?

Log in

No account? Create an account
wikity wack - blue dog blog™
links

my professional page :: my linkedin page :: my facebook page

ipblogs :: jape :: patently-o :: phosita
photoblogs :: chromasia :: topleftpixel
comics and fun :: pennyarcade :: sinfest :: onion :: drunkmen
LJ :: read :: write
March 2012
 
 
 
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Saturday, February 7th, 2009 06:25 pm
wikity wack

I don't really understand people who criticize Wikipedia as a terrible source of reliable information. Frequently it's someone citing a particular article as proof, somehow, that the other 2.7 million articles are just as inaccurate.

If you have better information, go edit the article. It's not as if the dozens, if not the hundreds or thousands of the other people who contributed to it all collectively agreed to post incorrect information.

16CommentReplyShare

polarbear
polarbear
No Time For Love, Dr. Jones
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)

I know that my teachers and librarians don't like it used as a source because it's editable on the fly, by anyone, without a period of proper fact checking, or liability with the end product.

But for the layperson who is not doing research and simply wants to get a better general understanding of something, it's a good resource.


ReplyThread
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)

It's certainly not infallible. My point was more that the reliability of the information increases when people claiming expertise actually contribute, rather than do nothing but criticize its reliability.


ReplyThread Parent
peculia
peculia
bête noire
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)

I think it has that reputation because, initally at least, it was unreliable.

In my job as a subeditor and journalist, I cannot use Wikipedia as a source of information, though often I will use it as a starting point.

Actually, in my office, we love Wikipedia.


ReplyThread
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)

I'm not questioning its reputation. Rather, I'm questioning the rationale behind passive criticism rather than active contribution.


ReplyThread Parent
peculia
peculia
bête noire
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)

Ah, my bad, sorry :)

Ummm ... well, in my experience at least, people just find it easier to point a finger than get up and act. It's held true for pretty much everything.

It's not a very satisfying answer, but it's the only one I can come up with, and there it sits, ugly and annoying: laziness.


ReplyThread Parent
jef182
d
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 06:23 am (UTC)

Speaking of passive criticism

Don't forget- Television sucks too. Books are the only acceptable form of educating yourself. Didn't you get the memo?


ReplyThread Parent
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 06:56 am (UTC)

Speaking of passive criticism

Are you implying something?


ReplyThread Parent
jef182
d
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)

-laughs- not specifically toward you


ReplyThread Parent
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)

Ha - sorry if that sounded accusatory, honestly I just couldn't tell what you meant. :)


ReplyThread Parent
stopword
stopword
Alice
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 03:52 am (UTC)

I love it, but once you start fact-checking articles, you find that it's a giant game of Telephone. It perpetuates and lends authority to slight twists of fact, which then become Known Facts. You often cannot edit out these Facts, because of the hierarchy of alpha editors who won't permit offline sources - if everyone on the Web has picked up the wikipedia factoid, the actual fact in an actual book can't shout that down.


ReplyThread
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)

I certainly concede that happens, but in my experience that's the exception rather than the rule. Still, I maintain that the solution to whatever editing bias is in place is to contribute.


ReplyThread Parent
stopword
stopword
Alice
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)

Heh, true. Every time I contribute, my work gets deleted. It's not worth it any more. This happens in online communities like this - I actually was a paid community manager for several years on a similar site. Volunteer users have no reward beyond whatever authority they can wield over others.

I don't think the work I've contributed was terrible. Maybe it was. I've written guidelines for sites like this before, though, so I do think that I wasn't contributing crazy stuff outside the guidelines.

I completely agree with your statements, it's just that Wikipedia in practice is much less welcoming than it could be to contributions. There are a lot of powerful editors who are watching their pet areas and deleting any changes.


ReplyThread Parent
circumambulate
circumambulate
Circumambulate
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 04:23 am (UTC)

A terrible source of reliable information? No, probably not, anymore, but I also wouldn't call it a good source of reliable information, either, from more than a casual perspective.

Hell, any professor I had in college would have handed me my ass if I had used a secondary source when any primary source existed, let alone wikipedia. I think what gets most academic panties in a bunch is that they chose to call it an encyclopedia, which implies some level of inherent correctness.

It all boils down to whether or not you want your information from a source that has been painstakingly researched and fact-checked, or just some random collection of people that have agreed that something is correct.


ReplyThread
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)

... a source that has been painstakingly researched and fact-checked, or just some random collection of people that have agreed that something is correct ...

And the more folks that contribute, the more Wikipedia approaches the former than the latter.


ReplyThread Parent
circumambulate
circumambulate
Circumambulate
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 08:13 am (UTC)

Potentially, yes, if the right number of people with the right knowledge contribute, and are not 'corrected' by someone who thinks they know better. Bottom line is, a research source is intended to be right every time you look at it. Wikipedia entries are only as good as the last editor, and there's no professional, ethical, or monetary incentive for them to have been right, or even not someone intentionally making mischief. Are we establishing fact on popular concensus, now?

Wikipedia has its place and use - casual fact-checking, pursing areas of interest into related areas, etc., but I'd never treat anything I read there as fact unless I already had some knowledge in the area in question, or could verify with another source.


ReplyThread Parent
jandriel
(^+^)
Sunday, February 8th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC)

Yee-haw!

Damn right.


ReplyThread