Thursday, December 31, 2009

Never ever trust Wikipedia

Wikipedia is great to find links to external sites, but I for one have never trusted the information Wiki gives, not from Day One. I remember having an argument with a dear friend who depends on Wiki for everything and anything and having told her in no uncertain terms that if she quotes anything from Wiki, I will take that as a lie. Being the unforgiving sort that I happen to be, I am emailing this post to her. Yeah.... I know.... I am bad.  via: Drudge  Wiki is a nest of lies and half-truths


  1. When asking if Wikipedia can be trusted, the real question is, "compared to what?" News sources, blogs, magazines, etc all make mistakes. The difference with Wikipedia is the community polices it and constantly updates/corrects the info.

    I'd trust Wikipedia over CBC any day of the week.

  2. I never willing to simply trust wikipedia. But I think taking anything quoted from there as a lie is a tad unfair. I consider anything on it something that, if potentially important to me, needs to be traced to its original source. (Which is usually fairly easy).

    Take the Rush "rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated" Limbaugh story. Stories announcing someone's death in error happen frequently. (Even my father, not a public figure, has at least once been pronounced dead. Another time he was supposedly in a coma. Both stories were news to him).

    But I digress.

    Several things give me faith in wikipedia as a valuable resource (with the understanding that everyone must, to borrow a phrase from Reagan, "trust but verify.")

    1. Many (perhaps millions) of people are watching for errors, and they can be corrected quickly. For example:

    "Rush, of course, was very much alive and about 15 minutes later Wikipedia pronounced him so, altering their bio by removing the information that he had died."

    That speed can't happen with a traditional paper encyclopedia.

    2. All changes are recorded, and you can see every past alteration/update (if you want).

    3. There is a discussion page where you can see people talking about the article, what they want to change and why. It's good in cases where the topic is controversial (or in cases where you want to know if a topic is controversial).

    4. There are often warnings posted within the article when certain sections are suspect for various reasons (e.g., bias).

    5. If you have a problem with something there... you can do something about it.


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