I've heard this way too often, "You can't trust Wikipedia. Anyone can go on there and change stuff." It's a really good way to get on my nerves especially that I'm now a member of the site. Wikipedia is a great resource for learning. I will admit that you should never directly cite Wikipedia, but as the founder of the site points out, you shouldn't directly cite any encyclopedia. However you can use Wikipedia to find many sources to backup a piece of knowledge you found in the article that you want to use in a paper. But I should address the common complaint. Yes it's true that anyone can go onto Wikipedia and change stuff. However if this person is not a member their IP address will be recorded along with any change made. This way if they get into the habit of vandalizing articles, it's easy to undo those changes. According to a very well done self assessment, 98% of the vandalizing changes are undone within the first few minutes.
Yes you should treat Wikipedia with a bit of skepticism, but that applies to anywhere else. For the most part, Wikipedia is a wonderful tool to educate the general public. Best of all, unlike a print source, Wikipedia gets updated very quickly ensuring it will be up to date which is more than can be said about reference books. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate reference books, but I feel like Wikipedia doesn't get the respect it deserves.
5 years, 9 months ago
02 Jul 2013 01:53 CEST