Wikipedia Response #9

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2009 at 2:03 am

Should we trust Wikipedia or an expert-led encyclopedia more? How could Wikipedia be better set-up to better provide accuracy? Should it be open to everyone or just verified “experts”?

One thing that sticks out to me about Wikipedia is how all of my undergraduate college professors would tell me that it was not considered a reliable source for citations in class. Even though I was able to find an abundance of factual information on the site, teachers believed that since multiple people were adding information it was not the most reliable information source. I would always go to Wikipedia to get a synopsis or explanation on a certain subject but have to research further by a more credible source when discussing topics for many of my classes.

So now that I have to give my reasoning behind why I don’t trust Wikipedia more than an expert-led encyclopedia you will understand my basis of not being allowed to cite information found on the site for many years. I believe my professors understood how anyone, not only experts on topics, but individuals who had little insight on topics were in a sense defining what others perceived as the truth, expect for certain protected entries. Which is why that fear is what makes the site lack credibility.

Fortunately for Wikipedia, they monitor their pages more frequently and even have verified accounts which only select “experts” are able to edit or make additions to pages i.e. George W. Bush. Now that I know there is some order to the entries I do feel as though Wikipedia could become better set-up to better provide accuracy.

Ironically though I think what sets Wikipedia apart from other sites in its category like Citizendium, knol, amapedia is that it is open to everyone. If we limited Wikipedia to just verified “experts” I don’t think we would be able to find so many topics covered in the depth they are currently and it would also seem a bit biased since they are describing the subject or topic from only a experts point of view. 

I think the appeal behind Wikipedia is that it is one of the last few sources that is by the people and for the people. I know that even though many individuals deem it as being not trustworthy or even dependable it allows people the freedom of belonging, power and to have fun. Whether you like it or not Wikipedia is an incredible resource and great example of crowdsourcing.


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