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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Wikipedia

The thread "the liberal media" myth turned into a discussion of whether or not you can trust the information on Wikipedia.

I read several articles like this one back in Dec. '05, but this one from BBC seemed like a good one to link to:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4530930.stm

I just thought some here might be interested in this since the subject has been brought up and made some people question if they feel comfortable using Wikipedia now.

I usually use it for science, music and art. I feel very comfortable using it and will continue to. I think it is very important to our culture to have access to such a wide variety of subjects about the world around us. There are things on Wikipedia you just can't find anywhere else.

Just my 2 cents
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 09:22 PM
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I use it for my teaching.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 11:00 PM
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I don't believe in taking anything as "truth" that isn't backed up by a real person. The anonymity of Wikipedia (and the internet in general) makes it a gamble. That doesn't mean it's wrong all the time, or even much of the time - it simply means that if it is wrong, and you fail to follow up on your findings, you're never going to have a clue.

For casual use, the internet is fine, but I'd rather verify any important information with real people.

I was using Wikipedia when I came across this thread earlier, as a matter of fact. Reading up on Monty Python.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 11:10 PM
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Yeah I find it hard to trust it for information that's actually important. (Not that Monty Python isn't )


Quote:
Originally Posted by shengmei
I use it for my teaching.
I don't think I could feel comfortable teaching other people with information that I can't be 100% percent on. But I guess that's you. How comfortable are you with that?
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
I use it for my teaching.
That's interesting, because the lecturers at our university discourage people from using it other than for basic infomation. If you cite from Wikipedia you are likely to get a warning from them. It is not academic material, it's just for basic reference points. It's a great site and I use it regularly as a starting point for some of my more taxing essays, but only as a starting point.

''It is based on wikis, open-source software which lets anyone fiddle with a webpage, anyone reading a subject entry can disagree, edit, add, delete, or replace the entry.''

Are you really comfortable teaching people from a source that has admitted itself that it's not always acurate? I'd be careful if I was you, it's not the quality of your own work that you are risking.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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I am not sure why, but my link to the BBC article isn't working today. I thought I checked to see if it was when I posted.

Sooo, I just thought I would cut and paste this article which pretty much says the same thing.

Wikipedia, despite expert’s opinion, extremely accurate.
Last update: 01/20/2006 Submitted by Azerad, Aaron

Â*
Â*"While most of us would probably feel that there is no better gateway to knowledge then the complete volume set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, new research shows the answers may be right in front of your computer monitor.Â* Wikipedia the online encyclopedia which consists of nearly four million articles, ranging any where from the French revolution to the sport of extreme ironing, may be all that you need.Â* Recently the scientific journal Nature published an online comparison between Britannica and Wikipedia, reviewing the two's scientific credibility.

Â*

Since its establishment in 2001 wikipedia has been at the front of many criticisms over the accuracy and efficiency of its articles.Â* Wikipedia primarily runs on voluntary contributions from its registered members.Â* The web log also allows visitors to edit/add any new piece of information to a given article.Â* This makes it extremely intricate for its editor’s to correct any mistakes.Â* Nature however in a quest to prove supremacy in the information world did a 42 side by side article study of both Britannica and Wikipedia.Â* The results concluded that the average wikipedia article contained four errors as oppose Britannica’s three.Â* “The errors include anything form false facts to often loose interpretations of key concepts “, reported the article.Â*

Jimmy Wales’s founder of wikipedia reportedly said “We're very pleased with the results and we're hoping it will focus people's attention on the overall level of our work, which is pretty good”.Â* Wales goes on to defend the accuracy of his coinage, claiming experts from across the globe could now weigh in on any given subject.Â* Wikipedia announced that it would be testing new quality control mechanics to help preserve accuracy.Â* Wikipedia the 37th most popular website visited continues to offer its service free of charge and written in nearly 200 languages, now with a new seal of approval."


for what it is worth....
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 11:09 AM
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"This makes it extremely intricate for its editor’s to correct any mistakes."...Where is this article from? Because I wouldn't trust a source that is unable to use the word 'intricate' in the right context.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by spamlet
"This makes it extremely intricate for its editor’s to correct any mistakes."...Where is this article from? Because I wouldn't trust a source that is unable to use the word 'intricate' in the right context.
http://www.dlmag.com/news/39/01-20-2006 ... urate.html

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 11:28 AM
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Thanks emrldsky. Like I said though, you have to doubt the reliability of such a badly written article.

I agree fuzzy that it's a great site for looking up things that don't really have much importance. However, if you are going to use it, I would research any 'fact' that you are likely to use from their site, and make sure you are able to back it up with a credible source. I think the fact that anybody can edit the infomation means that it really isn't worth risking taking what they say as gospel.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spamlet
Thanks emrldsky. Like I said though, you have to doubt the reliability of such a badly written article.

I agree fuzzy that it's a great site for looking up things that don't really have much importance. However, if you are going to use it, I would research any 'fact' that you are likely to use from their site, and make sure you are able to back it up with a credible source. I think the fact that anybody can edit the infomation means that it really isn't worth risking taking what they say as gospel.
Yeah you are right. I should have chosen a better example. There are lots of articles written on the study the journal "Nature" did comparing Britannica and Wikipedia.

I have one I copied off of CNN but could not find it on the net. The one on the BBC site worked for me last night but doesn't today.

I just thought it was interesting that Wikipedia held up that well in this study.

It is early here, and I really don't have time to post...I should have left this subject alone. I saw the confusion about it on the other thread. I tried to explain that there are lots of people correcting mistakes and downright flaming commentaries that happen because it is open for everyone to edit. But isn't that the beauty of it? It is truly by the people for the people.

I also use it for things that are not that important, like music and art
and Monty Python

Anyway, I just thought it was interesting......
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