, has already done this through its gradual increase in the power of an core elite.

In 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, Wikipedia is a start to finding what you are looking for, not the end.


1 comment so far

  1. […] I have posted before, the ability to throw something up on Wikipedia that is false is too easy and there should be a […]

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